Sunday, September 22, 2013

2013: Part Two: The Conventions (And a Few Surprises...)

ConCarolinas was a great deal of fun. I had a great time and I've long since written my official con report but Sarah's illnesses have knocked her way off track on posting it. Angie Bell, reporter for She Never slept, has also submitted a con report. I'm working to get SNS  to post a convention piece on ConCarolinas, but the pain of Sarah's fibromyalgia and her ankle, as well as bouts of depression, have slowed her writing output, and I (and, I hope, her followers and fans) completely understand (though I am a bit biased, being her husband and all).

One thing that slowed Sarah on the ConCarolinas work and contributed to her stress was her ongoing work for Bob Almond's Inkwell Awards. Bob is a terrific guy, and gave both Sarah and myself a tremendous opportunity these past 2 years to become involved in a cause I'm all for - the recognition of the hard work of the comic book inker - an avocation I've dallied with since a small child. But the Inkwells could be demanding - and for a non-profit, no-pay organization, it could be a difficult task choosing between an assignment for them and a paying gig or personal issue, namely one's (or one's family's) health. As June waned, I was behind on my wikipedia-related work for Bob - and felt terrible about it. But I felt worse about the constant errands for my father, his several visits to the ER, his fading memory, and his struggle to keep track of his finances. And we won't even discuss his gruesome blood clotting issues. And I was determined not to have a massive panic attack accompanied by hand-wracking tremors as I had a few months before when I was scrambling for research on voting for the Inkwell Awards themselves (see my "Carrying On..." blog entry).   

Suffice to say, we made it to HeroesCon in the second week of July. Once again, I had an awesome time. The worry evaporated, and I could safely leave my father on his own for 3 days. Ironically, given the stress of the last few months regarding the Inkwells, Sarah and I had a warm and cordial reunion with Bob Almond, Michael Kellar, and other key Inkwells personnel, including some new to us. This was documented below:

We had a blast with Bob & co., and had a wonderful meal downtown, in which the group brainstormed ways to survive and move forward. I truly miss those guys. Perhaps I'm jumping ahead there. I miss them because, a few weeks after the con, Sarah and Bob and Michael came to a mutual agreement that Sarah would no longer be working in any capacity with the Inkwells, as either as committee member or in her vaunted 'Techno-Queen' position (she basically salvaged, overhauled, and then maintained their website). It was felt that she'd gotten too far behind in her duties due to her health and work issues, and my dad's worsening dependency on us. I was thrown in as part of the farewell deal, though I'd told Bob I'd try to work on wikipedia in between helping daddy. Perhaps this was an unrealistic proposition, and Bob sensed it. In any case, I also was out of the Inkwells and Bob issued a cordial e-mail, copied to the committee, wishing the Coverts well. I was sad to go, and now, for the first time in years, barring SNS' return from hiatus, I was without a regular online or hard copy regular gig for my writing. Which is why I'm lobbying for SNS to rejuvenate.

Despite all that came after, I did have a superb time at HeroesCon, from the lengthy time spent manning the Inkwell Awards table, to running into old Wold Newton comrade Micah Harris, to meeting the legendary Jim Steranko, to getting a picture (still unpublished) of myself with longtime (since 1992) acquaintance and boyhood hero Roy Thomas, to scoring a NM copy of Kirby's The Demon # 1 for $2.00 (!). And of course I scribbled notes for a number of potential SNS articles, and took dozens of pictures, mainly of the wonderfully creative participants in cosplay. Disappointingly, my HeroesCon report has gone the way of my more recent Titan Books reviews for SNS - on proverbial hiatus. First it was illness and work (where stress is a way of life), but I felt on the verge of conquering, or at least keeping at bay, those twin obstacles, with improved medication. 

But in the first week of August 2013, my father once again had to be admitted to the ER. His journey lasted over a week, and, though his age (weeks shy of 91) and general health (heart disease, near-kidney failure) seemed against him, I had little doubt that he would make it. Until he was transferred to a nursing home and I was told he likely wouldn't make the first 100 days. He was convinced they were trying to kill him there, a common reaction in such places, and, sadly, he indeed didn't make the 100 days - barely 5, in fact.

And my father was gone.

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