What more can be said about TGD V – Bigger. Badder. Bedder. Wetter. As everyone knows by now, we had a full-fledged disaster on our hands by Sunday afternoon. I’ve also been feeling the effects of the flooding at my residence as well, so I haven’t had a chance to get some thoughts to virtual paper until now.
Around 3 pm on Saturday, I had to leave TGD to head home and deal with water in my basement. Fortunately my parents were visiting that weekend, and my father was able to keep the water somewhat in check. My way home required three different detours, as the devastation this immense amount of rain was causing was already becoming apparent. Once I made it home, I helped him sweep, squeegee and redirect the flow of water throughout the afternoon and early evening (in the dark, mind you, as we didn’t have power) until about 8 pm when the flow finally stopped. I was exhausted at this point and, even though it meant missing the Crokinole tourney, I decided I’d stay home and come out in the morning for the third and final day of TGD.
Good friends of mine at TGD needed to be back at the airport Sunday morning, so I headed to Opryland early and, with one small detour, got them to the airport on time. When I got back to Opryland, I realized I had forgotten to bring an umbrella, so I opted to valet park the car. This decision ultimately cost me more than the parking fee!
The Annual Take it Easy Tourney went off without a hitch and then, due to the weather (it was still raining hard on Sunday), we opted to move up the final prize drawing to just after the end of the Charity Auction at 1 pm. We closed the auction down, gave away our final prizes, and then we lost all power. At this point, most people that weren’t there are probably wondering why we didn’t kick everyone out and head home – the answer was that we didn’t think we could. From 11:30 onward, everyone that attempted to leave almost inevitably returned with news that roads and highways were closed and we needed to wait until later to leave the Opryland. So with nowhere to go, people just continued to game . . .under the emergency lights. About 2:30 pm, we got text message confirmation that some attendees actually made it out of Nashville – shortly thereafter the power came back and by 3 pm we were knee deep in games, packing things up in anticipation of unofficially ending TGD V. Some people had decided to stay another night and were planning on gaming until 8 pm when they had to start setting up for the next event in our room.
With the lights back on things went more quickly and the game library was packed and ready for transport by 4 pm. In light of the weather, the multiple trips it took us to get it to Opryland were going to be impossible so we were given a storage room to house our stuff. I helped two employees move 300+ games and half a dozen Crokinole boards to a small storage closet. After that, we packed up the last of our sthings, reclaimed the remaining library games (Macao, Carcassonne H&G, Le Havre, and Container for those interested) and got ready to hit the road.
As I headed to the valet to get my car, I was informed the hotel was evacuating everyone to higher ground as the levee might break. What?!?! I was legitimately concerned at this point – this was the first I had heard of anything that serious all day. How could this have possible snuck up on everyone? Needless to say, the valet guys were no longer retrieving cars, and I was told that I HAD to evacuate to the Presidential Ballroom NOW. Devon, however, was not so easily deterred and, having his keys in hand (as opposed to a valet office), decided to make a run for his vehicle, which was in the mall parking lot.
About fifteen minutes later, he returned to get me (especially important as he couldn’t get home that night and was planning on staying at my house). We quickly put the last bit of our stuff into the storage closet and got out of dodge. At that point, we had lost touch with almost all the other attendees, except for Chris who was planning on staying put for the time being.
The rest of the evening, we helped my father battle the losing war against water in my basement. Over the course of the next few hours, we pushed quite a bit of water through my basement and out of the garage -- all the while debating whether water could actually get high enough to flood the room that housed the game library. We paused from time to time to check the latest news on Twitter – one rumor had water seeping into the Presidential Ballroom, which would have meant certain destruction to a ton of cardboard and wooden bits! Plus we tried to determine the fate of my car left in valet and eventually decided it was swimming – which lead me to realize the car (a ‘97 Lumina) might have actually be worth less than the games (Queen’s Gambit, I’m looking at you) – which is in itself a ridiculous thought / reality. At some point that evening, I tried to come to grips with the idea that both the car and games might be gone, which made me sick for those that had loaned titles to the library. Eventually, I achieved a zen-like state about my own collection, however, thinking it might be refreshing to start with a blank slate and build more discriminatingly this time.
Later the next day, after a dump run to dispose of some ruined carpet and other trash from the flooded basement, Russ and I decided a quick trip to the Opryland was in order to see if our cars could actually be seen from the road. Shockingly, security let us in to talk to officials at the hotel. After speaking with the valet (yep, underwater), I ran into our event manager who helped us to get access to the storage closet. We were able to get everything out of there that afternoon. About twenty yards from the storage closet were stairs down to the next level. The floodwater was about eight steps from that top of that stairwell. Wow.
Yesterday, my father and I finally finished ripping out flooring and wet drywall (oxymoron?) from my basement. I've yet to hear about my car, but it's not insured, so there's little to be done. I just finished my FEMA application, and here I sit, amongst the exposed studs, perusing used car ads. I’d like to attempt to try and make sure that everyone that was around Sunday is accounted for, as I know some people were still there when evacuation OUT of the hotel started. I hope everyone faired well – feel free to share your own adventures on the comments and let us know you’re okay (if nothing else drop me an e-mail!).
Who’s ready for TGD VI?