Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Last Sunday morning I woke up at 6am, got a ride to Lovefield, and flew a quick 50 minutes to Austin for a music festival called Austin City Limits (ACL). It was a way cool experience. My college roommate Jen was traveling down from Minnesota to meet up with another college roommate Amy who now lives in Georgetown. Jen called me the week before to see if we could meet up for lunch on Monday on her way into DFW airport. After thinking it through, I decided I could use a little spontaneous fun. I'd fly into Austin on Sunday and then drive back to Dallas with Jen on Monday. That was the plan. Little did I know at that point how much of a stretching experience this would be...allow me to elaborate.

At first I planned on arriving in Austin late Sunday night knowing that Jen and Amy were going to ACL all day. I called Amy to discuss my plans, and she suggested I come in earlier that day so I could experience some of the festival. I figured that would probably make my $100 trip more worthwhile anyway. This was not a big deal since I had yet to book my flight. Now all that was left was to purchase a ticket to ACL. Amy said we could probably find some scalpers at the gate that morning so I shouldn't worry about it. "Great," I thought..."the plan is in motion."

On Saturday, Jen and Amy called me from the festival concerned that there were no scalpers to be found and that the box office was completely sold out. They had heard people were buying/selling tickets on Craig's List and suggested that would be my best bet. Hmmmm...this made me alittle nervous since I had never really done anything like Craig's List or Ebay before. But how hard could it be? I decided I was up for the challenge and set out to discover this new cyberworld once Lily went down for a nap.

I immediately found a ticket for sale - $80 for a Sunday pass. That was the original price of the ticket so at least I knew I wasn't getting ripped off. I emailed the girl who posted the sale and waited. Just a few minutes later, Julie responded with her cell phone number and a location where we could make the switch. Woah. This I didn't know about Craig's List. It is just a place where you can find what you need, but then you go meet the person to get your item. This made me a little nervous since I'm leary of dealing with people I don't know over the internet. Not to mention that I was in Dallas, and she was in Austin. How was this going to work? For whatever reason, I was scared to call her back. I wasn't sure what to say. After some coaching from Josh, I mustered up the courage to call her about 45 minutes later. She seemed nice enough over the phone, but she informed me she'd just sold the ticket to another buyer since she hadn't heard from me. OK. So I've gotta be a little more aggressive.

Round two on Craig's List. I started emailing other sellers who had similarly priced tickets for sale. Most of the people must have been out at the festival cause I only heard back from one guy. We figured out it wouldn't work since I wasn't getting in until 9:45am and he was flying out at 7am. So back to square one. (At this point, I texted some of you hoping you might have connections to a ticket somehow. Sadly, no one did.) Feeling a little discouraged and slightly panicked, I asked the Lord to provide a ticket if I was supposed to go. I figured I'd better keep on truckin' with Craig's List.

At this point, I noticed several people posting that they wanted to buy tickets. So I did the same. Brilliant. Ten minutes later, I had a call from a woman named Sarah. She said she'd sell me the ticket for $75. I said I'd buy it, and we decided to meet at the gate at 11am for the exchange. Whew. I was relieved. Thirty minutes later, I got a call from Zach. He offered to sell his ticket for $50. Ooohh. Not knowing what the "code of ethics" was for Craig's List, I told Zach I'd call him back and immediately consulted my friend Faith. She seemed to think it would be OK if I explained the situation to Sarah. I called Sarah, did just that, and she released me from our previous agreement. Then I phoned Zach and took his offer. While I was talking to Zach, I got a call from Erma explaining she was selling a ticket for $50 BUT also stated we could park at her house and walk to the festival. This was the mother of all deals- no shuttle lines or crowded parking lots. I had to take it. But I was a little nervous about telling Zach this since he was a guy with a low, creepy voice. After all, he had my cell phone number and I didn't want to get on his bad side. So, I lied. (I have already repented and received forgiveness.) I told him my friend had already bought me a ticket and so I wouldn't be needing his. Whew. That was done. I called Erma back and sealed the deal with her. At least she sounded like a "normal" mom with a couple kids. Oh, and somewhere in there I called a guy named Mark by accident, twice, asking for Zach and then Erma. For those that know me I am not a wheeler and dealer of any kind so this was out of my comfort zone for sure. But I guess I feel a little more confident about dealing with strangers over the phone now.

Let me just tell you that I couldn't have landed a better deal. (I know the Lord must have worked it out even in spite of my dishonesty.) We pulled up to a large stone house that sat up on a hill overlooking the park and creek. It was a historical home complete with the Texas seal and name plate by the front door. The tree house in the front yard had its own spiral stair case and was being "remodeled" we later found out. They even let us park in their gate so we wouldn't get a ticket on the street. And we were just a short 15 minute walk from the park down a beautiful winding road: wooded creek on one side, large Austonian houses on the other. I knew this was the beginning of a great day.

Well, it took me long enough to get to it, but the festival was awesome! Thousands of people from all walks of life, were migrating from stage to stage, sweating their guts out, and enjoying good music. I must admit that I didn't know most of the bands on the schedule at first but found some that I really liked by the end of the day. Thankfully, Jen and Amy had already done their homework on itunes so we knew which stages to hit. And what cooler place to have it than Austin. The food vendors were all good restaurants like Stubbs BBQ, Wahoo's Fish Tacos, Roy's, Hoffbrau Steakhouse (to name a few), so it was far tastier than "fair" food. I enjoyed some savory tacos, ice cream, fried zucchini (i figured i had to since it was a "festival"), grilled shrimp, and lots of liquids. My favorite was the Sweet Leaf Half Lemonade/Half Tea. Sooooo good. Jen and Amy, thanks for letting me come and crash the party! I loved getting to hang out with you guys like old times! Here's some pictures from the day. I'd definitely recommend making a weekend out of it in 2008!

me at the entrace of Zilker Park

Jen, me, and Amy

our first concert of the day: Jennifer Nicely

just one of the many men in kilts

the giant shady tree- Jen was convinced this qualified for some sort of sermon illustration

Nicole Atkins and the Sea

The National

Cara Grainger

Amos Lee - my favorite

Donna and me at Amos Lee- can't believe I ran into her amidst all those people!

the crowds

The Decemberists

Bob Dylan from really far away

the bike racks at 11am

the bike racks at 9pm
(we also heard DeVotchka, Wilco, and Robert Earl Keen)


Brittani's Holding Little Hands said...

Sounds like you guys had tons of fun and the pics are very cute! Made me miss my college roomates and think about planning a reunion.

My sister was looking over my shoulder as I was reading your blog and just said how pretty you are. Thought I would share b/c every girl can stand to hear how cute she is after a long hard day on Craig's list:)

You will be my "go to girl" when I work up the nerve to finally use Ebay!

Kristyn said...

Way to go on navigating craig's list! isn't it fun? remind me to tell you our recent craig's list story...let's just say I'm surprised I didn't see them on the 10 o'clock news later that night.
looking at your pic's makes me want to take a little road trip to austin. So glad you got to go!
oh, and they have an acl museum in Gruene...if you're ever that way you should go, pretty cool.

Jonathan, Andrea and Luke said...

Oh girl---I'm so impressed with your Craig's list story. I just got wind of Craigslist about 1mth ago and I've been addicted. I've got a treadmill..among other garage items listed currently and I'm loving it! Great pics.
Hugs----A (glad you had fun and you look great!)

Finally an Abrigg..... said...

I have a new respect for you Nat Pat! This story is amazing. :)

Summy V & DawnyT said...

I also am very leary of messing with people over the internet. way to go!! your perserverance paid off!

p.s I have an off the record comment about this blog later!

Kristen said...

I love, love, love that you spontaneously did this! I too love Amos Lee. He puts on a great show. How fun, I am jealous!!

Sunni at The Flying Mum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sunni at The Flying Mum said...

Love the pictures!

And it looks like Amy got some sun!

Tip Junkie said...

Looks like you guys had a great time!! How fun!