Because the tent had been seam sealed, it did not rain. Having awakened cold several times in the night, we rejoin our story as Wednesday dawns cool – just before an alarm clock sounds...
I set the alarm for Wednesday morning. I’d been blowing off early classes all week because I was just enjoying having lazy mornings so much. But Wednesday was the archery champions shoot, which supposedly started at 10:00am. Bob was dubious – I had to actually show him the schedule in the book before he would believe me. For the past however many years he has made it a practice to marshal for the champions’ shoot because it knocked out his required stint all at one shot, and caused the least disruption to our family schedule.
I’m going to digress a bit here to complain. First I’ll say that I understand *completely* why the marshallate has gone to the stick of “if you don’t marshal x number of shifts at Pennsic, we yank your marshallate.” Running the range at Pennsic is a huge undertaking that requires huge staffing. And lots of people aren’t going to bother to help out unless you threaten them – especially now that the range is out in East Oshkosh and it takes at least thirty minutes just to *get there.* I get it. I really do. But what I, as the non-archery half of the couple really need the folks in charge to get is that some of these people have other, real-world responsibilities. Charlotte did very well at Pennsic this year – for a two year old. That’s a different value of “doing well” than there is for an adult, or a ten year old, or even for the three year old that she’ll be next year. In order to “do well,” she needed BOTH her parents there on tap. It was bad when Bob would go to the porta-potty and she would suddenly realize that daddy wasn’t there. Yeah – she was clingy. She’s TWO. To my way of thinking, “daddy” is a much more important job at Pennsic than “archery marshal.” And yet the message that has been clearly conveyed for years is that if you don’t haul up there – if you put your child or your marriage ahead of your commitment to your hobby – we will punish you. And possibly everyone around you – if Bob were to lose his marshallate, it would shut down the currently active practice in the barony. Many years ago the response to one friend of mine when she explained that she had family commitments at Pennsic was “I don’t care.” I think that really sends the wrong message. Bob always gets his time in, but the whole thing makes me REALLY grumpy – much grumpier than I would be if he were just spending his time up there shooting.
Do I have a solution? Not really. But I do think that losing the whole apparent “zero tolerance” attitude from the top would help. Cut the people with family obligations some slack. And anyone who thinks that they’re getting a “free pass” from working can come watch my two year old for a few shifts.
It all worked out for us, by the way. Because I’m complaining about the policy – many individuals are very understanding.
So – end digression. Bob geared up to head out to the range for… God only knows how long. Archery Champions has been known to go all day some years, and a few hours others. There’s just no way to know – so when I’m cutting him loose to go marshal, I’m assuming that he’s gone for the entire day. Which sucked, because there was a class at 12:00 on gold leaf that I *really* wanted to go to. But… oh well. This was *his* thing for the week. Just before he left for the range I ran to the port-potty while he watched Charlotte, and it struck me – how was I going to be able to pee while he was gone? She doesn’t fit in a standard porta-potty with me, even if I wanted to try. The handicapped ones are bigger, but they’re much fewer, and I only knew where one of them was offhand. I couldn’t leave her alone outside at her age, and I *really* didn’t want to have to pee with the door wide open to watch her. Well… crud. For so long as we were in camp someone would watch her for a few minutes for me, but I didn’t really want to spend all day in camp. Oh well. I sent Bob off and figured that I would just make it up as I went.
As soon as he headed up the road it started. “Where’s daddy?” “He’s shooting.” “Daddy shooting?” “Yes.” “Me go see daddy shooting.” “No, we can’t go there.” “ME WANT DADDY!”
There was no way I was hauling her out to the archery range. It was Too Damn Far to haul the wagon. I figured that I was in for a long day of whining, and hoped that maybe if we went out for a bit that would distract her.
I missed the call from Bob, because the phone was in the tent. Apparently the Mid showed up with marshals, and they didn’t need him. So he got cut loose with credit for his intentions – because despite my rant, there are a lot of reasonable and understanding people out there. Imagine my surprise when he showed back up in camp and I wasn’t even dressed yet! Of course, by the time I put two and two together and it occurred to me that maybe I could take my gold leaf class after all, it had already started. Oh well. Having written it off once already, I wasn’t heartbroken. Since we had an unexpected afternoon together, I figured we’d go see some of the bits of new market that we hadn’t been down yet. Charlotte wasn’t particularly interested in getting dressed.
Off we went. We headed over to the oxbow road off of Battle Road. There isn’t generally anything over there that I’m interested in, but you never know – and I was finding lots of people not in the places where I usually expected to find them. I don’t know which merchant it was, but there was a gentleman who was selling crocheted, stuffed dragons. I’d been eyeing the dragons that Claus the Toymaker had, but those were much fancier. These were dragons that could be dragged around, slept on, drooled on, and washed. So I asked her if she wanted to pick one out, and we bought her a dragon. All her other stuffies give kisses, but the dragon “bites you.”
After a bit, Charlotte’s mood was intermittent, so I figured that we were heading straight back to camp. But by the time we got back to the Cooper’s store her disposition had sweetened again and I decided to take a turn down Bow Street because I wanted to look at Dancing Pig Pottery. We came around the corner, and the first thing I saw was a frame with a hide for parchment stretched on it. Then I saw that the merchant it was attached to was “Pergamena.” Then I had an incredibly embarrassing fangirl squee moment of “they’re the ones who were on “Dirty Jobs!!!” So embarrassing. I *work* in the industry, for the love of God – you’d think I’d be immune.
So I stopped in and asked. They were indeed the folks out of NY that I’d seen on TV, and the people that my friend Dorren has been buying from for a few years. They had hides. They had cut pieces. They had all SORTS of cool stuff – and I had a cranky toddler. So I resolved to come back the following day, and we took her away. We made one more stop on the way back to camp, because Brizeus was playing at the market stage, and she absolutely loves them.
After a leisurely dinner, we headed back out. I wanted to go up the hill and say “hi” to the folks at the White Rose, and we managed to catch them for a little bit before they headed out for Midnight Madness. lady_kathryn_r managed to get Charlotte’s “no cars inna camp” line as a voice recording – I’m impressed by the microphone in her phone – it came out very clear even with all the background noise and Charlotte’s inclination to mumble. We headed out with them, but stopped halfway down at Arindale to see if Timothy and Gabrielle were in. He wasn’t, but she was, so we were able to catch up a little bit. They were clearly also getting ready to head out, and it was unconscionably past Charlotte’s bed time, so we moved on. We walked through some of midnight madness – I felt guilty about keeping her out, but I was hoping she would finally drop. Also, it was the first evening I’d been out of camp all week. Bob stopped and got a look at the loom I had been looking at, and we got to see Wolgamut on the market stage. Charlotte loved them, but I was actually a little concerned about that level of volume on her ears. After that we headed back to camp, and she folded like a lawn chair. So did I, for that matter. It was another downright chilly night – I can’t remember the last time we had sleeping weather this good at Pennsic.
Thursday was another lovely, lazy morning. It occurred to me that I should take a couple of pictures of the camp for the folks at work. Home sweet tent. Please pardon the laundry on the tent ropes.
I then headed out for my parchment. I ended up with two small skins and three precut pieces, and had a really great conversation with Jesse. He commented that they get an uptick in business every time that episode of “Dirty Jobs” reairs. Even better, he said that they’re coming back next year with more people, more stock, and more organization. They got three weeks’ notice that there was a space for them. I couldn’t be happier. Just as we were finishing up, Brizeus was up again, so Bob and Charlotte went to watch while I ran my loot back to camp. She really loves bagpipes. I’m clearly going to have to get her the CD.
She prefers things with bagpipes, but really, she loved all the musicians. We stopped for her to listen to as many as we could.
At some point that afternoon, Bob headed off for a class, and I decided to go visiting. I took my directions and went looking for my friend Jan’s camp. They were good directions – I found them with no trouble, AND everyone was even there. I ended up visiting a bit longer than I had anticipated, because Charlotte fell asleep on my shoulder. Out cold. So I talked while she slept, and eventually Bob joined us – which brought up the pre-Pennsic discussion of taking him along while they shopped for bows. I pretty much just tagged along. But then we headed over to the top of Market Street – and Bob had told me to buy the loom. So I ran back to camp for my checkbook, and while they were looking at bows, I bought a loom. I have no idea how to use it, but when did that ever stop me before?
After dinner we headed back out for another late night. The gun crew was doing a night firing at 9:00, and I wanted to see it. I was also just as interested to see Charlotte’s reaction to it. We hauled most of the way across the battlefield – I would have liked to have gone up to the line itself, but I wasn’t willing to cope with her, the wagon, and that road in the dark. So we found a good hay bale, and settled in. *That’s* a good show. Charlotte loved it. She’s still saying “BOOM! Cannons!” Day care is probably a bit confused. From there we checked at Arindale again, but Tim still hadn’t made it in, so we went for ice cream. On the way back someone gave Charlotte a glowstick, which she was quite taken with. I put she and I to bed under piles of covers, and called it a day.
And the evenings and the mornings were the sixth and seventh days. I think. It’s Pennsic – it all becomes a blur…