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, March 28, 2005


There is a reason there never was a Hope and Crosby, “On The Road to Atlanta” movie.

Anyway, up at an awful hour, showered, woke everyone up, got them into their Day One clothes (church tee shirt and jeans) put the last bit of junk in the van, made sure the doors were locked, released the snakes and bats, got everyone in the van, and took off.

Got to the building on time (wonder of wonders) and waited in the van. I guess I’m just not a very social person, but every year everyone gets to the building and wants to get out and talk and drink coffee and schmooze. I want to drive. Get on the road and get ‘er done. But, I am always the odd one out. Reba took the kids in and let them relieve their teensy bladders, and, of course, since she is the social one of the bunch, she got caught up chattering with people. One of these days, I am going to get her to be just as socially withdrawn and awkward as me, just like I’ve taught her how to pack! Well, maybe not.

We finally left out about 6:40 or so and the best I can say was that it was a nice clear day, and the DVD player we got at Christmas was very well received by the children. I am sorry to let Meryl Yourish down this year, but there is no roadkill report. She thinks it’s very odd that I keep up with such things, but I am sorry to say there was little to report that was of interest, although I think I did see a coyote. Or a gray bathmat. Hard to tell.

Stopped at Tallapoosa, Georgia to stretch and pee, and scared Catherine with my stern warning not to do anything BUT pee so that we wouldn’t get left. She kept telling Reba to hurry, which was nice that I didn’t have to do it.

I can’t quite figure out the allure, but for some reason every year whenever the caravan stops at this place, everyone wants to look at all the cheap Chinese-made garbage. I don’t know why--it’s the exact same cheap Chinese-made garbage we have in the convenience stores back home. Me? I’d rather just pee and leave.

Final hour and a half was uneventful, until we hit the metro traffic. So to speak. No one had any close calls, but it’s always unnerving to me to try to stay convoyed with everyone else, especially when the prevailing speed of traffic is 75, and we’re all poking along doing 50 behind the church van. “Hello, good sir! Yes, I think you’re Number One, too!”

Arrived at the Hyatt and got in line to pull into the garage. Waited. Some guy started walking up to each car, motioning around and acting like he was in charge of something. But, being that he had on sweats and sneakers, I figured he was just a bum with a new take on how to shake folks down. Sure enough, the lady in front of us handed him out some bills, and then he came to our car--“Pull down there to where that van is right now, and when you make the turn you have to swing real wide so you don’t hit nothin’. But just wait here until the rest of the cars move.”


“Do you think you could spare several dollars so I could get some coffee this mo…”


Yes, I suppose I would be considered cold and heartless by some, but I don’t give folks money on the street. Especially this guy, who was energetic and articulate enough to get himself an honest job. He didn’t seem to mind--he headed on back and waved and jabbered all the way back to the corner and then some.

Got inside and the entire place was jam-packed with church vans and cars waiting to be parked. Apparently everyone decided to arrive at 10. And did.

In previous years, it’s always been a mess getting our rooms, sometimes with the wait lasting hours, so when the valet came around, I just let him have the car key and figured we’d come back later when we had a room. Unloaded ourselves, went upstairs to the lobby, and our group’s leader was waiting there with the room keys. ::sigh::

I sent them upstairs while I raced back to the motor lobby see if the van might still be in the queue so I could get them to unload it. In a marvel of efficient operation, I saw that they had just pulled the car BEHIND us to the door. I asked the girl at the counter if they’d already taken ours back, and sure enough, they had. And there was little use in asking for it to be brought up again with the pile of cars still to be parked. Meaning, I got to be a bellman. Without benefit of a bellcart, which are only available to highly trained bell personnel. And anyway, all of the carts already had other people’s junk on them.

SO, off to the bowels of the garage with some guy. At least we were parked on the end space, and not too far away. I grabbed a few things, and told the guy I’d be back. Wait 15 minutes for elevator, up to the room, dump, got Boy to help me, wait 15 minutes for down elevator, back down to the lobby, down to the van, more junk, back up the ramp, wait 15 minutes for up elevator, go to room, final dump.


Took Oldest and went and got some stuff from the Dairy Queen in the food court, then went on to Chick-fil-A because SOMEone just HAD to have a chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A, even though it was smaller and more expensive than Dairy Queen, because she could NOT be forced to eat the same thing as her brother and sisters. Back up to the room, distributed food, got Boy and we went to our room for some peace and quiet and cartoons. Finished up, went and got our pitiful bit of luggage from the girls’ room, and then downstairs for the first presentation of awards.

That done, it was time to go back and get ready for the evening festivities, while Reba took Rebecca to go listen to Ashley’s debate team. Cat and Boy and I watched cartoons, then got dressed up and went and had some supper, with the intent of taking the other three some supper. Unfortunately, the Chick-fil-A closed at 6, as did everything else, so we were left with full stomachs and intense anger from Oldest who was certain this was some kind of personal attack on her. After being told by someone in our family to stow it, she and Mom and Sis went outside the hall to a small buffet the hotel had set up with sandwiches and stuff and got themselves something entirely edible.

Next award ceremony started and ended and we went back to the rooms where Reba and the girls decided to be all social and junk and go visit with the kids studying Bible Bowl and song leading, while Jonathan and I did the smart thing and watched cartoons. (As an aside, it has probably been noted that our television viewing pleasure was animation-heavy. This was do to the incredibly short-sighted insistence by the Hyatt of not having the History Channel on their cable system.)

We boys went to bed (and endured listening to the motorcycle races going on outside the hotel), but upon waking the next day, we found out the girls stayed up to nearly midnight. I don’t know why. But complaining about being sleepy was officially declared a non-topic of conversation or complaint.

Up, shower, dress, breakfast junk food, take luggage back down to van (again assisted by Boy, again with interminable elevator waiting--oh, and three trips this time) then some time wasted before an early lunch, then Rena and Rebecca went on with Ashley to do song leading, whilst Jonathan and Catherine and I visited the mall and looked around at the bookstore. Cat found a tiny stuffed puppy and a bookmark, and Jonathan found a Robots book with a cutout model of Rodney Copperbottom. (And I wonder how long it will be before that name turns up in some sort of adult movie?) We wandered for a bit more, then decided there really wasn’t anything to see, so we went back and sat in the lobby for a while and I admired the ceiling of the atrium.

We went back downstairs and found out that Ashley had made it to the final round, which was nice, and we sat some more and I watched people. One lady came by with a baby stroller and sat with us on the bench, and I promise you she looked just like Angelina Jolie, except more modestly dressed. Her hubby came by a few minutes later and sat down, and in a completion of the whole Bizarro Universe scenario, was nothing at all like Billy Bob Thornton! So, see? There is hope! Of some sort.

The girls came back and then it was time to go see Rebecca’s team compete in Bible Bowl. 40 multiple choice questions about the book of Mark, in a nice quiet room with a humming ventilation system. Thankfully, I did not snore. And only went to sleep a couple of times. Ashley read a book, Jonathan played his GameBoy, and Reba sat outside the room with Catherine, who decided she had been still and quiet long enough for the day. That done, it was time to not do anything else.

Reba had brought along her backpack full of schoolwork, so we found a table and she worked on that while we continued video gaming and people watching until suppertime, went and ate, came back to the main ballroom for the final ceremony of the weekend, took some pictures, found out that Rebecca’s team had come in second in her age group, found out that Ashley didn’t quite make it from the top six into the top three, and then along about 9:45, it was over and we dashed downstairs to get our van and get on the road.

I was one of the first ones there, and as you recall, with a spot on the end I figured we’d be out in no time flat.

Thirty minutes later, and behind about ten other cars whose owners arrived after we did, we were indeed on our way. And it started to rain. ::sigh::

All the way home, in varying intensities, but rain. No stops, though. That television seems to dry up any bathroom urges pretty well.

Home about 11:30 or so, packed away the snakes and bats, sent everyone to bed, then set about to deliver the bunny presents to everyone, then collapsed into bed. Up early Sunday as usual, ooh and aahed over the assortment of Eastery candy and the disharmonica, dressed and off to church where I had to try to teach my class without falling asleep at the lectern and without throttling the couple of visitor boys we had who were apparently brought straight from an institution. Neither one had brought a Bible with them, so I had to get Jonathan to sit between them to share, and he was as put out with their young-Helen-Keller-on-meth psychopathy as I was. Can’t really blame them too much, because they were just kids. But I do blame their parents for never teaching them how to sit down and shut up and act like somebody.

I did suggest they ask their parents for some instruction in this matter, although I doubt it registered.

Worship, then off to have a birthday dinner for Ashley at the fancy Japanese steakhouse in Trussville, which thankfully was also attended by Reba’s mom and dad, meaning it was much easier on the wallet than it would have been otherwise. And in an odd coincidence, the goofy kid who never could wait on us right at the Chinese restaurant down the road a bit has somehow managed to get a job at this place taking drink orders and bring out the salad. Yes, this is usually a job done by slim pretty Japanese girls in kimonos, rather than gawky country boys. But at least this time he did seem to be able to get our order right.

AND THEN, after the eatin’--home to do laundry. Laundry, laundry, laundry. Mountains of laundry. Which still isn’t finished.

::sigh:: Something to do for tonight, I suppose!

Anyway, it’s been a long weekend.

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