For the second year in a row, the guy covering me while I'm out of town managed to hem and haw his way into delaying until there was not enough time left to cover everything before I left for Pennsic. This turned out to be less of a problem than I feared, since I was not the only one running late. We formed a convoy with eridun and turned Wagons West into the rain. It was not as bad as my first Pennsic, but there were times when it poured torrentially and we coasted, hoping to not hydroplane and careen into another car. We arrived safely at our waypoint and went to bed early, eager to get back on the road the next morning.
I'd finally remembered to pack a power strip on the road to War and boy did it come in handy. Everything plugged in at one point and then I was able to just stuff all the cords into one bag and away we went.
We stopped for breakfast at the local diner and got underway. We managed to escape the worst of the traffic on I-80 and got to Pennsic at a reasonable time. Troll had worked out all the kinks of the new Land Management system and we were able to pitch our Pavilion on our land in the daylight (or close to it, there was more rain) on Friday. It was glorious.
The early days of Pennsic have started to blur into each other due to the delay in posting this and the general lack of time to sit and contemplate the day.
Many hands make light work and we had more than our usual number this year, so setup worked out really well. Bread production started a day early.
Our land was shaped differently than it usually is, and we pitched Hotel Johan horizontally instead of vertically. This turned out really well since it meant the sun-blocking walls were the ones we usually don't raise and we were able to keep the walls up for most of the day every day. This turned out to be a major lifesaver and could possibly have save us a hospital visit or two. We went out for dinner at North Country Brewing Company and had a lovely time.
We put on our Mundanes and head into Pittsburgh. First order of business is visiting rosinavs' parents' graves. We cleaned up the grass around their headstones and made notes to have Don's brass plaque repaired and the flowerpot replaced. Regina and her van full of Australians pull up and we commiserate.
The Aussies head off to do their own thing while we visit the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. They had a magnificent collection of gems and minerals in addition to the dinosaur bones the museum is famous for. We saw the exhibit that first demonstrated evolution to wee rosinavs and a Tyrannosaurus Rex Skeleton with gout.
Then we all met up at Cousin Ruth's so that Regina could hang with her old high school buddies for a bit. We grilled some meat, drank some brews, took the kids for a ride on the swings and had a grand old time.
With Pennsic now going in earnest, I took a dance class, which turned out to mostly be old favorite partner-swapping dances, but I was the fourth person, so I wasn't going to break up a set. I took a shift at Inspection Point and saw my first look at the new electronic combat authorization card systems that some of the other Kingdoms have implemented. That's the funny thing about the SCA. Our website is 21st Century and theirs is medieval. Their database is 21st Century and ours is medieval.
We leave Pennsic yet again for Family Camp, rosinavs' family reunion. The drive to Michigan is uneventful. The whole weekend is tense. The family is mostly conservative but they clearly despise Donald Trump. They don't know what to do and we don't press the issue. They're also very concerned about what's happening in Flint. We go to a wine tasting, a bunch of folks play golf. There's swimming and drinking. I spend most of Saturday finalizing my menu for the nights I'm cooking.
Ulrich and I go on town run. Due to scheduling requirements, we end up needing to buy 3 days' of food and cook his when we get back to camp. We got back in time for me to take another shift at Inspection Point before I attend E8's birthday party.
A tasty dinner is followed by the annual drinking and singing walk. Unfortunately, someone down in the bog who doesn't know what "Mardi Gras" means managed to reschedule Mardi Gras to Monday and audiences are lackluster.
By now the weather is oppressive. It's hot, but the problem is not the heat so much as the humidity. It rains periodically, but the air is so saturated that nothing can cool off. Most years, I wear my mongol hat from time to time, even if only at night. I do not ever consider wearing it this year. Kaz and I make a Russian meal and it's delicious.
In the interest of saving my energy for dinner, I do practically nothing all day until it's time to cook. Sojourner and I cook meat pies and pear pies. The sweat is coming off of us in sheets. The pants I wear are rimed with salt from the sweat being quick-dried by the fire. rickthefightguy and his wife come over for dinner and a good time is had by all. Their Excellencies Carolingia come by for some freshly baked bread.
I'd intended to take a number of Calligraphy classes this Pennsic, but I ended up taking only one. Still, Gilded Lettering turned out to be the way to go. The process was really interesting to learn, and they set up stations with a variety of different calligraphy tools for people to experiment with. I fell in love with quills and look forward to getting one of my own to work with.
I took lunch at Kafe Merhaba. The Middle Eastern cafe has changed hands again, and while the name has remained the same, the atmosphere has changed significantly. I'm saddened that Pennsic has lost its only full service restaurant, but it may be for the best. It was the atmosphere, not the wait staff, that made Your Inner Vagabond the joy that it was. I'm hoping the new owners can get a good deal on pillows on the 50-week town run.
The heat index is so high that Battlefield Activities are canceled, so my Inspection Point shift is likewise canceled. Camp Crook'd Cat is close to melting. I lend a hand with the cooking a bit, burning my hand a little removing the bread from the oven.
I audition for the Known World Players' production of The Merry Wives of Windsor. I apparently nailed what they were looking for for Abraham Slender. Teardown begins.
The idea of packing up my tent before camp is all torn down offends my delicate sensibilities. The truth, however, is that it's more important to take care of your own shit first. Other people can take up the slack on the group stuff, but no one can handle your own the way you can.
As is my custom, I focused on getting the firebox demolished but once that task was done I started doing the heavy lifting of packing our car while rosinavs tended to the camp's children. We did not need the roof bag when coming down but I packed it anyway. When packing for the return trip, I threw everything I could into the roof bag and tidied it up for the final packing of the Storage Unit truck. While we were at the Storage Unit, rosinavs was able to get some of the rest of the car packed by enlisting the help of her small army of tiny movers.
We got on the road significantly earlier than expected. Luckily, we did not know that that would happen when we reserved our hotel room and we had dinner on the patio of a trendy little flatbread pizza restaurant while a lot of our friends sheltered in a rest area from a storm that had bypassed Pennsic and was slamming New York State.
Home again, home again, jiggity jig.