Driving down to New Orleans

When my Cards made it to the Final Four in New Orleans, I joked with my husband about going down for the game. The following evening, after Kentucky earned its own ticket, the joke turned into something real. University of Louisville versus University of Kentucky? With the winner going to the national championship? That’s a no brainer. So I e-mailed my dad and sister, both Louisville alums, and discovered I could have a hotel room floor and a driving partner if I wanted. I WANTED. I quickly called Doo, in Alabama on business, to inform him of my plans. He whined at being excluded (even though he’s an Indiana University fan) and spread the guilt on thick enough to smother any simple plan of getting to the game.

Luckily, I am the Queen of Logistics Miracles and quickly set to work to devise a way for us both to go. Despite single parenting, working full time and driving to/attending an inordinate amount of practices and concerts, within three days, I’d located a sitter (a long-lost cousin who happened to have nothing going on that weekend), organized a place to stay (a different cousin’s boyfriend’s parents’ house) and painted “Final Four, Baby!” and “Cardi Gras Bound” all over the minivan. Thursday night found me heading south to collect one sister from the Mega-Bus stop in downtown Indy, one from the Ville and an engaged couple whom I’d never met but had promised to pay for gas.

The next 38 hours were a whirlwind of emotion and activity. When you take the Battle of the Bluegrass to Bourbon Street, things get crazy quickly. My sisters jammed with an old guy for 30 minutes before they realized it was Jimmy Buffett. A Kentucky-clad Doo talked Bobby Knight into taking a photo with him. And, I fell victim to hormones and fatigue resulting in an all-out brawl with Doo in the valet lot of the Cardinal’s hotel that ended with me crying myself to sleep and Doo drinking all night with our Katrina-survivor host. I also had a hurricane shutter fall on me, met an Irish-mafia vampire and almost missed tip-off awaiting the arrival of my ticket-toting inebriated sister who’d lost track of time in the French Quarter.

Louisville lost, and the 14-hour drive home was so not fun. (Damn you, construction!) But I crossed off a Bucket List item, and for me, that made the madness worth it. Peace out.