DAY ONE – LILLEHAMMER, NORWAY – OCTOBER 27TH:
I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. I was so exhausted, I couldn’t remember where the light switches were in this room. When I started back out of the bathroom, I walked FACE FIRST into the ceramic tile wall. I thought I was bleeding, so I found the light switch and checked my head. A big, red, bump had already appeared right above my right eyebrow. Then I thought I had a concussion and was scared to go back to sleep. Got a massive headache from it.
Got up and went to the “state of the art gym” advertised by the hotel. It was anything but State of the Art but fortunately they had free weights so I was able to get a good workout. None of the snow has melted. Was going to get a cup of coffee before working out but the restaurant was packed with “conventioneers”. Went in for breakfast after my workout and found one of Poco’s guys to sit with. Webb Wilder arrived right on time and got them all checked in. I met the buyer for the first time today and really like him. This entire event is VERY well-organized and quality people working on it. I just hate that the buyer had to meet me with a big, red knot on my head. Thanks goodness, it’s not in the center of my forehead. Can you say “Unicorn”?
We went on a little “tour” of the area this afternoon. Saw the ski jumps from the Olympics. My God! There is no way I would ever SLIDE down one of those, much less jump with skis on. The scenery is breathtaking, though. I have never been to Norway in the wintertime that I can remember. We went to the center of Lillehammer and walked around for a few minutes. Actually, I “slid” around. Really need to buy some shoes and warmer clothes. But, they say it’s going to warm up tomorrow.
Last night as I was walking from the airport terminal to the van, I hit a patch of ice. Those skaters in Disney on Ice didn’t have nothin’ on me, Baby. At least I managed to stay upright. My “host” was walking in front of me with my bags and had no idea that I was frantically slipping all over the place and waving my arms and trying every way to stay upright. By the time he got to the van and turned around, I was back in control and I never said a word. LOL
The guys tell me that one of the old houses burned down in town last night and also that there was a fire at the Amsterdam airport. Didn’t hear anything about either of these!
Had dinner with Poco and Webb Wilder and their groups and went down to check out the performance venue. Ticket sales are good and it should be a great show. Came back to my room and I’m just finishing up email at 3 am AGAIN! First show tomorrow with Webb and Poco.
DAY TWO – OCTOBER 28TH:
Up early to work out – cardio INSIDE because there is still too much snow outside. They had a stationary bike that was “okay”. But the fitness room was out of water and the phone didn’t work in there. But I got through it.
Was going to walk downtown but it started misting rain and the streets were already very slick from the snow.l So, just stayed in and worked. Right before time for the first sound check, I got a call that Paul in Poco was very ill. Evidently, he has not been out of his room since they arrived on Wednesday. Other members of the group kept going by his room and knocking on his door. They said he would mumble something or moan and they just thought he had jet lag and was sleeping. They didn’t want to disturb him. When they finally got him to answer today, he said he thought he had food poisoning….been throwing up, etc. They were going to take him to the doctor but then he had trouble breathing. I got the promoter to call an ambulance and they rushed him to the hospital. When they rolled him past me on the stretcher, he was totally GRAY. . They thought it was his heart but found that he had an ulcer. They are keeping him in the hospital because they want to make sure there was no damage to his heart due to loss of oxygen. Not sure when they will let him go home.
Poco performed tonight as a trio and it was fine. I’m sure it would have been a lot more energetic with Paul since he is the lead guitar player and vocalist. But the audience still loved them. Webb Wilder went on after Poco and the crowd really loved him, too. The crowd is very small – couple of hundred people – but the promoter said he expected it the first year. Says they have to “build” a reputation and want to do it again next year. It’s Norway – so of course everyone is REALLY drunk. A man came out of his room on my floor and started talking to me in Norwegian. I moved past him and said I only speak English. He said, “Oh I speak English too” and started following me – only he was bouncing off both walls! I took the stairs and he took one look down them and decided to give up the chase! J
Have to get up early and get Poco off to the airport. They have a show tomorrow night in Amsterdam. Guess they will do that one as a trio, too. Not sure when Paul when be allowed to leave the hospital!
DAY THREE – OCTOBER 29TH
Worked out in hotel fitness room again. STILL no water! Then ate breakfast, showered, and answered email until time to get Dale Watson and his group checked in. They had performed at a club in Holland last night and only slept one hour before they had to fly to Oslo. So, they went straight to bed.
I went shopping with Tina – one of the Norwegian artists who performed last night. They have the GREATEST clothes and stores in Norway. Since all the shopping I did in Korea was for other people, decided to get some clothes that I liked while here. Was going to go over to the hospital to see Paul but the promoter called and the doctors said it would be best to let him rest. But they said that besides the bleeding ulcer, he definitely had a heart attack. They have to run tests on Monday but have said that it will probably be 40 days before he can go back to the U.S.! Certainly hope he has family that can come over and take care of him!
Dale came down for sound check and that went really quick. Had an early dinner since I gave up lunch for shopping. Then Dale performed a fantastic set and signed autographs for everyone afterwards. I really like working with those guys. Webb performed again tonight and had just as big of a crowd as last night. But, he didn’t finish signing autographs until after 1:30 am and we have to leave for the airport at 7 am. But, the good news is, we get to change to daylights savings time and get an extra hour of sleep!
So, going to take a shower and take advantage of that extra hour! Hard to believe I’m finally going home for a few days.
DAY FOUR – OCTOBER 30TH:
There was a European band sitting in the backstage area last night and as I walked by, they all jumped up and asked if they could have a photo taken with me. I didn’t want to mislead them into thinking I was “somebody” so I explained that I was not one of the entertainers. One of the musicians said, “We know. You are most powerful American woman in all of Scandinavia”. Ha. I definitely want a “raise”.
Three hours of sleep….thank goodness for the extra hour from daylights savings time! Everyone was up and ready to go. The van driver had told me last night that he was only going to have a van – no trailer. I told him it wouldn’t work and he insisted that there was LOTS of room in the back and it would be fine. I was the first one out and there was NO room in the back. The seats went all the way to the back and we needed every seat. He was going to try and load all our luggage in the AISLE between the seats, trapping us in our seats and no where to put our legs. Told him this was not acceptable. He left and 15 minutes later returned with a trailer hooked to the van. It’s times like those that I don’t want to be “right”.
Everyone was on time and the 2 hour drive to the airport was painless. When I checked out, the desk clerk said that I had a BIG MESSAGE. Dale Watson had left me a box containing two big bottles of wine from Spain as a “thank you”. What a sweetheart. Of course, I couldn’t have fit a toothpick in my luggage after all the purchases I made yesterday. And I had been congratulating myself on having an “empty” backpack so I could buy Lindsey her Stroopwaffles in Amsterdam and take them back to her. The wine fit in the backpack but it sure was heavy to carry around.
I had booked an around the world ticket for this trip and had to book the Memphis/Nashville portion separately via e-ticket. The ticket agent couldn’t find the booking and was only going to check my luggage to Amsterdam. Not acceptable. She finally called a supervisor and was able to check me through to Nashville. But she couldn’t give me a boarding pass from Memphis to Nashville.
I went to the VAT Cash Refund office to get a refund on the 25% sales tax I paid yesterday. All the stores had told me to keep my receipts and I could get this money back at the airport. When I asked for the forms to fill out, the lady said that the STORE has to give me the forms and she couldn’t help me. Oh well!
When I got on the flight in Oslo, I noticed that my boarding time for the flight from Amsterdam was 12:20 pm for a 2:10 pm flight. Since my Oslo flight wasn’t going to even land until 12:30 pm, I assumed it was a mistake. But when I asked the flight attendant, they said that on October 1st, the new rules stated that passengers going to the U.S. had to begin boarding the flight 2 hours prior to departure because there were a lot of questions to ask. When I landed in Amsterdam and went to check in, I realized WHY it was a 2 hour minimum. The line was all the way down the corridor and it took forever – even for business class – to get through the series of questions. They put a huge group of tourists in the business class line in front of all the business class passengers which didn’t make a lot of sense to me! The man who questioned me seemed interested in why I traveled so much. I gave him all the details and then he did something strange – asked me for a business card! Either he was using that to verify that what I was saying was true OR he is a “wantabe country music singer”!
Ran in to one of Poco’s guys at the airport and he said that Poco’s manager has been in touch with the “Embassy and they are going to help with the medical expenses for Paul, thank goodness.
Flight to Memphis was uneventful except for the flight attendant dropping an entire tray of food right behind me. Landed in Memphis and spent an hour and 45 minutes just trying to get out of Customs. I’ve never seen such a slow process. I thought I would miss my flight because I didn’t have a boarding pass. I had only 20 minutes until the flight departed by the time I reached the gate…only to find there has been a schedule change and it leaves 45 minutes later than I anticipated which is a GOOD thing.
I have an urgent phone message from the buyer in Norway asking me to call him because it does not look good for the member of Poco that is in the hospital. I can’t call now because it’ 2 am in Norway.
Got home around 9 pm and spent the next two hours unpacking. Had another message from the buyer saying, “They almost lost Paul because he was ‘out of blood’ but that he was not stabilized and they are moving him to Norway on Wednesday. Also said that he has been in touch with Paul’s girlfriend and she is on her way over there.