The Expo Experience
Tuesday, March 15
5:45 am: Coffee. We need…coffee. Matrix Partners doesn’t properly function before 7 am and at least two cups of a strong brew.
7:30 am: We’re supposed to be taking off any moment now, and Alyson is enthusiastically jamming along to whatever she’s got happening in her headphones and the rest of us are wondering if Starbucks is served on this flight.
10:21 am: We’ve landed at MCO in Orlando and there’s no mistaking Expo time – there are more pet carriers and stuffed dogs in this airport than there are newsstands.
11:05 am: Hotel is nice. Sleep is also nice, but that’s going to have to wait because we have to track down everything we shipped and start prepping.
1:30 pm: Fifth cup of coffee. Actually, Dennis may be on number seven.
2:45 pm: Everyone and everything arrived safely. Now we play Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who has to sleep with the stuffed dogs stored in their hotel rooms.
3:55 pm: We’ve seen all fifteen clients in the last fifteen minutes and based on the laser focus that Beckie has while setting up the Company of Animals display, the coffee has finally started kicking in.
6:01 pm: Set-up is complete! Okay, relatively complete. We’re on the hunt for an Imperial Cat scratcher, but samples are in the press room, booths are constructed and we all have our own lint roller to combat the shedding from the week’s inevitable cuddles.
7:16 pm: We’re officially ready for tomorrow! But first, we’ll enjoy a buffet and fall asleep before 8:30 like true Orlando residents.
Wednesday, March 16
8:15 am: It’s opening day! We managed to organize the press room without incident and now…we wait.
8:21 am: The waiting was short-lived. We’re now all operating at full speed because every client showed up at virtually the same moment and everybody needs help.
9:02 am: Kristy just met Preston from PrestonSpeaks.com and there’s a fair chance she’s starstruck by a dog right now. She’s been baby-talking this adorable little fluffball for four minutes, completely oblivious to the fact that she was FaceTiming Don (who was on the other side of the convention center, looking for more coffee).
9:19 am: THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH HANDS ON DECK, I REPEAT, WE NEED MORE MANPOWER.
10:01 am: Steph just managed to be in three places at once AND collected a fresh round of coffee for the MP Team. Apparently you level up when you become a mother.
11:56 am: We just checked in on the Chicago office and it seems like the dogs have taken over. No treat or toy is safe.
3:39 pm: 97% sure we just walked by a chicken wearing a vest.
6:07 pm: Day one, complete. We only lost one sweater, John’s favorite pen and some stress weight in the process.
Thursday, March 17
10:15 am: We’ve found Waldo. This is not a drill.
11:53 am: We KNEW we saw a poodle dressed like John Cena yesterday.
2:45 pm: Alyson’s dreams just came true in ways of meeting Big Boi. Orlando really is the happiest place on Earth.
3:55 pm: We met Ava from Charlee Bear in person!
4:12 pm: Guys, the dogs wrote a blog. Who is even in charge back there?
5:14 pm: Walked up to find Mr. Inaba and Kaz from Ciao shooting the breeze with Dr. Roger Mugford from The Company of Animals and Dennis. Worlds – and cultures – colliding.
Friday, March 18
7:33 am: In T-minus six cups of coffee, the show will be successfully wrapped! WE CAN DO THIS.
9:55 am: We found out that Beckie and Preston from PrestonSpeaks.com are twins. No one is even remotely surprised.
10:57 am: There was a moment when the humans seriously considered laying on the Cool Pet Pad from The Green Pet Shop, but Reggie and Duke had already called dibs.
2:18 pm: One of our clients just asked us about SuperZoo displays. This expo hasn’t even ended yet…
6:20 pm: IT. IS. DONE. We’ve made it. We met new people, saw old friends and made contacts for the future. Now, it’s time to pack up, load up and take a catnap. The stuffed dogs make for nice pillows.