People in Columbus kept telling me how generally relaxed I seemed. This is their cautious way of saying "Gee Nicole, you're not nearly the stressed out bitch we remembered/you seem online." This is ok, I don't mind. It's true!
I think one of the reasons I was able to be relaxed and mostly pleasant at the show this year was that Chris was so completely stressed out, that I naturally flowed into the yin to balance out his raging yang. The yin in not usually where I reside, but there's only so much yang to go around. Hal and I joked that with the state Chris is in lately, we might say "Hey Chris, we need to get a new credit card machine," and it's as if he heard, "Hey Chris, we need an immediate cash outlay for a solid gold, jewel encrusted credit card machine. Oh, and ivory back scratchers are on sale too!" Poor guy, too much on his plate lately, and he was just not sleeping well at the hotel at all, which only made it worse.
I could have been much more stressed out about the lead-up to the Origins Awards, but I was not allowing myself to be sucked in. I let the people who said they were going to handle it do so, and when I felt my blood pressure rising over the several ways in which I felt the thing was not going according to what little of the plan I even knew...I simply excused myself from the process. No such luxury next year, but I also don't intend to let things go until the last possible minute as they apparently were allowed to fester this year. We will have programs, scripts, and speakers lined up in advance!
There is a certain aspect of having Kate attending the show with me that keeps me grounded. Oh sure, I still get tired, cranky, irritated or what have you. But I noticed the same phenomenon when we took Kate to New York City. I normally despise New York: it's filthy, it's crowded, it's violent. The traffic sucks and people beep their horns uselessly--I hate that kind of thing and always have. I got into trouble with one of the neighborhood moms when I was maybe 5 or 6 for responding after about the 12th time she screamed for her daughter, "She's not over here, so why don't you shut up?!" I'm only marginally more tactful now, but about the 5th time the cabbie beside me lays on the horn, when traffic clearly isn't going anywhere, I certainly *want* to yell the same way. I love Chris's friends in the NYC area, they're all great. I enjoy the restaurants and museums, and can appreciate that there's no Katz's Deli anywhere else. But New York makes me tense and anxious and prone to fits, except when Kate was around. Instead I can enjoy it through her eyes, laugh when she's the one wishing aloud that the cabbie would stop beeping his horn, turn what would be my anxiousness about the filthy streets or the crowds or which subway station we want into a more benign, motherly concern for Kate.
Having Spike, Mary, and Miranda Jones along at the convention makes it a lot easier to accomplish. Future cons in future years may not be as easy-going, if I have Kate and she has no playmates to enjoy while I'm working. I hope they can keep coming, as it's great to see them and also fun to let the girls (who are like twins, except for living on opposite coasts and being born 6 months apart) hang out together.
My patience was pretty well at its end by the time I got on the plane to come home, though.
Our flight wasn't scheduled to leave until 8:10pm Columbus time Monday. This meant we should, in theory, be able to go out and enjoy the sights of Columbus before leaving town. I arranged to have a late check-out, which the hotel agreed to. This meant we could meet Hal, Chris, and Tanith for breakfast before they left town. Then we packed up the room and brought everything down to be either shipped or stored. The one problem was that we couldn't get the UPS labels to print using the hotel's computer, for the longest time. After FINALLY getting the woman who was hogging the computer to let us use it, the printer wouldn't work and the guy who could fix it was out to lunch. After we FINALLY got that taken care of, I told Kate we could go back to COSI so we could show Chris all the cool things we discovered there earlier in the week.
Except that we got the cab driver who didn't speak English and who didn't know anything about the town. Instead of driving us, late as we were, over to the Science Center (COSI), he drove us over to German Village to KOSSUTH STREET. When I finally realized what was happening, he couldn't understand what we wanted him to do. Finally we spied Schmidt's Sausage Haus looming in front of us, so we gave up and jumped out of the taxi, and headed over to Schmidt's for a quick lunch. Chris had a sausage, I had a spatzle salad, and Kate had a chocolate cream puff half the size of her head!
We successfully called another taxi and were finally taken to COSI, which was due to be closing in 90 minutes. They let the three of us in for fifteen dollars total, since we had almost no time. We're not even finished putting our wrist bands on when we're accosted by COSI employees who invite Kate to take part in a paper airplane making contest. Over 35 minutes later, we extract ourselves from this fiasco, and now have just less than an hour to try to see the cool exhibits. Managed to drag Chris to see most of the things we saw on our previous visit, but it was definitely not a fun trip to the center for me.
Got back to the hotel, which was serving snacks and complementary drinks. A couple dixie cups of Merlot later and I was suddenly SO TIRED. Unfortunately, there was still the matter of getting all our luggage to the airport, and so Chris called a taxi. We made it to the airport and as we were checking in we were told that flights into St. Louis (our connection city) were delayed, but that the plane we were catching was also delayed so everything was fine. They issued us boarding passes and assigned seats on both flights and we checked our bags and went to the gate. I was so exhausted, I fell asleep for an hour on the floor in a corner. The flight to St. Louis was all of an hour long, up and down again. The plane we were catching was at the neighboring gate (yay! not like Dallas, where we had to run from one end of the airport to the other.). We go to catch the plane to Seattle and they won't honor our boarding passes. They tried to split us all up, with the three of us sitting all over the plane. They did the same to another woman, traveling alone with her five boys! I was pissed. I was too tired to complain enough to be thrown off the plane or anything, but I was NOT impressed, especially since I had been assured not three hours before that everything was in order with the flight to Seattle and that we had three seats adjoining.
Luckily for me the flight attendants rearranged some passengers and by the time we were up in the air, Chris had switched with someone and he, Kate, and I were in the same row. The mother was moved to sit in front of me, two of her boys were across the aisle, one in the seat behind Kate, and two others somewhere else altogether. Exhausted, we all slept as much as we could, and arrived back home after 3:30am (East coast/body clock time). Since I'd been up since about 8am Eastern Time, it was a hellish long day and I was oh, so glad to be home.
Falling asleep in front of the computer writing this, so it's clearly time for me to turn in. Will try to write better entries until the next of the major convention trips (San Diego in something like 13 days).