It's no secret that Serafina and I recently invested in a beautiful piece of BDSM furniture, the Dore Alley bed from DungeonBeds. The bed's been a dream of mine for quite a while, so when I discovered DungeonBeds.com offering a significant discount for the bed that would be displayed at IML2012 in Chicago, we found a way to make the purchase happen. The bed was available for pick-up from the DungeonBeds display at the IML Marketplace at the event's end late Monday afternoon, so we spent our Memorial Day in a very unique fashion.
Also making the day unique was our company, as we were joined by another local couple who live a M/s lifestyle. We very much enjoyed their company. Although this was just the second time we've ever managed to meet up in person, conversation rolled along as if we'd been lifelong friends, making the entire day a little richer for their presence.
And, at the end of the day, we couldn't have brought the bed into our home without their help, as the headboard is so heavy that it was a little bit of a struggle for us to bring it into our home with three of us lifting and pushing. I'm feeling the effects of the workout still today!
The day started in a Ryder MetroVan, an absolute necessity because the headboard is a single solid piece. It's big, it's heavy, and it wouldn't have fit inside a pick-up truck's bed well enough to satisfy me for a multi-hour drive home.
Sure, it might have worked and saved me the rental cost, but when I'm spending several thousand dollars on a bed, I'm not going to get cheap on transportation and risk bashing up my investment.
For a big moving van, the Ryder wasn't too bad at all to drive. We raced down the Illinois Tollway in it making good time, with Master's up front, and our slave's lounging together in the back on futon mattresses.
On the trip, Serafina got to show off her massage and Reiki skills, helping to partially relieve Master Dream's precious treasure's migraine headache. Seemingly, before we knew it, we were looking up at the former Sear's Tower in downtown Chicago.
Without any traffic drama or navigation difficulties, we drove down the urban canyons of downtown, just a block over from Michigan Avenue's 'Miracle Mile', and arrived at the Hyatt Regency Chicago on East Wacker Drive.
Parking looked to be a challenge, and I found myself circling the Hyatt Regency much as some dog's circle before laying down to sleep. On the first two passes around our destination, I simply couldn't discern any parking opportunities, I couldn't even seem to find one of downtown Chicago's ubiquitous underground ramps. Doing my best Clark "Sparky" Griswold impression, I called back to the girls, "Look kids, Big Ben, Parliament . . . "
Then, turning around at an odd dead end turnaround facing out toward's Lake Michigan, I found something that was absolutely priceless for someone driving a huge bulky moving van in Chicago's congested downtown area, wide open on-street parking where I had plenty of room to maneuver and park the big beast. Good fortune was already smiling down upon us!
|the view from where we parked|
|looking from where we parked towards Lake Michigan - I think the Ferris wheel on the horizon is on Chicago's Navy Pier|
It wasn't much more than a block to walk from where we parked to our destination, so as soon as I'd figured out how to work Chicago's self pay parking meter (with the help of a cute little fellow who was obviously also an IML partier - I could tell by the slave tags around his neck) we trekked off to our destination.
The signs inside the front door that said - Hotel Closed for Private Event - assured that we were in the right place, as did our first sighting of a man wearing little more than a jock and a collar. We'd arrived.
Our guests for the day had been to IML2011, so they were able to quickly guide us all down a pair of escalators, thru a registration area where we paid and were given our IML2012 wrist bands, and on down another level to the vending area. The room was massive, with long rows of displays by more BDSM gear vendors than I'd ever imagined existed.
Although I've been living a BDSM lifestyle for many years, I'd never managed to ever attend an event of this sort. My ex-submissive Blissful Torment was always too uptight to attend anything of this kind, after all these aren't the kind of stories she could have told her co-workers when they talked about their weekend's activities . . .
Prior to this year, Serafina and I had been too busy with caregiver responsibilities to even get away for a day, so everything about IML was brand new to me. It was a little overwhelming. The room was so vast, with row upon row of gear displays, it was a bit hard to know even where to begin.
|inside IML2012's vending area|
Lacking a complete plan, we simply dove in and started browsing. Before long, I started shopping.
I've never hid my love of floggers. I'm to the point where I consider myself more than just an aficionado, I'm perhaps approaching the level of becoming a flogger connoisseur. As I told one of the vendors, not only do I expect a flogger to be functional, I also consider them to be works of art. At the end of the day, I found and purchased two more floggers for my collection.
The first is a big, long, and heavy, suede leather mop. It's without a doubt now the heaviest flogger in my collection. I didn't count (yet) for myself, but the vendor told me there were just over 100 total falls, and to my eye, at a glance, that looks correct. It's very impressive looking, all black leather, so it will nicely match my all black floggers in both Elk and Goatskin.
I've already lost the vendor information for this flogger. Although I took their card, I took cards from a variety of vendors, and they are all mixed together. Fortunately, I'm sure Master Dream remembers, as they were (I think) a company from which he'd made a previous purchase.
The other flogger was Serafina's pick, and it's easily the softest and most sensuous flogger we now own. It was made by Heartwood Whips from a deerskin suede that is an absolute delight to touch, so very soft. I'm positive Serafina will adore it when used on her breasts, and between her legs.
And then I found myself a beautiful leather motorcycle jacket for just $50! I've never owned a black leather jacket, but I've always wanted one. Scratch that one off my to-get list! This one fits me beautifully, and looks pretty darn good on me, if I dare to say so myself.
Then I saw the DungeonBed's display, at the end of the third or fourth row of aisles we navigated. I felt a little bit like a child again, there was a bit of an urge to break into a run towards my bed. That's right, MY BED! Ah, so close, but yet so far . . .
I did my best not to hurry our friends through the remaining displays on that aisle. I'm sure they felt my excitement, and by that point, I think my enthusiasm was at least a little bit infectious, because moments later we were there at the DungeonBeds display.
And there it was, my bed!.
|thousands of leathermen (and leatherwomen) ogled my bed this weekend wishing for one of their own|
I waited as politely as I could for to introduce myself, then stuck out my hand to one of the gentlemen manning the display, and said with a huge grin, "Hi, my name's Michael, and that's my bed!"
With a kind smile, indulging my enthusiastic greeting, he said, "Yes, it is!" and introduced himself as Jeff. I think that I spoke with Jens (Jeff and Jens are the DungeonBed guys) when I called about my order, so now I'd introduced myself to the other half of the team.
I'd looked at some pretty sweet St Andrew's crosses, cages, and spanking benches as we'd wandered through the displays, but there was absolutely no doubt in my mind, my bed was the "best of show". Nothing else at the show even compared . . .
|Master Dream's precious treasure tries out the under bed cage!|
Yes, there was plenty more to see.
No, I really don't remember much of it at all. Eventually, after seeing my bed, getting over that burst of excitement, everything became like a dream.
It was very much like everything had become a little bit fuzzy around the edges . . .
|after the bed, everything's a blur|
No, I wasn't really dreaming . . . To be very honest, I think my bloodsugar was getting kinda low at that point.
So, we retired upstairs to the hotel's bistro, where we shared a nice lunch with our new friends. And then it was time to pick up the bed.
While our slave/wives returned to the vending area to watch our bed get disassembled and packed for the ride home, the Master's retrieved the moving van and (eventually) found the loading dock deep in the bowels of Chicago's under-city.
The fine gentlemen from DungeonBed's disassembled the bed with Serafina watching and taking photos. so we'd feel extremely well prepared to put things back together when we arrived home. Everything was packaged carefully, wrapped in foam and shrink wrapped, before being leaded into the van.
Within little more than an hour of the show's closing, our new bed was secured, strapped down inside the van, and we were homeward bound.
|the bed is disassembled for the ride home|
IML2012 was great fun. I very much look forward to attending the event in future years.
But, as good as that gets, I look forward even more to getting my Serafina restrained to my new bed, not to mention setting her in the sling at the bed's end . . .