August 18th,19th,20th, and 21st
Earlier in the week I’d impulse purchased a cheapo $300 generator from Kragen as a temporary replacement for the Uptown’s broken one. I didn’t exactly have high hopes for it, but when I unboxed the sucker my jaw dropped: the damn thing is nice! It’s also quiet as hell, which it s a definite improvement over its clang-and-bang predecessor. I think that I’m going to relegate the old generator to backup and construction site duty after I repair it and use this new one Uptown from here on out.
On Sunday morning I went over to Dog Ranch, borrowed Ron’s forklift, and brought it back over while Tina got a bunch of UPS labeling stuff printed out in her office. Then we spent a few hours getting the warehouse ready for the massive, I say MASSIVE shipment of books coming in by TransWorld in the morning (more on this later). Then a series of guests began to arrive: Steve Stammers stopped by, followed by Bill and Novella who were passing through on their way down from Idaho. Then Ron and Dahlia stopped by for a mellow dinner on our "front lawn." I got a bit drunk and said a few off-color things which nobody seemed to mind too much - so, basically, a normal evening at Midian Ranch.
The next morning we got up early, had a quick breakfast, and went Downtown to meet both TransWorld and Roadway at the warehouse. TransWorld is our Reno based courier service. They were scheduled to bring in four pallets of freshly printed Hero books (Ultimate Skill and Sidekick, respectively) for immediate turnaround via UPS later in the day. Roadway is GenCon’s trucking company. We had them scheduled to bring in two pallets of material from the convention. Both are usually quite prompt and professional.
But not this time.
After about an hour of waiting past the scheduled drop off time, we went back to the ranch house to use the phone. First we called Roadway, who explained to us that they only drop off in the Gerlach area on Wednesdays and Thursdays. No big deal - the convention materials could certainly wait. They could have mentioned this policy to us when we set up the drop, off but no actual harm done. Then we called TransWorld, who explained to us that their driver for our area had quit without warning. There would be no TransWorld service to the area until they hired another driver. This was DEFINITELY a problem. These two titles needed to get to the distributors yesterday, and attending GenCon had already delayed our shipping them.
After listening to a tirade of profanity from big T that would have sent sailors running out of a Barbary Coast brothel, we decided to go into Reno and make a mad dash for the TransWorld loading dock after meeting the 4 PM UPS driver (that way we could ship out some other books to the distributors before shutting things down). The dash was indeed mad, with a lot of cursing and yelling back and forth as we ran around the ranch locking up. It was also pointless: TransWorld shut down before we could get there (it’s an 1 ½ hour drive). Still, the story has a happy ending. We had a nice dinner at Black Rock Pizza in Sparks, a restaurant whose gimmick is (amusingly enough) naming things after landmarks near our home. As the owner of a good portion of the old Barker spread I was tempted to order the Barker Creek Bucacci, but Tina was in the mood for pizza so I went with that instead. A few happy moments later our old friend Chris Karma joined us for dinner. Besides being an excellent conversationalist, Chris is also a generous host: he let us stay at his place Monday evening so we could be at TransWorld’s loading dock at 7:00 AM to turn around Ultimate Skill and Sidekick ASAP.
Which we did.