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Patrick writes...

Gathering Diary - Day 2
Thursday, August 5

With one day left until the convention opened, I awoke already knowing we had a ton of stuff to do. Over breakfast, Karine and I went over our list from the night before to make sure we wouldn't forget anything. The first stop was the bank, to deposit money and get small bills Canadian for making change. Then we headed out in the van to pick up the program booklets from Bureau en Gros, and made a quick stop at Home Depot where I grabbed a can of red spray paint to touch up my Puck boots.

Next, it was off to Rob's place to pick up him and Cindy, along with the big box of Gathering t-shirts and a box full of stuff for the auction. Running just slightly behind schedule at that point, we headed to the airport, where we found Laurean, Liz, and Taylor waiting at the curb. I parked and jumped out, and we played a quick game of human 3-D Tetris to fit all seven people and their bags into the van. I'm sure the chassis was nearly scraping the ground on the way back to Karine's, but we arrived back there just in time to meet up with Kaylee, who had driven in from Ontario.

For lunch, we split up into two cars and went to the same greasy spoon we had visited in February during the live meeting. After satisfying my craving for poutine, we drove back to Karine's and packed as much stuff as we could into the back half of the van and the trunk of Kaylee's car. I also found a few minutes take my boots out in the backyard and gave them both a fresh coat of paint to repair the damage the T.S.A. had done. They were left to dry on the porch, and the eight of us set off as a convoy for the hotel.

At the hotel, I parked in the underground garage - a feat which required some careful automotive maneuvering - and Kaylee parked on the street. Cindy shanghaied a bellhop to help us unload the van, and Shaun had already arrived to help out, so in short order we were able to get everything moved up to the con suite. Kaylee and Karine then took of again in Kaylee's car to fetch more con supplies from Karine's office and pick up the Phoenix Gate Anthologies. In the meanwhile, the rest of us got to work stuffing the con packets. By the time Karine and Kaylee returned, the packet stuffing was mostly done.

It was the height of rush hour when Rob, Karine, Kaylee and I set out again to fetch the art show display boards and a few other remaining items from Karine's place. On my way out, I ran into the Morgans in the lobby and told them where they could find the rest of the staff. By the time I got down to the garage, Rob was already waiting for me. Highway traffic was a real bear for about half the way back, but by the time we had loaded up the panels and the last of my and Karine's bags, the highways were moving at normal speeds again and we zipped back downtown without any problems.

When I got back up to the con suite, I found the remaining members of the staff had arrived. Carol was there, and so was Jen and her husband Alan. I took a few minutes to move my bags out of the con suite to the room I was sharing with Laurean and Kaylee, but after that was done I didn't have a whole lot of time to sit around before it was time to head out in the van once again to retrieve Greg from the airport. The art show display boards were still in the back of the van, which meant we could only take a welcoming party of three and still leave a seat free for Greg. So this time it was Rob, Jen and I who went. Finding our way to the airport turned out to be fairly easy, and we parked and went inside to wait for Greg to emerge from the magic doors at customs.

The wait for Greg took just long enough to cost us for a second half hour's worth of parking, which Rob was kind enough to hop out and pay on our way out of the garage after I realized that I had left the little ticket in the van when I should have brought in with me. We drove back to the hotel - my third trip downtown of the day - and managed to find a parking space in the garage again. Jen called up to the con suite to let them know we were back, so when we walked into the lobby with Greg some of the other staff members had come down to meet us. There was also a group of fans gathered in the lobby, including Kathy, Hudson, Aaron, Mara, Greg Bishansky, and several other people I recognized from previous Gatherings whose names escape me now as I try to write this journal almost a week later.

While Greg got checked in and took his stuff to his room, I went back up to the con suite to see what could be had in the way of snacks, since it was now going on 10 pm and I hadn't eaten since lunch. There was still some pita bread and humus left that we had picked up while grocery shopping for the con suite during the second trip back to Karine's, so I was able to find enough to tide me over until the late dinner we'd had planned with Greg.

I hope there weren't too many hard feelings about the dinner plans on Thursday night, but apparently there had been some miscommunications that kept some of the fans waiting around downstairs in expectation of joining us. In the end, it seemed like there were three times as many people wanting to go than the restaurant Karine had planned to take us to could even seat, so we had to scale it back to current and future staff only.

Of course, in traditional Gathering last minute change of plans style, the restaurant we had intended to go to had just closed their kitchen a few minutes before we got there. So instead we ended up at another restaurant across the way, where instead of crepes I had a three-cheese pizza. By the time dinner was over and we had made our way back to the hotel, most of us were nearly dead on our feet. So we called it a day, and made plans for the staff to meet in the con suite at 9 am for breakfast and a strategy meeting for the first day of the actual convention.

Greg responds...

Yeah, any experienced con-staffer knows that Greg must eat when he gets to town.

Response recorded on April 20, 2006