Hair Crisis Averted!!
I was able to get in and out of the salon in only 3 hours! Which is great, considering I was thinking 4-5 hours.
The "color stripping" process took about the first hour. He applied some kind of chemical to remove the color, and then after rinsing it out the first time, applied it a second time. It's not that he screwed up, but apparently I had enough color in my hair that the first attempt didn't remove it all. So his second attempt was to get the remaining color out. At that point, my hair pretty much looked like a tiger. Nice copper/orange and some brownish/black areas. It actually looked pretty cool, but I was pretty sure that wouldn't go over well at the office.
So he had to dye my hair with a shade that matched my original hair color. Then the last 1 hr 45 min to 2 hours was coloring and letting it set in my hair. Then the rest of the time was spent shapooing, rinsing, and blow drying my hair. And let me just say, blow drying at the salon takes about 30 minutes, because they do it in sections. If he'd just let me do it (and he had to blow dry it 3 separate times), I would have been out of there in 2 hours!
The final product was a medium/dark brown that is actually a bit darker than my natural hair color. However, over the next 5-6 weeks, the color will begin to fade, causing my hair to lighten, and then it will be more like my real color. And it's close enough in color that when my roots start to go in again, it shouldn't be as obvious.
So I've learned my lesson. Save my money, and see the professionals!!