Well, we made it back from Shore Leave in one piece. It was a good time, if a little frustrating because of the wee ones.
We headed out Friday shortly after noon, and made good time on the drive—both kids were asleep for at least part of the trip down, so jendaby and I were able to talk and laugh and sing songs.
Got to the hotel without any difficulty, checked in, went and registered and picked up our badges, and then just bummed around for a bit. Nobody else we knew was around and up for dinner at the time so we wound up just eating at the hotel restaurant, which was eh but convenient.
Took the kids back to the room after that and got them ready for bed, then I stayed with them so jendaby could go wander a bit. That didn’t work out too well. The kids were sharing a double bed for the first time, and were so excited they were bouncing off the walls—literally. jendaby returned in time for me to head out to the 10pm Pro Party (the con’s en masse author signing) and the kids were still wide awake.
I had a good time at the signing—I was stationed at the far end of the corridor with Dave Mack, Dayton Ward, and Kevin Dilmore, and spent the time in between autographs chatting with them and the charming berkanna (who alarmed me when I introduced myself by announcing that she’d heard all about me already). The signing ran until midnight, after which we all adjourned to the bar until it closed at 2. Then I headed back to bed.
Saturday the kids woke us up early, as is their wont, but it took a while to get everyone dressed and ready. We wandered around a bit, checked out the art show and the dealer’s room, etc. We tried going to see the Boogie Knights perform but the kids didn’t want to listen to music so we had to turn around and head right back out rather than disturb everyone else. We’re conscientious that way. We left the hotel for lunch, finding a nice quiet restaurant (Greystone Grill) a few blocks away and enjoying a nice meal—we had a great waitress, which helped, and the kids were both showing off for her the whole time. Then we came back and I went to do my first panel.
It was called Writing and Managing a Day Job, about how having a day job could both benefit and hinder your writing. But it was close enough. My buddies Glenn Hauman, Bob Greenberger, Dave Mack, and Michael Jan Friedman joined me, and we had a good time talking about our day jobs, how they added to and conflicted with our writing, and how to make it all work together.
After that I headed back up, reaching the room scant moments before my youngest sister arrived with her fiancée. We all repaired to the hotel pool and had a lot of fun—this was the first time either of my kids had been in a pool and they both had a blast. Afterward we dried off, changed, and met up with Glenn to have dinner at a really cool BBQ place not far away. We got back—with a slight detour because the Wegman’s nearby had mini-kegs of Virgil’s Root Beer and neither my soon-to-be-brother-in-law nor I could resist—only a little late for the Masquerade, but my daughter said she was tired. So I took her back up and got her in bed while jendaby kept my son and went to watch the show. He didn’t last long, though, and they joined us less than an hour later. My daughter was still wide awake, of course.
With both kids in bed if not asleep, I headed back down to the bar, where all the other writers had gathered. justcomeinalone and xlillybelle had just arrived, so we hung out with Hildy, berkanna, ineti, Dave, Glenn, and many many others. Yet again we shut the bar down at 2. I hung around for a little more conversation—including a very amusing discussion about klingonguy and his work with nuns (“Nope, can’t use this one—she’s got a . . .”)—before calling it quits.
Sunday we got up and went down to have breakfast with some of the other writers. Then we went back to the room, packed up, and got ready. I had my Time and Business Management for Writers panel, which Glenn joined me on (though he was, ironically, late), and that went well. After that we checked out of the room. Next I went to the SCE panel. We paused afterward to chat with Dayton, Drew, and Jim before saying good-bye, heading to the car, and getting back on the road.
The drive back home took considerably longer than the drive there, in large part because several accidents caused traffic jams along the way. But we finally made it home around 7, ordered pizza, ate, and got the kids ready for bed. Then around 10 jendaby and I both lay down, ostensibly just to rest for a bit—and didn’t wake up until our son started screaming a little after 3. He was having some issues—we think from spider or mosquito bites—and we were up with him until after six. Which meant I got to close my eyes again for less than an hour before getting up for work.
It was a good trip, though. Chasing after the kids was a hassle, of course, and their refusal to sleep was difficult, but the panels were good, we saw a lot of good friends, made several new friends, and generally had fun. We’re definitely planning to attend again next year, though I intend to line up a few more panels and also make better arrangements for the kids next time around.