Friday, April 18, 2014

Funny Things I Learned At A Weekend Conference

 
    Anyone who knows me well knows I don't fly. Ever. For this reason, I have missed out on some spectacular opportunities due to my debilitating phobia. I'm left to daydream about trips to exotic places from the comfort of my La-Z-Boy chair.
   
     For quite some time, I've been trolling through my friend's vacation photos on Facebook with a twinge of envy. Although I'm not a fan of the airbus from hell, the thought of driving to a destination that takes longer to reach than the hours between lunch and dinner is even less appealing to me. Long road trips bring out the fidgety kid in me who has to pee every ten minutes, eat every five and whines, "Are we there yet?….ARE WE THERE YET???" My family knows if they want a happy passenger riding shotgun in the car, it's not going to be me. They're better off taking the dog.

     When word spread across the internet that there was an Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop taking place at her alma mater in Dayton, Ohio, I wanted to go. Badly. Tickets were selling fast and the list of attendees read like the Who's Who of the blogosphere. I was instantly swept up in the tide of excitement generated by my blogger friends who'd already purchased tickets. Within minutes, I found myself scrolling through the registration form and clicking on the "Pay Now" button. Before I knew it, my reservations for the three day conference and hotel room was confirmed.

     And I had no freaking idea how I was going to get there from Florida.

     My husband generously stepped forward and volunteered to drive me to the conference. Seventeen hours up, seventeen hours back. That's thirty-seven hours of interstate purgatory.

     Somehow we did it, and we survived without throttling one another at the end of the day. It was one of the most rewarding experiences in my life, not just because of everything I learned at the conference but in the friendships that were made.


     Rather than bore anyone with the details of the new writing and publishing techniques I learned, I'm going to share instead some valuable lessons gleaned from roadside observations and my first foray into the conference world.

     During this six day adventure, I learned the following:

* Hair dyed the color of a red velvet cupcake is frowned upon by the A&W lunch crowd in a small town populated by people who are all related to one another.

* There's enough roadkill between Florida and Ohio to feed a family of six for a year.

* Places with names like Big Bone Lick State Park really DO exist.

* Every roadside restroom is NOT created equal.

* Don't get lost in the dark mountains of Kentucky late at night where the only visible light comes from a cell phone. Nothing motivates you to drive faster than a highway dotted with "BEWARE OF FALLING ROCK" signs.

* If you eat more carbohydrates in three days than you consume in one year, don't be surprised if your sphincter muscles go into shock. You might need the jaws of life or a garden hose to get your inner plumbing right.  * I also learned that it IS possible to gain ten pounds over the course of a weekend.* 

* Avoid driving through Atlanta, Georgia during rush hour….unless you enjoy sitting in standstill traffic and watching a guy in the car next to you digging for gold in both of his nostrils.

* It's all fun and games staying up late in the hotel bar with the other conference attendees until you see your reflection in the mirror at 6:00a.m.  By the look of everyone else, I wasn't the only one sporting puffy under eye baggage. I haven't seen that much luggage since the great carousel jam-up at the airport in 1989.

* Invest in satellite radio for long road trips, otherwise you'll be subjected to Mexican opera and hours of country music that will cause a permanent twang in your voice.

* At the convention dinner, if you decide to skip the fish dinner in favor of a meatless meal, you might end up with something resembling cat yak.

* You'll laugh so much that all those Kegel exercises you did twenty years ago will be put to the test.  

    The Erma Bombeck conference will return to Dayton in 2016, and I already have my packing list ready of the next trip. This includes an extra supply of fiber pills, a flashlight and a fold-up Port-a-potty. I also have my list of expenses prepared:

Gas…….$500
Hotel…….$450
Workshop……$400
New friends made at the conference…..PRICELESS!

   



**** Menopausal Mother has been all over the internet this week! I am very excited to be featured on BlogHer ! You can read that post here: http://www.blogher.com/8-people-i-love-hate-gym
I was also featured on Midlife Boulevard this week, which you can read here: http://midlifeboulevard.com/born-to-be-menopausal
My next surprise is that Menopausal Mother has a POEM featured this week which you can read here: http://welltemperedbards.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/guest-bard-shape-of-july.html     
And HEY!!! Check this one out: I'm the spotlighted contributor today over at" What The Flicka? "How cool is that? Want to read my funny interview where I reveal one of the most embarrassing moments of my life? Find it here:http://whattheflicka.com/flicka-marcia-kester-doyle/


57 comments:

  1. Great to meet you and the mister. You guys are great and I insist you do humor videos together. I said HUMOR videos.

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    1. LOL! Hubs actually used to do funny videos for the kids' elementary school for fund raisers. He wore weird costumes and spoke in this crazy accent---the kids loved it. I freeze up in front of a camera but he's a real ham!

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  2. Wow that's a marathon of a drive Marcia - so pleased to hear it was all worth it. And how about a post to share some of your new-found wisdom with mere mortals like me?
    Take care.

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    1. I LOVE your writing and you know it-----but I would be happy to help you in any way I can! You have always been so kind and supportive of MM----I really appreciate that!

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  3. I swear, it felt like a dream meeting you and your hubs. For so long, I'd talked about being adopted into your family and then BAM......there you guys are! So glad you had fun and got the experience you had.

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    1. I had a great experience but even better was getting to meet you! Hubs and I both adore you and will always be indebted to you for getting us safely out of those dark Kentucky mountains!

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  4. It sounds like you had a fabulous time! It's so neat that your husband drove you up and back. He's definitely a keeper!

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    1. And a very patient man because I'm not kidding when I say I don't do well on road trips!

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  5. Love these! And so happy you made it there! You were meant to be among this crowd. :)

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    1. Thank you, Crystal! It was so awesome meeting so many talented ladies. Hopefully I'll get to see you there in 2016. Wouldn't we have a blast???

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  6. Fitting to have a funny experience or 10 at this conference!

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    1. I was surrounded by comedic women--the humor embraced us. It really was an incredible experience and I wll return in 2016!

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  7. After all the great things I've read about this and now your hilarious post, I'm determined to go in 2016. Somehow. I hate flying as well so this could be verrrrryyy tricky considering Vegas to Ohio is a three day drive. I love long road trips so that wouldn't bother me. It's the cost that's making me twitch.

    Glad you had so much fun despite unsavory bathrooms and gaining 10 pounds. Could be worse. At least you didn't poop your pants! Haha.

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    1. LOL I had the opposite---I ate so much junk I got backed up and gassy. Didn't want to be known as the stinky girl at the conference, so it took a lot of effort to hold all those farts in….I felt like a helium balloon ready to burst, bahahaha!!!

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    2. Knowing me I'd find a corner and fart freely. No way in hell am I holding that back! My stomach would be in so much pain if I did and I'd be an incredibly unpleasant person to be around.

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    3. It hurt, let me tell you! A few times I had to go up to my hotel room, hahaha. And I can't believe I'm admitting to all of this on my blog----my kids are gonna hate me, LOL!

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  8. I so wish I could have been there with all of you wonderful women! Your husband is a real mensch for driving you there and back.

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    1. I'm dying to meet you, Sharon! Hopefully at ERMA in 2016?

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  9. I'm glad you had such a great time and kudos to your husband for the driving that made this possible.

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    1. Absolutely! Couldn't have done it without him!

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  10. We're opposites, you refuse to fly anywhere, I refuse to drive anywhere (far).
    Now I don't know if I could come up with as many funny plane trip experiences as you can car trip experiences, but it's a challenge I'd be willing to take.
    Either way, sounds like it was well worth your time.

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    1. I'm betting you have some funny airplane stories you can share---and I'd love to read them---from the safety of my La-Z-Boy chair.

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  11. Oh this is awesome Marcia, I am so glad you were able to attend :)

    Thank you so much for you sweet words and for listening to me ramble the other day... I really appreciated it :)

    Have a lovely Easter :)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Launna! I hope you have a lovely Easter,too!

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  12. I want to go to Big Bone Lick Park! LOL! And did you stop and potty at one of the stops where they put the key to the bathroom on a hubcap so you don't run off with it? Those are my favorite, and yes they really do exist! I'm shocked we don't have more of them here in redneck country! I'm so glad it was a good time for you, and I am currently discussing the 2016 conference with Evil Genius. :-D

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    1. I want you to go so bad to ERMA 2016 I just might be willing to rob a bank and hijack you!

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  13. Entertaining and excellent written blog by Marcia on "You like Funny Things I Learned At A Weekend".

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  14. I'd say your husband earned a year's worth of spousal points. Not sure how he'd redeem them, but that could make a good post too!

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    1. I'm betting he can think of a great way to redeem them….hahaha!

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  15. Oh how great it is that you managed to go to the event and enjoyed it, I don't mind car trips and I love to fly, which some people find odd as I am scared of opened heights but when flying I am not in the open I am enclosed and feel safe

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    1. I wish I was as brave as you are! My husband also has a fear of heights and is claustrophobic, so neither one of us can fly. What a fine pair we are, huh?

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  16. This was too funny! Glad you survived and had so much fun. You sure are one BUSY menopausal mama! :)

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    1. Thanks! I have to keep busy, otherwise I'd go even crazier than I already am!

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  17. Hurrah that you got to go!! That's a nice hubby you've got there, and I'm glad you had a good time. :)

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    1. We had a blast and we are both ready to do it all over again in 2016 when it returns! :-)

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  18. Oh MAN I'm bummed I didn't go now! I'd have loved to have met you and the rest of these awesome funny writers. I love your observations and yikes about the falling rocks signs in the dark! And those people who didn't love your hair? Crazy. Also, your husband ROCKS for driving you there and back. How fun!

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    1. Kristi, please promise you will go in 2016! I am DYING to meet you and give you a big hug! Start saving money for it now---it will be a trip you will never forget!!!!

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  19. Thirt seven hours of driving? Holy highway woman that is nuts! You really need to start flying. I do it a lot for biz and it's so much easier than driving. When you are in the plane you don't realize how high you are - just close your window!

    Sounds like you had a fun event though!

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  20. Know you were really looking forward to it and I am so glad you were able to and have a blast as well. :-) Slu

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  21. I'm planning on being there in 2016! And thanks for the breakdown. I'll need to save up!

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    1. I really hope you can make it because I am dying to meet you, Theresa!!!

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  22. I'm so glad you went, Marcia! It was a blast hanging out with you and Mac. We survived the cat yak together - hallelujah! Can't wait for 2016! Bone Lick State Park? OY! That's about as bad as Big Beaver, PA.

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    1. HAHAHA!!! I missed THAT one on the road map! LOVED meeting you and spending time with you, Linda.

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  23. OMG! First . . . LOVE LOVE LOVE the hair. I can definitely envision the stares you must have gotten, having been born and raised in Any Small Town, Indiana. Second . . . all roadside restrooms are not created equal . . . advice--stick with McDonald's, Pilot, Walmart, and Target--you'll usually get a decent pot to piss in (I road trip a lot). So glad you had fun.

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    1. I'm definitely going to take your bathroom advice on my next road trip. But sometimes when you're stuck in nowheresville, it's either the woods or a gross gas station. Next time I'm going into the woods….

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  24. Just catching up on my blog reading! Loved this. As always, you hit it out of the park! So great to meet you. And I'm excited to guest blog for you in May!

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    1. I LOVED meeting you, Parri! You were so sweet and funny! Can't wait to feature you here next month!

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  25. Just passing by. Found you via NY Guy! All I can say is well done you. 'Looks like you had a whale of a time and I've very much enjoyed reading about it. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I love Phil over at NY Guy! So happy you decided to stop by and say hello. Welcome!

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  26. Marcia, I kept reading about this conference everywhere, too. It looks like you had an amazing time! Bravo to your hubby for driving you all that way - mine would've slipped me a xanax and asked the flight attendant to keep a close eye on me.

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    1. OMG too funny! Don't tell my husband this though, okay? Wouldn't want to give him any ideas!

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  27. OMG you look like you had a lot of fun! And *I* love your hair, even if those hicks in East Bumf**k didn't...these are probably the same sort of people who go apes**t at the notion of Adam and Bruce getting married even though no one's forcing THEM to marry a dude (or dye their hair red velvet :) Man oh man do you bloggers like to party :)

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    1. Oh yes! This is why I need to meet you at one of these things!

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