The week seemed to be much longer than usual. We were exceptionally busy, so it was not a if there was a lull in things to keep me occupied.
I had received an email giving me instructions to download my South by South West guest pass, and another email inviting me to the annual 'networking' lunch, which was t a different venue to that of past years.
Feeling as if I had 'arrived', as I did not have to hunt for the guest pass, I filled in the 'RSVP' for Samantha and Edward to join me at Fogo De Chao., the Brazilian Steakhouse, downtown. The response was immediate, and we were all on 'tbe list'.
I went to join Joe for coffee on Wednesday, and then went to the radio station to collect four tickets to a live performance of the television show, Sesame Street. I had collected four from a different station on Friday, and was going to give them to Jerry, who was going to take all his grandchildren to the show! "Sign this", the young woman asked. It was to say that I would not enter another competition for thirty days. "Thirty days?", I said, obviously with a sound of despair. Smiling, she told me that it was only for the one station and that I could still enter for the others in their 'family' of several dial changes! Dana had, as I was later to the office than usual, hoped that it was 'nail week', as he was not as enamored with my latest design as was I! He did not say that he did not like the deep blue and orange colouring, (inspiration from a vase, would you believe,) but suggested they were his least favourite!
Not sure as to whether the bar code, that had been 'transported' to my phone, was actually my SXSW guest pass, and being unable to receive confirmation from my daughter, (who insisted that she was not part of the promotion team,) I emailed the promoters. "I cannot link my pass to anything", I wrote. I received a response, which said I was in a queue for responses. I then received another email to say that unless I purchased a ticket, I could not 'link' anything. My guest pass did not have a 'link' option. Still unsure, I emailed again. "But is the bar code my guest pass?" I pleaded. Although I could almost hear a sigh and a few choice words, a polite "Yes. It is!" was received instead! When I told Samantha that I had the confirmation I needed, she asked, "Did you drive them mad, again!"
Friday night finally arrived, and we left the office to go home, at a reasonable hour. Apparently, 'downtown' was preparing for the annual music festival and roads had been closed prior to the impending crowds.
Saturday morning started early, and I was ready to leave the house by ten, with all chores having been completed. Dana had been to the office, and arrived home shortly after Samantha and Edward drove up. Umbrella in hand, I got into the car, and we battled the increasing traffic. I was not sure whether I would need the umbrella, and started to regret carrying the larger of my choices as we jumped out of the car and made our way to the Convention Center.
We signed up at the 'instant win' stand, and wondered whether we should join the queue to see if we were going to get one of the fabulous prizes that were being given away at random times. As I finished putting in my details, which was rather unintrusive, the sirens sounded and the shutters started to rise. The recipient of the prize was delighted, and everyone else in the queue decided to leave. Obviously, there was not going to be another 'instant' winner, instantly! I took my necklace for a future draw. "Love those nails", said the lady at the stand. "Thank you. I shall tell my husband", I replied.
Choosing not to be the only three people in a queue that would yield no benefit, we walked around the corner and found the Job Fair. This was our ultimate target. Each year we find new companies vying for future employees, and this year there seemed a complete overhaul. Most of the companies that have been a 'constant' in previous years, were no where to be seen. However, we walked up and down the various aisles to see what was on offer. Personally, I was not looking for a job, although if something spectacular is offered to me, where I can manage to keep myself in the manner to which I am accustomed, and it does not mean relocating to Nebraska, or Georgia (although the latter, if in the far north, or far south part of the state would be a little bit appealing) then I might consider the opportunity. My son-in-law, however, despite being quite content with his current employment circumstances, is always open to suggestion. "I am with him", I said when I was looked upon with eyes of uncertainty, and the question, "What are you looking for?" The young males nodded, and moved on. The younger females nodded, and then gasped, "Love the nails". I thanked them and said I would tell my husband!
Just after eleven, we chose to leave the Job Fair and went to partake of the lunch to which we had been invited. Unsure of what to expect, we went into the reception area. I gave my name, which was found instantly on the computer. "Welcome, Tracie. Wow, love the nails!" was the response from the hostess. "Thank you, and thank you. I shall be sure to tell my husband", I said, as I wrote my name on a sticker, and placed it on the pocket of my jacket. We walked up to the 'rooftop' of the very plush, and very expensive restaurant. I was somewhat disappointed, as the 'brunch' was not skewers of different cuts of beef, but four large dishes of sausages and bacon. There was, however, a smorgasbord of fruit, cheese, cakes and croissants. It would suffice. In fact, my disappointment waned, when I saw the size of the strawberries and blackberries. More exotic fruit was on the table, and it was all rather delicious. However, I told Samantha that if asked, I would suggest they go back to the original venue, as although it was not as posh, the canapes and finger food was much more filling! We did enjoy an alcoholic beverage, which was complimentary. One between two was quite enough! I exchanged my ticket for a blood orange juice with Prosecco and a sprig of thyme! "Great nails", said the girl behind the bar. "Thank you. I shall be sure to tell my husband", I replied, and then followed up as to why I would tell my husband, when the look of confusion crossed her face. After about forty five minute we left, and headed back to the Job Fair.
"Are you looking for a job, or just wanting swag?" asked the kindly lady at the insurance desk. "Swag", I replied, honestly. "Help yourself", she said, and so I did! "Cool nails", said the lady who had so graciously allowed me to fill a bag with goodies. "Thank you", I said, but chose not to add the part about telling my husband. As usual, I got into many conversations about what I did now in the employment arena, my previous jobs, whether or not I could fit any of their criteria, and then I was handed a bag of pens, ear buds, sweets and other items that would ultimately be of use to someone at sometime during the future.
We spun the wheel to win prizes from Proctor and Gamble, and I managed to 'score' a bottle of shampoo. "Hope I get the mayonnaise", said my daughter. Samantha's spin landed on some cotton buds. "Give her the mayonnaise", said the young girl who was giving away the prizes. "She wanted the mayonnaise. Wow! Love those nails!". Both of us thanked her profusely"
Many bags later, and following several compliments on my nails, we left again. We crossed the road to what looked like an 'event'. "Do you have a badge?", we were asked. "Only a guest pass", we replied. "No matter. Do you have a business card?", we were asked. Samantha and Edward replied in the negative. "No matter!" She looked at me. "Do you?" I did have a business card, which I gave to her in exchange for a ticket for a drink. "Nice nails!" I smiled! We walked into the building and were ushered around by the crowd to the back, where there was a smorgasbord of sandwiches, pizza, tacos, salad and fruit. Edward was quite happy to munch on a plateful, and Samantha and I gave our shoulders a rest from the heavy bags that had been carried from the Convention Center.
An older couple were sitting eating lunch at a table, and talking to a young lady who was explaining what it was that she did. I sat down, as it was the only seat available, and was introduced to the marketing aspects of the young ladies business. "Where are you from?" she asked me, noticing an accent. "I live in Austin", I replied. It appears that the older couple were also from Austin, and like us, chose to partake of the 'guest' part of the festival. "But you are not originally from here, are you?" came the almost unsure question. I told her that I was from England. "Love the nails", she responded!
Once Edward had finished his second lunch, we ventured out into the rain. It was pouring! We had been given some umbrellas, but I was rather glad that I had brought my own, the larger version of my collection, as it covered me, and my nails, completely.
We made our way back to the Convention Center, for a third time, and to see if we could win a prize from the 'insurance' stand. The queue was fairly long, and when we got to the front, we were quite confident. "Bummer" came up on the screen. I 'whooped' with delight, which made the young man who was manning the stand laugh. Samantha did the same, and he giggled. By the time Edward came on the scene, we were in full swing. "Edward, Edward, Edward", we chanted, but to no avail. We did not win, this time!
Sixth Street was surprisingly void of people, and vendors. The rain, presumably, was the reason as to why there were less people, although it does not usually stop the momentum. I did wonder if perhaps it had spread more towards First and Second Street, but we did not venture too far that way to find out.
I called Dana shortly before two, and asked him to come and collect us.
After waiting under the cover of an office building, we saw his car pull around the corner. After jumping into the car, and being greeted by the dog, in the only way the dog knows how, I relaxed into the seat and realised quite how wet my clothes really were. "Did you have fun?" asked my husband, who really wanted to know if Fogo De Chao had provided a traditional Brazilian lunch, or something less grand. "Oh yes", I replied, "And everyone loved my nails!" I then told him about lunch, and the subsequent food hall that we had found. "Really!" he said, somewhat disappointed that we were not treated to a fine repast at the Brazilian restaurant, but more disappointed at the response of his fellow man (or woman) at their lack of conformity, regarding the nails!
Following a cup of tea, and changing out of my rain drenched clothes, I sat and feasted on all my 'swag'. I did good! I had teddies for the boys (yes, I now have two grandsons!), multi-cords for Richard, popcorn for Dana, and various other items for those in need, when they are in need. We had jumped in the air for pictures, and had fun with a virtual reality headset, which took us to San Francisco!
The festival will continue during the week, and I hope to attend some downtown events. My guest pass is safely in my phone. I know it is my guest pass, because I had confirmation from the man, whom I 'drove mad'! Together with my nails, my guest pass and I will find out in what we can participate, and perhaps next weekend manage to get the 'left overs' that vendors do not want to take home. Wednesday, my nails will undergo an overhaul, and whether they are loved as much as those that are my husband's 'least' favourite, will be ............. another story!