August 17th, 2008
The last day of GenCon Indy. The return trip to Ottawa. Oy vey, what a very long day this was!1
The day did not start auspiciously, as I was unable to get a lot of sleep during the night. My head was starting to pound from the sinus infection, my throat felt raw, and well, it was just an unpleasant night of about three hours. At about 3:00 am, I got up and quietly went to the bathroom and took some Tylenol sinus and a Fisherman's Friend throat lozenge before crawling back into bed for the rest of the "dawn watch".
I was up and about by around 6:30 am, and decided to take care of a bit of packing some of the toiletries and my medicines and diabetic stuff that I had brought with me. While I was pretty quiet, spross was up by around 6:50 am, so I decided to go and take my morning shower, hoping the heat would make me feel better. I didn't hear the wake-up call from the Omni Severin, and while SteveR went and showered, I headed downstairs to take care of the checking out of the hotel. While we had a 3:00 pm late check-out, I didn't want to take care of this later, as I had to run some demos at the Exile Games booth, and I thought I might swing by the Dealer's Hall and pick up a few things and all. Besides, I needed to give the miniatures, dice, and Style chips back to Jamie or nearside at the Greymalkin Designs booth. I headed down to the lobby and took care of the check-out and all, and then discovered that Tammy Powers was already waiting for SteveR and me in the lobby, her luggage in tow. We went back up to the room at 7:35 am or so, and spross was still in the bathroom doing the shower thing and all. Tammy dropped off her luggage at our room, and after SteveR was done and ready to go, the three of us went down to breakfast in the Hot Tuna restaurant. I was feeling absolutely miserable, and was thinking of getting in touch with Jeff (Combos) and banished_babe to tell them that I couldn't work the shift at the booth, but decided to hold off and see how I felt after breakfast. I had the usual breakfast of my veggie and cheese omelette, with a yogurt and coffee with steamed milk. Delicious! :) I washed it down with the morning's load of pills, and took another couple of Tylenol sinus. The sinus medication made me feel a bit better, but I realized I was going to need to drink a lot of hot stuff during the day as well as plenty of water.
After breakfast, it was back up to the hotel room, and took the stuff that I needed for the morning work at the Exile Games booth. I don't recall where spross went (perhaps he'll pipe in on this one), but Tammy and I went to the Dealer's Hall. We arranged to meet SteveR at the Exile Games booth around the time I finished my shift at 12:00 noon. Tammy went and did her own thing, and I went to the booth after dropping off the box of stuff at the Greymalkin Designs booth. Good thing I did, too, as they needed the materials to run another session of the Desolation scenario, "The Price of Admission".
At the Exile booth, I went to work at the demo table for a couple of hours, and had a good time working there and talking to Jeff, lena_of_fargo (Katie), and several of the other folks there. Sunday morning seemed like a very busy time, and it went by in a whirl, between the talking, the demoing, and the fact that I wasn't sure I could stop myself from choking by the time 11:30 am rolled around! I did the 5-minute Hollow Earth Expedition rules schpiel some six times, and four 15- to 20-minute demos of the encounter from the "Stranded in the Hollow Earth" scenario involving my friend, Plexo the Plesiosaur. The only person to stand out during the course of the demos was a snobbish female rpger and her boyfriend/husband (not sure which), who came up to the booth demo area and told me to convince her why she should play Hollow Earth Expedition instead of Spirit of the Century. I gave her multiple reasons for playing HEX and what I considered to the the pros and the cons of the two systems, but her mind was already made up, and it was clear after a few minutes that she was a Spirit of the Century gamer. Jeff watched the whole byplay, and commiserated with me on the fact that that there was no way I was going to convince her otherwise to begin with. We laughed about it, and then moved on to the next group of people who expressed an interest in the game and its rules. I don't know whether I managed to sell any HEX products by talking to people and running the demos that morning, but come noon, my throat was raw, my voice was somewhat hoarse, and I was exhausted. I don't know who was supposed to relieve me at the booth that day (I think it was supposed to be supersech, but I'm not sure), but but they were running late, so at 12:10 pm Nestor, who was there at the booth visiting, agreed to take over for me until my replacement arrived. With all the water I had drunk, I needed to go to the washroom desperately, so took off to take care of that, spross and Tammy (who had both arrived and been patiently waiting for me) in tow. I grabbed another bottle of water, and then headed back into the Dealer's Room for the last minute buying that I wanted to do, and also to say my goodbyes to the various folks and friends I had met.
I picked up a couple of "book junkie" t-shirts, and snagged one of the "Have you spit on an elf today?" t-shirts from the Greymalkin folks. I managed to look around a bit more, and see a few things, but there were several booths that I completely forgot to see during the course of the convention, and Sunday was no exception to the rule. Then it was time to say goodbye to everyone that I wanted to. At the Khepera Publishing booth, I saw Renee Grayson, but she told me that Jerry Grayson had taken off to run a Hellas demo game. She didn't know where the demo game was being run, but it wouldn't have mattered if she did, as I didn't have time to play in that one (although I was kicking myself about this all the way home to Ottawa!) I did manage to talk to Erin, the lovely young lady dressed up as the Amazoran, and we chatted about a few things. Before leaving, I asked Renee to tell Jerry that I had stopped by, and to wish them all a good flight home. Next stop was the Pelgrane Press booth, but simonrogers wasn't there. I did say goodbye to sashabilton and we talked about how it was a shame that we'd never gotten a chance to play any Dying Earth rpg at the convention. I had really hoped to have some time to play a game of Dying Earth with the boys, but alas and alack. So many games, so little time. :( I went back to to the Exile Games and Greymalkin Designs booths and said my goodbyes to everyone concerned. By this time, it was close to 1:30 pm, and there were several folks that I just couldn't find to say my farewells to.
spross, Tammy, and I headed back towards the Omni, and I thought we might try to eat lunch at Nordstrom's, since I had rather liked it the first time we had eaten there on Friday. However, the restaurant was closed (it being Sunday and all), so we went back to the Omni Severin hotel, and dropped off the gaming stuff and all at the room, before descending again to the Severin Bar and eating lunch there. I was feeling pretty ill by this time, and really wasn't all that hungry, but knew that I had to eat something. The three of us split a Club sandwich plate (I had a couple of the french fries off SteveR's stuff), and I had a salad with some sort of herbal tea (I don't remember what it was, to be honest, but it was bland and it was hot, and that suited me fine). I only had a quarter of the Club sandwich, and a mouthful of the extra piece that SteveR ate, but I just wasn't feeling all that hungry. By the time we finished lunch, it was around 2:30 pm or so, and I hadn't finished packing yet and we were due to check out of the hotel at 3:00!
We dashed back up to the hotel room, and started the arduous task of packing the rest of the clothes and shoes for the trip home. Tammy was pretty amused at how agonized I was over the fact that I didn't know where to pack the three big hardcover books I had bought, all the Style chips that I had purchased, and some of the other stuff. I was more concerned over the weight of the suitcase and all, and I was stressed a bit more when housecleaning showed up to start in on the room. We managed to vacate the hotel room by 3:20 pm, so it wasn't too bad, but I felt guilty about leaving most of the snack foods and stuff that were still in the fridge. We took a few minutes as a breather in the Omni Severin lobby, and I was glad to have checked out earlier that day, as the lobby was hopping with people in the process of doing that same thing. We needed to take the bags out to the curb, so as to get a taxi, and I knew that I was going to have some real trouble with the suitcase, as it was...leaning to one side, because of the weight in it. As I moved it along on the wheels on the floor, it fell over several times, and I kept having bad thoughts to myself about the whole process. Had a pleasant surprise, as we ended up getting a lovely stretch limo for the trip to the airport, at the same cost as we would have paid for a regular taxi! Had a good time watching spross, as he was all agog during the ride to the airport, as he'd never been in a limo before.
I had a couple of mishaps at the airport, the first with the luggage after we got out of the limo. While trying to cross the road at the Departures terminal, the suitcase fell over behind me, and caught me on the back of the heel, cutting me. I knew that it was bleeding and hurting, but just wanted to finish with the luggage and not have to see it again until we reached Toronto. Then, when I tried to process my airline ticket at the automatic booth machine, it glitched on me because spross and I were trying to get it to do the same thing at the same time. After that was worked out, and the suitcase was checked in, I checked out my leg. The back of my heel was cut badly in a gash, and there was a modicum of blood, but nothing that was visible when I was walking. The foot hurt quite a bit, but by this time, I was in a bit of a sickly daze. We sat around the terminal until about 5:30, each doing our thing, before going to eat supper. SteveR was pretty sick most of the day, and was running several times to the bathroom, no doubt from the Chinese food he had ate the night before (remember that? Told you it would come back to haunt him!). I had a snack of a cheese stick with some celery, and managed to get spross to grab a plastic container of hot water for each of us, and we had some hot Lipton's cream of mushroom soup. I recall that made me feel a bit better, and I entered some journal notes (even if they were a bit illegible). The hot liquid also helped SteveR out somewhat as well, as he said he felt a bit better afterwards. We ate supper in a restaurant called Dick Clark's Bandstand, where they served typical malt shop food and drinks, and I had water and a pretty decent hamburger. It wasn't the healthiest meal I've eaten during the five days of the convention, but it was far from bad, and to be honest, I hadn't eaten a lot so far on the Sunday.
The flight from Indianapolis to Toronto wasn't all that bad, but still a little bit cramped and all. Tammy wasn't sitting with us on either flight home, so we only really saw her when the three of us were walking the airports between flights and all. My overnight bag had to go into the cargo compartment of the plane as it had for the two flights to Indy, but I carried my glucometer with me this time. The only mishap on the first leg of the trip was when the U.S. Customs folks confiscated my two bottles of water because they contained a contaminant of some sort. So, no bottles of water for the trip back to Canadian soil. :( Add to that the fact that I had the sinus infection in full swing by that time, and the taking off and rising and the landing of the plane made me want to scream with the sinus pain. I think it was a good thing that I had taken two more Tylenol sinus before we boarded the plane. Customs in Toronto wasn't too much of a problem, but I had several mishaps again with the unbalanced suitcase. Took a while to get through Canadian Customs, and I thought we might miss the connecting flight to Ottawa, but there were no problems and we made it with about 15 minutes to spare. Between the sickness and the fatigue, I was exhausted by the time we boarded the flight to Ottawa. This flight was a sheer joy, from the point of view of flying, as it was a medium-sized jet with lots of passengers and plenty of leg room. I gulped down several small glasses of water and some more Tylenol sinus, and just tried to forget about the pain and the ills of the day and concentrate a bit on what I remembered of the good moments at GenCon.
I don't remember when we got back to Ottawa precisely, but it was just around midnight local time. By this time, I was almost completely out of gas, but I was just glad to be home! While Tammy took a cab to her place out in Ottawa's West End, my mother was waiting at the airport for spross and me. I somehow managed to drive the three of us back to my house, where SteveR had left his car, and he took off for home. I didn't envy him the drive home to Vernon that night, to be honest, but I was feeling pretty ill and just staying awake and all on adrenalin. After I dropped my mom off at her place, I went back to the house and just puttered around for a couple of hours writing a bit of journal and having some food (when I took my blood glucose reading at 1:03 am that morning it was 4.0!! Extremely low). By the time 2:30 am rolled around, I was ready for bed, and crashed for the night. Fortunately I had taken the week off from work, as I was pretty sick with the sinus infection by this time. Knew it was going to be a rough week. And that, folks was GenCon Indy for 2008! :)
So, there you have it, folks... my report on the five-day trip that I took to GenCon Indy for 2008. I was absolutely sick as a dog for most of the week after getting back from GenCon, but that was another story told during the days after my return from the convention. It's taken me almost three weeks since GenCon ended to get all this stuff down in the journal, but I hope that everyone who read this had a good experience doing so. Next up, will be my reckoning of the highs and lows of my GenCon. That will be posted up sometime tomorrow. Comments and thoughts are welcome. :)
1 (Please note that the notes that follow are culled from what can be called, at best, a shorthand version of my writing during the early morning hours after I arrived back in Ottawa, and was deathly ill with the sinus infection by then. This account is augmented by my memories of the events, but that's after several weeks and a rather lengthy illness that left my memory somewhat muddled. So if anyone wants to flesh this stuff out, feel free to do so!)