Saturday morning, a Pioneer Woman (Ree Drummond) update on Facebook came up, announcing her safe arrival in the Pacific Northwest. A bit of digging on the Internet and I realized it was a totally doable drive to attend her book signing, which I somehow hadn't managed to have heard of until that morning. Dan agreed right away to take me, insisted we take the boys with us and make a night of it, and off we went. (Emily was with her auntie, uncle, and cousins for a movie and sleepover).
We arrived at 5:30pm (a half hour after the book signing started) instead of the two hours early I'D pushed for, but Dan didn't believe me that there would be the crowd that there ended up being, and I figured better there at 5:30pm than not at all! I was assigned a ticket stating I was in the J group, and told there would be an hour and a half to two hour wait. Not bad!
There was a large cafeteria-type area on the same floor as the bookstore on the upper level, and several restaurants, and a stage. Dan decided he didn't want to feed the boys there, so I camped out on the floor (only seating available at that point) and perused my new "The Pioneer Woman Cooks" cookbook while he and the boys drove off to find a McD's or something.
At 6:45pm, a table opened up in the cafeteria area so I rushed toward it at the same time an older couple did. There were three seats at the table, and the three of us agreed to share the table. They were in their mid-70's and very friendly. I got to hear about their grand-daughter, who has had some small parts in TV shows like House, CSI, and a few other shows on channels I don't get. I also got to hear a bit about the woman's experience as a small child in France during the war, and how she and her family were refugees for about 5 years, and her father was a prisoner of war for five years. When they finally reunited, they'd lost everything and traveled to another country where her uncle still owned his house, but it had been vacant for years. She talked about helping her mother restore the house, and about having no running water, etc for a number of years while they built it back up into a home.
At 7:30pm, group E was called (so clearly group J was a LONG way from being called, and that two hour estimate was a bust.) to stand in line to meet PW, and a Big Band started playing on the stage, so conversation got a little tricky, and we mostly sat quietly and listened, and chatted briefly in-between songs.
At 8pm, I texted Dan and told him he should probably just come get me and we should head home and it was clearly going to be extremely late before I got my turn, and we had little boys with us who were going to need to get to bed soon. Dan said the boys were having a BLAST and going strong, and we'd already made the drive and waited 2.5 hours, so it would be silly to give up at that point.
Within a few minutes of that call, the older couple spotted an open table closer to the stage (they were there for the music, not the book signing), and a gal about my age immediately came up and claimed one of the empty chairs at my table. We hit it off and started talking as best as we could over the music. She mentioned that her fiance was babysitting her 2.5 year old daughter, and she felt bad because it was getting way past her daughter's bedtime and she was thinking of giving up and heading home, but her fiance was pushing her not to give up. I laughed and said I'd JUST had a similar conversation with my husband!!
Suddenly I realized that PW's daughter, Alex, was wandering the crowd, and I was debating asking her to sign my cookbook as well (there's a picture of her in it, so why not, right??), but wasn't feeling very brave until another lady near me stopped her and asked, so then I jumped on the bandwagon and asked as well. Alex was a DOLL; totally cute and very sweet. And TALL. Granted, she had on cowboy boots, but still, she was tall, and very slender, with LONG legs. The lucky thing...
Dan and the boys came back to join me around 8:30pm, and group F had recently been called. There was a tiny play area in the cafeteria very near the table I was sitting at, so the boys entertained themselves playing in there. There's a small "bar" type table/chair set up on three sides of the play area, and Alex ended up sitting there, sipping at a lemonaid. Jared came up from inside the play area, and put his arms up on the table, preparing to say something to her (he had ZERO clue who she was, but she was a pretty older girl and YOU KNOW JARED!!), but he accidentally knocked her lemonaid over. Thankfully it didn't get on her. I shoved cash at Dan and insisted he go buy her another one, but she said the drinks were refillable. She was very gracious and full of smiles over the whole thing. Camery, the gal I'd been sitting with, laughed and said my claim to fame would be that my son spilled lemonaid all over PW's daughter. LOL At some point in the evening, Camery and I decided to ask Alex to pose for a picture since she was there and we had time to kill.
The boys played, the adults talked, we bought sodas, blah blah blah, and finally around 10pm, group J was called.
Suddenly, it all seemed VERY exciting and the wait was starting to pay off. Camery and I went and stood in line within the bookstore while Dan stayed in the cafeteria with the boys so they could continue to play in the play area.
The lined EVER SO SLOWLY creeped through the bookstore. When I was 12 people away, Dan and the boys joined me in line. It was pushing 10:50pm at this point, and those little boys of mine were PERFECTLY behaved. They were cooperative, friendly, enthusiastic... They got along perfectly (which is a HUGELY momentous thing compared to the past few weeks, let me tell you!!). I was sooooo very VERY proud of my little gentlemen. Everyone is line was extremely upbeat and energetic, GIDDY, and while the line was slow-moving, we were all having a great time talking to the people in line around us!
At 11pm on the nose (according to my cell phone), it was my turn!!! I had planned to say something along the lines of:
"I'm so glad you decided to add Seattle to your book tour; it means so much to get to meet you. It was reading your blog that inspired me to start my own, and I just love viewing your pictures and reading your stories."
What came out was something more along the lines of mumbled/stuttered:
"I swear I'm not a bad mom, and I don't normally keep my little boys out this late, but we had no idea it would take this long. Oh, but it was worth every minute of the wait!"
Connor kept giving her his infamous SCOWL (and if you know Connor, you know "the look" I'm talking about. For those of you who don't know Connor, that SCOWL is the look he gives ANYONE who dares strike up a conversation with him, especially if it's to ask him a question. If he's the one to strike up the conversation, he'll chat your ear off and entertain the pants off ya!), so she got up close to his face and (here's where things get a little tricky, because I was still scrambling to remember what it was I'd wanted to say to her, trying to remember to enjoy my 30 seconds with her, and so I know for a fact she said SOMETHING to him in a funny voice, and I BELIEVE it was the following, but don't put money on it, okay???) and quoted Joey from Friends, "How YOU doin'?" Nothing from Connor. Pose for the picture, move out of the way for the next person, and it was over. Very whirlwind-ish.
Am I thrilled I got to meet her in the flesh? YES! (and she's every bit as adorable in person as she seems on her blog). Was it totally worth the wait? YES! Had I been told ahead of time I'd have to wait until 11pm to get my book signed, would I have still gone? NOPE. I'm glad I didn't know ahead of time! LOL
The time actually went MUCH more quickly than one would expect, and the boys spent all day Sunday talking about how much fun they had that night. Dan said he enjoyed seeing the boys having fun, and being a part of me getting to meet someone I really looked up to (that's not quite the right wording, but it's hard to explain. Fellow PW fans will know what I mean!!).
And now, for the pictures!
Here are the boys, sipping some lemonaids by the play area (Connor is sitting in the seat Alex was sitting in when Jared knocked over her drink):
Alex being sweet and agreeing to pose for a picture:
Alex's autograph (clearly an old picture of her, right?)
And here are the boys and I, posed with PW!! (Ignore CJ's scowl. I've seen worse, plus, it was 11pm and we'd left the house at 4pm, so I figure he's entitled! LOL):
There was some gal standing around, in charge of taking your picture with your own camera, and I assume she was really ready to be done with the day at this point, and wasn't bothering with any ZOOM functions... Here's a cropped version (below) I did in photoshop. Much better, right? *grin*
I need to get my teeth whitened.
PS I never really saw myself as the sort of person to get star struck, but oh my goodness, I totally was! I'm still feeling the "high" from getting to meet her!!