A year ago at this time, I was a rookie at The NEWS, one who was trembling in his boots about the prospect of having to conquer the 2013 AHR Expo in Dallas. As the #AHRRookie, I wrote about how “I’m half expecting to walk into the Dallas Convention Center on Monday morning and see Godzilla, Bigfoot, and the LochNess Monster. Because that’s how big this event seems — it, like all those monsters, has been built up to near mythical proportions.”

I expected this year to be a lot different; yet, here we are, two weeks away, and I might be trembling even more (and no, I don’t think it’s the frigid air that’s engulfed the Midwest). Last year, the powers that be here at The NEWS apparently gave me just a small dose of what to expect, limiting my booth visits to a smaller amount. This year, I checked the list for my assignments and my workload has doubled! Holy cow! Not to mention, and this is nothing against Dallas, but the 2014 AHR Expo is in New York City. That is scary. I’ve been to NYC before, but it was a day trip in sixth grade. And there were chaperones. This will be a little different. Regardless, I’ll be there. Wide-eyed and bushy-tailed.

I can’t wait to apply what I learned last year to this year’s Expo. And, dear exhibitors: I know I have the face of a 20-year old, but please, when I visit your booth, I’m a real person doing a real job. I’m not a student. Thanks in advance for your understanding.

Stick with this space during the Expo as I blog and tweet about my new journey, the probable holes in my shoes, my almost-certain infuriation with Spirit Airlines, my infatuation with Madison Square Garden, and everything in between. Should be a good one!