Just a few more days. Leaving Friday morning for Vegas. And of course, one of the things I’m nervous about is that I haven’t played in months and I won’t be in any sort of condition to play multiple times over three days.
John, generous soul that he is, decided to fall on the sword and help out a bit. He’s been providing pre-party “warm-up” for the past two weekends. And despite my abject loathing for his solid Titan hairbrush, he insisted that some use of that piece of crap, er, helpful implement would be beneficial.
Urggh. Yeah. I still hate that thing. But perhaps I’m marginally more ready now.
Yeah, I know. Barely pink. This was in the beginning. But no marks. He promised.
I’m not too worried though. Considering that wood is a hard limit for me at parties, I won’t be encountering this level of nastiness. Bring on the leather, boys.
I do think making me kiss that @#$%ing thing afterward is a bit much…
Yup. It’s happening. For the first time in two-and-a-half years.
Back story: Well, you know. Covid. That stupid thing that was “just supposed to disappear.” *rolling eyes* Instead, it became a pandemic that killed over a million people and it’s still raging with its constant new variants and absolutely zero predictability. Of course, people are so over all this and it seems most of the population has decided to go on with life. John and I, of course, haven’t.
At first, regarding the big national parties, the decision was made for us, since they were all canceled that first year. But then they came back. And people went back. We didn’t.
I wanted to go to the past two Vegas parties. Both times, John said, “It’s not safe. It’s not responsible. Let’s sit this one out and see where things are in six months.” So. Six months passed, and then here we were, with the next party right around the corner. And John said the exact same thing, again.
And I lost it. Truly. Years of frustration and isolation and fear and resentment over this situation burst out of me in torrents of tears.
“You said the same thing the last two parties,” I said. “And life just keeps passing and passing, while we don’t do anything. I want to live. I want to see our friends. I want to play. You keep waiting for us to get control over Covid. We’re never going to get control over this fucking thing, not in our lifetimes. We’re stuck with it. There will never be a perfect time.”
Fact: We are quadruple vaxxed. Fact: Everyone I know who has gotten it recently ended up with a mild to moderate case. BUT… Also fact: These parties are super-spreaders. The last one in Texas, with over 500 people, had countless cases afterward. Fact: We went to a wedding in June. It was outdoors and only had about fifty people, But twenty of them got Covid. And fact: John still is high risk.
Truly a no-win situation. If we didn’t go to this yet again, I’d be depressed AF, inconsolable. And if we went, I’d be worried about John every damn second.
There was a third option, though. One I’d never considered before, because I really didn’t want to. I have been going to these big parties since 1997. Aside from the Covid years, and then that unfortunate year where I dropped out of the scene because of a certain narcissist, I have not missed any of them. And John has been with me every single time.
Going without him will feel like leaving one of my limbs at home. But I’m doing it.
We talked it out. I’m not scared of getting Covid at this point. And if I get it, I will stay away from John. He will never be affected. I’m also encouraged by the fact that neither one of us got it at the aforementioned wedding. John said, “I’ll be worried about you if you go, but I’ll feel bad if you don’t.” So… we chose the lesser of two uncomfortable situations. Try it once, he said. See how it goes.
This party is not what we used to attend. When we went, it was Shadow Lane, then Shadow Lodge, and it was at the Suncoast Hotel. Well… Shadow Lane/Lodge imploded last year, and the owner of it stepped down. A new crew stepped in at the last minute to take over and salvage the party as best they could. Now, they are the permanent party owners, they have found a brand-new venue (the Suncoast kicked us out, for reasons unknown to me, although I did hear rumors about an obstreperous guest who got the police called), and it has been renamed Oasis. So, although it’s a familiar experience, it will also be completely new, in every way — including the fact that I’ll be solo. *gulp*
Even though it’s a month away, the decision needed to be made. Registration, ticket purchase and hotel booking all needed to be done in advance. No tickets at the door. And the group hotel discount would expire soon. Plus, I had to book a flight. John and I usually drive, but I don’t feel like driving four-five hours two ways by myself.
So, Sunday evening, I registered, bought a ticket, and booked my suite. Then Monday, with the help of a very airline-savvy friend, I booked a flight. All done. Fully committed. No turning back.
Then I proceeded to panic. All the negatives rushed into my head. All the friends who are not going. All this money I’m spending (I told John this is my indulgence, and he’s not paying for any of it). All the unknowns and what-ifs. Who will I know? Who will I hang out with? Play with? Eat with? And of course, the ever-present “Am I too damned old to be going to one of these things anymore?”
Ugh. I cried a lot. Again. Then worked out and calmed down, and thought it out.
Yeah, I’m really nervous about this. But I am also excited. I have that sense of adventure thrumming in my veins again, that anticipation. So much potential fun. So much potential play. So many possibilities. Versus playing it safe, sitting at home, reading all about it, and wanting to open a vital artery.
I will do all the safe things. I’m bringing masks, hand sanitizer, wipes. I will wear a mask at the airport, on the plane, in the Uber. I will be careful. This is a vax-only party, and there will be fewer people than the Texas party. The new venue looks gorgeous. So dammit, I’m. Doing. This.
I am in full pre-party insanity mode, but of course I can’t leave without an update. It has been a nutty week, very busy with work and preparations to head out of town. As timing would have it, work got super busy just about now, and I will be quite slammed when I come home. So it seems prudent to get as much done as I can before I leave, right?
I woke up early yesterday morning (as in 4:00 a.m.) and couldn’t go back to sleep, so I got up and worked a couple of hours, then went back to sleep. Yesterday was supposed to be a day at home, doing laundry and working, and today I was going for a haircut and to get the rental car, packing, etc. So I got up once again, put on the coffee, piled the laundry into the basket and settled in to work. Then my hairdresser calls.
Turns out my appointment was not for this morning, but for yesterday morning. Aaaaaagh!! I panicked. My hair was overdue for a cut and had achieved that rat’s-nest look it gets, not to mention the half-inch of gray roots poking out of my part. Fortunately, she was able to squeeze me in at 1:30, so I forgot about the laundry and work and dashed out to get my hair handled. Back home and back to work. Today I have done the laundry, will pick up the rental a bit later, and then start the ritual of pulling together about a week’s worth of stuff for three days away. Doesn’t everyone need a dozen pairs of panties when they go away for one weekend?
It’s been a strange pre-party for me; I haven’t felt my usual enthusiasm and excitement. And the party buzz on FetLife has been remarkably sparse. Still, I am looking forward to seeing friends and enjoying some play. And there have been some odds and ends of correspondence that awaken my dormant spanko-ness.
This is from the party last February:
Recently, the above gentleman texted this to me:
My dear, sweet Erica! Can’t wait to have you across my knee.
Well, yum. 😀 And then there was this little exchange with another friend:
Him: It’s been a long time since I caned your bottom. Why is that?
Me: It has indeed. I have no idea.
Him: Want me to? You know I’d love to.
Me: Yes, please.
So, I am going to try to focus on looking forward. There are several people who are not going this year, and who I will miss fiercely, but that’s the way it goes. As always, there is the promise of newness, of potential new friends and play experiences, as well as the comfort of familiar faces and rituals. The days will pass quickly, and I’ll be bitching about post-party drop before you know it.
And last but definitely not least: Happy 22nd anniversary to the love of my life. Thank you for sticking with me all this time. I love you with every beat of my heart.
Sitting here with some morning coffee and mentally going over the list. All outfits with requisite accessories, shoes, underwear, etc.? Check. Toiletries and makeup? Check. Bathing suit that I never wear but J insists I bring anyway? Check. Camera, charger, phone charger? Check. Snacks and bottled water? Check. My pillow? Check. (I hate hotel pillows. Too poufy.) CDs? Check. Wooden paddle? HELL NO! That’s staying in the drawer where it belongs.
Head to J’s, pack up his stuff, go to the nearest Enterprise to add his name to the permitted drivers of our rental, and then we are on the road. No traffic, please. No accidents. I heard this morning on the radio that a freight truck “lost its load” on the 101 (where I have to drive to get to J’s.). However, that should be cleared up by the time I leave.
I can’t wait to see everyone! 😀
Wish me luck with the Richard Windsor interview and the Northern Spankings shoot, please! I won’t have a computer with me, since I’m a dinosaur and still use a desktop (and my cell phone doesn’t even take pictures, let alone access the Internet), but friends will have laptops and I will probably check in over the weekend.
Can be loving, affectionate, loyal, quick-witted, playful, sensitive, empathic, tenderhearted, mercurial, stubborn, sarcastic, impatient, perfectionistic, contrary, opinionated, cranky, antisocial, restless, kinky, exhibitionistic, rebellious, incurably flirtatious, or any combination of the above, depending on the day. Questions/comments/want to say hello? email@example.com