As you've already heard, our departure was just a bit disorganized. However, filkertom kindly pointed out that I could find big men's underwear at K-Mart and Google revealed that there was one across the street from Thursday night's motel, so I didn't have to try to wear the too-small underwear that I'd bought at Meijer's.
This was the trip where getting Katie to sit still in a restaurant of any kind was too much to hope for. I'm thinking lead bricks in her pants might help. :) But we managed to get dinner in the hotel lounge without too much trouble and we had a chance to compare notes with Erica there, although she'd already eaten by that time. I ended up filking that night in one of the less-crowded rooms with a bunch of folks, including Cat, Tom, Sue, Ju, Rand, and Adam.
On Saturday, I got up early for Ben's excellent guitar workshop. Then, I went out in the impressive gale and grabbed lunch at the A&W to bring back, running into Erica and her mom, Linda. This didn't work too badly. I caught the concerts by UT and Heather Dale in between kid tending (most of which Gretchen was doing -- I offered her a chance to go down to Heather's concert, but she decided to stay with the kids to get them ready for the banquet). Then it was off to the Filk Hall of Fame banquet where I had a pretty good idea of what was coming, since I was accepting for Frank and Erica had been given permission to let Gretchen and I know that she was being inducted. :)
Did I mention that Katie was not interested in staying in her seat? She was, however, quite interested in the stairs to the balcony. *sigh* I chased her around up there while Gretchen ate; then she took over the chasing while I ate. We'd agreed with Judith that Gretchen would pull the kids out if they got too noisy during the induction ceremony and -- when Julie did -- she managed to get Julie out, but not Katie. So after accepting for Frank, I ended up perched on the steps listening to Erica's acceptance speech with Katie asking questions. :)
(I wonder if I can end up accepting for another Chicago filker next year, since this is two years in a row now. :) )
Gretchen was trying to sit with the girls in the hall outside the main room after the banquet, but things were being so noisy out there that Julie became fussy, so she left Katie and the DVD player with me and took Julie off to bed. Kathleen allowed as to how I should relax and go ahead and watch Katie and not worry about auctioneering, so I set up a chair in the back of the room where I could keep an eye on her through the door. I did get drafted later anyway, and it was much fun. (The fact that Sue's grandchildren had settled down next to Katie to watch Bolt had a lot to do with that being possible. Thanks, Sue! And kids, of course...)
After that, I took Katie up for bed and grabbed my guitar for some more late night filking. I crashed out before it got too late, since I knew the girls would be up relatively early.
The next morning, we got up and decided to take the girls over to the A&W since the weather was decent. Shortly after we ordered, Erica and her mom arrived, so we formed one large party and took over an appropriate space. Katie had fun collecting salt and pepper shakers from the other tables.
After that came the at-con songwriting contest which -- much to my surprise! -- I won. That's the first time I've ever won a songwriting contest, which was quite a kick. And I now have a cool plastic penguin to put on top of the telly. :)
Then we had the Filk Hall of Fame concert, where Dave had been good enough to ask me to sing "When I Was a Boy" for Frank. I hadn't sung the song before, but I was familiar enough with it to pick it up without too much trouble. Sadly, Gretchen had to pull the girls out about the time that Erica started singing, because Katie and Julie were making noise.
During the Canadian Folk Preserve, I dropped in to check on dinner plans. Sue asked me to wait, then announced that the judges had decided that the winners of the hugging contest were the two youngest members of the con and presented them with stuffed toys. (I suspect that Julie got the larger polar bear because it would have been difficult to take back on the plane to Germany. :) ) And Julie was quite delighted with the bear. Fortunately, Katie accepted that this was "Baby's bear". And she still reminds us of that...
We'd arranged to go to dinner at the Montana with Erica, Dave, Tom, Sue, and Dave's old friend Rick. Unfortunately, Katie decided that she'd rather be out looking at the nearly full moon in the sky, so one or the other of us spent a lot of time on the bench outside. At least the weather was good.
"Katie go to the moon."
Yes, Katie go to the moon.
"Katie go to the moon in a rocket ship. And Daddy go to the moon, and Mommy go to the moon, and Baby go to the moon."
I wanted to cry.
But I've been waiting for this for about a quarter century or so.
After dinner, we went back to the hotel and Gretchen took Katie and Julie up to the room. I ended up grabbing Tom and Dave and we went up to the room with her and talked Dandelion Wine album for a while, sorting a number of items out. Then Erica and I went off for the filk, where I'd set up earlier and sang Hyperspatial Network in response to Sally's request for something loud and rousing to start things off, before ducking out to deal with business.
By the time we got back, the room seemed to be in a pretty relentlessly upbeat mood and was very crowded, to the point where Ju, Tom, and Sue couldn't get near the circle. Tom and Sue appeared to head off for bed; Erica collected me and Ju and we went out to the lobby to swap depressing songs for the rest of the evening.
The next day opened with sleet. I went down and rearranged the seating in the car so that Gretchen could sit in the back with the girls as required for the long trip home, then went back to the room and started hauling out luggage. When I'd hauled most of the stuff down, I suggested to Gretchen that I could take the girls to the lobby and let her shower and finish packing in peace. This seemed like a good idea and gave me a chance to say good bye to various folks as they were leaving.
We finally got on the road about 12:15, grabbing lunch at the Wendy's at the oasis down the 401. Somewhere on the 402, things turned to seriously wind-blown snow in the Lake Huron shadow. Then we got in the slowest line ever at the Port Huron entrance to U.S. Customs, probably helped by the loony who had just stolen a light plane in Ontario and flown it off into the U.S. I can understand being careful under the circumstances. :)
Once we got into Michigan, the roads were clear and dry. We made good time the rest of the way home, stopping at a McDonald's with a PlayPlace for dinner so Katie could blow off some steam.
It was a good trip. But I need to figure out how to get Gretchen some useful babysitting help...