For those who don’t know OCALICon is an Autism and Disabilities conference, held at the Columbus Convention Center, in Ohio. I first found out about it in 2015, as one of the Autistic bloggers I follow was a panelist. I had wanted to attend in 2016, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to due to lack of funds. I finally got to attend this year as a vendor.
Signing up to be a vendor was relatively easy. The event coordinator was very easy to work with and answered any questions I had relatively quickly. He was also very accommodating when I mentioned I cannot do phone calls, so we stuck to email communication. I very much prefer written communication most of the time.
The event was a Wednesday through Friday thing. They had setup for vendors on Tuesday, but I wasn’t able to make it down for that. We set up very early Wednesday morning, as in a little after 6am early. My friend Brick came as my table helper.
On day 1, we got there sometime around 6:30 or so, I think. We got in and parked relatively easily. Though I parked in a garage I had never been in, in my 12-13 years of attending events at the same venue. The entrance to the convention center from the garage was in the newly renovated added on area, so that was a little disorienting for me. Once we figured out where the elevators were we found our way to the vendor hall easily. OCALI did have lots of signs pointing the way which was great. Once outside the vendor hall, one of the volunteers helped us find the event coordinator I mentioned before.Once inside and with the event coordinator, he took us over to get our badges. Then let us borrow a cart to get our heavier items over to our booth more easily.
When we got to our booth we discussed how we wanted to set it up. We decided to make 2 tall towers out of cubes. The one on the left had our #REDInstead sign facing the A$ booth (they somehow ended up diagonal from us, but luckily they just set out leaflets and didn’t actually have anyone manning the booth). It also had a shelf where we put my Autism Pocket Guides for people to take. On the shelf below that was various weighted plushies. The cube tower on the right we hung chewable jewelry and various other fidgets. And on the table we had another smaller cube with my pins and Brick’s chainmail items on it. On the table itself we had various bins filled with stim/fidget stuff. We ended up finishing set up a tiny bit after the room opened for attendees at 9am.
I will continue with how the day 1 went and the other two days in another post.
Yesterday I finally went to the dentist to have my wisdom teeth removed. When I set up the appointment, I thought I was only going to be getting x-rays done and to talk about when we wanted to remove them as well as how we wanted to handle my broken front teeth.
I went to my childhood dentist in Columbus, so I stayed a few days at my grandparent’s house. It also meant that ,since I was in town on a weekday, I got to go visit friends I haven’t seen in awhile. It was nice to get out and hang with them before the anxiety-inducing dentist appointment. We talked dolls, autism stuff, memories from when we were kids, and a ton of other random things. It was all around a good time and I can’t wait to see them again.
Anyway, on to how the dentist appointment went! I got there and got checked in quickly. They called me back to have my teeth cleaned. All the staff there were very nice and let me do what I needed to keep calm, like when my gag reflex kicked in and I had to sit up for a moment so I didn’t cough to death while lying down. Also my 80% purple tinted glasses did an amazing job at making the bright light they usually have in your face seem like nothing.
After the cleaning was done I went into a 2nd room where I sat down and talked to my dentist (I have known him since 1994, so pretty much all of my life) and discussed if I wanted those teeth out right then or not. I messaged my husband to let him know what was going on, as well as my grandparents (since they were my ride). After a bit of freaking out in my head I decided that yeah, I will get the teeth removed while I am here.
We then proceeded to get me ready for the tooth extraction procedure. I asked if I could have the lead apron they have for weight to help keep me calm. The one dental assistant was a bit confused at first, but then I explained why I asked for it and she actually thought it was cool. I also got my tangle out of my purse so I could have that to help focus my anxiety out of my head.
During the procedure my dentist talked me through what all he was doing, what I should be feeling, and if I felt something different to let him know so he could add more numbing. I ended up barely feeling anything and didn’t even realize that they had got the first tooth out. The second one I felt a bit more – for whatever reason it wasn’t taking the numbing stuff as well as the other side. But I didn’t feel it too much, just a couple tiny jolts of pain. Which in comparison to the pain the tooth normally gave me was nothing.
After the procedure was done they had to put gauze in my mouth for a half-hour. The tinier pieces kept causing my gag reflex to kick in. So my dentist got larger pieces that had to hang out of my mouth, so in case I needed to pull them out it was easier. Also, since they went the whole length of my mouth on both sides, biting down on them ended up being better and no gag issues. I got to take them out once I was back at my grandparent’s house.
And now I am home. Yesterday evening my grandparents and my husband met halfway between Columbus and Cleveland so neither would have to drive the full trip. It’s good to be back home, though I have a lot of stuff to work on.
Also, back in July was TrotCon, which is the convention I run. It was our 6th year. We had a few last minute changes thanks to a misunderstanding with our venue. But I was able to magic the schedule in a way to where no panels or events had to be cut. The con went pretty well despite the changes. The attendees loved it as usual and loved the new events we added.
I also hosted my autism panel, though this year only around 10-ish people ended up attending. Last year I had a full room. The panel went well though, and a few of my friends joined as panelists. We mostly went over various subjects from my blog and how they affected us as a varied group of Autistic people. And we answered questions from the audience.
For the kids’ room at the con this year I made sensory bins with sand and slime. They were a hit with the kids who attended. We also had cartoons playing the whole time in the room. For the quiet room which was across the hall I put out coloring sheets and quiet stim/fidget stuff. Every time I visited the room over the weekend it was really great to see that the toys had been played with. So I will def be bringing back both sensory bins and quiet stim stuff for those rooms next year.
In November I will have a table at OCALIcon to sell stim/fidget items. So I am excited about that. My store will be under the name Neurogeekery. I already have a printed fabric banner for the booth, I just need to tie dye it rainbow. And I need to figure out how I want to do the booth layout since its a 10×10 space. So far I have one of my friends coming with to be my booth helper. Will post another update on my OCALIcon booth once I have some more information from the event.
Lastly, I have been getting back into dolls again. I have a bunch of ideas for doll clothing and carrier bags. So I have been working on making stuff. But that’s for a later post!