So in the end I made it back - Returning to Edmonton via Houston and Denver, only detouring 2,100 mile (3,380 km) -Thanks United Airlines, two days after I was supposed to get home I'm finally here, a little wiser than before.
My flight home was pretty bad - but the only thing worse that living through it would be forcing my good readers to read about it - so let's say it was awful and move on.
The conference was pretty amazing - I got to meet all sorts of fascinating people and didn't feel too overwhelmed by the Exhibit Hall.
Would I recommend a trip to Chicago? Absolutely, but maybe try to go during the summer.