Tuesday, November 1, 2011

(Fall-in! 2011) The Good, the Bad, and the Snowy

After ten long years, The Viscount has returned to Fall-in! Well, I haven't returned exactly, since back in 2001 it was in Gettysburg. I came down this time with my wife and kids, as well as our friend Molly and her little guy. We also decided to use the Lancaster Host's accomodations. I figured the extra $10-15 versus The Continental would more than pay for the lack of playing Frogger across US 30.

We arrived Friday at Noon, and I jumped out of the car to jump into a Gnome Wars, while the ladies took the kids shopping at the outlet. I'll stick to a separate post for Gnome Wars, so I'll focus on the hotel and the non-gnome items in general.

After the game, I went to check in and ask for the first of three requests over the course of teh night for a fridge. The first two girls were indifferent, but finally a third girl at the front desk *gasp* picked up a walkie talkie, talked to maintenance and I had said fridge in under five minutes.

The room at the Host was nice and roomy. The only initial issue we had was the HVAC, which alternated to blast furnance, then switched on the AC to cool it off.

I managed to swing down to a ghost town of a dealer's hall. I was so taken aback by the tranquility there, I finally realized I had forgotten my shopping list in the room! A number of regulars for other HMGS cons didn't make the trip, so a whole corner of the Expo Center was cordonned off. Nothing made me drool, with the exception of the Transylvania Castle that Old Glory was raffling off. I drooled all over it, even if it was 15mm.

Friday evening was spent wandering around the con, giving advice to the Gnome Wars players, and toting around my two daughters. When one would start getting bored/fussy, I'd run back to the room and switch kids. Not productive for gaming, but then the ladies only had two hellions to deal with.

Saturday morning, I grabbed a banana and some cereal bars and headed downstairs to set up my "Battle of Yellowstone" game. The ballroom was light (as it should be). My game was a glorious affair with only a few minor hiccups, I encountered this outside:

The snow did drive away a number of day-trippers, although Mike Lung and his son returned to the con after getting just a Friday pass and driving home to find his son's soccer game was cancelled. Now that's dedication (and the Virginia roads were obviously better than here in PA).

My late afternoon was babysitting the kids so the ladies could get their shopping done before dinner. No one died, and only one failed their nap check.

Saturday evening was an hour in the KidsZone at the Host, a room full of plastic coated foam items that the kids could run, crawl, and fall on without getting hurt. I then ran down to the gnome joust to (a) get royally trounced (b) find out the lens on my camera was busted and (c) have the girls come down to tell me the bathroom had flooded and we were moving. Good news, it was right next door. Bad news, the room hadn't been cleaned properly, so another call to the front desk.

By the time this all resolved I was sent on a fast food run. The roads weren't bad and traffic was light, but all the food joints on 30 had closed early! Even the Wawa was running on with one employee and no deli! I snagged a sack o' food at Wendy's and made it back. I managed to escape the room to put stuff back in the car and encountered Jim Stanton in the bar. Before I could even order a beer, Molly came down to get ice since my littlest one, Amelia, dropped the hotel room phone on her food AND bumped her head on something else.

After quadruple-checking back at the realm of chaos, er the room. I ran back to the bar and ended up closing the bar with Jim, Lon from Brigade, and "The Canadians".

Sunday was completely dead. I snuck down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast (nice and efficient) and grabbed by ATKM and some WWI toy soldiers to the free flea market. $20 for an hour and a half of work isn't too bad, particulary since I forgotted the post-its in the room. The ATKM I have is still available sans Indians for $100 plus shipping.

The hotel did comp us a night for the heat/flooding issue, and the convenience of having the kids on site was a tiny hinderance to me. The Continental isn't anything special, but we've never had a problem in the five years we've used them for the Lancaster cons.

The con attendance was kind of light, although with the economy, the weekend, and the snow Distelfink was still jammed pack. Next year I still get Cold Wars as my "guys' weekend" and the ladies wish to try the family excursion again for Fall-In! Maybe we'll take an extra day or two and hit some touristy stuff. I'm hoping for the Strausburg Railroad and the PA Railroad Museum.

UPDATE: Just found out that the Host did NOT take off Saturday's room charges. Apparently their computer systems have been down since Sunday night. The night manager told to to call late tomorrow morning to get things straightened out. Good thing we kept all our paperwork.

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