My husband loves our summer camping vacation in the mountains. He starts talking about the next one about a week after we get home from the last. He studies the calendar, calculates his work schedule, pesters me about what dates I absolutely positively have to attend to county or accounting business, and hops on the internet the instant one can book a campsite at our favorite national forest campground. Thus, this vacation has been planned since last July and the dates have been set since December.
Imagine my dismay when I got an email in early May that I had qualified for [another] Jeopardy audition — to be held in New York City on June 28, smack in the middle of our vacation. I had taken the online test back in early March; when I hadn't heard anything from them after a month I figured I had not done well enough to qualify.
[Background] This is the fourth time I have qualified to do the audition. 1999, 2005, 2008, 2011. I blogged about the last one with lots of photos. This one was very similar. [/background]
Consternation quickly gave way to plotting and studying airline schedules. I could fly from Cheyenne, WY through Denver to La Guardia for 30,000 air miles (I had accumulated over 40,000 on my Visa card) and #1 Son said that I could stay with him for the two nights I would be there. A quick, cheap trip; a visit with Andrew; and a good story FTW!
The flight from Cheyenne to Denver was in a 19-passenger puddle-jumper.
There was one bit of the 20-minute flight that was so bumpy that a ball of yarn jumped out of my knitting bag and rolled all the way to the other end of the plane. Happily, I am not a nervous flyer so I just sighed and had the flight attendent/copilot — small crew! — retrieve it for me when we landed.
The flight from Denver to New York was on Griz's plane.
We had to get up at 4:45 a.m. to start the drive from the Big Horns, in north central WY, to Cheyenne, in southeastern WY. I got to La Guardia at about 10 p.m. — the time change accounts for two of those hours.
Next came a bus ride to Grand Central Station in Manhattan and a subway ride to the Upper East Side and a three-block walk to #1's dorm, but my back protested strongly after about half a block of that short walk. I called and asked him to come carry my [very small] suitcase and tote bag for me. I was waiting for him, sitting in the median in the middle of Park Avenue at 96th Street. For him, no problem at age 26; for me, no way at age 60+.
The audition was at a Sheraton hotel in mid-town the next afternoon. The group was small, only 23 of us.
The auditioners arrived. We waited.
Killing time while waiting is always such a problem for me.
The audition crew never tells the auditioners how we did on the 50-question test or if our interview and mock-game-playing skills were impressive enough to land us a spot on the show. There were 100,000 people who took the online test back in March; 2,000 were invited to audition; there will be roughly 400 spots available on the show over the 18-month period in which we are all eligible.
Time to wait for that phone call/email/letter. Keep your fingers crossed for me, m'kay?
* * * * *
That evening #1 and I went out for dinner at DBGB, a restaurant that was recommended to him by a friend in training to be a chef. If you go to the linked site, watch the slide show. We were seated just past the pillar in the center of the restaurant, and my view was of the wall with lots of cubbies and an assortment of copper cooking implements.
We had steak tartare with quail's egg (raw), grilled chibatta, cornichons, and some bitter greens to start. Andrew had never had steak tartare so wanted to try it; I am a big fan of extremely rare beef so it was a go. My entree was the chop salad with lobster, his was a burger with barbecue pulled pork and jalapeño mayonnaise. We drank beers we had never heard of before and I had an excellent glass of pinot gris.
No photos of the food; I felt enough like a country mouse without pulling out my camera to photograph a raw quail's egg atop a neatly shaped patty of raw beefsteak.
The only fly in the ointment was that I had lost my wallet the first night we had left Wisconsin; I was able to locate it by phone at an Applebee's in Forest Lake, MN and they mailed it to me in Buffalo, WY — complete with all the cash and credit cards!* — but I had already cancelled my Visa card before I thought to call the Applebee's. So there I was in NYC, without a credit card and relying only on the cash that Smokey had given me.
The tab in at DBGB took almost all the cash I had, but I eventually made it back to Cheyenne with five dollars in my [new] wallet.
And that is how I made a side trip to NYC whilst camping in the mountains.
* I was so impressed with the honesty of the young man whom I dealt with that I sent him part of that cash as a reward. Sometimes I get lucky, even when I don't really deserve it.