Goin’ to Kansas City

When I read on her blog that Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (the Yarn Harlot)) was going to be in Kansas City, MO on October 13, I opened my calendar to see if there was any way I could attend her book signing.   I had been wanting to go away for a few days and just hadn’t found a destination.  Now I had a destination.  I was free for two days so I set about making arrangements to go.

I didn’t get as early a start as I wanted on Monday on my trip to Kansas City.  I drove at my sedate 55 mph speed amid what seemed to be hundred of big trucks as I made my way across the state on I-70.  I had planned that the trip would take about four hours.  It took six.  I decided that was because I stopped at every rest stop along the way in addition to stopping to buy coffee in Wentzville and for lunch in Columbia.  It was about Wentzville when the rain started.  The rest of the trip was driven in the rain.   About 40 miles or so from Kansas City, the audio book I was listening to was complete so I switched on the radio.  I picked up a Kansas City station in time to hear the weather forecast — it was going to be in the 40s that evening.  I, of course, had neglected to take a sweater or jacket with me.  So I stopped at an outlet mall in Odessa and bought a jacket.  With all these stops, the trip took half again as long as I had planned.

I managed to find my hotel without any problems and got checked in.  The man at the front desk gave me good directions to a nearby area where I’d find restaurants.  He didn’t mention all the shops that were also there but I was more interested in dinner.  After my meal, I headed across the city to the book signing which was held at the Unity Temple.  I had gotten a map from Mapquest and although I think I missed a street or two — it was hard to read street signs in the dark and rain — I found the Temple without a problem.  I parked in the garage under it and made my way to the building.  I picked up my book and ticket in the lobby. 

Once inside the auditorium, I found a seat.  This was a big church with a balcony on three sides.  It had theatre style seating and by the time the program started, there were lots of people in those seats.  The sponsoring bookstore’s owner came out and told us about some upcoming programs they were sponsoring.  That bookstore brings in lots of authors!  Then she introduced Stephanie.

Stephanie was just as you would think she’d be if you read her blog.  She was entertaining, endearing and came across as someone you’ve known for a long time.  After talking for a while, she read a selection from her new book.  This was followed by a brief Q&A session.  Then we were instructed on how the book signing would be done.  There was a number on our tickets and we were called to get in line in groups of 50.  A bookstore employee printed our name on a post-it which was stuck to the flap of the book cover.  We were to hold the book open to the title page and walk across the stage to where Stephanie sat at a table signing the books.

Of course, this line didn’t move too quickly because lots of people  had brought cameras (not me, I didn’t even think of that) and wanted their picture taken with Stephanie.  The two women in front of me in line had knitted fake breasts.  I’m not sure what that was all about but maybe it ties in with October being breast cancer awareness month.  At any rate, one of them had two big pink ones.  She had her picture taken with Stephanie with each of them holding one.  The woman immediately in front of me had knitted a fake breast in a black with glittery bits yarn.  I said that must be the formal one.  Finally, I was at the table, got my book signed, exchanged a few remarks with Stephanie and then it was over.

In the lobby I asked a woman if she knew where a yarn shop was on that street.  I had found one listed on a yarn company’s website.  She did know and directed me there.  She said the shop was staying open late that night and was going to have a party.  I managed to find the shop but I did not find a party.  I did find some yarn I wanted to buy as a souvenir of my trip and three very nice women. 

Once my purchase was made I attempted to find my way back to the highway so I could get back to my hotel which was probably 20 miles away, out near the airport.  I couldn’t just reverse the directions on my map because of one-way streets.  I started across town on a street fully expecting to find signs directing me to a highway.  Finally, I went in a filling station and asked directions.  The man there told me to go a few blocks more and I would find the highway entrance.  I did and did find the highway.  I had not driven very far on it when I ended up in a humongous traffic jam — at 9:30 p.m.!  There were big highway signs directing all the trucks to be in one lane and cars in the other.  We sat … and inched … and sat … and inched our way.  I do not like to sit on a bridge over a major river (the Missouri River) that is vibrating.  Finally, we were off the bridge.  But we were not out of the traffic jam for several more miles.  At the end, I saw a car which had crashed and caused the jam.  Did I mention it was raining … and this was in a construction zone?  Once past all that, I made it to my hotel and called it a night.  It had been a full day.

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