This is where it starts to get a little blurry...
Thursday - con opens at noon. Our department head gets on to my shit list pretty early by a) ordering 40 pieces of grid* for a Wednesday night party that needs to be picked up in the morning. That’s two cartloads, as we only have one cart that can carry them. And b) not giving us the work order for the 60-some-off grid configurations that need to be in public areas until 4:30 PM, several hours after the con begins - which means that we have hallways full of people. I make the executive decision that no grid gets moved until after 6:30 when the opening night event at the Adler Planetarium has siphoned off many attendees.
*”Grid” are metal panels that look like those wire grid panels that you use to build shelves (and bunny cages), except that they are 7ft tall and maybe 3 ft wide. They were also our single most PITA thing to deal with at the con. Since Hyatt rules prohibit attaching anything to walls, even with blue tape, anyone having a room party who wants to hang stuff up has to have grid delivered and picked up in the morning. This became an increasing problem as the weekend went on
I had left a sad and pathetic message on my boss’s VM late Wednesday night about the toilet situation. I was pretty sure that what it simply needed was proper tools to go up the back and pop out the doorknob and then a new wax ring before re-seating the toilet and reconnecting everything. He texted me the info (yay for “knowing a guy who knows a guy” - not expecting a discount but knowing I will not be ripped off). Houseguest gets that and my keys and told to arrange for it to be fixed. Appointment scheduled for Friday between 10-2.
The continuing lack of volunteers was becoming a HUGE problem. We had 2 guys assigned to us to drive trucks, and since one was also in charge of teching the Hugo Awards we really couldn’t get him to do more, and we had had to fire our only other staff member so we were utterly dependent on gopher help and it just wasn’t coming. That was when Denny appeared. Denny was Ken (the late Logistics head)’s best friend of 30 years so he got to spend the week grieving and making funeral arrangements. He turned up early on Wednesday, and we were happy to have him. He got to set his own hours and do what he felt capable of, but it was wonderful to have another competent body to be able to say “go and handle this” and know that it would be done.
Unfortunately, with a Department head with 2 bad ankles and a bad knee, and Seconds with severe asthma and Parkinson’s, we really weren’t up for the heavy lifting ourselves. But without gophers, what were we to do? I got a radio call from lisa saying “No gophers showed up so Denny and I are moving the couch from opening ceremonies”, and my response was “The FUCK you are!!! Stop right now and I’ll get you some help!!”. I went into the Green Room across the hallway and managed to find a couple of bodies to help get the job done. This is when what we deemed our 3 ‘SuperGophers’ began to show their quality. Ross, Steffi, and Codi became our saviors. They took to checking in with us whenever they had a free moment - partly because they knew we were swamped, but also because we knew how to manage our crews. We made them take breaks, stop to eat, and did everything we could to keep them from over-working. As I put it “Mommy says that if I break my Gophers I can’t have new ones!”.
However, the guy we fired? He got taken on my the Ops department where the head kept telling us how “he’s having a rough time” because his girlfriend broke up with him. Too bad - Denny’s best friend is DEAD and HE’S HERE!!!. Pretty sure that this jerk was yanking our chain when Friday afternoon we asked where he had stored some boxes that we have several witnesses were handed to him and he first claimed that he hadn’t been there and then claimed not to remember where he put them. Which meant that 3 people spent 2 hours searching all the storage spaces for the Art Show Showcase books. I’m pretty pissed off at the Ops guy who took his side over ours, especially as I had counted him as a friend. But that was that and we had to keep going. the programs were located, and Lisa and I moved grid until 9-something at night, and then managed to stop in to a few parties for an hour or so before going back to the room to crash. We hurt too much to sleep.
Friday: After literally moaning in pain in the shower as I tried to stretch, we were back in the office at 8. As it looked to be a bit more quiet - we had very few grid pickups, and any last-minute emergencies had already happened, so I forcibly pried Lisa’s radio from her hands and told her that she wasn’t getting it back for at least 3 hours until she had a nap. It was quiet enough that I actually managed to get to Seanan McGuire’s reading. Wearing my cosplay of Dr. Abby from the FEED books, I wandered around looking for the right room, and when I walked up to a group of waiting people - all of whom looked at me and laughed - so I knew I was in the right place. I sat on the end of the row in case I needed to take a radio call, but the only one I had was before the reading started. Seanan squeed when she saw me and made me stand up and show everyone, so I count that as a success!
Enjoyed the reading but left right afterwards to go back to the office. Lisa turned up shortly after that, looking much better after food, quiet, and a nap. The rest of the day we alternated between staffing the office and handling delivery runs. Got word around 2 that the plumbing repair was pretty much exactly what I had thought and cost about what I had told my houseguest it would, and got my keys back. Got a little time in the dealers room where I poured out my woes to a few friends gracious enough to let me vent for a while. Evening grid runs were again understaffed but accomplished thanks to our SuperGophers, but it was becoming apparent that room party planners were all flakes and wanted stuff delivered at their convenience. Yeah - no. And the Party Department head was shit-faced drunk at 6PM. Eventually we got our heads together with the 2 other Parties people and decided that no more grid was going out that night and that for the rest of the con party grid runs were going to start at 5:30 and they were to have people in their rooms from then until they got their deliveries. By that point I was perfectly happy to simply say “NO” to everyone and that was that.
Then there was a funny - we went down the freight elevator to Riverside level to go make a grid count as we were looking like we were going to run short. That meant that we had to walk the roped-off walk through the Dealers room to get to the exhibit hall. Someone tried to stop us. *giggles* Seriously, I don’t mind being challenged - that’s their job. But once we’ve shown you all-access ribbons and Hyatt security photo-badges, we’re done. You do not chase the cranky tired women down so you can explain how important you are. Lisa just waved him off and kep going, while he spluttered about the thousands of dollars worth of merchandise he had on his racks. I turned and sweetly asked through my teeth “And how do you think those GOT there?” before turning away and, you know, going to do my job. Again, managed to drop in to maybe 3 parties for a drink and a chat and to bed by 10.
In our next installment:
How much exactly is “half a metric fuckton” (and is it gross or tare), Robots attack the Hugo awards, and we acquire a staff