Pennsic 2013 Diary: Saturday, August 10

Post-Pennsic Brain Dump

It’s been a week since I’ve returned from Pennsic, making this the latest post-Pennsic brain dump ever. War has already started to fade from my mind; I need my notes to recall the exact feelings I was experiencing only recently. And while I could use those notes to write several thousand words summing up my experiences at Pennsic – the beautiful weather, the myriad types of performances, the oddness of being in Mystic Mail – I thought perhaps this year my readers would indulge me by letting me talk about my transition back into the Real World(tm).

Returning to Unemployment
I’m coming back from the excitement of War to the slow unscheduled days of unemployment. I decided to give myself this first week to decompress from Pennsic, write up my journal, and otherwise relax from needing to get up every morning to sit at a desk. This has, in general, been a good thing. There have been a few years where I came back from Pennsic and immediately had to return to work, and those were difficult transitions indeed.

That said, having no daytime schedule has been a mixed blessing. I’ve been sleeping much later than I’d like (more on my wonky sleep schedule later), and the days have felt somewhat empty. Oh, sure, at Pennsic I didn’t really have “a schedule” per se either – I had a few hours’ of solid commitments per day, but that was about it. But what I did have was a sense that I needed to do everything, all the time. Even if I didn’t have anything planned for a particular block of time, I could go wandering to my friends, take a class, see a show, volunteer, shop, or even do more esoteric things like watch a battle. And while, I suppose, there are an equal number of things to do in a metropolis like Montreal, those things are less immediately available. I’d have to go hunting for them, instead of feeling like they’re all right in front of me, all needing to be done right now!

The flip-side of unemployment is lack of income. I was very free with my money at Pennsic. Because of the “found money” traveler’s checks I discovered before War, I actually had quite a bit of money to spend at Pennsic. I count Pennsic money outside my normal spending money, because once it’s in US funds, it makes little sense for me to convert it back to Canadian. I knew how much money I was spending and how much was left, but I rarely shied away from buying something I wanted. On the flip side, now that I’m home, I have a lot more money in the bank (about six month’s worth of paychecks), but I know that it’s gotta last me until I find a new source of income, and moreover it’s gotta cover expenses that are both larger and more fundamental (rent, utilities, groceries, bus pass, etc.). I’ve returned from my free-wheeling two weeks of War to a much stingier self at home.

Body Problems
This has been a weird year for post-Pennsic body problems. Sure, I had my share of body problems at War also (the foot injury was particularly annoying, plus the usual array of migraines, blisters, and so forth), but my body just went haywire when I got home. I managed to avoid any sort of cold, but I’ve been having all sorts of weird, small issues that I don’t understand. Among them:

  • Wonky sleep schedule. This isn’t just because I don’t have to be up at a certain time. For the first several days after I got home, I’d go to bed early and sleep late, but I’d still wake up for hours in the middle of the night and be super-tired even before sunset. I was like a zombie until Tuesday or Wednesday, and not at all pleased about it. It’s only been in the last day or two that I really feel rested again.
  • Back problems. Because I didn’t spend too much time sitting down at Pennsic, and I was constantly walking around, sitting at my couch typing on my computer caused back problems. Not, as you might expect, lower back problems, but middle-upper back problems. A friend suggested it might be potassium deficiency, and the symptoms did seem to fade after I ate a banana, but I don’t know whether that’s correlation or causation.
  • Sinus problems. If people at War noticed me constantly twitching my nose, it’s not because I didn’t like them or was pretending to be a 1980s TV witch or something, but because I had an upper-sinus blockage that was very uncomfortable. It’s still there and not going away. Grumble.
  • Various minor other problems. My foot injury is healing (yay!), but wearing pants instead of tunics has caused a few days of acid reflux, and I’m having odd limb pains that I’m having trouble explaining, but that never last quite long enough to really concern me. They’re just super-annoying.

I’d say these are just due to my increasing age (“You’re 31 now! Time to break down!”), but I don’t remember having anywhere near similar problems in previous years, and I be surprised if my body broke down quite this fast. Maybe it’s just because I have all this free time to notice the stuff going wrong. Still, I wish it’d settle back down into normalcy. Any day now…

Return to Mundane Pursuits and Obligations
I confess: I was checking my facebook and ivejournal feeds within hours of returning home. I am a slave to my technology. While I was keeping current with email over the course of War, it took me a half-day to clear out all my other feeds (except Facebook, for which two weeks is a lost cause), and less than a day to discover a new stupid social game that’s been taking up far too much of my time this week. Yes, even within double-digit hours of leaving a place as engaging as Pennsic, I was already addicted to a new social media game.

There were other wonderful aspects of returning home: my own shower, my own bed, my own teddy bears. A home in which I don’t need to consider whether it’s raining. Being able to use water without danger of overflowing a sump.

And, naturally, getting to see family and friends again after an absence is great. I love all my Pennsic friends and wish I could see you more often, but it’s also a lovely feeling to return to my boyfriend after a two-week hiatus. I got to see my six-month-old niece and see how she’s grown. I got to have dinner with both my family and my boyfriend’s. I got to spend time with my best friends. I’ve already participated in three evenings of roleplaying games. All those things are wonderful homecoming gifts.

That said, some homecoming aspects were less good. After two weeks of no cooking and no chores, it’s hard for me to get back into the swing of them here. It took me until Thursday to even do a load of mundane laundry, and I still haven’t gotten to the SCA-specific stuff. I’ve been lax in doing dishes or cleaning. I haven’t made the bread, which means that I’ve been having to do without. Cooking has been a particular challenge. In the week since I’ve come back, I’d eaten out three times (usually with family) and had friends over during dinnertime twice (once we ordered pizza). I think I only cooked dinner once, and that’s because Marc essentially strong-armed me into it.

I have a huge drawer full of spices, and it’s not that far a walk to the grocery store to pick up fresh meat or fresh vegetables. I just… haven’t done it. I really want to restart my cooking lessons again, but it may take a few days for me to settle back into that routine. Right now I’m far more interested in going to local restaurants than going through the time and energy of cooking something myself, which is an attitude that must change in the near future. (See, “unemployment,” above.)

Plans for the Future
In the near future, I’ve got to start finding alternate sources of income. Whether that’s a job, some sort of freelancing, or my own business, I don’t know yet. I am, as always, worried that if I don’t find a new job immediately, I might not be able to get vacation time for next year’s Pennsic, and as always, I hate that feeling of uncertainty. But there’s nothing I can do about it now.

I also want to start doing karate again. I’ve found a dojo, and now just need to buckle down. I suspect some of the body issues I mentioned above are just because I’ve gained more weight than I’d like (one reason I wasn’t wearing apron-dresses this year is because I don’t fit into them anymore). I hope that by doing some physical activity and bringing my weight down, that’ll be less of a concern in future years.

In the longer term, there’s a bunch of SCA stuff I’d like to do. While I may not start going back to local practices, I definitely want to continue my involvement in the only SCA bardic communities. I want to learn more saint stories and polish the ones I’ve got. I want to research my new persona and maybe put together a new class for next year (“Welcome to Court, 1314” – an in-persona class welcoming students to the early 14th century court of Edward II). I really should be more active in the EK College of Performers, given that I’m a Dean. Heck, maybe I’ll even make some garb! (Ha!)

So that’s it for this year. A rather long reflection on my joys and tribulations in returning to Mundania. I hope everyone else is integrating well, and, God willing, I will see you all on the fields of Coopers Lake next year.

Back to Saturday, August 3
Back to the Pennsic Diaries

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1 Comment

  1. August 17, 2013 at 1:55 am

    As always, I enjoy reading your recap of the war… 🙂 And as always, I feel torn between wanting to wander with you and absolute exhaustion at all the wandering you do!


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