Windycon XXXI was held over the weekend of November 12-14, 2004 at the Wyndham O'Hare in Rosemont, Illinois, one of the western suburbs of Chicago. This Wyndham had been a Raddison right up to the week before the convention, so there were some problems related to the transition between companies. For instance, we weren't able to receive our perks as a member of the Wyndham By Request club, because they couldn't connect our reservation with our membership.
We arrived on Friday morning after staying the previous night at a cheaper motel in the area. We located the dealers' room and were able to start loading in. This hotel has a big loading dock door that opens right into the dealers' room, so the load-in process was relatively trouble-free. However, my husband was having trouble with his old back injury, so I ended up having to do almost all the loading in. That slowed things down noticeably, so we were still setting up when the doors opened to let in the general con membership for shopping.
Once we got things set up, I went down to the art show and got my art set up. I also got our personal belongings into our sleeping room.
At 5PM it was time for my first panel, "Hybrids." We talked about various possibilities for enhancing humanity, from the genetic to the cybernetic, and the possible ramifications. We all agreed that there were definite perils to such changes, ranging from plagues to prejudice.
After my panel, I headed back to the dealers' room to help close. Then we went over to the green room, but they were closing for the day. So we went down to the pool, which was supposed to have a hot tub. We were really looking forward to soaking out the accumulated aches and pains of load-in. However, the hot tub had apparently been taken out and its area consolidated into the pool, because we could see the holes where the jets had once been. We did go sit in the sauna for a while, and followed it up with a quick dip in the pool, but it wasn't quite like time in a real hot tub.
Afterward we ate the supper we'd brought with us. Then we made the rounds of the parties. Windycon has always been a good place for parties, and we visited a number of them, including the mad scientists of General Technics. But we were both tired, so we ended up cutting it short before the MSFFA party opened and just headed back up to our room for bed.
On Saturday we got up and headed down to the green room to catch some breakfast. Then we headed over to the dealers' room and got our tables opened. I also took a look around the room to see what else was being offered for sale.
Sales were rather slow, but reasonably steady. I went to the con suite a few times and got munchies for us.
At 3PM I had my second panel, "Christian Imagery in SF Art." We looked at it from both the inspirational and the art-historical aspects, and at times the discussion got just a little heated. However, the moderator was able to keep things civil in spite of some very different understandings of the propriety of various uses of Christian symbols and motifs in art that was not directly religious in nature.
At 4PM I had my autographing session. It was being held in the atrium right in front of the dealers' room, so we got plenty of traffic. I had brought printouts of several of my online stories, but everyone who actually came to me wanted drawings in their sketchbooks. I did some quick, loose figures for them, including cat-people and a musketeerish looking guy with a long cape and a fancy plumed hat.
Afterward I went back into the dealers' room to help with the last hour before the dealers' room closed. We got things closed and were actually able to get down to the green room before it closed and did a little visiting with some people there.
After that we had supper and decided to rest for a while before the parties started, since we were both very tired. While we were resting, the fire alarm went off. We were on the second floor, so my husband had to struggle down the stairs, further messing up his aching back and legs. When we got to the lobby, we discovered that it was a false alarm. We were extremely annoyed, and by the time we got back up to the room, we were thinking up things to do with the malefactor who had set it off.
We rested for a while longer before the parties. I wasn't sure whether we'd even be able to go, but my husband decided that we could manage a few, particularly ones related to cons we might want to sell at. We went to the Duckon party and the one for the Chicago in 2008 Worldcon bid, where we got some more informative responses about secure parking for vans than we had gotten earlier from some people with an attitude that there were plenty more potential dealers where we came from. We also went to the Secret Librarians of Fandom party, but by then my husband was getting realy bad off, so we decided to cut it short and go to bed for the night.
Sunday we got up and got our personal belongings out of our sleeping room. Then we headed down to the green room for breakfast, where I got to talking with Michael Z. Williamson and several other people about the symbolism of severe weather in fiction.
At 10 AM I had my reading, so my husband had to go open our dealers' tables by himself. However, I didn't have anyone show up for my reading, so after about twenty minutes I called it quits and headed back to the dealers' room to help. Sales were frustratingly slow, especially since we had a fair amount of expenses left to make.
At noon I went over to the art show, only to discover that not one single piece of my art had sold. Disappointed, I packed it up and headed back to the dealers' room, where we began to pack up so that we'd be ready to load out the moment the loading dock doors opened. We actually got done packing a little early, mostly because our stock has gone down some after several very large conventions and no time to restock.
We were able to secure a couple of volunteers to help get things loaded out, so my husband was able to do nothing but supervise. That really took a lot of strain off his injured back, but he was still so exhausted and miserable that I ended up doing all the driving back home.
Copyright 2012 by Leigh Kimmel
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Last updated October 21, 2012.