It's me again, lovable old Bill Tyler, the president-for-life of They Came and Shaved Us, the convention that steadfastly believes the old Richard Gere / Hamster story.

As I write this, there are only fifty-one days to go before the con! The clock is ticking... Which is kinda strange, because it's a digital clock and should therefore be silent. Except of course at 6:30 in the morning, when it goes Buzz Buzz, Buzz Buzz, BUZZ BUZZ, and so on, until I get up out of bed and turn it off. Or rather, until I get nudged in the ribs enough times that between the buzzing and the nudging, bed stops being cosy and starts to get downright uncomfortable.

I don't keep the clock next to the bed, because if I did I'd just turn it off and go back to sleep. I do like my sleep, I have to say. I'm completely useless the next day if I don't get my full eighteen hours. So I get swing my legs out of bed being extra careful to tug sharply on the blankets (If I have to get up early, so does she) and I stagger over to the clock and fumble around with it until I can find the "off" switch, which magically often seems to swap places with the "make it go louder" switch.

At this point, Mrs The Wife usually says, "Mumble mumble mumble mumble, mumble?" in a sleepy and endearing way. To which I reply, "Of course I have to go to pound-sign at-sign question-mark ampersand work today! Unlike some people, I didn't quit my job a whole three months before we emigrate!"

Because she understands that I'm not at my best in the mornings, Mrs The Wife takes this sort of thing in her stride, and supplies me with some witty banter along the lines of, "My mother was right about you."

I have breakfast while I'm waiting for the shower to heat up; I've been meaning to get it fixed for the past four years, but there doesn't seem to be any point now because we're leaving in less than six weeks.

Then, once breakfast has been consumed, body has been dampened and then dried again, and clothes have been donned, it's off out to the car for the thirty-minute drive to the office. By the time I get there I'm wide awake and not quite so surly, and I start to regret being nasty to Mrs The Wife. I decide to phone her to apologize, but realize that she's probably still in bed. This annoys me, because here I am working hard and she's lounging around the house. Then I feel guilty about that, because let's be honest here I'm not actually working hard at all. In fact, I don't have anything on the books for the whole day, because I've already trained in my replacements and the only reason I'm in the office is just in case there's an emergency of some kind.

Like last Friday, for instance. I'm in the middle of my fiftieth game of Spider Solitaire and the phone rings: Buzz Buzz! (Note: that's a different buzz to the alarm clock).

"Hello?" I said, but there was no answer.

"You have to pick up the phone first," said my colleague Carl.

I picked up the phone. "Hello?"

"Bill, have you got that report finished yet?" Asked my boss.

"Yes," I replied automatically, then realized I didn't know what she was talking about. "Er... Which report?"

"You were going to do a report on the training you did at the site offices."

"I did that three weeks ago!"

"Really?" There was a pause, followed by keyboard clicking. "I don't see it anywhere."

"Must have got lost along the way," I said. "I don't have a copy here, though. As soon as I get home tonight I'll e-mail it to you." That should keep her happy for another day or two: I've been putting off doing this report in the hope that we'll run out of time before The Great Migration.

We've only got a week to go: The house has been sold, the house in Ireland has been rented I hope and all that remains is for me to arrange for the shipping company to come and box up our stuff. I was supposed to do that last week, but I forgot. I'll do it tomorrow.

So we're almost there! Katie is a bit annoyed that I'm going to be spending our first few weeks in Ireland working on "another damn convention" but I know that she's secretly thrilled about the move. Apparently she has Irish ancestors, hence her name. Though Mike has told me that Katie isn't a particularly Irish name, and neither is Colleen, which is Katie's middle name. I know that he's just bullshitting me about that one, though.

Anyway... This will probably be my last report before the move! Just think: in eight days I'm going to get to meet James and Mike in person for the first time! We're going to take a trip to the hotel on Friday 12th to sort out some last-minute stuff... Can't believe it's all finally happening!

Bill Tyler, Chairman
3rd September 2003

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