Is there a recession going on?

Who needs reality? I spent much of the last two weeks in Hawaii, attending the Sheet Metal and Air-Conditioning Contractors' National Association's annual convention on Maui.

I know; Don't hate me.

As hard as it was to follow the news from the mainland, I did manage to watch CNN and read the day's headlines on the Internet, so I knew the national economy was not getting any better. (And Hawaii's economy is suffering as well: Tourism is down by 20 percent or more in many areas).

I wasn't sure what to expect from SMACNA's convention this year. The national economy is not good, and perhaps some contractors would think it wasn't the best time to fly to an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean for an expensive working vacation.

But association officials were very pleased. Attendance was as good, if not better, than in 2004 --- the last time SMACNA went to Hawaii.

Is it a fluke? Are SMACNA contractors just good business owners? Were members just ready for a vacation? Maybe. I don't know. But it was good to see.