Okay, so this is just one more of the important steps that happens before the conference itself happens, and it's just one more reason why I'm not worried about everything happening the way it's supposed to. About a month before the conference, the Conference Chair and the Executive Director go to Springfield to double check last minute details with both hotels (Abraham Lincoln and Hilton) and the convention center (Prairie Capital Convention Center). On a year when all of the stars align, the Vice-President gets to go as well so s/he sees what will happen the following year. It's a great cyclical process. Tomorrow is the day for this year's walk-through.
We'll go over the menus for meals, the bus schedule, the time for setting up special events, the placement of signs, and seemingly minor details as well, like the fact that the servers for meals need to be reminded that they serve the speakers' tables first. Even though this might not seem overly important, it's a special time for two reasons: one, everyone is excited, including personnel from the venues, and two, it's a reality check - the event that the conference chair has dreamt about for two years and the office has managed to plot out in such detail is really coming to fruition! The most important thing for me to do tonight is to get a good night's sleep so that I can be sharp tomorrow and make sure I ask all the right questions and attend to the important details. I have to say, though, that I am so unconcerned: these folks have been doing this for so long they are pros. And I mean not only the hotels and convention center, but the head IRC office. What a thrill it is to be working with such wonderful people!
I say that I need to get a good night's sleep, but I am deep into book five of the Percy Jackson series (The Last Olympian), and again, I want to stress that I'm not reading this book because Riordan is coming to the conference, because he's not - I'm reading this series because John Rocco, the illustrator, is coming to the conference. (He's one of three illustrators this year: he is joined by Marc Brown and Mordicai Gerstein.) So I am going to read for at least a good 45 minutes before I turn the light out tonight.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) is the walk-through, but when we finish, I will be going to the Lincoln Library in downtown Springfield to read, read, read! Nancy Huntley has been so kind as to gather together as many of the remaining books for me as she can get her hands on. I've been a reading fool the past year, trying to make it through the novels written by the authors coming to IRC, but if I'm on my game, I should be able to knock out at least 100 children's books tomorrow. They go much more quickly. Am I nuts? Probably! Wish me luck, and I hope to see you in March!