Monday, January 21, 2013

Catching Up

Now that I have a few functional brain cells again, let's try catching up.

Wednesday I cut strips for belts. Lots of them. Pippin kept trying to help, in the sense of "helping" being "sitting on the leather behind me" and then "making his disapproving dog face when I made him move". 

By the time I got home Thursday Ron and Robin had put hardware on the belts. Yay! We then went to Red Robin for dinner, stopped at the grocery store so Robin had food for the weekend, then came home and tempted fate by doing some laundry and going to bed.

Friday morning started out with panic when I realized that I'd made our hotel reservation at the site (the Illini Union) for Saturday and Sunday nights, not Friday and Saturday, and they were full up for Friday. Fortunately, there was space at another motel nearby. That excitement over, we packed personal stuff, I got all the new pouches tagged and into the inventory listing (without figuring out costs), packed Otter stuff, and packed the truck and trailer.

We left home sometime around noon, plus or minus a half hour or so. The trip down was windy, the Cracker Barrel in Tinley Park was slow and the food almost cold, and the trip otherwise uneventful.

Arrived at the site at 7:30, when the room opened, and found no merchant coordinator. Another pair of merchants were there, and from the sketch we'd been e-mailed we managed to find our spots. For a while, because I had the sketch handy, I got to play merchant coordinator. Which is how I found out there were more problems with the room layout than the traffic flow issues we'd already seen on the room layout. Then the real coordinator arrived and things didn't get any better. 

First up, 4' and 5' aisles are not wide enough.  Second, there was no provision for rational traffic flow. Unless drunken lab mice are the new standard for "rational".  Spaces were not as expected. Most of it boiled down, IMO, to trying to cram as many merchants as possible in, instead of laying out the space then saying "done" when it was full.

Our particular issues started with having to move a foot to the west. Fortunately, I didn't have any tablecloths going across two tables, and belts weren't up yet, so it was annoying but not difficult. We thought we were going to have access to three sides of our spot. We did, but not the three sides we planned, which didn't become obvious until we were halfway set up. To deal with that we had to move a table from one end of our space to the other. Fortunately, that table was mostly empty at that point. Ideally we'd have flipped the whole layout 180 degrees, but when we discovered that issue Xap already had most of the belts out, so we called it too much work. 

The layout worked in the end. Business was good, up a bit from last year. Ron got good parking spots for both the truck and trailer (last year he was able to park the trailer at the building, but had to park the truck a few blocks away).  Tasty lunch was obtained from the food court in the building, although the crepe place was out of bananas, so I only had Nutella in my crepe (simply tragic). Xap was recognized by someone who appreciates good sushi by the sushi chef, and fed accordingly. A customer paid us for sewing a button on with yummy yummy meat snacks. The fighting was predictably NOISY. 

We didn't escape from our fellow merchants unscathed. We were next to people selling fabric. Some very nice scarlet red wool followed us home to become a Girl-Genius Jaeger-esqe steampunkish outfit. I'll natter more about that on my personal blog. Soonish.

Feast was at 7 pm, at a different site, so that's when the room closed. We retired to our room, ate pizza, and worked on the MuseCon grid.

We were told last week that we could tear down Sunday morning between 10 and noon. Saturday afternoon we double-checked that this was still true. Sunday morning we arrived at the room about 9 am (because it's not being paranoid when event organization is, um, lacking), and waited around for the room to open, which happened just about 10:00 for a regional fighter practice.

The person in charge of the fighter practice didn't know merchants had been told they could tear down Sunday morning. See paranthetical note above. Most of the other merchants had torn down Saturday night, so it was only us and Calontir Trim, and there weren't so many fighters that it became an issue by the time we were out of the room, about an hour after we started packing up.

The trip home was uneventful. Pippin very noisily told us how mean we were for leaving him, then proceeded to punish Ron and I by ignoring us and being Robin's buddy for a little while. We were wondering how he'd react, as he's my dog, and I haven't disappeared for more than a long-ish day before. 

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