Since I had treated for lunch and dinner yesterday, Susan had insisted on treating me to room service this morning. At 10:30, realizing breakfast room service stopped at 11:00, we called in our order.
When "Dining" answered the phone, the person on the other end said, "Good morning Mr. Wheeler, what can we get you?"
"I'll have a three-cheese omelet please. Yes. Wheat, please. Yes. Thank you. Let me put Mrs. Wheeler on," I cajoled.
I walked over to the bathroom area while Susan gave her order, and then she says to me, as well as into the phone, "Honey, would you like some orange juice?"
Very quickly after that, in fact Susan was still in the shower, the knock at the door came, and a gentleman wheeled in this large table chocked full of food—most of the plates covered with those stainless steel covers one of which inevitably, at least in Monty Python or SNL skits, has someone's head under it when you lift it.
"Sign here, sir?" the server asked, indicating a credit card receipt.
I chicken-scratched "Wheels," which is Susan's husband's nickname.
Susan had many chores to tend to in anticipation of Irene and Katherine's estimated 2:30PM arrival.
She was in touch with the florist, got a delivery she was disappointed with, reordered, and then received what she had actually originally ordered—and they were beautiful. Two arrangements, by the local florist who also provides flowers for the hotel.
Next, she got security to unlock the door leading to the adjoining room, which was to be Irene's and Katherine's room—actually room is not the right word, suite is. I mean the walk-in closet, alone, was three times the size of the bathroom I had in the Radisson on my first night in Dallas. I'm just saying.
After checking out the room, Susan set to setting out four of the very large set of wine glasses she'd bought Irene as a birthday gift, and two of the four bottles of Sonoma-Cutrer, one of which we placed in an ice bucket, after the bucket of ice was delivered to the room by a man in a tux.
Let's see, what else. Oh yes, she called room service and arranged a table for four to include various breads, crackers, cheeses, fruits, and melon to enjoy with the wine once they arrived.
Next, she checked on arrangements to get us to the concert tonight, originally reserved a limo, but later, at my urging, called to cancel it. They wanted $45-an-hour (the venue was 10 minutes away), and I think she'd've had to pay him during the time we were at the concert in order to have him available when it was over, the time of which we couldn't predict.
I thought that was way too much drama, not to even think about the expense, when it could all be mitigated with a 10-minute cab ride there and back for probably $30 or less.
We were waiting to hear from Katherine as to their expected arrival time, and at about 1:30, I think, we received a text message that they had gotten a late start, and were still about 1.5 hours out of Dallas. They were coming from Austin.
This gave Susan a little time to chill. I took a nap on my bed, and she took a couple of cat naps in one of the chairs in "the suite."
When it got close to the time of the new arrival, we were doing some last minute checking of the preparations in the room. Oh yeah, I had brought my Bose SoundDock Digital Music System, and we had Josh Groban music playing in the room, too.
Susan noticed that most of the ice in the bucket chilling the wine had melted, so she called down to have a fresh bucket delivered.
A few minutes later, the guy arrived and was swapping out the ice, and he was taking a little longer than Susan wanted him to. She was standing by him, which was right by the door, and I was back a little toward the desk in the room.
All of a sudden, Susan's phone beeps, and the a text message appears from Katherine, "We're here."
Knowing it would take them just a few minutes to valet the car, and check in, Susan started rushing the man telling him, "Never mind that. Just do this," when all of a sudden the door handle starts turning.
Susan threw her back against the wall, hands spread and palms-down against the wall as if holding it up, and the proverbial deer-in-the-headlights look on her face, sort of behind the ice man, I saw Katherine's face just as the door inched open, and I leaped into the other room through the adjoining door, hiding in the corner. So much for our plan to have been hiding in the walk-in closet when they arrived. When Katherine said, "We're here," she meant it. Here, right outside the door, evidently!
Susan screamed. Irene screamed, and everyone started cracking up taking in what had just happened. I stayed perilously quiet around the corner.
Irene was moved by it all, and as she started to walk around the room to take it all in, Susan stepped back in our room, saw me holed up in the corner, and I shook my head violently back and forth at her. She went back into the other room, and as Irene walked toward the bed, which is also where the big closet was, I slipped out our room door.
I knocked on the door to "the suite," and they of course sent Irene to the door, at which when it opened I yelled, "I want to play, too!"
I hugged Irene's tears, and the wine and cheese fest began.
Just before leaving for the concert, Katherine and I went downstairs to the gift shop where she found out that a regularly $1.99 pair of hose was $8.00. For that price, a guy in a tux ought to deliver it to the room.
We did indeed catch a cab to the American Airlines Center, which indeed cost us right at about $15.00.
We made our way down to our 7th Row Center seats, and because Susan had gotten them on e-Bay, our four seats were separated by four seats. We asked two girls sitting to the left of the two seats Susan and I took if they'd be willing to switch with Irene and Katherine so that we could all sit together.
"No, our seats are dead center," one of them replied.
We gave those two seats to Irene and Katherine, because they were closer to the center, and Susan and I walked around to get to the other two seats we had. Once there, Susan asked the two girls sitting near us there if they would mind moving down to where Irene and Katherine were.
"No, we'd be happy to," they said cheerfully.
Susan leans in front of the girls and says across the other two girls who had refuse to move to help us out, "Irene, these sweet girls said they'd trade with you two."
Angelique Kidjo opened for Josh, and from the beginning of their set the woman behind me talked non-stop. Finally, when Angelique was talking with the crowd between songs, I turned around to the woman and said, "Would you please stop talking so much, or at least talk more quietly?"
"Sure," she said, and, then, not another peep.
We were surrounded by Grobanites, an article about which Katherine had recently read in the context of fanatics.
One of them had this maybe one-foot by one-and-a-half-foot sign that said:
|Seeing Josh Groban in:|
San Antonio $1200
All 3: Priceless
They also had all kinds of pins attached to their blouses, and gadgets and whirligigs, such as hats made out of those glowing tubes in a variety of colors.
The show was just fantastic. Josh's rapport and comfort with the crowd has improved exponentially since I saw him at the RBC Center in February of 2005. At that time, he was just awkward when talking to the crowd between songs. No more.
We were close enough to see his stubble, also quite the change from 2005 when I had to look through binoculars to see that little tuft of chest hair sticking out of the top button of his shirt. I'm just saying.
My favorite song, of course, was You Raise Me Up, which he did as his final encore number, and for which he brought in, at the very end, some black choir members distributed to either side of the stage to enrich the already phenomenal sounds coming out of that beautiful, young boy's mouth.
We were hungry when we got back to the hotel, and walked around behind the hotel to a Sports Bar, which was about the only thing open to grab a bite at 11:00 at night.
It was not the kind of place where one would dance, but Irene and I two-stepped to a couple of songs before our food arrived, and before we got into the "smoking scene" with the guys sitting at the table next to us.
Let's just say that they were not amenable to heeding the "No Smoking" sign in the window, but they eventually left, and bonus, we didn't get lynched by them on the way out.
All in all a wonderful day, and I profoundly thank the Harrison (and Chandler) girls for including me in this event I'll remember for a long, long time. Besides, if I do start forgetting it, it's all here now isn't it?