Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Calico Ghost Town:Wild West Fest Recap

To say "Let the busy season begin!" would be an understatement.
Cindy & I

7 Cons/Shows in a 2 month period along with volunteering at a major SCA event over Memorial Day weekend shows that Wyng'd Lyon has hit the busy season. 

We kicked the round of shows off with Wild West Fest (not to be confused with Wild Wild West Con in Tucson) on April 27th up in Calico Ghost Town in Yermo, California.

Friday the 26th, Tom and I went out to the shop to load everything up into the rental van. Normally I would have done this myself but on the 18th I was in a car accident and I was told not to lift anything over 1- pounds. Now those of you that know me, know how much of a feat this was for me not to do. My business is one of my babies and  I tent to do pretty much everything myself (most of the time). Seriously you should have seen how long I wrestled with turning the Social Media stuff over to someone.(Though I do have to say that Tawmis is an awesome pretty good choice for the job.)

I loaded the lighter stuff while my husband loaded the grid wall, boxes & tubs, the new popup, etc. Then I headed over to get my partner in crime, Cindy. Initially I was at a loss for who was going to go help me out for the event. Most everyone already had plans for that weekend. Cindy ended up deciding that she needed some R&R away from work and took the day off to join me. Have I mentioned how awesome she is? If not lately, she's pretty damn awesome to say the least.

Once we got Cindy's stuff situated into the rental (a soccer mom mobile aka mini-van) we headed to my house to pack up my clothes and other items for the weekend. Then it was off to Target for sunscreen and chairs, while Tom went to get the kids. After meeting up at Target, we stopped for gas and we then caravan-ed out to Yermo.

The drive was pretty uneventful, aside from the carpool lane up 15 North from San Diego, wigging out the navigation app on my phone and my hands free speaker. We made a quick stop for food by North County Fair Shopping Center and then started heading North again.

We had a moment where we pulled over to the side of the freeway in a turnout so my son could water a bush, except that wasn't what he had to do, so back into the cars we pile and in search of a real bathroom we went. We ended up getting off the freeway near the March Air Force Air Museum, taking care of business and then got on the road again.

I think we finally made it to the hotel and we checked into our room by 9:30 pm. My son was passed out by 10:15, my daughter however was awake until after 11pm. Once she finally passed out, I nodded off to sleep only to be woken around 2 in the morning by my husband who was tossing and turning, and while doing all this in his sleep he told me to stop moving around. All I could do was shake my head, roll over and try to go back to sleep. If I had been coherent enough, I would have gone over and crawled into the other bed with Cindy. Hindsight is 20/20 ya know? ;)

Saturday morning rolled around and we found ourselves up at 7 am in the morning getting everything together and out the door to the site which was a mere 5 miles away.

I really wasn't quite sure what to expect for the event since I had never been out at Calico Ghost Town and it was a first time event, so you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that we got to set our booth up in the actual "town" (something I think would be awesome if they did out at Old Tucson, but I digress).

Set up took us a couple hours before we were ready and while Cindy and I were arranging things, Tom took the kids off to the self guided mine tour and the train ride to keep them entertained.

By 10:30 the kids were ready to pumpkin out even though they wanted to watch the shootout they were more interested it going back to the hotel and watching a movie with daddy. Just as they were about half was down the center of town the organizers announced that they were a mere 15 minutes away from having the shootout, so they returned to see the cowboys "gun fight" in the streets.

Cindy scrounged up a menu from the local onsite restaurant and we decided on lunch. Of course not remembering that I was wearing an off white shirt, I ended up ordering the pulled pork sandwich. Amazingly enough I survived eating that and later eating ice cream without a drop of anything end up on said shirt.

While she was out walking around checking things out, Cindy was asked if she was a member of League of Steam, which she was extremely flattered about. We had quite a few visitors stop by the booth and Cindy even got 3 commission sketches for the day, something she'd had yet to do at a Steampunk type event.

I actually made it out of the booth for a bit and wandered around the little shops and merchant booths and per tradition, I spotted something for Tawmis as a thank you for all the help he gives me at events. (Though he chastises me every time I bring something back for him).

We saw quite a few friendly faces from HRM Steampunk Symposium as well as a few faces from Wild Wild West Con and we were also visited by friends of friends and other great people through out the event.

We finally wrapped up selling around 5:30 ish, and began to break down the booth and pack things up, an hour later were we done and loaded and headed back to the hotel to change into something a bit more comfy and then head next door to Penny's cafe for dinner.

After dinner we adjourned back to our room and cracked open a bottle of wine, sent random text messages to friends and then ended up passing out for the night.

Now anyone who has kids, especially young ones, knows how difficult it is to get any time sleeping in on the weekends, so those parents know how excited I was to be able to sleep in Sunday morning with no kids or husband to wake me up right? Such was not the case my body or my brain, not sure who I'm blaming first, decided that I needed to be wide awake at 6:30 am.

Hello Body! Did you not get the meme? No kids == me sleeping in as long as I want! Please remember that for next time.

I was able to go back to sleep off and on for the next two hours, but it still wasn't the same.

Once Cindy and I were up and mobile we headed back over to Penny's Cafe and enjoyed breakfast before getting on the road to head home.

Three hours and a brief stop later we dropped things off at the shop, I took Cindy home and then I made it back to my house where I was greeted by my two wonderful kids who acted like they hadn't seen me in days and a husband who had a look on his face like I abandoned him for weeks with them. Needless to say  as tired as I was, I was happy to be home and take a breather (even if it was only for a few minutes) before thinking about Gaslight Gathering coming up the following weekend.

Cindy and I had a blast and have to say that Wild West Fest was such a great event and so well run by the staff that we are looking forward to going back next year.

We hope to see some of you out there as well!


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wild Wild West Con Recap - Part IV (and final part)

Continued from Part III

I always dread the last day of conventions. Partially due to having to pack up, drive home and unload, but also because it means the end of a fun weekend with great people and having to go back to my real job. Not that I dislike my job, it and the people are great, but there is just something magical about cons and the people there.

We got up about 7:30 am, dressed, packed the suitcases, grabbed the other miscellaneous items (the beer!) and then fought for a spot on the only elevator down from the second floor of the wing of out hotel, tossed the stuff haphazardly into the van and headed off back to Old Tucson. We skipped the stop at Circle K as I had a can of Irish Coffee Monster and everyone else also had their own beverages of caffienation.

Once on site we uncovered the tables and waited for vending to open for the day. We made some changes to the way the table was laid out and moved somethings around for better display.

 I always try to wear something on the last day of the Con that I can break down the booth in. I'm still piecing together my Airship Captain's costume and the photo below is one of the incarnations that I put together when I was tossing things into the suitcase.

  Andee wore a cute Kimono that she had made a few years back for another event that she attended. The highlight of the day for me was the little boy that was hanging outside the back door of the vendor tent. As I was headed to the Ladies' room he was standing there in his sheriff's outfit (complete with badge) and told me to draw. So I drew my flint lock pistol and we stood there standing off. As I was walking backwards, a man came out of the tent, snuck up with his fingers drawn as guns and told the little boy to drop his gun. My reply to the little boy, "You always have a henchman in the wings." and made my way to the restroom. On the way back the same little boy was outside and he aimed his gun at me and said that he shot me and there was an alien inside me (he was quite the imaginative kid!). I chuckled and walked back to the booth and told Andee that I had been shot and had an alien inside me, just in case it decided to burst out of my chest or something. Her response was "Well hopefully the corset will keep it in."

 Traffic for the day came in waves and was a bit lighter that Saturday, but there were still a good amount of customers coming through to shop and get last minute items before they headed home.

This gave me some time to get some shopping done and do my usual tradition of buying something for Tawmis as a thank you for the work he does on the Facebook page and on Twitter while I'm at the Cons. (Though he always chastises me for buying things for him.)

This time I got him an iPhone cover that had an old comic book cover of Thor. I also got myself a cute necklace that has a falcon on it in a military style hat. There were a couple other things that I wanted to buy, but I knew that if I brought home any large boxes, my husband would have had a little of kittens since we're not moved into our new place yet.

The downside to the day is that we had got shop lifted for the first time, the even worse part of it was that it was one of out own Steampunk folks. I was rummaging through one of the boxes under the table looking for something and Andee was standing in the middle of the booth. She saw the man walk back and said he made a motion like he picked up a skeleton key and then kept walking. At first she thought it was nothing and then she saw him repeat the action as he passed the jewelry booth and walk out the tent door. She turned to me and mentioned that she thinks we were just shoplifted from and then went to the other vendor to tell them what she saw. They looked at the tray the man passed by and confirmed that there was an item missing. She and the other vendor went out of the tent to see if they could catch the man, but he was already most of the way to the parking lot.

I was more irritated about being shoplifted by one of our own that the shoplifting itself. I guess with spending so many years in the SCA, you get used to those that you call "your own" being honorable and stand up people. I know that not everyone is like that and every group has it's bad apples, I just find it very disappointing when things like this happen because those are the ones that the reports end up focusing on.

All that aside, we finished out the day on  a good note and began breaking down the booth when the time had come. Michelle and Alastar came over once they were done and waited for us to finished packing before we began load out.

Of course like set up, my brain always decides to go out in left field and leave me in a state of "Where the Hell do I start packing up?" After about 10 minutes of standing there confused and Alastar laughing as he says he's going to stay out of the way, thoughts start processing and I started putting things in tubs and such. Once the packing was complete it was time to play Cartris again and load everything up. True to the theme of the Con, I smashed the heck out of my fingers loading up and tying down the grid wall. It was mostly dark when we finished and got on the road to Casa Grande to Andee's house.

We regaled each other with the tales of the day from the Con to keep ourselves from falling asleep. We made it to Andee's without any incident and were welcome by a wonderful spaghetti dinner cooked by Andee's husband, Frankie. After sitting and chatting for a bit and settling up Andee's sales, Michelle, Alastar and I hit the road for Yuma.

One we stopped at Yuma, we gassed up the truck, made a bathroom stop, grabbed something to drink and I switched seats with Alastar and let him drive back to San Diego.

We got to the shop about 3:00 am, unloaded and then headed to North Park to drop off Michelle and Alastar. I finally got home about 4:30 am and passed out for about 4 hours before getting up and taking the van back to the rental place.

The rest of the day was spent at home relaxing doing much of nothing before having to head back to work on Tuesday.

Over all it was a great Con and I'm really looking forward to next year. Cindy has said that she will be there and Andee has committed to going as well. So look out Old Tucson, we're planning on returning in full force!

I want to give out a heartfelt thank you to all the participants that came out making the convention so successful. I also want to thank the staff of Wild Wild West Con for all their work and for making things right as much as they could.

See you all next year!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wild Wild West Con Recap Part III

For those of you just joining us, here are Part 1 & Part 2 of the recap.

A full night's sleep does wonders for the body,  well at least for Andee and I it did.  Poor Michelle said she felt like she was sleeping in a saw mill due to Alastar's snoring. We told Michelle that  if she had problems sleep again, she should could come crawl into bed with us, since the bed we had would have slept the three of us comfortably.

We all dressed in our respective outfits for the day and hoped that Saturday's weather was going to be better than Friday was and I was hoping that the vendor tent we were in survived the night and that all our stuff was still in a sell-able condition. We got to the site, parked the van and headed to the tent to see what awaited us. Thankfully everything was still in one piece and just needed to be put back into a presentable manner. After about 30 minutes of work the booth was ready for business:

Saturday's outfit is known as my Mina dress, as it's based off the dress that Winona Ryder wore in Bram Stoker's Dracula. It's one of my favorite pieces currently in my closet for events like this. Coupled with the fan that was a gift from someone who professes to be my Number 1 fan the outfit truly comes together. Eventually I plan to make some sort of fascinator or hair piece to wear with it as well. Though I have to say after this event, the dress sorely needs a good dry cleaning as the train was drug through the dust and dirt in the vendor area. 

Colleen in her Mina dress

It was also Andee's day to be in red as well. This being her first Steampunk type event she pulled together some really cute outfits.

Vending on Saturday made up for Friday's nightmare and though the organizers couldn't do much about the lost vending time, they were awesome and bought all the vendors in our area pizza for lunch.

The weather was still a bit cool and there was some rain off and on, but the wind was pretty mellow and the day went so fast that it was 5pm before we knew it.

Once the vendor area was secure and everything was covered we headed over to meet up with Michelle and Alastar and headed off to the parking lot.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Old Tucson, everything is a dirt road except the parking area which is asphalt. So walking in general is a precarious adventure with all the rock and the land minds that the horses leave behind.

What makes the walk even more of an adventure is the addition of high heeled shoes or boots. Just as we passed the guard house to cross the walk bridge to the parking lot, one of the attendants mentioned to Michelle that she was pretty brave wearing her two inch heeled shoes. She laughed said that it was mostly walking slow and watching where you walk. I laughed and responded with "You walk very carefully, especially in shoes like this," and showed him the 6 inch heeled boots that I was walking in. He stood there boggled that anyone would wear shoes like mine in an environment like that and from behind me I hear Alastar say "+20 boots of Gothness" and laugh, (yup we're a bunch of gamer geeks.)

We piled into the car and of course the first thing that came off was the boots and then we headed back to the hotel. Well that was the intent. We were so tired from the long day and so involved in our conversation on what to do for dinner, no one realized that we got on the freeway going the wrong direction. We actually didn't notice it until we got to an area where there was construction happening and I commented that I didn't remember it from the day before. It was then we realized that we were headed back towards Casa Grande and not to the hotel.

Once we got that navigational incident corrected, we headed back towards the hotel, stopped at Wendy's for dinner, where they gave me Sweet Tea (blech) instead of regular tea. Thankfully I got that corrected before I took a swig of it thinking it was plain tea.

Upon returning to the hotel, we discovered that our room key didn't work (again) and I was too fried and hungry to walk down to the lobby, thankfully the guy in the room next to us was getting ice and I asked if I could use his phone to call the front desk. A few minutes later security came up with new keys and said that they had the date set wrong for the checkout date.

Once we were back in our room, dinner was devoured and more refreshing adult beverages aka beer were consumed. I Skyped with the hubby and kids, worked on some more cameos and then passed out for the night.

Part IV in process.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Wild Wild West Con Recap: Part II

If you missed it, Part I can be found here.

Our hotel room
One of the things that you get used to when doing conventions is the high probability that the day you are setting up your booth, you are going to be running on little to no sleep from the night prior. Either you are up until all hours of the night finishing projects (in my case it's either sewing buttons on or sewing ascots closed) or you'll be up before nature itself to drive to your destination to set up.

There was no exception to the rule this time around, we rolled in to the hotel by about 4 am, promptly passed out and then woke up to the alarm a mere 3 hours later. It's times like this that I am thankful for coffee (and so are other people).

After taking advantage of the snooze button a few times,I think I finally rolled out of bed at 7:30 or 7:45 am and made myself something akin to coffee, to be honest it was more like coffee flavored water. After the issues on the Queen Mary with no coffee pot in the room, I should know that I should always have my french press and coffee packed for out of town shows. Thankfully there was a Circle K on the way out to the freeway.

Shirt from
After I got all of what I was wearing for the day together in a bag (I never set up in costume, too much of a hassle) and the rest of the group was ready, we pillaged Circle K for food type stuff and each of our own favorite vehicles for caffeine consumption and headed off to Old Tucson Studios.

The drive was mottled with rain drops here and there among the Arizona desert and the turn off to the event was pretty quiet and uninhabited. Thankfully no one got car sick though Alastar likened the ride to a roller coaster with the sweeping dips in the road.

Once we got to the site, after having to turn around because I passed the driveway to the parking lot, we were pleasantly surprised with being able to practically pull up to the doorway of the vending area, which meant less steps to haul things for set up. Woohoo!

As many times as I have vended at various events, set up always seems to make my mind go blank, or maybe it's just that the coffee hadn't kicked in yet. I'm standing there trying to answer Andee's question of "What do we do first?" and can't seem to process a single thought, it's like my brain blue screened or something. Seeing my dilemma she asks about unloading the grid wall and that was just the kick started I needed to engage the brain cells, that and a few more swigs of coffee (sensing a theme yet?)

Gridwall up
There always seems to be a theme to the Cons, the first year on the Queen Mary at HRM Steampunk Symposium, it was "Pants!", this past year at the same event, it was sliding along the promenade deck floor, and at Wild Wild West Con it was smashed fingers, mainly mine. After the colorful words were expelled from sandwiching my fingers between two pieces of steel grid wall, we started unloading totes from the van to the booth space. Most of the vendors had arrived the day before so they were mostly all set up and ready to vend, though there were a few that had arrived that morning like us.  Once the van was unloaded, Andee went and parked it in the parking lot and I started to figure out the layout of the booth and then grid wall assembly began!

Putting up the banner
Once we got the grid wall up we moved around the tables and discovered that the leg was broken, thankfully it was before we got it in place and I went to stand on it to put the banner atop the grid wall, otherwise there would have been more than smashed fingers at the event.

Banner is up!
Being the pirate preemptive salvage experts that we are, Andee and I switched the tables with an extra that was off to the side, made sure it was functional and then I performed the daring feet of putting up the banner or as Tawmis refers to it, "shaking my money maker to help with sales". (He's lucky I like him so much, else he'd be walking the plank)

After arranging and rearranging we got the booth setup and then dashed off to the restroom to change and await customers. Our booth was the first one when you walked into the tent which was great for traffic, but no so great when the wind blew. Not only was it a cold breeze due to the rainy weather, but every gust of wind brought in a cloud of dust right into our faces.

Colleen of Wyng'd Lyon
Andee of Twylite Creations

Here are Andee and I all dressed up and ready for the day of vending.

Things were pretty dusty as exhibited by the following photo and sadly it wasn't raining enough to keep the dust down. We joked that it would be pretty obvious if someone decided to walk off with something from the table though as there would be a large dust outline of what ever walked off. (That table cloth started out black in color, by the end of the Con it was grey.)

Customers trickled in and out of the tent and we had a few sales while watching the rain come and go through the doorway of the tent. The wind was also blowing off and on and eventually the thunderstorms rolled in. I love thunderstorms, but sadly we don't get any really good ones in San Diego unless I decide to trek out to the desert to see them, so when they started out at Tucson I was as excited as a kid in a candy store with $20 to spend.
Just a little dusty!
From my days camping with family and then with the SCA, you learn really quickly how to keep a tent from blowing away in the wind, or when to worry about the wind being too strong for said tent. So when Andree expressed concern about the canvas of the tent snapping in the wind, I shrugged and told her it really wasn't that bad, and it was true for the most part, until the wind picked up and snapped the roof of the tent so hard it got my attention. I looked at Andee and replied: "Ok, now that's not good." and not more than 5 minutes later another strong gust came through and lifted the tent enough to make a couple of the upright poles fall onto the ground with a clatter. Vendors and staff alike scrambled to put the poles back in. Andee was watching the wind gust through the doorway and bolted to the booth just inside the door as the side of the tent blew their display over. Had she not made that dash, the entire table probably would have fell over. Once we got everyone away from the walls and more towards the center of the tent, the event staff started talking about evacuating the tent and the vendors started packing and covering things. Meanwhile the people that were helping hold down the tent were looking for things to use to wrap around the poles. Lightning and metal are not a good combination, unless you really have the desire to be a lightening rod. Bits of rope were used as were belts and anything else that was long enough to wrap around the poles and help keep it down while we waited for the tent company to come out and re mediate the issue.

Our gallant volunteers holding down the tent 
The issue being that the crew that came out initially didn't stake the tent down properly, as in they didn't stake down all the poles, just the corners and a few select ones along the long sides of it. Not something you do with a tent that is about 40' x 80' in size especially in the desert. Shamella, who was the vendor coordinator was an absolute dream, she took care of the problem as best as she could and checked up on the vendors to make sure they were aware of what was going on. The owner of the company ended up coming out with a crew to fix the problem, but it was still going to be a couple hours before they were done. So most of the vendors closed up shop and headed out for the evening. Andee and I went into the barn area and waited out the last hour of the day with Alastar and Michelle as the Gaslight Gathering table.

Once the main vending area closed for the day, we loaded our tired, dusty selves into the van and headed back to the hotel.

End of day conversations generally need an interpreter  mostly because they're full of moaning and groaning from any injuries or muscle strains inflicted from setup or because  one is so tired, the mouth and brain are not working in unison. The only discussion that made much sense was what we going to have for dinner, that and the awe that came over us when we looked up and saw this giant floating section of rainbow, not a full rainbow, but a chunk of rainbow mid sky. In the photo below you can see it just between the two mountains.

Another shot of the block of rainbow

From the WTF? files

Of course when we return to the hotel we encounter the following: (various holiday and garden figures along with bottle caps and other miscellany glued to the vehicle - and here I though we only saw this weird stuff in California, it's nice to see that other states have weird folk too.)
Colleen & Andee

Settled back in the room we rekindled the arduous discussion of what the heck are we going to have for dinner. Alastar & Michelle were on a fairly tighter budget than I was and I really didn't want fast food. Traveling messing with my body enough so I try to eat on the more healthy side of things. After much deliberation and internet searching we settled on Chopstix for Chinese food, which was reasonably priced and a couple blocks up the road from the hotel.

Got root?
The service was great and the food was pretty tasty. The family with the kid that decided the high ceiling restaurant was a great place to try and communicate with the dolphins or dogs (we weren't sure which) was not so pleasant.
Michelle & Alastar

After stuffing ourselves we stopped by the Circle K for some refreshing adult beverages (read: cider & beer), and a few snacks (chocolate). The guy at checkout was a bit puzzled by my  "got root?" shirt and the easiest way to explain it without his eyes glazing over was to say "It's a computer thing" and be on my merry way.

Dinner: devoured
Adult beverages & snacks:  acquired
Relaxing in the hotel room: achievement unlocked

Next level: The Skype session with my kids so they could go to bed and then a nice hot shower.  It's one thing to be grungy and gross from set up at a Con, it's another to be that and then have a fine layer of dust coating your skin and hair. By the time we got back to the hotel after dinner, I was ready to stand in a hot shower for at least an hour. Let me tell you, that shower was almost as good as the showers when we come back from a 5 day trip out to Potrero County Park for an SCA event over Memorial Day weekend. To say it was heavenly would have been an understatement.

The rest of the evening was spent working on making more cameo pins and ascot pins before crashing out for some much needed rest.

Part III to come soon.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Wild Wild West Con II - March 8-10, 2013

Shame on me for not posting a notification that I was going to be vending at Wild Wild West Con out in Tucson, March 8-10. Real life got to be a bit over complicated and extremely stressful for about a month and a half. Thankfully the issues are now resolved and life it progressing right along as it should, with a lot less stress and anger.

So onto the recap of Wild Wild West Con II.

What a great time!

The End.

Just kidding.

My dear friend Christal over at Christal Blu Creations went to this event a couple years ago when they first held it and had a pretty good run at it despite the wind, so I thought that I would give it a try this year.

Instead of loading up my truck and putting the miles on it, I decided that I would rent a minivan. This way everything would be inside in case of rain and/or stops along the way and if something happened to the vehicle I had someone I could yell at, plus it would get better gas mileage than my truck does.

Sadly, my partner in crime, Cindy from Original Cin, couldn't make this Con which meant finding someone to help in the booth.  I tried to talk Tawmis into coming out for the weekend, but he couldn't be persuaded to make the trek from California to Arizona. So my friend Andee from Twylite Creations volunteered to help out. I've known Andee for at least 10 years though it had been at least 7 or 8 since I saw her last so it was not only help in the booth, but a much overdue visit.

I also ended up carpooling with two of the staff members from Gaslight Gathering, Alastar & Michelle. Which was great in splitting the cost of gas & the hotel room, plus it also meant that there was someone else to drive and talk with along the way.

Thursday I got up early, dropped my munchkins off a pre-school and headed over to Hertz to pick up the rental. Now for those of you who know me, I'm not the mini-van type, but I have to say that the Dodge Caravan is pretty nifty for a mini-van. Christal, who dropped me off, got a good laugh out of me pushing all the buttons on the remote to open and close the doors and Tawmis said that he saw a mini-van and becoming a soccer mom in my near future. Fortunate for him, he was at the other end of the computer when he said that.

After grabbing the rental car, I headed out to the shop to start packing and loading up. I ordered some new storage containers specifically for shows and I needed to transition everything out of the old containers into the new ones. The nice thing about the new containers is that they hold more, so I didn't have to fit as many
Gas price in San Diego
containers into the car. I went from 6 tubs and 2 boxes to 3 containers and a box. My goal is to order one or two more and I shouldn't have any loose boxes floating around for shows, plus I can ship them to shows as well.

After everything was loaded up, I made a stop for gas, munchies for the road and lunch, then it was back to the house to pack my suitcase, have some dinner with the family and then head out to pick up Alastar & Michelle.

While waiting for them to get off work and have dinner I made a run into work to pick up my corset that arrived earlier in the day. Unfortunately it wasn't the one that I really wanted for the weekend (and true to Murphy's Law that one arrived while I was gone), but I had a new corset regardless.

I picked Michelle and Alastar up at 7:00, took about 15-20 minutes playing Cartris (Tetris for car loading) getting their stuff loaded, then we headed out to the shop to pick up a couple items I forgot for the booth, stopped at 7-11 and hit the road heading out 8 East towards Yuma.

Gas price in Yuma
Yuma is about 2 1/2 -3 hours outside of San Diego as long as there isn't a wind advisory or some sort of traffic mess, or multiple bathroom breaks. Fortunately we didn't encounter any of that. Though I do have to say the wind farm out on the mountain does look a bit eerie at night, all you see is a field of red lights.

We rolled into Yuma about 11pm, topped off the gas tank, grabbed something to drink and stopped for a bathroom break before hitting the freeway again towards Casa Grande to get Andee.

Conversations ranged from various gaming references, coffee jokes, random geek references, SCA discussions, and many other geek and sundry topics and of course the later it got the more slap happy we all became. I think Michelle might have gotten a bit of sleep between topics and silent spots, that or half the time she was ignoring Alastar and I geeking out. ;)

We rolled into Casa Grande around 2:30 am, got a bit turned around but finally made it to Andee's place where again I played Cartris to get her luggage and everything loaded. Since it was such a short trip, we ended up putting her suitcases on the top and strapping them down to the gridwall.

The next hour and a half was more of the same subject matter and filling Andee in on some of the jokes from earlier in the evening. It was 4 am by the time we made it to the hotel and checked in which was an adventure in itself.

Room paid : check
Key cards issued check
Breakfast buffet & drink coupons issues: awesome!
Map to room: check

Onward to sleep!

Incidentally they put us on the backside of the hotel on the third floor behind the pool. So we unload all the necessities that aren't going to the site and go to open the workie, try the other key, no workie either. Alastar ended up getting the gate open using his cane and we all piled into the elevator out of the cold wind, rode it to the top floor, found the room and went to open the door. Nothing. Key number two: same thing.

 Now by this time all I want to do is crawl into bed so I get some amount of sleep before I have to get back up and drive another 13 miles to set up the booth and the door situation made sleep deprived me grumpy, and having to trek across the courtyard in the cold to the lobby made me even grumpier.

The clerk at the desk checked the cards and then call Security to come over with me just in case there were any additional issues. The solution to the problem....turn the lever for the door up instead of down. >.<

Once we were in the room it was mere minutes before we all passed out in our respective sleeping areas and seemed like only minutes had gone by since we fell asleep.

On to Part II

Sunday, January 20, 2013

HRM Steampunk Symposium Review - Sunday (Part IV)

Continued from Part III

Morning rolls around pretty quickly after you finally pass out sometime after 1:30 am. I'm not sure what woke me up, but I found myself staring at the ceiling in the hotel bed, while Cindy was sleeping peacefully. Since the alarm clock on the other side of the room was blocked by the chair, I grabbed my phone thinking it was some where close to 7:30 or so. Wrong, it was 6 am, ye gods shoot me now or at least hit me with a brick so I could sleep for another hour or two.

I rolled over and tried to get back to sleep and was almost successful until my phone alerted me with a text message (of course the one night I forget to shut that particular notification off I get a message - curse you Murphy) from my father in law, wishing me a great and productive day. I love that I get those messages from him and a couple friends as well. It really gives me a great start to the day even if it was at 6:30 am. I ended up tossing and turning until 7:30 ish when Cindy finally woke up and then jumped in the shower.

Of course Murphy was still having fun and decided that 3/4 of the way through my shower, I didn't need any more hot water. I was not amused and promptly removed myself from the shower to get dressed and go make myself a much needed cup of coffee before texting my husband so I could chat with him and the kids on Skype since I wasn't going to be home until about 10pm. There is something to be said for technology in cases like this. Of course it also leaves open all sorts of hilarious moments like when Cindy got out of the shower :

My son: "Mommy, where is Cindy?"
Me: "She just got out of the shower."
My son: "Can I see her?"
Me: "...... She needs to get dressed Tarin"
My son: "Oh."
Cindy busts up laughing from the other side of the hotel room.
Me to my husband who is laughing in the background: "He gets that from you!"
My husband: "He's just looking out for me!"
Of course my son thinks it's hilarious just because we're all laughing.

Ah, out of the mouths of babes.

After chatting with my kids and husband, Cindy and I started to pack up our suitcases. If we had been coherent enough on Saturday night, we would have been smart and started packing and arranging things then, but we had too much fun at the Ball and then laughing and giggling at our neighbors until all hours of the morning. But we had to deal with the two suitcase explosions first thing in the morning, which actually didn't take that long to get taken care of. The next bit of fun was us getting our suitcases and other stuff to the car before heading up to the vendors room. I think we sat there for 20 minutes figuring out a process to get the crap down there and then to get the other necessities, read: cash box, coffee, brains, and us, up to the vendor hall. 

Once we got the plan worked out, Cindy took her stuff down and then came back up for the items that needed to be taken upstairs, well most of them. Then it was my turn and let me tell you, hauling a heavy suitcase (dear god why did I bring 3 pairs of boots!) in a steel boned corset it quite an interesting feat. Even more interesting it getting said suitcase into the back seat (club cab) of a pickup truck, but I did it with little bodily harm to myself and very little swearing, not like I had enough breath to swear and wrestle with the suitcase at the same time though.

Ok! Suitcases in the truck, time to head back up to the hotel room and grab the rest of the stuff to take up stairs, like the plastic tub with the bottle of whiskey and wine as well as our change of clothes to breakdown in. Mission accomplished and I didn't spill any of my coffee either.

Me in my Airship Captain's outfit
Sunday's day of vending went pretty quickly and was a pretty good day with everyone getting their last minute purchases. I ended up with a couple potential custom orders for after the show which makes me quite happy. Friends stopped by to visit and we chatted with other vendors during the slow times to see how everyone was doing.

By the time 4 pm came around, Cindy and I could feel ourselves fading. At some point I ended up loosening the lacing on my corset because one of the pieces of boning was sitting on my hip bone weirdly and causing a bruised spot.The things we do for fashion, right ladies? ;)

As soon as the last customer was out the door, the corset came off and instead of heading out to the restroom to change (switch shirts was all I had to do) I performed the age old trick of putting on one shirt and taking the other one off underneath it. Cindy opted to go change in the restroom of course she had a bit more to change into that I did. There is something to be said for wearing dark pants with your costume that you don't have to change out of.

Full view of the costume (still a work in progress)
Breakdown is always a double edged sword. It means I get to go home and sleep in my own bed, but it also means that the fun weekend has come to an end and it's time to head back to the real world and real job.

Of course I never know where to start with breaking things down either. My booth help is always the one to ask "How do you want to do this?" and my response is always "I have no fricken' clue." You'd think after vending all the time I would have some sort of plan. Nope, I don't. I usually stand in the booth for at least 10 minutes trying to figure out how I want to start putting things away and this event was no different.

While I sat there trying to get my brain in gear, Cindy started to pack up her art and such and by the time she was there I actually had things planned out. "I love it when a plan comes together."

This year there were no instances of me smacking Cindy in the need with a clothing bar for the gridwall (thankfully), but there was lots of giggling and laughing and throwing of things. I think we actually got packed up in just under an hour. Go us!

Cindy dresses as my First Mate
Then came the conundrum of getting everything outside. (Remember the load in over in Part I?), yeah we did  too and we really weren't looking for a repeat of that. Thankfully the hotel was letting us use the main elevator to load out! Wooohooo!

Now when we loaded in, the sun was out, when we loaded out, not so much. It was 5:30 and well it was fairly dark and there was only two of us which meant, one would have to sit with the stuff outside while the other schlepped everything downstairs, but that also meant that the remaining stuff upstairs was left unattended. See where this is going?

So we got creative, the grid wall went down on the dolly first and then we loaded all the tubs onto it. Cindy made a couple trips down with smaller items like stands and such that couldn't be put into boxes and shoved them into the cab of the truck. When she got back up stairs we began the journey towards the elevator with a *very* heavy load and the carpet that we had to roll across didn't make the job any more difficult, then it was out the door to the hardwood floor....(yes I was sliding on the floor again) and over to the gangplank to the platform for the elevator. Things were going smoothly until we got the front tire of the dolly stuck not once but twice. Ok, down we go.....uh Cindy how are we going to stop this thing?

Packing up
We actually didn't have much problem getting the dolly stopped but we did have a couple pieces start to slide off the dolly, which were caught by Cindy. Ok, into the elevator and down we go, out of the elevator and oh crap....there go some of the boxes from the front of the grid wall. Pick them up and off we go, aw crap there goes the stand for the ascots. Whoops! it's not round anymore. Oh well...let's get the truck loaded.

Cindy sat with the dolly while I went and got the truck. The  drawback of using the grid wall as a base for everything is that everything has to be removed because the grid wall goes into the truck first. We're still working on a better system for this - or maybe just a 3rd person to help out (hint hint Tawmis).

Grid wall in - check
Plastic tubs in - chuck
Suitcases removed from the cab and put in the back  - check
Rest of the stuff shoved into the cab of the truck - check

Time: 6 pm - let's go home.

Me after Con :)
Cindy, chipper as always
The ride home was pretty mellow, we traveled down to Oso Parkway where we stopped at Dairy Queen for dinner, and ice cream, made a stop for gas and then drove back to San Diego, well Casa de Oro really, to unload the truck and then I dropped of Cindy and headed home to go sleep in my own bed. I made it home by 9:15 pm, counted out the cash box, tallied up the totals and then went in and PTFO'd in bed because I had to get up at 4:00 am to be to work at 5 am.

All in all it was a great con, the room we were in was beautiful and we seemed to have a lot more traffic than last year. I'm really looking forward to going back again next year as well.

I really owe a debt of gratitude for Tawmis for all his help with loading up and dealing with all my text messages with photos as well as keeping the Wyng'd Lyon Facebook page  as well as the Original Cin Facebook page updated. He help was invaluable and his updated added a light hearted mood when things got a bit tense for us while we were vending.

A special thanks goes to Cindy as well, for sharing in my madness and coming with me to vend for the weekend. I always have such a great time hanging out and being generally silly when we're at events.

Also a big thank you goes out to all the customers that came and shopped our booth! With out you the weekend would not have been as enjoyable. Everyone was so friendly and pleasant to deal with and we enjoyed making new friends and associated this time around.

Now it's time for me to get a few more days rest and then start prepping for Wild West Con in March out in Tucson. I hope to see many of you there.

Thank you all for taking the time out to follow us on this journey and read my ramblings too!

Until next time, take care!

Wyng'd Lyon Creations