1. This was one of the best physical spaces I've had to work in. The only one that rivals it was the one for Conterpoint, which has a full kitchen - stove, large sink, full-sized fridge. On the other hand, the room at the Parsippany Hilton was a good size and the furnishings (a conference table plus a sitting area with coffee table, couch and chairs) worked well, and there was a small wet bar area with *four* fridges, plus a bathroom with the necessary tub.
It was very like a smaller Lunacon suite.
2. Since I always steal from the best, I took the big mound of tuna fish idea from last Contata, and added egg salad - inventing a "deviled egg salad" because you can't make deviled eggs if your eggs don't peel well. This, plus cheese, peanut butter and hummus meant that I could offer a good selections of proteins for sandwich making. I always provide trays of veggies, candy and cookies and bowls of chips and dip, and the contract permitted hot beverages, so I had my hot water urn. If I do this again, I will provide hot chocolate. I did have instant coffee, tea bags and a selection of herbal teas.
3. I decided to try using bottles instead of cans - I've long been against bottles. I was wrong. Bottles are more economical and make better sense. We actually overbought, and still spent less than previously. (The supermarket took back the excess. We had great service with that Shop-rite - they had everything we needed and were helpful besides.)
4. My vision of a con suite is that's it's sort of the convention living room - a place where people can relax, chat, eat something light and get a caffeine or sugar infusion if they need it. But the most important part of a con suite are the members themselves. And this year - most of the guests paid it a visit, or even just hung around. Joe Giacoia, husband of our retro-GoH/emergency hologram Toastmistress singingpatient (Carla Ulbrich) and a true guitar wizard, decided to use my miniature candies as art supplies, building and destroying several edifices before settling on a fortress with candy-wrapper flags stuck on paper cups with a cauliflower monster. There were many pictures, and it stayed up most of the weekend, with only a little noshing. Heather Dale came by several times, and Nate and Louie Bucklin wanted cookies. And on Saturday morning, a sweet-faced lady dashed in, made a cheese sandwich and dashed out.
Turns out, it was Christine Lavin, who was emceeing our benefit concert for filkertom(Tom Smith) who is in the hospital after an accident.
This is in contrast, you see, to other times when I never saw the guests at all. However, there's another factor for that.
5. ladymondegreen, our hardworking chair, insisted that I have some time off - I was able to have Shabbat dinner (thank you for making me a plate, Merav), and go to the Memorial Circle on Friday night, go to the benefit concert Saturday afternoon and to Carla's concert Saturday night. Which meant I was also able to take part in the Filker's Rebellion. There was a wedding far too close to our function space with a loud bass beat. We were told it would be over by ten, and the hotel even tried to placate us with ice cream, but we felt the need to protest. So, under the leadership of osewalrus, we sang VERY, VERY loudly and, if the song required it, pounded on the wall between. And then we broke out the bagpipes. :) Didn't work, and Carla had to perform opposite the bass, but it was so worth it.
I went to the events I wanted to see. :) I've also been told that I'll get a recording of everything else. Yay Plus!
6. Thank you so very much, Mike Browne, for making kosher truffles and for allowing me to go to Shabbat dinner, thank you, sdelmonte for letting me go to the Memorial and for setting up breakfast both mornings. Thank you, madfilkentist for watching the con suite during Carla's concert - I'm just sorry for the reason you weren't able to go to the concert itself. Thank you, bercilakslady for cutting up the broccoli so I had a chance to sit down. Thank you, thank you, thank you to akawil, who did so very much - being an extra car to take supplies back, going on shopping runs, getting delicious and KOSHER bagels, helping to bring the con suite down to the Dead Dog - all that *while* helping ladymondegreen run the convention. That's all above and beyond. Thanks to Mabel Liang for offering her vegetarian Indian leftovers after our disastrous dinner run Sunday night. Thank you, scifantasy, for helping out Monday morning when we were packing things to go. Thank you, Zander Amis, for being generally helpful, and Matthew Cochrane for your love of egg salad.
And,well. jonbaker. Husband, shlepper, provider of necessary hugs and exhortations to eat (note - don't just tell me to eat. Make me sit down and do it, or I'll find something else to do.) Wonderful person. It would have been impossible to do this without him. Love you.
And just a general thank you to everyone else - especially the concom. This was a wonderful convention and more proof, if we ever needed it, that we are all family.