Thursday, March 17, 2016

Inevitable Recap is Inevitable

Before I dive in to my NEEHU recaps, I want to acknowledge that yes, I never wrote my post for Day 5 of Charmed! - for which there are reasons that I won’t go into, but as I’ve already posted about one of my highlights of that day (and of the entire event, to be honest), I feel like I’ve filled the obligation I made to myself.
Now, onwards!
(Featuring a soundtrack, for Reasons…)

First of all, I have to thank the amazing Mephki and the rest of the scholarship committee for making it possible for me to attend NEEHU by awarding me a new presenter scholarship.* In my heart I say that without it I’d have found a way to attend; my head knows that it would have been impossible without that help.
Second of all, people who know me know that one of the things I like to do is bake and bring home-made cookies with me to events. For NEEHU it was looking as if I wouldn’t be able to afford to check my cookie suitcase, but several friends banded together to make sure that I could. So my great thanks to @hypno-sandwich@tennfan2@sebsteerpike@mr-prism, @zanythoughts, and whomever else contributed to the cookie suitcase fund. **

And now on to the meat of the thing:
DAY ONE:  Variations on a theme - A journey begins with a single stop…er…step…

I was unable to buy my plane ticket to NEEHU until the Friday before the event. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that a ticket that I priced on Thursday would be over a $100 more expensive the next day, so rather than purchase my first-choice flight, I lined up an itinerary that was a tad bit more complicated, but significantly more affordable.
It took a little bit longer than average ***
In order to save cash on parking, I chose not to leave my car at the airport for this trip, something that I normally do because I usually fly at night and it’s simpler to have my car waiting there for me when I return. My flights to NEEHU, however, (mostly) were all during the day, so I  drove the car to @kerriekkerrie‘s house so she could babysit it, and took public transportation to the airport.  Other than the fact that it was cold and miserably rainy, my commute went very smoothly, and I shortly **** arrived at the airport.

My first flight was out of Portland at 315 on Wednesday. In order to get the price I wanted, I had to depart a day early and return a day late. So for an event that started mid-afternoon on Thursday, I left on Wednesday. That flight took me to Phoenix, a standard layover stop for many flights originating in major west coast airports. I had an hour layover in Phoenix, then boarded a second plane…which sat, stalled on the tarmac as mechanics rushed to replace its damaged starter. *****  Once that was accomplished, we took off for Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I knew I was going to have a layover of at least 4 hours in Milwaukee, so I had packed a fuzzy blanket and a pillow for my journey, and after a minor hiccup getting back to the main terminal was able to lay down and sleep.******
From Milwaukee, I traveled to Cleveland, where I disembarked…only to get back on the same plane 3 hours later and continue on to NYC.*******
At LaGuardia, I waited 3 hours for @carneggyblog to arrive, then we bussed/subwayed ourselves over to Port Authority and caught a Peter Pan bus to Hartford. At which destination we finally arrived around 1015 PM.
Eighteen and a half hours of travel, not counting the commuting parts, sounds terrible at first, but my “plight” had a lot of disguised blessings. The only plane that was full was the first one, but I was in an exit row and had so much leg room that I couldn’t touch the wall in front of me with my feet fully stretched. On my second plane (the one with the faulty starter) I had a bank of three seats to myself, and was able to get about four and a half hours of sleep in, which I augmented with another three hours in the Milwaukee airport. ******** On my flight to Cleveland, which was on what my Dad would have called a “glorified puddle-jumper”, a very nice woman who spoke very little English had accidentally taken my seat, but didn’t want to switch back - so she flew crammed into a tiny seat on one side of the aisle, while I got another hour of sleep in curled up on the row of two seats across from her. ********* 
The rest of Thursday night is kind of a blur. Because we arrived so much later than usual, I didn’t say hello to as many people that night as I might have preferred, although I did collect a group of people for an impromptu cookie social in our room, which ended up having an extra @sebsteerpike********** in it for the evening, but only after we’d collected his stuff from @tennfan2‘s room.*********** We got to bed at somewhat of a decent hour, (the only night this would be true), and bid Thursday “farewell”.
* I was involved in, either through presenting, co-presenting, or being a panelist, 6 different classes. Not a record by any stretch, but quite a lot!
** I am seriously considering monetizing the cookies, either as a straight cookie business or as a potential reward when I’ve got my Patreon set up, or both. 
*** Right. Longer than average. Official flight time (not counting delays) 18 hours and 25 minutes. Still not as bad as the time I took Greyhound bus from Portland to Las Vegas. Yes, @tennfan2, it does sound like a country song - especially as we had a layover of several hours in Bakersfield.
**** Pro tip - buses in Beaverton, Oregon are often about 5 minutes late, and the Max train to the airport has a lot of people on it at lunchtime on a Wednesday.
***** Quite a few people on that flight with me made noises about being scared that the plane would fail in the air. PEOPLE! THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THEY DON’T FIX IT! Always be glad that you’re delayed for repairs, because that means that the thing they’re fixing broke before you took off, not while you were actually flying.
****** It turns out that the Milwaukee airport closes off the concourses from midnight until about 4 AM. Not knowing this, and knowing I had a 5 hour layover, I dawdled coming off the plane, and eventually had to be let out of the locked concourse area by the local sheriff. This meant that I had to go through another security checkpoint…but that’s okay, because they have a “recombobulating area”. Best word that no one ever uses ever!
******* Yeah, cheaper to fly into LaGuardia than Hartford.
******** The floor, as always, was surprisingly comfortable
********* And Seb introduced us to my new current favorite drink, the ‘Ryan Gosling’ - rye whiskey and Gosling’s ginger beer and cherries - “the only pun that’s good enough to drink” <<—– which slogan I created, and should be receiving both credit and payment for any time, I’m sure…
********** I’d like to take this public opportunity to apologize again to @tennfan2 and @soundshypnotic, who hadn’t seen each other in person for years and years, but were very gracious when I interrupted their reunion knocking on their door.

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