Saturday, May 12, 2007

Convictions, Grisham and Flooding

I had counted on this week being crazy, exhausting and a little fun, but I didn't count on a sick kid or water in our basement. It was quite the week. The definite high was participating in an event that was an overwhelming success and then knowing it was over. The low was waking up Monday morning, finding ourselves ready at 6:45 am for our Parents as Teacher meeting at 7 am, only to walk downstairs and find water in our basement. The surprises continued when Ella woke up with a 100 degree temp. She had been running a temp on Sunday and was quite clingy to mom. I could have taken her to daycare, but I felt she deserved a little extra TLC, which she got from dad and grandma.

I finally headed into work around 11:30. This wasn't a week that I could miss any work. Best-selling author John Grisham came to town for a benefit for the Midwestern Innocence Project. I helped with the PR for the event and the press avail that happened before the big dinner that featured Grisham as the speaker. It was quite the experience. From a PR perspective, we had a decent amount of press -- KMBZ, Fox 4, KMBC and the Star featured the event either before and/or after. The day after the event, the Star ran a picture of Grisham above the fold and then did a larger article on B2. That was a big win.

As for the actual event, it was a powerful evening. Prior to Grisham speaking about his experience writing the book, The Innocent Man, Dennis Fritz, one of the men featured in the book and a KC native, told his story -- as an individual serving a life sentence for a crime he didn't commit. He was behind bars for 12 years before he was finally freed. It was so quiet in the hall when Grisham and Fritz were on the stage. All normal background noises were completely absent, no side conversations, no coughing, no one left their chair to use the restroom. Their stories consumed me.

As for my evening, I was fortunate enough to get Grisham to autograph my book as well as a photo from the press avail. I also got a a picture with him. I'll post that once I have it. As my co-worker said, I look like I have a coat hanger jammed in my mouth. I found Grisham to be so down to earth and such a southern gentleman. After the press avail, Grisham and a small handful of MIP board members had a few drinks at the bar while the VIP room was being set up. I stopped by the bar a few times to check in with others in the bar. I never approached Grisham's table. Only later did I learn, the Stinson attorney I worked with on this event attempted to motion me to join them multiple times. I would have thoroughly enjoyed that conversation, but I actually was quite busy with last minute details. As much as I appreciated the experience, I was euphoric on Friday knowing the event was over and how successful it had been. As one social lady said on her way out the door, "I attend so many of these things that I hardly make it to the end of any event, but I was riveted."

I hope to resume my normal schedule now that the event is history. Work will continue to be busy until I catch up on all the work I pushed aside for this event. I am looking forward to celebrating Mother's Day and Mike's birthday tomorrow. Outside of witnessing Luke getting baptized, we don't have too many concrete plans.

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