American Brotherhood Weekend, for me, started on Wednesday July 14, and went through July 19. My puppy heads off to work around 6:30 am on a normal day, so he is up between 4:30 am and 5:00 am. When his alarm went off, I got up with him to spend a little time with him before I headed off for my big adventure. We sat together and had coffee and breakfast and then he headed off to work. About that time, Daddy got up to prepare for his day, and I spent some time with him as well. He doesn't drink coffee, or eat breakfast at home during the work week, so we watched a bit of Good Morning America before he got ready for work. Once my family was on to their day, I turned to the final bit of packing I needed to do, and double checked that I had everything I would need for the next 5 days. Caryl and Bob picked me up right on time, and we were off to the airport. This would be my first time on an airplane since 1998. We arrived at the airport in plenty of time, and were standing in line to check our bags when my phone rang -- it was South West notifying me that our flight was delayed by about 45 minutes. Caryl and I wandered around the airport for a bit, and then caught the first leg of our flight to Las Vegas. It was an uneventful trip, until we were walking up the boarding ramp from the flight and Caryl fell, hurting her knee! We got a wheelchair for her and I pushed her through the airport in a mad dash to catch our connecting flight to Chicago. We made it to the plan with about 15 minutes to spare before they closed the doors. We arrived in Chicago and the first thing we did was smoke. Then we collected our bags and caught a taxi to the hotel. This was a long drive! We flew in to Midway, and had to travel to just north of Chicago. Along the way I started to panic and did several quick checks to see exactly how far the hotel was from the contest site. As it turned out, we were only about 7 driving miles from the contest site, so I was greatly relieved. But there was a momentary panic! We settled in to the hotel, and then walked over to the grocery store, Jewel Osco to do pick up some snacks and something for dinner. We wound up getting a couple of different kinds of salad, some hummus, and pita bread. But there was no coffee pot! Caryl simply can't live without large quantities of coffee! So, we decided to head back out after dinner to find a Walgreens. I did a search on the phone and discovered that the nearest Walgreens was just over a mile away. We headed out for a long walk (forced march). We roamed over hills and over dells and finally arrived ... at an Ethan Allen? Not where we were planning to go. Nope. No Walgreens there! So we started the long walk back (forced march). Along the way, we wandered through an open air mall, just in case the Walgreens was actually in there. We met a woman who told us where the nearest Walgreens was (almost a mile in the opposite direction, past the hotel). We talked for a bit while we were heading towards the Walgreens -- Caryl was definitely putting me on a forced march! We parted company with the woman and headed on our way. About a 1/2 mile later, the woman pulled over in her car to let us know that she had checked at the Walgreens and there was a coffee pot there! WOO HOO! And we walked. And walked. And walked. Finally we saw the beautiful lights of Walgreens, and we entered the cool refreshing air conditioning. We considered never leaving there; but figured that the folks at Walgreens would probably not be terribly happy with us if we did that. We picked up some additional stuff there... The essentials, coffee mugs, the coffee pot, and allergy medicine, tums and the ever present Zantac. We got back to the hotel, and were just unpacking the coffee pot when Adam arrived. We broke out what was left of dinner and talked about our day before getting down to business. We sorted through the cards for the fantasy, and then planned out our Thursday.