June 12, 2011

Artspolsure + Home Tour



I have a compulsion of entering any and all contests to win free stuff. Normally, I don't win. Today, however, was my big day of wins! (and one huge disruption)
It all started thursday when I entered a contest to win two free tickets to the Downtown Raleigh Home Tour. It was either me or 6 other people that could possibly win, so the odds were in my favor. I found out yesterday that I won the tickets and was SO excited. I picked those up and made plans with my sister for Saturday. 
We started with the Home Tour. It focused on downtown condos and nearby remodeled historic homes. Since they were not quite all walkable, we were told to take the *free* R-Line, that circles downtown Raleigh all day, and get off where we needed to see some of the other locations.
The first condo was absolutely incredible. The views were amazing. There was so much detail and thought put into the design. And the closets! They were HUGE!!
Next we had to get on the R-line and take that about 10 blocks north to see some of the historic homes and townhomes. By this time we had met up with Kelly, a single girl on the tour that decided to tag along with us. And we found the TownHouse with The Huge Pantry. We wander through a charming little home with a black cat and drool at the deck and backyard. It was a cute little home.
We walk back to the pick up area to catch the R-line to take us about 15 blocks west. We were told that usually the wait time is about 10-13 mins.
10 minutes pass.
12 minutes pass.
18 minutes pass.
We're running out of things to talk to our new stranger/friend Kelly about.
22 minutes pass.
The kids nearby are getting restless and the elderly women are looking pale in the face. (Oh, it was about 85 degrees and sunny)
25 minutes.
29 minutes.
At this point, we are at the breaking point. We've been left for dead by the R-line. There are condos to be seen, but no. We are just the fools waiting at Stop R4, just hoping at some point we will see a bus come up the road.
Then a glimmer of hope arrives. We see a man driving a golf cart, as if it were a regular car--meaning, in traffic--approach the intersection near us. We jokingly wave at him to try to get him to come over and save us from our misery. To our delight, he changes lanes and heads our way! We jump up, rub our eyes and wave our hands in the air! FINALLY! He pulls up and we 3 gals hop on the golf cart. There is room for 2 more (ya know, maybe the elderly or the children) on the back but he takes off, meanwhile yelling "I'll drop them off and come back for ya'll!" to the poor souls left behind. The freedom and joy from being rescued masks any twinge of guilt that I would have felt due to the fact I left elderly people and children in the dust (literally, I think I saw a tumbleweed blow past them). Then Golf Cart Guy turns to us and says, "There's no way I'm going back for them." We laugh, an evil laugh, just absolutely drunk on freedom. We escaped death, after all.
Golf Cart Guy drops us at our next location and we thank him profusely. He completely turned our day around. We enjoy a few more condo tours and strategically plan out where to pick up the next R-line. Yes, I know, we were giving it another chance. By this time we had downloaded an R-line map that showed us exactly where the bus's were at all times. So R-7 was where we were going to pick up the R-line to take us back to our car.
We exit the building, right around R-5. We've got 2 stops to walk and then we'll wait maybe a minute or so for the bus. So we walk, occasionally checking over our shoulder to make sure the bus isn't in sight yet. Suddenly, it was barreling through traffic coming right towards us! We were 1 block from R-7 and it was gaining speed FAST. So I take off. Full on SPRINT. Left Kelly and Lauren in the dust, like those poor souls still waiting at the death trap stop. 
At this point, the bus is driving alongside me as I sprint to the R-7 sign. "FAAAAASTTTER!!!!" I yell to myself, and my slow friends behind. I finally make it to the stop, without falling which was a miracle, and the bus opens it's doors for me. The tall man in sunglasses, who looks like he's been driving a bus for 30+ years, smiles at me. I say, "I didn't know if we were going to make it!" He says, "Oh I woulda stopped for ya. I saw ya'll runnin' ". I laugh, and turn to sit and take a breather on the seat. Meanwhile everyone else on the bus had also watch me run by, so they were all laughing at me. I could do nothing else but laugh with them. I was very aware at the desperation being portrayed to catch a simple bus. 
This bus takes us to within about 3 blocks of our final destination so we get out at walk the rest of the way. We tell Kelly farewell at the corner. If nothing else good came of today, at least we gave Kelly a good story to tell her friends.
Lauren and I wander around Artsplosure, a local craft fair and art showcase, and find a pizza tent. Exhausted and starving, we ask how much a slice is only to realize they are the promo tent and not the actual pizza place. BUT, they had a wheel you can spin to try to win a free slice, or EVEN a free pizza! I take a spin and win a FREE PIZZA on my first spin! A much needed delight to end a long day of events! 

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