Back from Columbia and the first ever Soda City Comic Con! Achievement unlocked: escaped floodwaters!
I didn't see more than really huge puddles and overflowing storm drains, but that is probably because we got out before all the roads closed. Rainfall was a steady, unrelenting drizzle all day, and picked up considerably at night, with some nice scary gusts of wind for good measure. The hotel we were in did not fare so well – not one of the ones with the con rates – it started raining in the dining area so, no hot breakfast for us. Fortunately we weren't on the top floor, since that area wasn't faring so well either.
I kept up with Soda City Comic Con on Facebook and Twitter while Joe monitored the news, and we sat tight until we were clear to head to the convention center. The Metropolitan Convention Center is in a good high spot, evidently, and I figured we were better off there than the hotel! I half expected it to become an evacuation shelter. And really, what is there to do other than make the best of things (and not scare the kids). The weather may be grim, but I wouldn't give it the satisfaction of admitting it.
So we set up just like everything was normal, walked around the other vendors' displays, bought a few things, played video games, and kept a surreptitious eye on the news. A high point was when the National Guard helicopters visited the parking lot next to us – all the boys heard the chopper and raced for the door to see it. That was about two or two-thirty, a few minutes before the con officially announced closing.
The con organizers had been hopeful that the weather would clear and hours could be extended, but then Columbia announced a city-wide curfew of 6 o'clock and that highways were being closed. So we heard over the speaker that Soda City Comic Con would end at two-thirty, and packed up to go. I'd heard from con staff that there was no way to get back to Gray Court – that all westward bound entries to Highway 26 were closed down already. And at first, that seemed to be true. The ramp we'd come in on was shut down, and the next nearest as well. We were cruising through town, with no idea where we were apart from “Columbia” and “slightly uphill,” when we spotted a small sign for Highway 26 at an intersection. We glanced left and there seemed to be fewer cars coming back from that way than seemed to be coming back from the direction we were headed, so we made the left turn, went a ways, and miraculously got on the highway! We hardly dared breathe again until we were well out of the city.
Even then, we saw evidence of trees down, up 26 and after we got on 385, and we were stopped for about half an hour while one was cleared near Chapin.
After that, we made it safely back to the upstate, where the rain was just rain, and had dinner at El Tejano, which is a really great little place in Simpsonville that's Miss Chaos' favorite, even if all she eats is chips, salsa, and a cheese quesadilla. Every time.
So today, I'm really thankful to be home. And my church is having a food drive, so I went through and about halved my pantry today to find things to send back there. Unfortunately I hadn't really stocked up during my last shopping trip since I knew we'd be gone for the weekend, so I only got one decent box together. But on the upside, there's quite a few packets of tuna, several extra canned tomatoes, and some soups bought by mistake that turned out to have wheat ingredients, and I added a can of coffee and some boxes of tea, and a gallon of water I'd been saving.
Lots of places are organizing food drives – I hear Harvest Hope is nearly out, so Borderlands Comics and Games is getting supplies together, and of course NewSpring Church is packing several truckloads, and the good people at Soda City Comic Con are helping at the Metropolitan Convention Center to receive and send out supplies from there. If you have nonperishable foods and bottled water to contribute, please do! Entire neighborhoods are under water, and with the sewers flooded, nobody is going to be drinking any water from the pipes. The lower half of the state is a mess.
Next post will be good stuff about the con's first day, which was stellar, and truly the bright redeeming feature of this past weekend.
First up, Penance Copper - a graphic narrative about a girl with superpowers trying to turn her life around.