ConGlomeration 2016

ConGlomeration is Louisville's annual science fiction convention. This year it was held over the weekend of April 8-10, 2016 at the Triple Crown Convention Center and the Ramada.

Because load-in starts so early on Friday morning, we went down on Thursday to get settled into our hotel. It had turned cold and wet, so we had to make the drive through rain with either sleet or fine hail so heavy it was blowing across the road in front of us. When we stopped at the first rest stop on I-74, we discovered that we'd forgotten to move the handicap hangtag from the car to the van. Since it was too late by that point to go back home and retrieve it, we decided we'd simply have to do without it.

We had been planning to go up to Vitamin World first and get some supplements, but when I went on the Internet to double, check the directions, I discovered the store had closed sometime in the past year. So we just stopped at Sam's Club to get gas, then headed over to the hotel. We had a really nice room, so big it had one inside door onto the corridor and a second, outside door that opened onto the parking lot. I was quite happy to be able to spread out our belongings and really settle in for the night.

After supper, we decided to head over to the convention center to take a look at our setup. We didn't really expect to be able to load in or do any setup, but we wanted to take a look at things and get a feel for what we'd have to work with. The layout looked different from what we'd been used to, which was a source of considerable concern for us.

Finally we went back to the hotel to settle in for the evening. I made a bunch of notes on a story I wanted to rewrite, feeling my way through the various possibilities. Then we turned in for the night, since we knew we'd have an early morning the next day.

On Friday we got up early and had breakfast. Then we headed over to the convention center to load in. We were so early that the doors weren't open, so I pulled out a notebook and made some more notes on a story in progress.

Once the doors did open, I was dealing with ongoing sleet and rain, which made things miserable. I got kidded about having brought the cold weather south with me.

On a more serious note, the load-in took so long that I ended up famishing with hunger because of delaying lunch. I bent over to pick something up and when I stood up, I got sick and dizzy, to the point I simply had to stop and eat my lunch before I collapsed. It was yet another reminder that I'm just not as young as I used to be, and can't simply motor through on willpower any more.

Once we got things set up, we did have a few sales. I got to talk with some friends I hadn't seen since the previous ConGlomeration.

After the dealers' room closed for the evening, we headed over to the con suite. They had some good food, and I ate a fair amount. It did chase away the last of the icky shaky feeling that had been plaguing me all evening.

However, there was no sign of any parties, so after a while we decided to just head back to the hotel and take it easy for the rest of the night. I made a bunch more notes, trying to clarify some stuff that I'd worked out in my mind while I was lugging things in.

On Saturday we got up and had the hotel's complimentary breakfast. Then we headed over to the convention center, where we dropped by the con suite for second breakfast before getting our tables open for the day.

Sales continued to be slow. I saw a couple of good friends I'd known since the days of Rivercon, and was astonished at how much trouble both of them were having just getting around the dealers' room. It's an unpleasant reminder that it's been almost twenty years since that first Rivercon, and none of us are getting any younger.

After the dealers' room closed for the night, we headed over to the con suite to eat supper. We'd been hoping there'd be some parties, but there were no flyers anywhere we looked. So we headed back to the hotel and I made a few more notes on my rewrite plans.

On Sunday we got up and had breakfast. Then we had to get our stuff out of the room and into the van. We had a moment of absolutely terror when my husband got into the van and I realized his lanyard had nothing on it. I ran back in to search, and fortunately I was able to find the missing badge right by the front desk. It would've been very miserable if we'd had to purchase a replacement for the very last day.

With the badge found, we were able to go to the con suite for second breakfast and visit with some of our friends. Then we headed over to the dealers' room and got our tables opened for business.

We did get a few large sales, but a lot of our time was spent just standing around and waiting. So we decided to start packing right after lunch in order to have a reasonable chance of getting out on time. At least we had a reasonable number of helpers to get things carried out, so we were able to get the van loaded in good time. We even were able to make one final visit to the con suite to grab some munchies before hitting the road back home.

However, our luck didn't last. We weren't even out of the Louisville area before we hit a huge backup. Apparently there'd been an accident, and in the backup I saw a pickup rear-end another car. By the time we threaded our way through that mess, it was late. We got back home so late that there really wasn't any time left to do anything except carry in our personal belongings.

Copyright 2017 by Leigh Kimmel

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Last updated December 23, 2017.