So, I’m trying to figure out whether to take the kids to Fan Expo again this year. My indecision is driving me crazy (and my family), so here’s my list of pros and cons for your consideration and advice:
- CON: Taking them by myself — hubby has to work, and since he’s on probation until December, it’s not likely he’ll be able to get the time off. Even if he did, we’d be on a tight time line getting back. I don’t like travelling to family events without him, and in the past, I’ve refused to go entirely, but that was when the kids were younger . . . PRO: Jack, our resident teenager, can sit in the front passenger and be my navigator. He did a great job being my back-up for Google Maps and Siri when we were navigating Montreal, and that city was hellish for me, in my first time through there. Also, Jack can go off on his own at the event, this time, because he now has his own phone. Bridget will have to be with me at all times, though — this will be exhausting and require negotiating because she will not want to see / do all the things I would like to see / do, will need a nap, etc.
- CON: Overall expense (approx. $1000, not including souvenirs). That’s in addition to paying our regular bills, and the coming expenses for fall/winter activities: karate (Jack), skating (both), skiing (Bridget says she won’t ski but I am going to make her), and maybe guitar lessons (Bridget). PRO: Opportunity for some early Christmas shopping (save on shipping costs! — last time, we were able to find some great items for loved ones that we’d definitely never find where we live. Plus, as soon as friends find out where we’re going, we get requests: hubby went on a search for find a particular collectible Simpsons set and was able to get it for a buddy. That’s good karma, I think, and just a nice thing to do.
- CON: Timing is at the end of the first week of school, at which point I am generally wiped. We’d have to leave Friday right after work, driving 8 hours to Toronto, preferably to a hotel right downtown near the convention centre (see #2: overall expense. I do NOT want to room so far away that I have to search out a parking spot!) PRO: We can visit my great-aunt (the children’s great-great!!), maybe a couple of other relatives on the way home.
- CON: Cosplaying can be stressful. I am recalling the HOURS and DAYS spent last year, constructing costumes until the wee hours of the morning, only to have Bridget discard her wig after an hour and Jack’s props for his Attack on Titan gear go unused, and my own Wonder Woman / Firefly mashup fall apart in the heat (NO glue guns this time!).
- CON: Crowded, sweaty, long line-ups. PRO: It’s an unforgettable, amazing experience. This would be our third visit to FanExpo in as many years, and both times before, it felt like coming home. We found ourselves surrounded by peers of all ages, faiths, ethnicities, and interests, connected by our love for Sci-Fi, Fantasy, gaming, comics, horror, creativity, and it was wonderful. And having had this experience before (plus ComicCon in Ottawa), I know now what to expect and how to counter certain things. Like, many booths will have the same products over and over — go to the workshops and panel talks first, lining up early, and visit the booths later when the merchandise might be cheaper. I also know better how to get around the various convention centre areas, where to find the workshops and how to get there, so instead of mindlessly following the crowd, I will have destinations in mind. And I’m also much better prepared to bring snacks, water bottles, cash, etc. Hell, at ComicCon, I had my knitting on hand for the times when I just had to sit, because there are times when you honestly MUST sit and take a break. I also know to carry Advil . . . but I still have to figure out a system for carrying both my Bag of Holding Con Edition, and my camera bag, because together, they’re a heck of a strain on the upper back. Worse when cosplaying. Maybe that’s a CON . . .
Every negative balances with a positive, excepting the handbag / camera bag conundrum. I’ve thought about using the camera bag as a general hold-all, but that’s what my handbag is for. Also considered just carrying the camera with me, on a strap around my neck, but that causes strain, too, and if anything were to happen to it . . . but then again, the amount of time that the damned thing actually stays IN the camera bag is minimal by the time I actually get to the event. What to do, what to do . . .
I suspect, though, in spite of the list of misgivings, if I don’t buy the tickets and set up accommodations and budget for the gas and rooms, I’m going to regret it. I’ll get to the end of that first week and feel pretty shitty that we’re missing out. Even though we’ve gone before, we’ve learned during both trips that no two Fan Expos are exactly alike, and the schedule for this year looks stellar, blowing last year’s out of the water.
I still don’t know. I’ve got the cart on my computer screen, hidden for the moment behind a tab, and it’s probably expired now so I’ll have to go back in and do all the things again should I make up my mind to go for it. Because in the end, although hubby can’t come and there are stresses involved, it’s an experience. Something for my kids to grow on. Exposure to the city, different people, different interests, different preferences, in an environment that promotes and celebrates acceptance. That, in itself, is priceless.
I HAVE MADE A DECISION.
Having discussed it once again with the hubby . . . WE ARE GOING!!!!
The countdown to FanExpo 2015 has begun!