Wednesday, November 12, 2008


This past weekend I went to Texas Ren Fest, camping Friday and Saturday nights. I'd show you pictures, but I think Carapace has the camera. OK, so I'll show you pictures later. I know what you are really wondering is, "how'd it go what with walking around the festival?"

Pretty damn good.

I took two canes, a knee brace and, of course, my orthotics. The combination kept me steady and took the weight off my legs and feet that usually has me done in after a couple of hours. I was exhausted and dehydrated and hurting at the end of Saturday, but a night's rest and plenty of water had me feeling much better Sunday.

Funniest line I heard at TRF this time was from a toddler who observed me and then told her daddy with great excitement, "She has two sticks!" Heh, someone is learning to count. I am glad to have been of service. Second funniest line was from a patron, in mock horror, on her way to the exit. "Someone stole all my money!" It's a fact that money seems to disappear unaccountably at ren fairs. Apparently many people were losing all their money this past weekend. I made a point of asking vendors how their sales were, and each one I asked told me the same thing, that this weekend people seemed happier, more willing to part with their money, than the week before. Almost like some major event had happened that left consumers feeling a bit more confident. I don't know about other business people, but the TRF vendors seem quite pleased with Obama right now.

I didn't buy a whole lot, being mostly kitted out already, but I did get a nice rucksack with a dragon design while I was there, relieving me of having to manage a shoulder-carried bag while using canes. And I got a few odds and ends. There was some beautiful artwork for sale that I would love to have if I had the room. But I don't. Anybody wants a bronze water fountain in the shape of a dragon or a green man, I know just the guy.

Other good things that made the weekend pleasant:

new Coleman propane stove with instant lighting. It was nearly as easy as using the kitchen stove.

new tent with 7' height and enough space for two twin air mattresses. Sadly, one air mattress wasn't worth the attempt to inflate it, but the good one left Carapace sleeping comfortably, as did her tall-sized sleeping bag.

my adjustable portable table! It's not just good for sewing; it also fits nicely into the back of my car and is light enough that even I don't struggle with it.

taking Monday off for recovery. I had a whole day to put things away, wash clothes, and sleep after I got back. And so I went back to work Tuesday happy and feeling good.

Next year:

Don't bring lounger. It never got used.

Remember jacket. Sure, I can just wear all my garb, but it would still have been nice if I remembered to bring a jacket.


Drake said...

Glad to hear you had such a great time :D

I also usually wear my knee braces when I know I am going to walk far or stand for long. They give such comfortable support I just want to wear them all the time...only, the doctors warned me that because my knee isn't positioned properly, if I were to do that, I will end up worsening the chondromalatia and helping along the osteo-arthritic degeneration.

On the lounger... as the old boy-scout motto goes, "Always be prepared" ... "and you leave exhausted" heh...

Donimo said...

Wow, camping with sticks and knee braces, I'm impressed. Hell, I'm rather awed when someone who has physical challenges is prepared to even sleep in a tent! I look forward to seeing the pics! Sounds like a cool event. Glad you had some recovery time.

Lisa Moon said...

Wow from me, too! I'm very impressed at your level of preparedness; I'm guessing there's been years of practice to get this down so smoothly? That and a healthy dose of good luck, perhaps.
Very smart to allow for recuperation time.
Sounds like a blast and I, too, look forward to photos. :)

OneSick said...

Personally, I think anyone who *chooses* to stay in a tent or do anything outdoorsy is plain mad.

But I support your right to be as mad as you wish! And even though I don't get the whole Ren Fest thing, I'm glad you had fun in your own mad world ;)

The canes thing was a good idea BTW.


yanub said...

Hey, all! Thanks for your applause. One thing that I actually had in mind as I started this blog was to share problem-solving. And camping and trips are the aspects of disability that I really have had the most trouble getting workable advice on, so when something has worked, I want to spread the word. Maybe it will save someone else a bit of grief.

Drake, that's a good point about braces maybe making things worse if your joints are mal-positioned. I think the same thing applies to orthotic shoes and insoles.

Donimo, assuming that Blogger cooperates this evening, I just might be able to put up some photos tonight. Because we were at leisure camping only when it was dark, and bustling about in the morning, I don't have pictures of the tent set-up. I'll have to make a point of taking some the next time the tent gets busted out. But you will get to see some nice shots of the fair.

Lisa, oh, there have been many, many years of doing it all the wrong way at the ren fair! The first time we camped was under a tarp in a downpour. The next year, I brought a tent, but left the tent poles at home! See how you can profit from my experience? Always check for tent poles!

OSM, I am usually not very outdoorsy, but I find that doing it once or twice a year provides a mental break I can't get any other way. Maybe it is because it's the only way I can be made to take a break from the sweet, sweet, internet.

The thing I like about ren fests is striking up conversations with total strangers about garb, history, and crafts. And getting to play. Seeing the little kids running around, all extra excited because they aren't the only ones, for once, doing "pretend," is a blast.

And, yes, two sticks makes a huge difference. As does taking the time to recover.

Lisa Moon said...

Hahaha! Tent poles; I'll try to remember that one... ;)