Monday, August 10, 2009

RID Convention

I had a great time! One of my co-workers picked me up at my house Saturday morning and we met the other two co-workers at another house. We left there at about 10:30am, and pulled up in front of our hotel in Philadelphia at about 12:30pm. We were able to check in, even though check-in time is posted as 3pm. (This is my experience with conventions: hotels know when they are hosting one, so they generally try to have everything ready in time for conventioneers who show up early.) It took us a fair bit of doing to get up to our room- the elevators only worked if you inserted your card key into a slot in the elevator, and two of our keys didn't work! We went up, we went down, but we never hit our floor, fifteen. It was very frustrating. Of course, it took us that long for it to dawn on us that, hey, maybe the keys weren't actually working. Once we figured that out, and got new keys, we were able to find our room and get in just fine.

I had every intention of going to a workshop that afternoon, I really did. But my three coworkers were talking about going sightseeing, and, even though I've been to Philly several times before (it isn't that far from north Jersey), I blew off the workshop and went sightseeing! We went to the Art Museum, but didn't go in. The museum is famous for its front steps- Rocky Balboa ran up them during a sequence in Rocky. There's even a bronze statue of Rocky waving his hands in the air at the base of the steps. People line up to get their pictures taken with Rocky. (I did not stand in line; I just took a picture with two random dudes in it.) We also saw a wedding party getting their pictures taken in front of the museum. It's really quite pretty, and I could see why they'd choose that. (Heck, when Darrel and I went to London, we saw a wedding party getting pictures taken at the Tower of London! Yeah, nothing like starting out your married life at a place notorious for its executions.)

We also went and wandered around a bit near Independence Hall, and we went inside the new structure and saw the Liberty Bell. Two of my coworkers had never seen it before.

We ate most meals while in Philly at Reading Terminal Market, an indoor marketplace with all kinds of eateries. They were pretty cheap, too!

Weird thing that happened Saturday night: at 1:41am (yes, I blearily looked at the clock), someone knocked on the door. W got up and went to the door and looked through the peephole. "Who is it?" she snapped.

"Room service," came the reply.

"We didn't order room service. Go away!" W snapped. The thought blearily crossed my mind that maybe we should call the front desk and tell them, but we didn't. Yes, I know, stupid. The next morning, W went to the front desk and told them.

Room service ends at 10pm.

Apparently this is part of a scam- people sneak into the hotel and try to break into rooms this way. Scary, and I keep trying to reassure myself that if I were the one to go to the door, no way I would have opened it, but I'm honestly not sure. W gave a description of the guy, and they do have security cameras, but I really don't expect them to find him. W told the front desk we were scared: "He knows there's women in the room now, what if he comes back? We want more security on our floor." They did provide that- I saw the guys in uniforms wandering around.

As for how did he get up to our floor in the first place, when you can only work the elevator if you have a key? I bet he just wandered on an elevator with someone else who had a key. I saw plenty of people doing that.

Sunday, we were up early and at our first workshop at 8:30am. We had a lunch break 11am-12pm, and then back into the same workshop until 2:30pm. Break again, then workshop 4:30pm-6pm.

Monday, there was a business meeting 8-12, which I had no intention of going to, so I met my college friend, G, for brunch. He picked me up on the corner nearest the hotel and we headed for a diner nearby. The diner turned out to be closed, like grass growing through the broken pavement and vines creeping up the sides of the building closed, so we ended up at a Friday's for lunch, at 11am. It was good to see him; we don't get to hang out nearly often enough. Back to the hotel for workshop 2-5pm, then dinner at Maggliano's, across the street from the hotel.

I bought a shirt for Frank from one of the exhibitors- I got it specially made for him. It says his name in fingerspelling on the front, and has a soccer ball, basketball, and a football picture under his name. On the back, it has the manual alphabet. :) It's a bit big for him, but hey, he'll grow. ;)

Tuesday, another business meeting 8-12 (how can business take up eight solid hours???), so coworker P1 and I went sightseeing while W and P2 stayed at the hotel to relax for a while. P1 and I walked towards Independence Hall and split up there- she went to the Jewish Museum and then back to the Art Museum, this time to go inside, while I went to the relatively new Constituion Center. It's a museum devoted solely to the Constituion. I spent about two hours there, and could have spent longer! It is a history geek's fantasy come to life, seriously. I bought Darrel a shot glass there, and some post cards for one of my loyal readers. *waves at Deb* I wandered around that area a bit, and headed back to the hotel for workshops 2-5pm, and 6:30-8pm.

Wednesday was our last day. We were up early and packed, and in our final workshop at 8:30am. When we broke for lunch at 11am, we ran back to the hotel, got a luggage cart, and handed it all over to the bellhop and we checked out. The bellhop labeled it for us and put it somewhere it'd all be safe. We ran to Reading Market, grabbed something quick, and ran back to the workshop, which finished at 2:30pm. After that, we went back to Reading Market again to wander around a bit more, then back to the hotel, got P2's car, loaded it up, and left at 3:15pm. Dropped off P1 at her house, then drove to P2's house, where W and I got W's car. W then drove me back to my house and headed west to her house. I walked in the door at 6:15pm. Frank smiled at me. "Hi, Mommy!" he said. "Dragontales is on!" I can see he was traumatized by my absence.

Before we'd left on Saturday, Darrel had commented to me, "Driving down and rooming with three coworkers? This could end really well or really badly." I am pleased to say that it ended really well- we got along great the whole time! We were even polite when we saw Toxic Former Coworker during a few of the workshops.

I'm looking forward to the Region 1 convention in Albany next summer, and the national convention in 2011 in Atlanta. :)

Pictures will, of course, be forthcoming. We are getting a new computer, and I am waiting for the new computer before I upload all my new pictures. Hopefully Darrel will have time soon to put it all together and set it up!

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