This has to be one of the more eventful segments of my entire life. The day I am scheduled to leave, I have an eye issue. I have a floater in my left eye the size of… well, make a stop sign of your hand and hold it at arm’s length. The entire size of your hand is a spiderweb across the focus spot of my eye. Troubling!
A few calls to my eye doctor back home sent me to someone local to check it out. $150 and the flash blindness that goes with eye dilation later, it isn’t serious but rather something that comes with age. It will go away over time.
Next, I decided to stop and visit my friend, Bruce Graw, in Kettering, OH and his family a bit more as it is on the way. While I’m sleeping in my trailer on the edge of his lawn, the driver of a car on a perpendicular street has a medical emergency. At ludicrous speed, he rams a large pickup (spins it around 110 degrees, totaling it), The runaway car flips over in mid-air and hits an SUV (and shoves it out of the way), lands on its roof, and slides to a stop 14” from my trailer. His headlight assembly flies out of his car and slams against the side of my trailer putting a fist-sized dent in the side. Had either pickup or SUV not been there, the runaway car would have torn my trailer in half. NOTE: the driver was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
OK, that’s two bad things, and according to sayings they come in threes. On the way to Indianapolis from the Dayton area, I get a flat in a tire I’d planned on replacing when I get home. On the surface of things, this wouldn’t seem too bad, BUT, I have to unhook the trailer and swap the tire on the truck. Pickups are NOT built for serviceability. I’m a seasoned mechanic and it took me 90 minutes to get the tire off and the spare put on. $500 and two and a half hours after that, I had new tires on the back of my truck. The money didn’t bother me, but the time did as it meant I missed my arrival at the Indy RV park. But I was able to get a late arrival and all was good.
OK, There were many goods and bads to GC this year. I’ll start with the bad and get those out of the way.
- They moved the marshaling yard with effectively no notice. The marshaling yard is where vendors go to get in a queue to be able to drive in and offload their stuff. We had to drive around to find it. Oh, and they haven’t solved any problems of the past yet. 1hr sitting around waiting for them to let us in. 30 minutes to load in, get our badges, and set up.
- There is a street between the convention center and Colt’s stadium. Bruce and I have always used this as a place to drop off each day (short walk to the back door), and to load out (and avoid the dreaded Marshaling Yard on the return). The city had blocked this off during the convention. (Grrrr) Longer walks in and out as well as marshalling yard OUT took 2+ hours just to get to the same location we normally pack out!
- I vended next to a young lady who poached people I was talking to. This is extremely rude. It didn’t happen to just me. Several other vendors around her said the same thing. And on the final day she used a pitch that I think is just wrong (and other vendors) about “helping me by buying books so I don’t have to carry them to my car” or something like that.
- I didn’t reach my goal of having record sales (but did respectably). I suspect I might have reached record sales if it weren’t for #3 above.
- Really getting homesick… this trip seems interminable.
Now the good things that happened.
- I had a single record sale of 17 books. It started out normal enough. He asked about one book. I told him and he said “I’ll take that one.” Everytime he asked me about a book or a series the answer was the same. We got up to 9 books and he started to check out. I’d already run the sale when he said… “Wait, you didn’t tell me about this one.” Eight more books joined the pile. This is the single largest sale I’ve had, ever!
- Great to see all of my fans! In fact, Michael (last name withheld because I don’t have permission) 3D printed me a parabola slinky. It’s a good deal of fun. Wonder how the cats will react to it back home. Special shout out to Beth, a fan who got married since our last meeting.
- While we didn’t reach our record sales, we did quite nicely.
- Got to mingle with all of my author friends.