Monday, December 3, 2007

Two in one day

They say it never rains, it only pours. Today it is blizzarding and I almost had a fatal car crash whilst attempting to pick up my dog, Schubert, after he was surgically altered (neutered). I slid past the vet's office and fishtailed around in the turning lane between two crazy lanes of rush-hour-during-a-blizzard coming from opposite directions on each side of me.

Of course I prayed, like crazy, and God was merciful (see previous entry). The irony was that I had to turn around in the parking lot of the psychic who lives on the far side of the vet. How mortifying it is to sit in the turn lane of a busy road during a blizzard and look like you are taking your life into your own hands in order to get a psychic reading.

We have been having issues lately. Safety issues. Car issues. You name it.

This past weekend was the New York State School Music Association All-State Conference (NYSSMA) in Rochester, NY. DJ went with his saxophone. He didn't make the All-State jazz band, but we went over to Rochester on Saturday night to hear the NYSSMA jazz band play. It was pretty good, but it was kind of like when you put together an all-star basketball team to play in the Olympics--everybody was trying to take the shot (or the solo, as the case may be). There is so much competition and jealousy among musicians, sometimes I honestly wonder why we devote so much time, energy and money to music in this family.

I was glad that DJ was not in the NYSSMA jazz band. Totally and unreservedly glad. And not because of anything I just mentioned. I was glad because of this: If you had been there, you might have noticed that it was held in a smallish, clubby-feeling auditorium. The first six rows of seats were on the main floor. Then there was a section that inclined at about 45 degrees. Above that, in the uppermost section, the seats rose at an angle of about 60 degrees. In the 45 degree section, there were wooden banisters. In the 60 degree section, there was a sort of metal loop on only one side of the aisle, about one every three seats or so.

When we arrived, the auditorium was already mostly full. We entered on the left side and climbed all the way to the top without finding three seats together (it was Shawn, Jonathan, and me). Jonathan spied three seats together over on the right side of the auditorium, but you had to descend to ground level, walk across and then climb up again on the other side. He took off like a mountain goat. I struggled to follow him… and tripped. Mind you, I was in the section where the seats inclined at a 60 degree angle, where the hand rails were so few and far between as to be virtually non-existent. Had there been anything to grab, I would have been able to save myself. But I fell, in slow motion like a bad dream, down five or six incredibly steep stairs.

I finally landed in the back of the shoulder of a poor unfortunate man. I apologized profusely and asked him if he was okay. He was nice, genteel in fact, and didn’t yell at me or call me a stupid clumsy fool to my face, for which I will be forever grateful. I probably gave him wicked whiplash, but he said, “I’m fine, it’s YOU I’m worried about.” I could tell I’d hit my knee pretty hard on something, but I choked back tears of pain and shame and said, “I’m fine,” and took off trying to catch up with Jonathan as fast as I possibly could.

So that is why I was glad DJ wasn’t there. He would have been so ashamed, probably nearly as ashamed as I was.

We got home late that night and Laura had plans to sleep over at a friend’s house because she needed to be at church the next day, and the rest of us were going back to Rochester to hear DJ play in the All-State Symphonic Band. Shannon was going to take her over to her friend’s house, and I decided to go along because I needed a few things from the grocery store. We got about a quarter of a mile from home, and Shannon made a careful right turn with a green light, followed by two careful lane changes for which she signaled responsibly. Just then we saw those dreaded lights behind us.

Yes, we were pulled over. After sitting and waiting with sweaty palms and shaky knees for about 10 minutes, we learned from a harsh-faced trooper that we had a headlight out. He gave Shannon a ticket. Ugh.

The next morning we drove to Rochester again, in a blizzard. The concert was really good, and on the way home we enjoyed a van-picnic made from groceries I had purchased the previous night after getting a ticket.

It was overcast on the way home. Shawn turned on the lights for safety (I hope it is obvious that we had not had a chance to fix our headlight between 11 p.m. on Saturday night and 7:30 a.m. Sunday morning, which is when we had to leave for Rochester). But anyway, on the way home, about half a mile from our thruway exit, we drove past a trooper who was parked off to the side of the road. Sure enough, he pulled out behind us and pulled us over again for driving with only one headlight. At 2:38 in the afternoon, if you can imagine. This trooper, however, was nicer than the one the night before, and he gave us a form that we could send in to prove to the court that we had fixed the light (which Shawn did immediately upon arriving home).

All-State Band, being pulled over by a policeman (twice), getting my dog neutered, almost perishing in an accident, and on top of that, Laura’s ballet class (the one she teaches) had a recital Sunday afternoon right when we got home. That’s enough to put me under. It’s hard to face a busy week when you get no rest on the weekend. I am HOPING for a snow day tomorrow so we can all sleep in.

It never rains, it only pours, except when it snows.

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