After spending Thursday frantically cleaning my kitchen for Pesach and skipping Pakua Friday morning, I packed one bag with clothes and one with food and a third with lunch and a fourth with books and such and called a cab and, with my husband, rode to the Port Authority to catch a bus.
We arrived in time to get a bus leaving earlier than I'd planned, but that was, I thought, to the good. I checked the large bag of food and the suitcase and lugged the rest onto the bus and settled into my seat. All went well until we got over the Delaware Memorial Bridge, about, oh, an hour from the hotel. When the driver announced that the bus was having mechanical problems.
We drove through the toll booth on the Delaware side and pulled over to the side of the road. He checked the engine and decided that he didn't have the ability to repair it and we'd have to find rides on other buses.
Other full buses. So we sat. And we waited. And buses kept driving past us. Finally, one pulled in front of us. It could take four people to the Travel Center. And it was already three o'clock. And I was watching the sun as it get lower. And I wasn't one of the four.
And I was panicking now, because Shabbat came in at 6:14, and there was a chance I'd *still* be at the side of the road in Delaware. And I said the afternoon service outside, with a drizzle falling on my palm pilot.
And then, a half hour later, with me already in tears with fear and worry, another bus stopped. He didn't have room, either, *but* he did have some mechanical ability. And he fixed the bus.
The bus was supposed to arrive at 3:35. It arrived at 5PM. idlerat, who was also on the bus, and I dragged our baggage in and registered or found our rooms. I passed reginagiraffe on her way out to dinner. Idlerat had missed the HP dinner's departure, but she'd left word she'd be late, and they left word where the party would be, so all she had to do was drop off her luggage and catch a cab.
I had enough time to get to my room, run down to register for the con, shower, change, set things up for Shabbat (such as put the things I couldn't touch, like my purse) in a drawer) and so on. I said the bracha for candlelighting at just the last minute. And there was a fridge/microwave combo already there, so yay. I put my perishable things away. cara_chapel and Fuzzicat arrived at that point. They dropped off Cara's luggage (Fuzz was staying by herself) and went off to dinner. I had Shabbat dinner in my room. When I finished and benched and cleared up, I went to the "ice breaker". where we played games, such as the "who am I?" game, with the added twist of finding your slash partner. I was Clark (two questions. "Is my show on the air?" "Do I have superpowers?") to wolfing's Lex. There was also a game of "guess my fandoms." Since it was again Wolf and me, she won only becaus she was faster. But, really. What fandom aren't I in? I'm such a fannish slut. :) Most of this was organized by the lovely and sweet taffimai.
Then we saw vids - and they were all wonderful. After that, I went to the DS party with wolfshark and reginagiraffe, who gave me a spork. I also met dsudis, justacat, bluster, estella and probably others whose names I didn't catch. I did do a lot of hugging, though, which is nice.
I chatted with Sharkie until she faded. Then she helped me get to my room, discovered my key didn't work and got me both down to the front desk to get it taken care of and back up and into the room. She also turned on the bathroom light.
Cara and Fuzz weren't back yet, so I took a moment, leaving the door unlocked, to peek into the Harry Potter party two doors down. I stayed for ten minutes and then went back to the room. It was late; I was tired. I got ready for bed and read until Cara came in. We chatted for a bit and then she turned off the light, I said shma and we went to sleep.
The next morning, we both woke up on the early side. After I daavened and made kiddush (yum, wine for breakfast!) and ate a bread roll, we went down to the breakfast, where I chatted with bethbethbeth and isiscolo and finally met my twin, the_star_fish. And the universe survived. I sat with Cara, Fuzz and Regina for breakfast - I could have the fruit and the oatmeal (instant oatmeal is precooked, and there is no cooking after cooking, so I could eat it) and the bad coffee. I bentched and then we went off to various panels. The Starsky and Hutch panel was fun, the DS panel was fun and very crowded, and my own superheroes panel went well enough. I did some wandering around the dealer's room and then Regina helped me to get to my room, where I had Shabbat lunch before going to more panels, such as the LJ friends panel.
Diane (I'm sorry, sweetie. I forget your LJ name) got me to my room in time for me to daaven mincha and change to my banquet outfit. Which was a pain and a half because the skirt has, um. Grown. And there was much engineering with the sash of the top, which is wrap style. But I managed. I also said te blessing over bread and ate a roll so that the banquet would be suedat shlishit for me - the ritual third meal of Shabbat. Fuzz and Cara showed up just before they disappeared to the Inner Harbor for dinner.
Everyone at the banquet looked wonderful. Kathy Sands had showed up with her collection of Pakistani outfits, and many people bought them, and so looked very graceful and beautiful. I sat with Sharkie, who looked lovely herself. Martha went to the trouble of getting me a kosher meal - a tv dinner, of course, but I like tv dinners, and I was grateful I'd taken the remainder of the roll with me so I could sop up the gravy. There were apparently sugarfree desserts, but as I couldn't be sure they were dairyfree (the dinner was turkey), I didn't bother. And the waitress very kindly got me a foam cup so I could have coffee.
At this point, Shabbat was over. I used the electric lights, the pepper on the table and my coffee to say havdalah (requirements - a special candle, spices and wine. I improvised.) and that was that. I left during the show, changed and went to the Starsky and Hutch party, where I saw part of the movie, and then I wandered around the con for the next few hours. I finished a story for the Woobies of Destiny F-Q fest (Harry/Neville) and even had it beta'd. Then I went back up to bed and then to sleep, after more chat with Cara.
Woke up, realized the time change when Cara asked me the time and rushed to dress and daaven. She was happy watching Rain Man, so I went to breakfast alone.
I could use the toaster, so I splurged on English muffins for breakfast. After all, this would be my last chance for over a week. And I had an orange and that coffee again. I chatted with Lady Katherine de Burgh, who is just lovely to talk to, and I wish she had an lj.
I went to more panels - the "Is Sex necessary" panel, the Harry Potter one moderated by bethbethbeth and myself (it was crowded and fun) and then to the martial arts one moderated by Ameda and myself. This was fun in a different way. We both demonstrated a lot physically, even though I'd neglected to bring my uniform. I did a backfall onto a hard surface, and it was *fine* (okay, my snood fell off and let's not talk about my skirt, but.) Ameda is a brown belt in Ninjitsu, one step from black.
We both hoped that next year we can beat each other up.
Then I said my goodbyes, reg'd for next year's con and went to the bus deport (through a door in the hotel) to wait for the return bus. There something neat happened. I had a kosher cup of noodles with me. I was hungry and I didn't really want to take this cup of chometz home, and there was a convenience store right there. I asked the countergirl if I could buy some hot water for the noodles, and she just let me have some *and* gave me a spoon, even though the place sold its own treif cup of noodles.
Pays to ask, doesn't it? Martha said that next year, she'll get me take out from a kosher restaurant instead of the tv dinner. I didn't mind the tv dinner - I'd expected it. I'd even guessed the brand. But that would be nice.
I also bought a plain, plain, plain salad from the Sbarros, which I tucked into my insulated lunch bag next to the chicken. Then I said mincha.
The bus arrived. I'd gotten to the depot early enough that I could get on the bus (they numbered the stickers. I was number six. They had room for nine.) And the ride home was completely and blessedly uneventful right up until I arrived home. Which was basically in time to go out for dinner and then come back to search for chometz. And I got to sleep in my own bed for all of one night.
I've probably forgotten a lot of people - thebratqueen who apparently never knew that MamaDeb and Debra Fran Baker were me; natlyn who ran the LJ panel, sorka42 and zvi_likes_tv who were the vic - uh, contestants in Match Game, Flamingo and Ro and their love of Starsky and Hutch, miriam_heddy, whom I just kept passing by, Martha and Ker who were just wonderful - thanks for a lovely con - Kathy and Leo Sands, so many people. JJ who beta'd my little story, and who thought I was famous but couldn't remember what for. wesleysgirl who gets a birthday story.
I'm sorry for forgetting everyone else. I feel so bad.
But I want my most especial thanks to go to cara_chapel, who was a lovely roommate and I'd be happy to room with her again if she wants, and to Diane, wolfshark and reginagiraffe, who made it possible for me to observe the Shabbat without compromise. Is there anything I can do for you? Want stories?