A tale of two Waffle-paloozas

Well, National Novel Writing Month ended on a random but fun note here in the Greater Hamilton area, which is certainly appropriate. For a few years we’ve been doing ‘Waffle-palooza’ on the last night of November – an occasion to gather together at a Williams Coffee location, type madly to reach 50k or whatever other end-of-the-month goals we have in our sights, and then celebrate by ordering Belgian waffles.

This year, since there was a regular Friday write-in at the Burlington Power Center Williams, it was agreed that this should be the venue for Waffle-palooza 2012. It was next door to a dessert joint called Demetre’s that also had great Belgian waffles. And since my Co-ML is out of town, Waffle-palooza was all on my watch.

The weather forecast said scattered flurries throughout the day. Yesterday afternoon it began to really snow – not a ferocious blizzard, but more than flurries. More than anybody was prepared for.

I left work just before 5 pm, crawled the two and a half kilometers through crazy traffic, and tried to take a shortcut between one Power Center parking lot and another that was much too steep and slippery to drive up. Back out onto the main road the wrong way, an illegal U-turn to get going north, (well, okay, more of a three-point turn, but it worked out alright,) and I finally got to Williams around six-twenty, to find one of the Burlington write-in regulars and two of his friends, who had just gotten there by bus a few minutes earlier.

It turned out to be a great write-in and Nanowrimo party. Five more Wrimos arrived over the next two or three hours, as traffic permitted. On the Nanowrimo site, we found that five Wrimos who wanted to go to Waffle-palooza had changed their plans on account of the highway traffic, and gathered at a different Williams Coffee, the one at Hamilton Harbour that hosted our Sunday afternoon and Thursday evening write-ins this year. Rich started keeping score of which group was eating more waffles, which prompted rule lawyering about whether cake should count as good as a waffle if the person ordering didn’t prefer waffles. The Power Center Williams ran out of waffle batter. One Wrimo who couldn’t make it to either Waffle-palooza was following the entire exchange online, and eating virtual waffles.

Myself, I reached my extra goal of 64,000 words, and really enjoyed my celebratory custom waffle. (Just vanilla ice cream and whipped cream, no extra syrup, no fruit topping. The ice cream was yummy enough that I licked the melted remains off the plate when I ran out of waffle to mop it up with. 😉 ) And there was a lot more celebrating in Hamilton last night…

One of the Wrimos at Power Center reached 50k, another reached a smaller goal that she had really been pushing very hard to get to in November, and Elizabeth Twist made it to her amazing goal of 83,614 words, reaching a total of 240k for 2012 one full month early! Over on the Pier, we had two Wrimos who’d been locked in an epic word war for ten days both cross the 50k line, our favorite Young Writer reached his declared goal of 25k, and somebody else who’d already done the 50k thing finally got to the end of her story. Two other Hamilton Wrimos who hadn’t joined in the Waffle-palooza saga particularly posted that they reached 50k yesterday evening as well.

When the Williams at the Power Center was closing up around 11, there were several people who were just heading over to Demetre’s to get their waffles, but I packed up my ML gear and headed for home. The surface roads were still a little slippery in Burlington, but I made it without much trouble except that my gas needle was pointing pretty close to E. But I’d survived my first year as a Nanowrimo ML, and I had a blast.

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