When you’re at a convention, when the hotel checkout is noon (and there are no extensions), it’s guaranteed – morning comes too soon.
We arose, packed the room up, and then decided to drop off our milk and cokes at the pro suite.
This might have been an error in planning, as just getting an elevator from 25 to 10 should be written up as the third great Greek epic – the Iliad, the Odyssey and the Sunday Morning Elevators at A-Kon. (Because ya know, there was NO late checkout, so hordes were trying to get out early to beat hordes who weren’t trying to get out early – it was A-Kon, everything is measured in ‘hordes’.)
So when we got there, we stayed. They had breakfast tacos (and very graciously made some sans cheese for me – something they might want to consider doing more of in this day of more folks evincing lactose intolerance), it was safe and relatively quiet, there were interesting people to talk to, and most importantly, let’s say this all together children, “There Weren’t 20,000+ Anime Fans Crowded Into Too Small A Space”.
That made the Pro Suite Heaven-on-Earth.
Eventually Dorris went back to the room, thinking if she requested a bellman as a guest from her room, it would be faster. They checked us out by express phone checkout and we did indeed get a bellman and cart… an hour and forty-five minutes later.
(Yes, could we have afforded it and had we someone who could’ve looked in on the dogs and sat with them Monday, we would’ve stayed another night, just to avoid shit like this… there’s a reason I generally prefer to arrive on Thursday, leave on Monday. You’re there for the pre-con ‘easing into things’ Thursday night, you can spend Sunday evening recovering before a good night’s sleep and the drive back Monday. It’s a more elegant way of attending conventions, for a more civilized age.)
Anyway, we were finally on the road, headed to Plano – to Toni’s, and to Pancho’s.
Now, I don’t expect any of you to really understand my fondness for Pancho’s – there are oodles of places to get better Tex-Mex – hell, I can get Much Better tamales just down the road at Rio Grande – but it’s tradition, I like it, and their sopapillas, when done right, totally rock.
So we met at Toni’s place, then she and we headed to Pancho’s where the long-suffering Keith May and his friend Jeff, waited for us (silly bastards hadn’t gone inside, where it was cool… no, they sat outside in the parking lot and we were, courtesy of Sunday at the Sheraton, running Very Late). Lunch and conversation were fun and entertaining, we avoided ‘going for the pain’, as we knew we had a dinner date later in the day, and when we just couldn’t stay any longer and have a hope in hell of getting home afore midnight, we left.
Was going to drop off a copy of the anthology with a friend in Allen, but I couldn’t get hold of her, so we headed west, across the northern edge of the ‘D’ part of ‘DFW’ to Darrin & Lois Towers’ home, just south of Denton.
Supper was lovely – fresh-grilled steak, baked taters and yummy grilled veggies, the company was wonderful as it’s been years and years and years (like 15+) since I’d really gotten to spend any time with them. We’d see each other at conventions briefly, generally when I was in the full-blown grip of Con-mode and therefore not exactly sober or sane, but that was about it.
They’re both model train enthusiasts, another hobby I might take up if I had room and the money, so Dorris and I got to drool over their lovely layouts. Both Lois and her late brother Tommie, an old and dear friend of mine, collected bear stuffies – hell, Lois makes them as well – so I got to admire her ‘Bear Room’ (mega-packed bear population and almost all of them complaining they wanted more space… and more company) and her sewing room (good God, it was like looking at the miniatures and painting stuff here, except her supplies and such take up much more room).
Then came the reason this post is two weeks late.
It’s hard, on occasion, for me to think too much about Tommie – I still talk to him, and after years of friendship I’m pretty sure I can hear what he’d say, or what he’s saying, who’s to tell – but that’s different than thinking about him. (Don’t ask me how, but it is. Perhaps it’s because I can talk to him and move on before the pain can catch up to me.)
Going through the stuff Lois had held back from the estate sale for me to pick and choose from required a lot of thinking about Tommie, and talking about him as well. Bittersweet, at best. But I came home with a passel of CD’s and DVD’s as well as a few other things… and a Beatles Yellow Submarine lava lamp, which I still have abso-freaking-lutely no idea where to put… but I’m working on it. Never owned a lava lamp, always wanted one, that it was one of Tommie’s odd-ass finds is somehow fitting. Hope it still works, it’s gorgeous. (Of course, like most of the stuff I really like, I want it in the computer room and that dawg just won’t hunt – this place is packed.)
It was long-overdue business that was finally tended to. They’ve been holding the stuff for me – it’s just that I so rarely get up to DFW these days.
After that, and some more visiting, it was time to wind our weary way south.
A brief word about me and cars. At 6’3″, there’s not a lot of cars that have the leg room for me to stretch out in… I’ve never found one, but I haven’t ridden in a lot of different models, so I accept the theory that there are some that would be comfortable. And after a looong weekend… well, I really wish we could have stayed an extra day, or crashed at a hotel somewhere in route – my back and legs were killing me and love Greta (our Dodge Stratus) as I do, it was a painful drive home.
But we grounded here in Pflugerville safe and sound. Yea, there was much dawg rejoicing and our trip to A-Kon finally drew to a close.
As does this recounting thereof.
Listening to: the fan blowing cold air from the living room to the bedroom
Mood: Sleepy – it’s 3:25 AM for heaven’s sake!