August 5th, 2009


Pennsic, the Prologue: Wednesday and Thursday

So. Pennsic. Where to start?

For me this year, it started with taking two extra days of vacation on the front end. No, not for more Pennsic. For more Pennsic prep. After making the "to heck with it – I need a vacation" decision, I had to cram my usual two months of prep into two weeks – that’s why I dropped off the planet. So on Wednesday I pulled and packed, and on Thursday I loaded and sewed. (Sew, old woman! Sew like the wind!)

Loading was a challenge this year. Normally I borrow Mom’s Jeep, and I’ve got the packing pretty much down to a science. We take the rear seat out so that the back is completely flat, and everything goes into pretty much the same spot it was in last year – and I have photo documentation to help my memory. The kit doesn’t really change much, so it all works out. This year we had Charlotte. Do you see the problem?

Car seat.

You’d be amazed at the chaos those two innocent looking words can wreak.

With a car seat, we can’t take the rear seat out. Because the Jeep is circa 1986, the rear seat isn’t split – it’s all or nothing. In light of that, and in light of the fact that we were only going to be there for four days, I decided that we would take the wedge tent and live cramped. It’s much smaller (10’x 11’ instead of our usual 16’ x 16’,) but it goes up and down much faster. That decision turned out to be useful in the long term, because the wedge bits have been living in storage tubs much larger than they needed, because they were what we had. Therefore Wednesday afternoon turned into a search for more properly sized plastic tubs for the groundcloth and the tent itself. That ate the evening and actually extended into Thursday morning.

Once the tubs were acquired (we ended up at the Wal-Mart in Wallingford, for the love of Pete…) I was able to do a dry fit with all of the large rigid objects to figure out how it was all going to fit. That was helpful. There’s nothing like asking Bob to move the tub with the 105 lb tent in it for the third time while you try a different alignment. He’s willing, but I always feel guilty. If she turns out to be claustrophobic later in life, we’ll know what the triggering incident was. The rest of Thursday was loading in earnest. Unfortunately it took longer than anticipated – just like always. A secondary problem was that I couldn’t load the stuff that I wasn’t finished sewing, namely my clothes and Charlotte’s clothes. So there was a continual trickle out to the car of things as I finished them, as well as all those things that occurred to me that weren’t on the list.

As a sidebar, I’m going to try to capture that category of stuff on the list as I unpack. Anything that came out of that vehicle last night ought to be on the list. The head of my camp has remarked on a few occasions that I’ve taken anal-retentive to a whole new level. She says the nicest things.

I think it’s the clipboard that blows her mind. The photo record of the storage unit may have been a contributing factor also.

By design, we had eaten practically every scrap of food in the fridge, so we collected Charlotte and headed for Ruby Tuesdays. She’s a fan of the cheese sticks. Little chunks of cheese kept her sufficiently bribed to let everyone eat their dinners in peace – myself included. When I ran out of cheese I started giving her broccoli, which was also a hit. Once home she had her bath and went to bed. I kept sewing and loading. I was in bed around 10:00ish, which was way too late. I had wanted a midnight departure, but that wasn’t going to be enough sleep. So I set my alarm for 2:00 am, we pulled ourselves together, packed the last minute stuff (my glasses, etc.,) strapped the baby in the car and hit the road by 3:00am.