Stuck With It

Dearest Rachel –

It’s one of those things that you used to keep on top of because I couldn’t be trusted to do so myself. And sure enough, I botched it this year, just like you might expect.

In my defense, the window is so small, I could hardly be expected to squeeze through. Although, before imagining me literally trying to leave or enter somewhere by way of an undersized window, and getting stuck, Winnie-the-Pooh style in the process, I should make it clear that I’m talking about a window in time.

But I suppose you may feel free to imagine that sight, regardless

You see, I’ve been checking in from time to time about the room block at the Marriott Coralville – actually, now that I think of it, it’s the Hyatt Regency now. Yes, they’ve changed hotels without actually changing venues; such is life in corporate America, where property changes hands, but everything else (presumably… hopefully) remains the same. Starting from the beginning of the year, the message on the AnimeIowa convention website pertaining to the hotel room block has always been the same: ‘please check back later for further details,’ leaving me waiting for something to happen.

This morning just after 11, I thought to check back yet again, and lo and behold, the message has changed. The room block will be available as of 10 o’clock on Monday the fourth. All right! Time to make my reservation!

Wait… that was an hour ago… oh, crap. Well, let’s just go and check, anyway…

Sure enough, the entire block has been booked already. It shouldn’t really come as any great surprise. You might recall the time you used to spend on the phone trying to get a room; these things would fill up within minutes. Your habit was to call up, and if there wasn’t a spot available, book at a nearby hotel, but keep calling back every so often to see if there hadn’t been a cancellation. We almost always managed a room at the Iowa convention, thanks to your determination, but haven’t been back at either the Hyatt or the Embassy Suite in Rosemont for well over a decade. We’re just not that fast when it comes to getting our phone call in. It’s like trying to deal with a call-in contest on a radio station; it leaves you questioning whether it’s worth the effort.

You always were determined to get us in there, while I was a bit more laid-back about it. And so, as a result, I’m settling for the Drury Inn & Suites halfway down the 9th Street spur leading to the Iowa River Landing. It’s a block or so from where the action is, but they have had shuttles back in the day (and if not, I need to get back to my walking routine, in any event), and the place even includes breakfast, which is something the Marriot never had. So while it might be debatable as to whether I’m better off or not, I have a place, and it has a few more amenities than our usual place would. I’ll make it work; I kind of have to.

I’m kind of stuck with it.

Sure, I’ll probably still take the time to check out the party on the verandah behind the convention center, but honestly? A little distance and quiet might be perfectly okay in the evenings.

I’ve discovered that the old gang is pretty much over and done with; Greg has basically said he’s not coming back (more having to do with his family and health situation than any issues with the convention itself, I should point out), and Mark has all but disappeared from the scene (Nightelf spoke of a falling out, but I didn’t press for details, and I’m not going to). Not sure about whether Nightelf will be there, either; the convention is before RAGBRAI starts, rather than at the tail end, and given the limited vacation time, it may prove to be a question of priorities. It might happen, it might not; I can’t count on it.

If not, it’s going to be that much weirder this year without anyone familiar to interact with. Guess I’m stuck with having to get out and actually talk with strangers.

So I’d better make the best of it.

Wish me luck, honey; I’m definitely going to need it.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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