Tags: mensa

hat, smile, happy

Hello from Ohio

On Friday the 7th, bbwoof and I drove to Cincinatti for a Samhain get-together with a group of Mensan Wiccans, mostly old friends. I talked with one of them about a possible technical writing position. The job would require coming out to Cincinatti for a week's worth of training, then returning for a day every month or two. Otherwise, I'd work from home. It's a good salary. I can handle a little travel, especially when we do have such good friends in the Cincinatti/Dayton area.

On Sunday, bbwoof drove home, and I was whisked off to Pennsylvania by our friends Bill and Brea. I spent a lovely week with them at their home in Nanty Glo, a dying little coal-mining town about 100 miles east of Pittsburgh. I soaked in their hot tub several times a day, drove past the site of the Johnstown flood, had dinner one night with their Reiki group, had dinner another night with their writers' group, and hiked a little way along the Ghost Town Trail at sunset. It was wonderful, and I loved spending time with them, but I am Ready to Go Home Now.

Woof is a little under the weather and very underslept. Bill's writing furiously against a deadline to finish his latest book on time. Brea and I are road-tripping it back to St. Louis. We drove six and a half hours yesterday to a friend's house here in Oxford, Ohio (home of Miami University). It's a warm little college town. Sadly, it's surrounded by places like Middletown, Ohio, where nothing but the cinema was open at 8:00 PM on a Saturday night, and the group of teens standing outside the theater were so excited seeing our out-of-state car on Main Street that they started hooting and hollering and waving their arms around as we drove past.

Today I played Rock Band for the first time. What can I say? It rocked! Then we went on a surprise visit to a party held by Brea's old SCA group, the Shire of Havenholde. They were suitably happy and surprised when she walked in the room. Good people, good food, but I am Ready to Go Home Now.

We set out tomorrow morning early for another six hour's worth of driving. Good thing gas in Ohio is so cheap -- we saw $1.71/gallon today! -- and that we have so many good friends along the way. Mensa is really like a family, if you want it to be.

I return to a house that has been occupied by an unsupervised male for eight days. He says he's taken out the trash, and that there are "fewer dirty dishes than you might think" waiting in the sink. I miss him. It will be Good to Go Home.

Weekend Update

Do you like the icon? It's the symbol of Hell's Mensans, a subgroup of Mensa that's dedicated to making sure every party is enjoyable for everyone there.

Last spring I chaired a regional Mensa convention, which ate up tremendous amounts of time and was exhausting, but satisfying. I received a Hell's Ms award for that, a tee-shirt that says "Party Animal", but I can't say I really enjoyed the party myself.

Last weekend, though, I enjoyed a much more laidback Mensa gathering that I had put together. It was a lovely informal weekend, and we had a great time.

The weekend was in response to a survey bbwoof had sent out last fall to the local Mensa group asking what sort of activities they'd like to see. He had quite a good response rate, something like 15%. There were several requests for activities outside of metropolitan St. Louis, for out-state members. And a couple of people suggested excursions to wineries and other destinations.

So I scouted out locations and decided that a weekend in Ste. Genevieve would be perfect. I wrote up a couple of articles for the newsletter, made a few phone calls, found a friendly winery, and booked bbwoof and me into a B&B.

We were there last weekend, and it was a wonderfully relaxing, romantic time. Collapse )
hat, smile, happy

Say, how'd that Mensa thing go?

Back in February, I wrote about the Mensa Regional Gathering I was putting together. The RG was a lot of hard work, but in the end it was a lot of fun. I would do it again, especially since now I know what to do!

I wrote then about the difficulties I was running into with managing volunteers. I was able to smooth over most of the problems. But one volunteer would not be mollified. This was the Program Chair, B.

I was warned not to involve B., that she would try to sabotage whatever she worked on. But I needed the help. B. has a lot of experience and she's a good hard worker. So I overlooked her rocky history of drama and politics. I figured I could suck up to her for a good cause. Alas, I did not suck enough. Collapse )

And so that was it until a few days ago.
startled, alarmed

When is it MY turn to have kittens?

Last summer I did a bad, bad thing.

"It won't be so bad", they told me. "You've never done anything like this before? Don't worry. It won't hurt much. You'll feel so gooooood when it's over, too. And we really need you, baby. Yeah, we just gotta have you. Please? Pleeeeeease? You know we'll still respect you the next day, yes we will. Come on baby. Come on. You know you want to. Come on. Just say yes."

And I gave in. I submitted to their will. I agreed to Chair a Mensa Gathering.

On the weekend of February 17th, about 80 Mensans from Eastern Missouri and other places will show up at a hotel in St. Louis, expecting to be fed and entertained and given a good time. And they'll expect ME to do it.

I've run various aspects of get-togethers of a similar size before. But I've never had to tie all the pieces together. It's a lot like Management, and, well, gee, I've never been a manager either.

But I had some really good committee members. The Registration Chair had done the same thing last year, and the Program Chair had planned the National Mensa gathering a few years ago (it was a huge mucking 1500-person convention). The Volunteer Chair was enthusiastic, and the Hospitality Chair has arranged the hospitality room for our little local gathering every year for the last ten years.

What could go wrong?

Ooof. Last weekend, everything.

I hadn't kept everybody in the loop enough. I hadn't made sure the hotel contract didn't change when the hotel's management did. I hadn't stroked enough egos and held enough hands. I'd just been bumbling happily along, content with what all these experienced people were doing and enjoying watching them work. And then -- suddenly I had one upset person after another to deal with, and it was ALL MY FAULT.

Well, at least only one person has actually quit the committee, although a couple of them threatened to. And, thanks to wonderful, talented LJers like dakiwiboid, reannon, and especially lefthand who gave me so many leads, I've been able to fill the schedule and put together a kick-ass program. Yeah!

elorden and bbwoof were already on the schedule, so this is definitely going to be an LJ affair. As if the Drahmah hadn't given that away already. (snerk snerk snerk)

I just want to know one thing. When do I get to throw a hissy fit?
hat, smile, happy


I purchased a dresser from a local guy for just $5 off of eBay; bbwoof and I picked it up this morning. Yesterday we bought a stand with drawers for the closet. Tomorrow I'm going to get several large plastic bins for storing out-of-season and too-small clothes. We may actually, possibly, get organized here.

Today we went to the Mensa Memorial Day Picnic. Which has nothing to do with furniture, but is an interesting thing. Especially since, on a sugar rush from s'mores brownies, I agreed to chair the St Louis Regional Gathering for the coming year. I expect this to eventually take an insane amount of time, keeping me out of trouble for months and longing for a pitcher of martinis as soon as it is all over.

Chairing an RG is mostly a matter of herding volunteers, with the eventual goal of feeding and entertaining about 100 people at a Holiday Inn over Presidents' Day Weekend. We're getting started a little late. I would have preferred to have at least a year for this, but, oh well. First order of business is signing the contract with the hotel (same terms as last year), then getting the national office to list us in the calendar. I'll have to get some fliers made up and really push hard on publicity. The best part about an RG is seeing people from all over. And playing Double-Deck Elimination Cut-throat Go-Fish Hearts.