Living under the per diem (day one).

Dear 28,
Day 1 ($28. That's weird. writing to 28 about $28)
I’m sitting in the Des Moines airport, wearing my glasses (that pepper to eye incident was a doozy. And some single-cell-membrane in my eye, one of the ONLY places in the body that there is a membrane that is a mere cell thick, is having a serious issue) looking out onto a clouding-as-I-type this skyline. It’s too early for it to be getting dark (we passed the solstice) so I guess Jeriann was right and a storm is a-brewing. Finally snow. It’s January 11th and yesterday I didn’t wear a coat from one office building to the next. But now, well now it looks like this.
Now that the mixtape buddies have all been sent out (using a very sophisticated system) I’m focused completely on the trip ahead, the big event I’ll be working and the gifts that (fingers crossed) I’ll be coming home with.  Each time I hit the road, I whisper complaints about per diem and how much darn money I spend on my trips, especially when traveling alone and especially in California and most especially on hotel bourbon. So this trip, thanks to an idea of Chelsea’s and my plan to spend less in January, I’ll be (gasp) living within the per diem on this jaunt to CA.
So. Here we are. Day one. For today, J’s 30th bday, I’ll be spending $28. (That’ll get me through Houston and into Orange County late this Wednesday night—we’re talking like post-11pm).
I had plenty of time to pick up pretzel crisps (these are terrifically delicious. Like seriously good. Now- Caeli, how good are they for me?), a water and a postcard for a love letter: $6.73. That managed to get me through the 2.5 hours to Houston, and through the lengthy conversation happening behind me. More on that later. With illustration.
I’ve only been to HOU once before (with Sarah and she somehow managed to get her whole glass of wine free) and hastily devoured nachos. This time I landed on a fancy wine bar place, which is so cool to do in airports now, Le Grand Comptoir. I was able to stretch my leftover $21.27 (ok I went over by 47¢): a tasty roasted beet and goat cheese salad with a glass of tempranillo.
And finally. Arriving at the Double Tree, I find this unfortunate vehicle with its lights on. To it's owner: you're welcome. (and next time, lock your car. if i were a thirsty thief instead of a kind late check-in-er, I would have stolen your orange juice.)
Until tomorrow.
xo-LP