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Pennsic, Chapter 2: Saturday

I’m tempted to just say that Saturday was not a good day and leave it at that, but then I wouldn’t get to wallow in self-pity. Consider yourself warned.


Remember that I couldn’t find my alarm clock and said "to heck with it?" Well, some cast members of our production missed that second part. Bob set the alarm on his cell phone, and woke me up at 6:00am. Mind you, I could have set my phone if I’d really wanted to. Of course, he also woke up the baby. So having woken up me and the baby, he rolled over to go back to sleep. I got up to try to keep Charlotte from waking the entire camp. That was involved. I nursed her. I offered her cereal. I offered Cheerios. I offered fruit – I don’t recall which one, but she likes it at home. She was inconsolable, and loud. I was exhausted and short-tempered. It was a bad combination.

About an hour later or so, Bob got up and dressed in a leisurely fashion (by comparison to my "it’s-6:00am-the-baby-is-crying" catapult) and began to move very slowly. There was commentary about how poorly he felt, but he couldn’t stay in bed because it was off level and it felt like he was falling out. I know that feeling – it’s awful. But I hadn’t noticed, and I’m usually the "princess and the pea" person. I checked the bed, and it was dead level (yes, as a matter of fact I DO bring a level to Pennsic. Don’t you?) So given that and the non-verbal drama that there had been about getting to the things under the bed I decided that the better part of valor was to rotate the bed 90 degrees. I hadn’t wanted to do that because it pinned me against the back wall of the tent, and meant that if I needed to get to Charlotte I was either going to have to go over Bob or out the back door and back in the front. It also meant that my clothes and Charlotte’s clothes could only be accessed by belly-flopping on the bed and hanging upside down like a bat. But rotating the bed meant that the slope would run head to foot, and also that Bob would be able to access his clothes from the clear area of the tent. That took longer than it should have, because Charlotte was fussy.

By "fussy" I don’t mean "not happy," although that is also true. I mean whining and crying punctuated with wailing and screaming. It was her first experience with heat, and she didn’t like it. I can’t blame her. *I* didn’t like it. But she was unhappy and wanted us to know that she was going to notify her congressman, because this couldn’t possibly be allowed under the Geneva Convention. I did not intend to disturb the camps on either side of us because I had decided to bring a ten month old to Pennsic, so it was a lot of test one shim, hold the baby for ten minutes. Insert another shim, hold the baby for five minutes. Pick up a box, put it back down, and bounce the baby for fifteen minutes. It was awful. Somewhere in there Bob got fed up with dealing with me dealing with her (and being me being exhausted and pissed off that I had to get up at 6:00,) and headed off to check in at the range. He got back about noonish, and just in time because I was developing a nice case of Pennsic-gut, but couldn’t leave her long enough to spend the quality time in the porta-potty that the situation really called for.

Here’s a question: how do people with infants deal with the bathrooms/porta-potties? I can’t see just leaving her in her cart on the street while I go in, but there’s barely enough room in there for me. Not to mention… logistics, we’ll call them. Thoughts?

At that point I passed out on the tent floor for about an hour, because I’d hit the stage of exhaustion where I literally wasn’t physically able to keep my eyes open any longer. When I woke up Bob let me know that he had a marshal’s meeting at 5:00. Of course no one knew where it was, so he was heading out at 4:00 to try to find out. He headed off for that, and I finished tidying up. He ended up running into Mark and being excused from the meeting and was actually back by 5:00. But at that point the day was over. Saturday was supposed to be my day, and I spent all day dealing with Charlotte and never made it out of camp. I didn’t get to a single class the entire time we were there. At this point I’m going to gloss over what was effectively a temper tantrum on my part. I’m glossing over it because I’m not sure if I actually managed to convey the ideas that a) Pennsic is a heck of a lot more work for one of us than the other, b) there was supposed to be a significantly more equitable distribution of child care responsibilities, and c) if this doesn’t get straightened out there are serious doubts about next year. I carried on and on, but I don’t know if any of the signal actually got through.

We got out for a little while – I didn’t want to road test the wagon by myself. The merchants were pretty well closed down at that point, so it was a quick turn around Battle Road and back to camp to go to bed. It’s a shame, because it really was a beautiful day.

At this point in the procedure the bee sting was beginning to itch, but would hurt if I actually tried to scratch it (i.e. pressure.)

That night I found a better way to secure the netting around the moses basket, layered more blankets onto Charlotte, draped different quilts over the basket to keep her warm, and denuded a Q-Tip to stuff cotton in my ears to keep the beetles out. I slept better. Right until the sound of rain on the roof began. The weather rolled back in, and the rest of the night echoed to the sound of Sunday’s weather going in the toilet.

I’m pretty grumpy about Saturday. Let’s just leave it at that, shall we?

And the morning and the evening were the second day.



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 6th, 2009 11:53 pm (UTC)
Oh my god...that sounds simply horrible.

See, this is why I never brought my Char to Pennsic. She was a bright kid who REALLY liked things the way she liked them & did not tolerate any deviation from the routine. Sounds a lot like your Charlotte.

I don't know how people do it, & you know, a lot of folks at Pennsic don't have a big, relatively cool tent like you do. The hygiene issue alone (how DO you go to the bathroom if you are alone? How do you keep all that dust out of her nose? Etc...) it just makes me weary thinking about it.

Anyway, I'm sorry you had a bad trip. :-( As she gets older it'll undoubtedly get easier. Or, it might become "the week she spends at grandma's".
Aug. 7th, 2009 01:22 pm (UTC)
No fears - it gets better in Chapter 3.

"REALLY liked things the way she liked them & did not tolerate any deviation from the routine"

Dear God, it sounds like our oatmeal fiasco. Let's just say that we gave up on cereal while we were there. She likes it how she likes it, and no variations will be accepted.

The whole porta potty thing Never Occurred To Me. Not once, until I was confronted with it. It's not insurmountable - I know enough people scattered all over that there's usually someone I could ditch her with for five minutes to pee. But it really floored me.

Next year will be easier in some ways, but harder in others. The whole "mobility" thing...

Grandma is eighty, so it's not really an option. I'm thinking "babysitter," and am already scoping out the possibilities.
Aug. 17th, 2009 01:29 pm (UTC)
file this under too much information.... but you asked...
I used the handicap-accessible portapotties and just held her over my shoulder. Yep it's a PITA -- but she started self-training herself at 18 months so I think it was a win. (She hasn't mastered it yet a year+ later, unfortunately, but at least she's not afraid of the potty.)
Aug. 7th, 2009 12:38 pm (UTC)
Zoinks--what a horrible day!

I'm eagerly awaiting your next entry--I hope it got better.
Aug. 7th, 2009 01:22 pm (UTC)
It does!
Aug. 10th, 2009 07:13 pm (UTC)
how do people with infants deal with the bathrooms/porta-potties?
Use the larger handicapped ones?
Aug. 10th, 2009 11:34 pm (UTC)
Vynehorn suggested that also, and I feel a little foolish for not thinking of it. I tend to not factor those in because I reflexively leave them for the people who need them...
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )