Ok, now off into the details, which will be completely LJ-username-free, because it'll just be faster that way. :)
After a night of not-enough and too-broken sleep, probably triggered by a bit of general anxiety over leaving the girls with neither of us for the first time ever (not counting short stints of babysitting), Gretchen and I got up, packed up, and headed out to Midway with Jeff. Normally, we'd fly out of O'Hare, but given what everyone else is charging for a second bag, I decided that we'd fly Southwest, thank you very much. I actually want to take a guitar to a filk convention. :)
The flight was uneventful, with just a short stop in Reno on the way. On the last, short leg, we had no one in the middle seat and were able to spread out a bit, which is always a good thing. We got into the airport, headed off to the rental car agency where I paid a little bit extra for a larger car. (This eventually turned out to be a really good thing.) And then it was off to the hotel where we checked in, registered, ran into a number of folks who were really surprised to see us (including Beckett, who looked at Gretchen sitting in the hall and said, "Gretchen?", to which Gretchen replied, "No, Loretta", since that was her assumed name for scheduling purposes), but none of whom were Erica, who we'd specifically come out to try to surprise, as she'd surprised us there three years ago when Gretchen and I were guests.
We decided to grab some dinner at Hometown Buffet, because we were starved. We also ducked through Wal-Mart to pick up AAA batteries to revive my tuner, as it had been thoroughly dead when I pulled it out of the case after restringing my guitar. Fortunately, I had a tuning fork...
Then we went back to the hotel and started figuring out how to surprise Erica, given that our presence at the con was going to rapidly become less secret than it had been for some months preceding. Kristoph and the sound crew were running sound checks in the main room and we figured it might not be a bad idea to poke our heads in there, as we were the opening act, listed in the program book as "Dinner and a Movie (D.W. and Loretta Wilson)" through the kind connivance of Seanan.
(Pseudo-notes: Gretchen is named after Loretta Young, who was originally Gretchen Young before she changed her name. D.W. are my initials reversed. And being a Junior, I qualify to be a Wilson of sorts. Dinner and a Movie is after our good friends, Bill and Brenda, who perform as "Bed and Breakfast". And now you know.)
Dr. James came by and we noted that we had not yet encountered Erica. Jim solved the problem by calling Erica's room and suggesting that she come down for the sound check.
This worked magnificently. Erica arrived at the doorway, looked into the room, saw Gretchen and I standing there, and went through the most marvelous combination of facial expressions, because she knew that we couldn't be there -- we were at Dorsai Thing in Indianapolis.
So she was nicely surprised and happy to see us. It also solved her problem of how she was going to introduce these people who were on the concert schedule who she knew nothing about and that no one could tell her very much about either. :)
Our concert went well. Reconstructing the set list from memory, it was Apology, Dinner Party, Snowflakes, Midnight Girl, Crystal Dance, Genie in a Bottle, Just Play, Come Walk With Me, Too Many Years, With You, Wings, Running Down the Stars, and Stuff. The last song was especially popular with folks who also have too much stuff.
Erica ended up borrowing my Guild for her concert, since it was familiar to her from previous use. She did a really nice set with a good mix of newer material and songs that already have been recorded on her two albums. After that, Gretchen decided to head off to bed while I ran Erica over to In 'n Out Burger for her long-delayed dinner. By the time we got back, we were too pooped to filk, so we went back to our rooms and collapsed.
The next day, we got up, met Erica for lunch, and headed back to the con. I caught Tony's "Reverse Engineering a Song" workshop which was nicely interesting and informative. Later, I heard the tag-end of the one shots, Kristoph and Margaret, and Mary's Interfilk guest concert. Gretchen and I joined Nick as auctioneers for the Interfilk auction which went well and ran on time, with a limited number of items of generally high quality. (Yay, Kathleen! Yay, donors!) We raised about $2500 as I recall, with the top item being a DVD of Vixy and Tony's concert at a local coffeehouse which went for north of $500. I was the only one of the auctioneers who worked from the stage, Gretchen having taken what turned out to be a prescient look at the stairs and deciding that she wasn't going to keep going up and down them all afternoon.
A quick dinner with Erica later, we headed back to the hotel for the evening concerts. (Having a car opened up a much greater variety of food at the mall on the opposite side of the highway, which was why we'd decided to rent one.) First up was Playing Rapunzel with Mich and Marilisa who did an absolutely lovely set. (I was starting to mentally design a flute rack for Marilisa, though. :) )
And then Erica went up to introduce Vixy & Tony.
And then Erica came down.
I'm going to break here, as this is getting long and is as good a place as any to stop for the moment.