See? I didn't forget.
Kalamazoo started (for me) on Tuesday night when I found myself rolling on the ground and laughing so hard I cried - at a discussion of grammatical gender. The inestimable Melissa was at my house with Brent and I, because it really is too much to take eaaarrly morning transit from Toronto to my place and then get in a car and drive for 6 or 7 hours. We were not sleepy, so we went down to the basement to talk without bothering people. Somehow* Brent brought up this crazy language that has 16 genders of nouns. Well, this concept was quite comical to me at the time, so I laughed "What, male, female, neuter, and chair?" Now, I will say this about Mel: she is golden when it comes to taking the Funny and running with it. "Chair with four legs. Chair with three legs. Wooden chair. Chair that's placed upside down on the table at the end of the day." All three of us could barely breathe, and that is what Kalamazoo is all about: good friends, geeky jokes, and staying up late laughing till you cry.
The following morning, we got out the door only 20 minutes late (yes, laugh away), and were doing pretty good with the breakfast-getting and on-the-roading, until I realised I'd left my cell at home, so back we went. THEN we got on the road, and Mel and I teased Brent about the Hamilton Escarpment (affectionately known to locals as "the Mountain"). We got to Sarnia at about noon, and I am really proud of myself - mapless, I found my way back to a restaurant called Stokes on the Bay, where we have stopped on the way to k'zoo the past two years. I've been there twice in the past two years, and I wasn't driving or navigating either time - and I found my way back. I was a bit disappointed at the lack of meatless menu items, but all of us wanted a lighter lunch anyway, so we had caesar salads and nachos. The nachos were good, but I forgot to ask for jalapeños. The salsa was also kind mild (Mel: "I actually thought it had a nice kick to it."), so I wanted to add a bit of hot sauce. I accidentally poured the entire neck of the bottle into my salsa - whoops - then shrugged and gave it a try. "Oh, it's kinda hot now." Ramona, I'm lookin' at you.
We had no trouble at the border, and the guard was quite pleasant. Brent drove that leg, and I tried to not fall asleep, since I was navigating. By the time we got to Kalamazoo, it had stopped raining and was quite warm. Standing around in the reception area, we ran into a friend from Waterloo, Sarah, who let us know that their crew was heading off to Bilbo's for dinner and we were welcome to tag along. So we dropped our bags in our rooms (after sorting out Mel's lost registration package), and off to Bilbo's we went. It was nice to see David again, and we had a great time catching up and drinking Bilbo-brewed ale (Warhammer, I think?). Then we went and found limes and overpriced tonic water, and went back to the dorms for some Latin Scrabble and other gaming. Much fun was had.
Eventually, we went to bed.
* We're all language geeks, so this was not really that unusual.