Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

REDIRECT ALERT! (Scroll down past this mess if you're trying to read an archived post. Thanks. No, really, thanks.)

Due to my inability to control my temper and complacently accept continued silliness with not-quite-as-reliable-as-it-ought-to-be Blogger/Blogspot, your beloved Possumblog will now waddle across the Information Dirt Road and park its prehensile tail at http://possumblog.mu.nu.

This site will remain in place as a backup in case Munuvia gets hit by a bus or something, but I don't think they have as much trouble with this as some places do. ::cough::blogspot::cough:: So click here and adjust your links. I apologize for the inconvenience, but it's one of those things.

Monday, May 10, 2004

So I get to the house Friday night and load up the family to go to Rebecca's game. I wish they would play with some consistency--this week they looked like they were trying to run in molasses. No energy at all, and we even had more substitutes this time than the other team. They did pretty well defensively, even though they did allow 3 goals--the bigger problem was offense. We only got one score, and it was due more luck than skill. Even Rebecca, who usually has a good game no matter what was off--she let a multitude of players get past her, and it looked like she wasn't paying attention. I guess it's hard to concentrate after having been in school all day.

And then, out to eat. Probably not the best thing to do, since it was edging down towards 8:30, but we hadn't had supper and everyone was hungry. So, we hopped over to Jim 'n Nick's. Hard to beat barbecue, you know. Which doesn't explain why none of us got barbecue. Reba and the two older girls got big salads, Boy got a basket of fried chicken fingers, Cat got a cheeseburger, and I got a catfish po' boy. The barbecue sure smelled good, though. And my sammich was really good, too--sorta salty, but nice and fresh tasting. I think the only reason we went there was because one of Catherine's student teachers also waits tables there, and SOMEone just HAD to go see where she worked.

We saw her several times, and after Catherine got finished with her food, she insisted Mom take her to go see Miss Christy (or whatever he name is) so she could say hello. I think Cat and her teacher both enjoyed seeing each other, one as much as the other.

Wound up not getting out of there until 10. Eating that late is not a good thing--at least for we non-trendy, provincial sorts whose bedtime is sundown.

Home, into bed (or bath in the case of the stinky soccer one), and then up early again Saturday.

Since Oldest's solo and ensemble competition was in the early slot, 8:30, I volunteered to take her so Reba could have a few more minutes to wake up and move around. And, well, you know, my blood pressure was feeling low, and I needed something to get it back up to a nice, consistent, cerebral aneurysm level.

Woke Ashley up, kept hounding her to get dressed and get ready, then it was time to go and she hadn't even had breakfast yet due to her incessant dawdling. Grr. I grabbed up a couple of muffins out of the refrigerator and gave them to her with a bottle of water, and we headed out the door.

Onto Main, left onto Deerfoot, over the river, and fifteen minutes after getting in the car, we were pulling into the street running alongside Clay-Chalkville High. Now, if you read the stuff on the link, you will find that this is a pretty darned big school campus. Which means it can be somewhat confusing if you have never been there before. Or, if your daughter has neglected to find out anything about where to go.

As one end of the school building hove into view, I asked, "Okay, now, where are we supposed to go and park?"

"I don't know." Said with the slight edge that intimates the anwereror is being put out by having to answer such an obviously stupid question. ::sigh::

There was a line of cars parked on the road (both sides, actually), and I think they might have been there for the soccer games that were going on over at the sports complex, but no matter. I parked and we started walking.

After passing several likely entrances, we found the other end of the building and went on inside. Where I expected to find someone checking people in. Or something. "Okay, where to you go sign in?"

"I don't know."

Yes, you are sensing a theme here.

We walked down the corridor, and finally started seeing signs directing us toward the registration area, then saw the director for the Hewitt band in the library with some fusty old dudes whom I took to be the judges. I was about to open the door when a lady with a look of horror on her face quickly walked over and asked if I needed help. Well, yeah. She asked Ashley who her director was, and said we needed to go to the cafeteria where everyone was warming up, and he would be there.

Halfway there, one of her bandmates came up a side hall from the outside, and said the director was outside getting everyone signed up, but given the emerging sense that this was turning into a nice little Charlie Foxtrot, I was dubious that she was right. But her mom verified it, so we went out and sure enough, there he was. Sure would have been nice if this undisclosed location had been disclosed AHEAD of time, but hey, that's just me.

Stood there behind some other kids, and each one was asked what his or her performance number was. I turned and asked Ashley, "Do you know what your number is?"



"No, sir." ::sigh::

Luckily, there was a master sheet (which, come to find out later, had been posted in the Band Room the previous day so everyone could find out their number) so we eased over and found her name and her fellow ensemble members and the number. 58 and 66. The director gave her the grade sheets to fill out, judge's music sheet, and instructions.

We sat down at one of the concrete tables and she started to fill things out. Well--not quite. "I DON'T have a pencil!"

"He has some--go get one." She huffed off and came back and sat down, and after exactly five seconds of constant grunting and more huffing, she groaned, "I don't know HOW to fill this out!" Name, date, etc. Seemed pretty simple to me, but you know, I'm too stupid to even walk around, so what help could I be? "Just fill in what it says."


"Probably it means if your ensemble has a name, you fill that in--why don't you just go ask."

Let someone else tell her. She stomped off then came back just as put out--"He told me to read the INSTRUCTIONS!" Imagine that. I had read them in her absence, and they seemed pretty darned clear to me--fill in your information, number the measures of the sheet music for the judge, and go warm up. She finally decided to leave the ensemble name blank.

We went back over and the director looked it over, pronounced it filled out right, and told her, "Okay, go back to the warm-up room, find your other members, and just let them know you have already signed them in and you have the information." On to the cafeteria, which was full of noise. I asked Ashley which judge she was supposed to have.

"I don't know."

I saw the mother of the girl we had first ran into, and asked how they were supposed to know which judge's room to go to. She said she wasn't sure, but her daughter already knew when they got there which room it was. Hmmm. Sounds like someone wasn't paying attention again. I walked over to where Ashley and the flute-playing girl were jabbering. "Excuse me, sugar, but can you tell me how you knew which judge you were supposed to have?"


Grr. NOTHING sets me off like impolite kids who should KNOW BETTER. Her loud, vacant-headed, open-mouthed grunt nearly set me off into R. Lee Ermey mode with the standard speech I give my kids--"My name is NOT 'Huh' or 'What,' and if you do NOT understand me you WILL say 'Sir?' or 'Excuse me?" I honestly had to catch myself, but I did--it's poor form to dress down someone else's kid, especially when I know in the back of my mind that my own does it, too. Anyway, I asked again, and the little dear said it had been on the sheet posted in the band room.

"Ashley, do you think maybe that the sheet that had your group's numbers on it might have also had your judge's number on it, too?" "OH, well, Clarinet Girl (not her real name) told me we were supposed to have judge 6 and 7!"

"And what time are you supposed to be at each one?"

Eye roll, and the heavy sigh that indicates your father is dain bramaged--"NINE-THIRTY, and NINE-FORTY!"

"And which one is which--is judge 6 the one for 9:30 or the one for 9:40?"

She opened her mouth with something tart to say, but then realized something...

"I don't know." Imagine.

Back to the director's table, where we found that indeed the judges were listed, along with the time. How 'bout that! Back inside, and I suggested we find the rooms ahead of time just to make sure where they were. "BUT Clarinet Girl and Trumpet Girl and Flute Girl aren't HERE!" I reassured her they would be there eventually, and it wouldn't hurt to see where she was supposed to be. Back up the corridor, found the proper classrooms, and then back to the cafeteria to let her warm up. I told her I had to go find a restroom, and I turned back to go see what I could find. Well, surely there is a boy's room somewhere, but it was nowhere nearby, and I wasn't about to go too far astray.

Dad's Patented Sense of Looming Trouble, you know. Which came in handy.

I had gone about twenty feet back down the corridor and was coming back toward the cafeteria when here came Oldest stomping down the hallway with Huh!? Girl--"Whoa, where are you goin..." Blew right past. Wrong. Move. Ahhhhhh, but the blood pressure is up nicely!

"Ashley...Ashley..." She keeps right on, studiously keeping her head turned away and yammering as loud as she can at Huh!? Girl. Finally, to her eternal credit, Huh!? Girl turns and says, "Ashley, your dad is trying to tell you something." She stopped and I asked where she was going. "NO ONE is here yet, and Mr. Director said I HAVE to go find them and I HAVE to tell them I have their stuff and I HAVE to GO. FIND. THEM!"

Short, terse lecture on A) Responsibility--her job was not to go running around, she would be better off to warm up. B) Common Sense--she didn't know where she was going, where anyone would be, or if she would find them, seeing as how they could be following each other around in circles. If they didn't come to the cafeteria first, they would go see Mr. Director, and he would send them on. No use to waste time. Go practice. That went over really well. She gave me her usual I Hate You look and turned around to storm into the cafeteria and saw one of her ensemble members waiting at the door. I resisted the urge to say 'I told you so.' And yes, I DO want a medal.

They all ran back inside and started practicing, although they were still short a couple of folks, and it was getting close to time to begin. I gave up on trying to find the john and just leaned up against the corridor wall and watched people. Never having been a bandweeb, this confusion and noise was new to me. I can't for the life of me figure out how they could do any substantive practicing surrounded by everyone else doing their own music, but Miss Reba (a former bandweeb) tells me this is normal. As I stood there, I noticed that Ashley and her half-ensemble were headed full-steam back toward the door. ::sigh:: Not again! Just then, I suppose Ashley caught a glimpse of me through the door, because she stopped dead in her tracks and wheeled around and went back and grabbed her clarinet. Well, whaddya know.

Wait some more, more kids pile in, and then about 9:15, another jailbreak is attempted. Oldest comes blowing out the door, again on a mission--"HO--where you going?" Going to go talk to Mr. Director again about the one remaining member who has not yet shown up. I followed along behind just to make sure they went where they said, and caught her as she was coming back--basically, if the other girl didn't show, they would just play without her. Imagine that.

Back into the cafeteria, more noise, and I looked down at my watch to see that it was time for them to head out. I stepped to the door and caught Ashley's attention over across the room and tapped on my watch. She said something to the other girls, and they started playing again. Went on over, told the girls the instructions has said they needed to be at the room five minutes early, and they needed to go on. "OHHHHH!" Yes, instructions are your friend.

They gathered up their junk and headed toward the door, and then halfway to the room, they found their other member (who was going to play in the second ensemble). Seems she lost her trumpet. The day before. Amazing. I mean, they're so large, you figure it would be hard to LOSE one. Then again, fourteen year olds... The director was telling her she could borrow someone's and then when Ashley and the other girls in her group got finished with their first number, they could get together in the cafeteria and go through it several times. Obviously, he was not aware they were supposed to be playing only 10 minutes apart. Again, Patented Sense of Impending, Etc.

Went to the first judging, the girls went in, the girls came out, went well by all accounts. It was now seven minutes until their next performance. They all strolled back down to the cafeteria to find their trumpeteer, who by now had gotten herself someone else's instrument, and they blabbered for a minute before realizing they had to turn around and go right back. They played through their piece once, then took off again for the next judge. He was running behind, so they stood with some of the other girls from school and talked about how stupid everything is. One group came out, and the door locked behind them. Ashley decided this needed to be fixed, so after attempting to break off the handle, she took to pounding on the door. Yes, I realize sometimes I get somewhat hyperbolic in my descriptions, but sadly, not this time. I was standing across the hall and shook my head and mouthed, "STOP IT! He KNOWS you're out here!" but she was not dissuaded. Balled up her fist and WHAMWHAM! Geez. It'sjustaphaseIt'sjustaphaseIt'sjustaphase...

The pallid old fellow finally opened the door and let them in, they played, then they came out. Back to collect their stuff, then outside to the courtyard to await the results.

Well, how about that--both of her ensemble groups got Superior marks! She was very happy, which is a good thing. Off then to the car, stop at the convenience store for a cold drink and something to snack on, stop and get some gas in Mom's car, then head to the soccer park.

About which, next.

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