What's that? Oh yes, that is the smell of sweet, sweet VICTORY!!!
And just like that it's over. It's a small miracle that I actually made it to San Francisco for DrupalCon SF. As I mentioned before, I caught the flu just over a week and a half before I was supposed to leave for the conference, and was SOOOOO sick. I got a fever, then the worst cough I think I've had since I was a kid. My mom saved my ass and came out and stayed with me for a week, I hardly left my bed the entire time. She went back to Saskatoon about three days before I was supposed to leave for SF, but I was still pretty sick, and was about 5 days into a week of having lost my voice. Making the con did NOT look promising.
I had to get Ben (thank you again!) to help me change my plane ticket via a crazy Skype conference call (because I couldn't speak), and pushed it to Sunday, hoping that might give me enough time to recoup some energy. Going down Sunday meant missing my day and a half of tourist time, the Core Dev Summit, and the pre-con sprint day. But there was no way I was going anywhere Thursday, so I just had to come to grips with the situation.
Friday I still felt like crap. Saturday, I felt only marginally less crappy, but went out for a walk to test my stamina for possible airport-going the next day. The walk went okay, so I packed. I still wasn't at all sure going to bed Saturday whether I would feel well enough in the morning to go, but Sunday I woke up, didn't feel too terrible, and decided to go for it.
I went to the airport, and found Olly and Ben, who were on the same flight, and off we went!
The house I'd rented (photo c/o SteveK) for a big group of us was FANTASTIC. It was one level of one of those huge old SF houses, up near Alamo Square, and coincidentally the level above us had another group of DrupalCon-goers, including the lovely Katherine (ksenzee). It was a nice bonus sitting on the stoop having a chat the first night there. Over the course of the week, 9 PNW folks stayed at the house off and on, and it was lovely having such a nice home to settle into.
The place worked out great - big kitchen, lots of space, nice neighbourhood - and was conducive to lots of hang out time with everyone. I'm so glad that everyone who managed to stay with us did, as it was great getting some quality time in with some of my favourite geeks who I never get to see enough of. (This is half of the crew at the end of the week - for sure the funniest photo, tho Andy's kinda blocked, click through to see a few more.)
I managed to actually make it to about 3-5hrs of conference each day, which I think is pretty great, all things considered, but generally was way more low key than previous DrupalCons and crashed late afternoon, having to come back to the house for a nap. I didn't get out at all in the evenings to the code lounge, or any of the socials, but had a good time chilling out at the house, and made it to all the keynotes, a few BOF's (birds of a feather sessions, ie. smaller sessions for various niche topics), and a bit of the final Docs sprint. The Drupalchix BOF had an amazing turn out (we counted over a hundred attendees!), and it was great to meet a bunch more of the people I had yet to meet in person.
And of course, what really makes DrupalCon so important to me is getting to reconnect and spent a little quality time with all the awesome friends I've made who are scattered all over the globe (though sadly a few of them were victim of the ash situation over Europe and didn't make it). From the the PNW crew to friends from out East, to others from Europe who I only really see once a year, I can't even explain how much I love you people. You bring me a world of happy, and I feel so incredibly lucky to have found myself part of such a wonderful community and now also call many of you friends.
I arrived home today feeling much better than when I left, and realistically no more worn out than I've been at the end of previous DrupalCons! I still have a bit of residual sick, and certainly have a bit more recouperating to do, but things went as well as I could have possibly hoped. I am sooooooooo glad I made it.
I want to say a special thank-you to everyone who sent me good vibes, cheered me on, gave me lots of hugs, and had my back making this trip under less than ideal circumstances. All of your offers to help me out if things didn't go well, bring me groceries when I was tired, and generally keep tabs on how I was doing, were what gave me enough peace of mind to take a bit of a risk and travel when I was still in a bit of a sketchy state.
Till next time...