Made it to Reston and Dulles okay, though my phone's GPS went nuts and couldn't find any of the Ingress portals at IAD. Welp. Went through normal TSA screening this time, but I've been through it enough that's it's no big deal any more; got preboarding and an extra seat from Southwest, which rocked, and I slept all the way to Chicago. Shot up three portals at Midway while waiting to change planes despite hideous drift, and then it was snooze time again until we landed at the Humphrey Terminal, where I didn't have to wait too long until the Doubletree's shuttle showed up. It was too early to check in, so I stashed my bags and wandered around saying hi to staff people after I got back from having an excessively carby lunch at Eddington's. When it was time to check in, I discovered that USAA had screwed me by putting a $200 hold on the Suntrust check I'd deposited with them - and wouldn't remove the hold for hell or high water, despite SunTrust volunteering to confirm the check. Fucking USAA. Fortunately I still had enough available balance between USAA and the Emerald Card to cover the deposit on the room, which basically amounted to prepayment. I had about $20 left on the Emerald Card after that; fortunately, I got $60 from Amazon that weekend or I would have been fucked, even with James' friend Patty paying me her share of the room cost in cash.
Once I got the room keys, I unpacked my bags - and discovered that I'd forgotten to pack my metformin and glipizide. Since I take 5 of the former and 4 of the latter daily, I hadn't tried to stuff the pills into the already full 7-day pill holder; instead, I'd just planned to pack the bottles of pills with me. Oops. Talked to stuckintraffikabout it and he said he'd run me over to the VA Friday after stuff got set up. After that, I basically hung out and said hello to people. I missed Jayson's St. Crispin's Day speech* at the staff & guest mixer, but that was okay; it wasn't for me anyway. :)
Actually went to bed at a semi-reasonable hour.
Friday was an amusing flashback to the early days of Detour; I began it by stuffing a protein bar in my face and washing it down with water while on my way down to Registration, where I'd signed up for a 9-1 shift that turned into an 8-1 shift because I was early and work needed doing. Wandering ensued, and I wound up going to the VA in tatsmaru and Patrick's Kia Soul, which was a sweet little ride and very reminiscent of the dear departed Toaster, Surprisingly, getting the necessary drugs from the Minneapolis VA was quick and easy; a brief interview with a nurse and a pharmacist, a fish sandwich in the cafeteria, and boom! All done! I flipped some portals in front of the VAMC and headed back to the Doubletree before rush hour...or maybe it was, after DC what passes for rush hour in the Twin Cities is almost laughable, at least down on the Crosstown. I made it back in time to return the Soul to its prime parking between the towers and return the keys to Kelly before heading off to the ATC room party to smof a bit with John and Lauren and enjoy opening ceremonies on the room's TV. Unfortunately I got bored during staff announcements and missed Jayson's proposal to Megan. Welp.
Saturday was busy. Got up, showered, and ate a protein bar for breakfast before doing my Tax Tips for Otaku panel. There really wasn't much to talk about, since all the good writeoffs are on Schedule A, but I had enough war stories from the tax mines to keep people entertained. Since there had been a change in Volunteers' policy and panels didn't count towards volunteer hours any more, I followed the panel with a badger shift from 11-3 and embarrassed myself by forgetting that I was on until 3, not 2. Oops. Thanks to miscommunication, I wound up eating dinner alone at BK instead of at DQ with jtrainor, but I joined him and dejana there for dessert (cheese curds and a pina colada smoothie) which probably thanks to all the walking didn't affect my BG. Did the Postwar Politics panel solo, entertained & informed a decent crowd, then hung out for a bit with folks before going to bed at a decent hour, since I wanted to do the buffet breakfast with James in the morning.
Unfortunately, thanks to scheduling imbecility on the part of the Gaming department head, that didn't happen. I dawdled over breakfast and went over to Plaza 4 for the noon panel on post-con depression, which went very well, and then went back over to Registration to get Caitlin and myself signed up for next year. This done, I caught a little of Sword Art Online and then did the Diet and Diabetes panel with gohanvox. It went even better than last year and had a larger audience. Closing ceremonies were good, but unfortunately they were somewhat ruined for me by James getting canned from Gaming (after 12 years!) for bullshit "reasons". I stuck around for the staff dinner, and then Alan was kind enough to run me over to the Thunderbird, where despite some desperate financial footwork, I needed his help to cover the room for Sunday night.
Monday morning I packed up and headed over to Chez stuckintraffik with my stuff for the afterparty; crashing in their basement was going to be Plan A for getting through Monday night, but by the time the afterparty was done it was obvious Kale and Lauren (and quite possibly Vi and Kenzie as well) were too tired to have non-family people around, so we fell back on Plan B - Kale ferried me and my bags back to the T-bird after finding a cheap rate online, and I crashed fairly early after ordering chicken in from Domino's, but not before writing him a check to cover what he'd spent on my room, as I had for Alan.
Tuesday I finally got to meet up with Kendra, who had been engaged in a mano-a-mano struggle with Expedia, and we agreed that I really needed to avoid the Doubletree's bullshit next year and just commute from the Thunderbird. That means I'll have to rent wheels, but after a few months in Vegas I should be able to manage getting a credit card for that purpose. The flight back to Dulles via Denver was uneventful, GPS problems prevented me from hacking anything at DIA, and I arrived an hour early at Dulles because I'd misread the itinerary. *facepalm* That was okay; Mark and I used the time to flip some portals in southwest Reston before I headed home, so it was all good.
As usual, I didn't get to see or spend time with all the people I would have liked to. qob and angeljuliet couldn't make it, I did see belindabird, bam2, rinnytintinny, and willow_one in the halls but didn't have time to do more than say "Hi!", and of course since most of my friends are on staff they're busy when I'm free and vice versa. Some of that is made up for at the afterparty, but not everyone makes it to the afterparty (dejana and redmartel were particularly missed) and that's just the way it is. Didn't get to see as many of Phade's AMV paels as I would have liked, but at least I got to hang out with him some, which is a plus. Didn't go into either the dealers' room or artists' alley this year because I was pretty close to broke and didn't need the temptation, and didn't spend a lot of time at either of the raves. Still, for all the regrets and missed opportunities, it was a good convention; kudos to Jayson and the staff for continuing the tradition.
*Kale started this when he was Chairman and it has become a tradition.