It's not quite the same homecoming for us as it was for other folks, since we hadn't gone to the Lunacons-in-Exile, but as it has been several years, it did feel like we were going to a familiar place after a long absence.
The trip down was horrendous. With normal traffic, it takes us about 75 minutes to drive to the Rye Town Hilton. It took us three on Friday. Fortunately, we started with plenty of time, we allowed for bad roads (although not *that* bad) and the time shift was on our side. We never had a worry that we'd have Shabbos problems.
The roads were a complete mess - slushy and slippery with sleet. Not snow - sleet. Normally, sleet turns to rain or snow, but not this time. And it was *thick* even on well-traveled highways. So. There was one bad moment as I changed to an exit lane to get on the BQE and I lost contact with the road. Fortunately, I kept my head enough to *NOT* use the brakes and I could feel road almost immediately.
I never drove more than 30 mph after that. Not that any one really could. So I basically crawled to Westchester. We could see accidents up and down the shoulders and there was one point where we didn't move at all. The radio said there was a jack-knifed tractor-trailor at the next exit. It was cleared quickly enough - I think we were backed up for less than 20 minutes, all told. And the road past the accident was really bad because there had been no traffic for that long. So, even though it was pretty open, no one went past 30. No one wanted to, either.
I don't think I fully relaxed until I walked back to the hotel after parking the car. We were there, we had plenty of time to register for the hotel and the convention and do all the stuff we needed before Shabbat, and everything was good.
One of the best points of the Rye Town Hilton is that they have Shabbos keys - regular old-fashioned keys we can use to lock and unlock our doors after they tape the electronic lock. It's such a feeling of security to be able to lock one's door. There's a deposit, but that's okay.
We, however, never got our fridge for the room. We were more than able to make do with ice, gallon freezer ziplocs and our insulated food bag, which we kept in our suitcase for added insulation, but we did ask for it three or four times.
As for the con itself - hmm. There were panels I very much enjoyed (waves to stakebait) and concerts and the Shabbos dinner was as fun as usual, and filking is always good. But there were blocks of time when nothing interested me at all. I'm going to try to be on program next year, which will give me stuff to do. :)
There was also problems with the con suite, but I gather that was a function of the con suite person not being given any time to do any real purchasing. Still - they used store-brand snacks and sodas, which is less than optimal but usually fine. Except that this particular store brand wasn't kosher. Seriously - we looked at the bottles of soda and the empty snack bags. jonbaker said that that store's breakfast cereals *were* heckshered, which makes the sodas and snacks even odder.
I don't expect a kosher con suite, and I don't expect everything in the con suite to be edible. These days, with the fashion for con suites that provide real meals, I expect most things in the con suite to be *in*edible and for it to smell like bacon and be really unwelcoming. This development makes me unhappy, but I'm getting used to it.
However, I do expect to be able to drink the soda and eat some of the snacks. I don't think that's being very unreasonable.
Fortunately, there were parties and these had things I could at least drink - or just cool people to talk to, which is the main point of the parties.
We've had this thing the last few years of staying an extra night at conventions, which gives us nice, relaxed Sundays where we can enjoy all the programming without having to pack and check out and do stuff with the luggage, and, if I'm driving, gives me a full night of sleep. Also, the dead dog might be the most fun part of the convention. Problem is, while this makes sense in Boston or Baltimore, it makes less sense in Westchester or Philadelphia. It's just hard to pay for an extra night when we're only a couple of hours away from home. But it also means we're not used to all the fuss, either.
So next year, we just might pay for an extra half-day (not just late check-out) which will give us the leisure to go to panels and eat lunch and so on before leaving - we'll get the nice relaxed Sunday and still sleep at home. I'd just have to make sure to have enough food for dinner.
We did have other worries this time. For example, it turned out the car had been plowed in and I couldn't drive it out of its spot. We had to pay Hotel Security to dig us out, which he did quickly and efficiently. And then there was the effort to find a parking spot when we got home - snow reduces the number of available spots *plus* people don't move their cars unless they have to. But the trip home itself was wonderful - we hit almost no traffic and we could drive at highways speeds.
The car is now back at the rental place, I have a lot of new books to read and I had a nice weekend. All in all, it was a fun convention.