Posted by: PD Warrior | July 7, 2007

A day to remember…

For Stephanie and myself last weekend was a weekend like no other. Our wedding anniversary was June 28th. We have always tried to make each anniversary special by going someplace special, or doing something out of the ordinary. In the past we have spent the night in the Glenn Iris Inn, a mansion built in the late 1800’s in the middle of Letchworth State Park. Last year we went to Mackinaw Island and visited The Grand Hotel where the movie “Somewhere In Time” was filmed. This year we planned another spectacular getaway; we planned to see Tim McGraw & Faith Hill in concert on their Soul II Soul Tour.

Everything planned for a perfect getaway. Our Anniversary was on Thursday, and the concert was on Friday. We had everything we needed for a spectacular weekend; tickets with fantastic seats for the concert, hotel reservations a mere 11 miles from the arena where the performance was to take place, even the weather was on our side. We couldn’t lose.

Thursday night Stephanie and I went out for a romantic dinner at LaScala’s restaurant to celebrate the actual day of our anniversary. We go there quite often for special occasions because it is the restaurant that we went to on Valentines Day—our first date, a day that we will always hold dear. It was the perfect way to kick off the weekend.

Friday afternoon we took off for Ohio. The sun was shining, the temperature was in the mid seventies—not too hot, not too cold—and love was in the air. At least for us two lovebirds it was, and that is where the adventure began…

We stopped for lunch just in Kingsville, at a truck stop just over the Pennsylvania-Ohio border. This particular truck stop is a place that Stephanie and I have stopped at more than once before on our trips to Ohio, and have never had any issues, but as the saying goes, there is a first time for everything.

Stephanie went in to use the ladies room, only to find that none of the stalls had working doors. The only stall that wasn’t being used had part of the frame ripped out of the wall, and the door wouldn’t stay closed by itself. Everyone in the other stalls seemed to have their friends holding the doors shut for them. Since I was the only friend Steph had with her, she had to go it alone.

That should have been our first clue…

The rest of the drive to the hotel was pretty uneventful. We ran into a little bit of slow traffic in the middle of Cleveland, but nothing really remarkable.

We arrived at our hotel around 4:oopm, in plenty of time to check in and freshen up before the concert. We checked in at the front desk, and ran into a slight bit of confusion. They had our reservations on file, but they didn’t really know what room to give us. It seems the hotel was also being used by a couple of soccer teams that were in town for some sort of tournament, and they wanted to find a room for us that would be far away from any commotion the soccer teams might make. In theory that would have been a great idea.

Then we saw the room…

Or, should I say we smelled the room, because that is exactly what happened before we had a chance to see it. As soon as Stephanie opened the door we were both hit in the face with the obnoxious odor of stale cigarette smoke. We probably should have just closed the doors and gone back down stairs to complain, but human nature made us curious and we actually took a step further into the room.

Now, we’re not really sure who’s room it was…but we were pretty sure they hadn’t checked out of it yet. Or, if it was vacant it hadn’t been cleaned yet. Blankets and linen were in a pile on the floor at the foot of the bed, and the bed obviously hadn’t been made.

That should have been our second clue…

We went back to the main desk and explained to them that the room the gave us couldn’t possibly have been intended for us primarily because of the cigarette smoke, not to mention the slightly soiled bedding.

The girl behind the counter handled the situation quite professionally. After she picked her jaw up from scraping on the floor, and popped her eyeballs back into place, she apologized profusely and gave us a different room. It seems she was just as alarmed by the situation as we were. Not only did she have to smooth things over with us, but she also had to figure out why this supposedly clean and vacant room was neither clean nor vacant.

Once we received the keys to our new room and verified that it was indeed empty and smoke free we proceeded with our plans. It was still only a little after 4:oopm, leaving us with plenty of time to find a place to eat dinner and still make it to the show on time. After all, as I stated earlier, the hotel was only 11 miles from the concert arena.

We ate dinner at a neat little restaurant that was in the same parking lot as the hotel. The restaurant was “famous” for its food that was baked in a wood oven, or at least that’s what the menu said. I will verify that I did see a wood oven as we were being seated, and although I don’t know how “famous” they are, the food was really good. Stephanie and I shared a Margherita and we were full when we finished.

Seriously…one Margherita filled us both up…

No, not that kind of Margherita… it’s what they named one of their pizzas.

I have to admit, “Margherita” is a stupid name for a pizza, but it did fill us up. The pizza was supposed to be served as an appetizer, but it was definitely big enough for a meal.

When all was said and done we left the hotel shortly after 6:oopm—two hours before the concert was due to start. Plenty of time to travel the short distance to the arena, find a parking space and locate our seats before the show began.

I mean, how long could it possibly take to drive 11 miles? –A question that I truly regret asking. The answer…Two-and-one-half-hours!

By 6:25pm we had gone close to 10 ½ miles, and by 7:oopm we had traveled about oh, lets say…another 10 feet. Traffic was at a standstill.

Count them…150 minutes…

It seems that Tim McGraw and Faith Hill weren’t the only show in town that night…

The little hand was on the eight, and the big hand on the six…

It seems that the Cleveland Indians were playing a baseball game that night… That’s 30 minutes after the show started.

It seems the baseball stadium is right next to the concert arena…

Yes, we got there at 8:30pm. Or, should I say Stephanie got there at 8:30pm…

 

It seems the night was just beginning for me…

 

By the time we got off of the highway my face was starting to contort with anger, as was Stephanie’s bladder. Pulling up in front of the arena wasn’t an option. Traffic cops were directing people to go into various lanes of traffic without regard to their intended destination, leaving Stephanie no choice but to hand me my ticket, bail out of the van and run across another lane of traffic to get inside. There really was no other choice. We had no idea where I was going to park, and the thought of her having to do the “potty dance” all the way back…well, lets just say we really had no other choice.

 

After Stephanie was out of the car I looked around and saw numerous parking ramps in the area.

 

No problem! I should be able to park and get inside within minutes, right?

 

Wrong.

 

Oh, I got inside within minutes—sixty of them, to be exact.

 

It seems that finding a parking spot was to be the least of my worries. In fact, it was probably the easiest, and least time consuming part of the night.

 

What I didn’t realize was that Cleveland has two 3rd streets, and two 6th streets, one is labeled east and the other is west. They are not the same streets, nor do they run from east to west. They run from north to south and one is located on the east side of town, while the other is located on the west side of town. Do you see where I’m going with this?

 

I started at the intersection of 3rd and St Clair, found a kiosk with a street map, located the intersection I thought I was standing at and figured out how to get to my destination from there. A couple blocks up, a few blocks to the left …

 

The next thing I know I am standing back on the corner of 3rd and one of the other major cross streets. How can this be? I just left 3rd street, and I am pretty sure I didn’t go backwards. Not know ing exactly where I was I decided to look for another kiosk with a map. There wasn’t one on the corner where I was standing, so I decided to follow this main street for a few blocks until I found one. The next thing I know I am standing at the corner of this major street and 3rd.

 

But I just came from 3rd street, what is going on?

 

By know I have been walking the streets of Cleveland for twenty minutes. I asked a couple of passers-by, but they didn’t know how to get to the arena I was looking for either. The next thing I know a transvestite hooker came around the corner saying “I can get you where you need to go, baaaa-beeee.”

 

I politely excused myself and went back in the direction I had just come from.

 

After another twenty minutes of wandering aimlessly I actually stumbled across the arena where the concert was taking place. Literally…I stumbled over a curb as I was crossing the street, fell flat on my face and found myself staring at the billboard of the arena. For once I found a use for my stupid Parkinson’s. If I hadn’t lost my balance and fell I would have continued walking in the wrong direction.

 

Aftyer a total of one hour, I finally found my seat and sat down next to my wife – out of breath, dripping with sweat, and covered with scrapes from my fall. I had missed the entire first half of the show where Faith Hill performed. At least I got to see Tim McGraw. Faith Hill joined him at the end for their encore.

  

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Responses

  1. wow. what a weekend experience! i guess the one best thing that mattered was the fact that you two were together:)

    Like


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