My excitement yesterday made me think back to other overly exciting events in my life.  Here’s one of those stories…

Once upon a time (about 9-1/2 years ago), in a place called Sioux City, Iowa, I was attending a conference for the church I was child care center director for at the time.  It was a Friday evening.  I had worked all day in Omaha and arrived and checked-in to my hotel room about 8:30 that night.  I was exhausted.  It had been a LONG day.  However, I had been invited to a social event and I thought that I should go meet some people since I didn’t really know anyone else and was basically the only female at the conference.  I unpacked a couple of things for the morning (so that I could fall into bed when I got back) and headed out for the night (about 8:55pm).

I had an nice evening.  The guys taught me a new card game and were impressed by my “beginner’s luck,”  had a beer, and then they talked me into going out for breakfast (1:30am) on the district presidents’ dollar. 

I neared my hotel at about 2:15am, only to find the road blocked.  I drove up to the blockade and asked what was going on.  There was a stand-off at the hotel I was staying at (with an armed gunman).  They radioed me in, told me where to park, and had the guys at the door with their flack jackets and heavy weapons stand-down as I walked in.  Yeah, I was a little spooked.  I walked into the lobby, which had now been turned into the SWAT team’s command HQ, and they asked which room I was staying in.  As I told them my room number, they informed me that it was too dangerous to be there and reassigned me to a room upstairs – a suite with a whirlpool.  OK.  Fine.  I asked if I could have my belongings.  Um, no.  Too dangerous.  Even for the guys in the flack jackets?  Yep.  Why?  Because the room that I was supposed to be in was the adjoining room to the guy the SWAT team was having the stand-off with.  (Boy, am I glad I went out!!!  The stand-off started just after 9pm.)  So, they supplied me with some contact solution and two ashtrays to put my contacts in.  (How thoughtful!!)  And told me that they would get my things to me as soon as it was possible, but whatever I did and whatever I heard, do NOT go into the hallway without first calling the front desk and waiting for a police escort out.  OK.  Whatever you say!

Now had I been thinking, I should have requested to be moved to the hotel across the street, but I was tired and a bit in shock that this was happening in REAL life, so I just did what they said!

I can’t say I slept at all.  I watched TV.  I watched out the window to see if the SWAT team ever left.  They didn’t.  I called my dad early in the morning to tell him what was going on.  That probably wasn’t comforting for him, but a relief for me to talk to him.

5 minutes before I was supposed to be back at my conference, one of the SWAT members showed up at my door with my stuff saying they hoped they had found it all.  I happily put my glasses on and dumped my contacts into the actual case.  And left (with my escort).  Didn’t change my clothes or anything.  I just wanted to be out of there.  I had a great story to tell at the conference, though, as no one else had been staying in that exact hotel.

The drive home felt eternal, as I was SO tired.  I got back to find the Omaha news stations covering the stand-off story.  (I guess the guy gave up at 11am, three hours after I had gone back to the conference.)  Never did find out his issue and why the stand-off occurred, but he was VERY heavily armed.

As tired as I was, I had too much adrenaline going on when I got home to actually sleep, so I went to a movie.  By myself.  At 8:45pm.  “The Sixth Sense.”  I normally don’t handle those movies well, especially watching them by myself, but after all of the strangeness that had JUST occurred in my REAL life, this movie didn’t creep me out at all.  I went home and slept like a baby.