I arrived in Teaneck Thursday evening. Candle lighting on Friday was at 4, so we mainly cooked. Friday night my cousin and husband went to a birthday party after dinner. I played Puerto Rico, which I gave them, with their kids. They barely remembered having played in Jerusalem a few years ago, so I taught the game and helped them a bit with strategy, because after I left they’d be playing on their own. They did pretty well, Debra took an early hospice, and Michael was doing well and had a lot of points. I ended up winning by 3 points.
Sunday I met Jon at Newark for the flight to Kansas City. A very small plane and a small airport where we were met by Bill and Shirley. Their house is big; we each got a bedroom with bath. They also have a mostly well-behaved, beautiful large puppy dog, Musi, that doesn’t really bark. But does sniff people a lot. Their Christmas tree, which is set up all year, has themed decorations including Americana, comics and Bible stories.
Jon and I usually participate in the bgg Secret Santa, where you are assigned someone to give a game to, and receive a game from someone. Jon had said he wasn’t going to this year because he was getting enough games, but ended up signing up. He got someone in Singapore. After having gotten someone in Australia one year, I did U.S. only. The assignments came out the Friday before the con, so one of the things we did on Sunday was select and order games. I was going to send Carson City which I like but ended up sending Navigador, which is a better game. My target is in Sebastopol, relatively close to Menlo Park.
I added a note to my Secret Santa that they could ship the game to me at the hotel instead of sending to Israel. Jon added a note to his that they could contact me for suggestions. His Secret Santa did contact me, but when I asked Jon he had no info beyond his wishlist. But I wrote back that they could ship to the hotel, and to let me know which games. Jon wanted to be surprised, but didn’t want to purchase something he was receiving, so we were supposed to stop him from buying those games. His Secret Santa wrote me back that he was shipping to the hotel, but didn’t say which games.
Bill and Shirley were being supportively kosher and had bought enough utensils to cook for us. Monday we hung around a bit setting up new phones and planning food. Then we shopped, did some sightseeing, and got the rental car for the trip. I went along to be listed as a third driver, but at $9 a day for a few hours of driving wasn’t worth it. Shirley could drive, but Bill ended up driving the whole trip down. I went with Bill to drop off something at a friend’s place and to pick up some stuff from his office; I ended up cleaning up which I enjoy doing in offices that need it, and also got a demo of his company’s product.
We ended up leaving at 9 instead of 8 on Tuesday morning. They had to drop the dog off at doggie day care, and we had a lot of food which took a while to fit into the car. Jon wanted to arrive at the con by 6 to help pack welcome bags, where the social card-matching game called Spare Squares which he designed for all attendees to play was being distributed. So he didn’t let us stop for lunch, we had sandwiches in the car.
We did manage to stop for breaks several times, including to take pictures after crossing into Oklahoma and Texas. We listened to a few NPR podcasts and took pictures. I expected the land to be flat and boring, but it’s scenic with a lot of trees with colorful autumn leaves.
We hit a lot of traffic in Dallas, and had problems connecting to get GPS directions; once we got them I wrote them down just in case. It was also very warm, 79 degrees, so Shirley and I were discussing how we only had winter clothes along. We checked in to our hotel, then walked over to the con at the Westin. Of course all the welcome bags were ready and they didn’t need help with setting up. There were already a lot of people playing.