So I am going back to Quincy tonight for the last weekend of “The Sound of Music.” And all I have to say is that I hope that this weekend goes better than last weekend. Last Friday night was horrific enough for an entire run, thank you very much. Let me just share. There is a stair unit and a balcony unit that we use in the living room scenes. They were ready to go pretty soon in the process so that we could use them for rehearsal. The escape stairs to get down the other side was not added until a few weeks before the run. The issue is that the theater has very little wing space, so the escape stairs have to have a couple steps down then a landing and then a 90 degree turn. So when you are coming off that 10 foot unit you have two steps down and then a seven foot drop off. I did not let the kids use the escape steps until a rail was put up there. The other issue is that those first steps are not as wide as the unit so there are gaps were you can step off and not hit steps but go all the way down to the landing.

So on the first dress rehearsal and the first night we did not use work lights (meaning it was dark back stage) we finally got the rail up so that the kids could use the escape steps like they had to. And I made it a point to be over there to supervise the stairs whenever the kids needed to be using them.

But last Friday was when it happened, during the last time the escape stairs were used all the kids come down in a line carrying boxes and we have the whole crew over there to collect boxes and hold hands. That night there was a little too much pushing and shoving and Tiffany, one of our seven year olds stepped off into the space with no steps on the down stage side of the unit. She fell into the curtain and the down to the stage, that whole seven feet.

Jessie the assistant director (haha, what does that mean?) was a step or two closer to her when we watched it happen. She tumbled down the curtain and landed on her bottom on the cardboard box that she was holding. Jessie stepped right in swung open the curtain and scooped her up. She teared up right away but didn’t cry out in pain. We were met in the dressing room by the director and her husband who had saw (and heard the whole thing from where they were watching in the house, and then Tiffany’s mom (she is playing Frau Schrader) who got run down by the director and her husband as she was removing her mic pack in the work room.

By some miracle Tiffany was fine besides being a little sore and bruised from the corner of the cardboard box. She even made it back for her next scene. And we got rails around all sides of the escape steps the next day.

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The saga continues…

So besides speaking at the rally, I got word at our Wednesday morning research meeting that the choir that was supposed to sing had dropped out. Gloria said that someone had volunteered to contact my choir (Selah) to see if they could do the opening music. I said I’d email around and see, but I didn’t feel too confident as we have trouble finding Sunday mornings in advance that we can all get together, let alone the Monday night coming up in five days none of which was a practice day. To everyone’s delight, Gary responded to my email that very night and agreed to lead some hymns. Over the next two days I got six people to agree, and a few nos (including our director.) So I gave the go ahead, with the proviso that we would need an accompanist as I had not heard from ours yet. Gloria said no problem they had someone lined up to play who could do our pieces, I just needed to get the music to her.

So I made plans to bring the music to her house.  And when I got there things were not ok.  She said that she could not play the music and she seemed a little annoyed to be asked.  “I knew I should have said no.” So at that point I have a commitment to the gig, my members coming and no one to play for us.  And Gloria still thinks that music is something that just happens. “Can you sing accapella, or don’t you all know some songs she knows?”  Well, I guess we have some hymns. So I called the grumpy lady back and we land on Let There be Peace on Earth, This is the Day, and Here, I am Lord. I’ll print the sheet music to If I Had a Hammer and she’d pick up a Methodist hymnal after the 11:00 service.

At pickup rehearsal on Sunday, we found out that our pianist could come, and most all of the members that I had not heard from agreed to come.  Now we are getting somewhere. I had a busy day on Sunday and after doing a skit singing with Selah twice, teaching Sunday School and trying to look for a friend I invited (who didn’t show) I just was hanging out in the sanctuary chatting, and waiting for her to coming.  Well my friend left and I decided to change locations.  Then I saw her sitting up front, apparently since before the end of the service ten minutes ago.  She crabbed at me some more and told me how the arrangement of the song I had printed was not right.  Good night, lady!

Which brings us to the night.  It turned into a comedy of errors.  There were no escape steps from the choir loft that didn’t go right up front, parking was a bear, one of the songs I decide we should sing I forgot had this wordy fast bit and not everyone had their music,  at three minutes till we were going to start the accompanist had not shown up, the projector was shining into the face of the top row, the keyboard that was set up was not full size, the piano was not mic-ed.  We were accosted by cranky pants again, because she apparently had not whined to me enough, asking for our player to stay and to do the closing, I reminded her that I already told her that Lori had to go back to class.  Then we were ready to go.  We could not hear the piano at all from the loft.  So we had to run down so that we could stand by it, and it is wildly out off tune anyway and you can still barely hear that she’s playing.  They through up some mics which I don’t think were even meant to pick up group singing.  By the time we started we only had time for 2 songs instead of the three we had planned for.  No one introduced us we just go.  And it takes a few minutes for the people up front to pick up that something was happening and people in the back never got it and continued with their conversations.

After the singing nine of the people left, and three of us stayed.  Thus ruining the grand plan my SPUMC TEAM fellow leaders had of recruiting people from the choir to start coming to our event.  Well that and the fact that one of the members said it was “the worst singing experience I have ever had.”

Gloria asked us to sing again at the Action in April.  Think I can convince them?

Rally, if you can

March 25, 2009

It’s Rally and Action time again for TEAM. Which means Erin is living outside of her comfort zone. Monday’s Rally brought a whole new set of challenges because now besides just worrying about bringing a bunch of folks, I was all of the sudden part of the program. First I got delegated to speak for my research committee. I am one of three who’s been active with them for the last few months and of the other two one is the chair who’s been giving the talks every time for two years and one of our clergy who happens to work for the City of Tallahassee in the planning department, so he always bows out. So I got to be the one.

I did have the advantage that Gloria (the lead organizer) pretty much wrote my speech. I did tweak it a bit, including rewriting an entire section that I did not think was saying what I wanted it to say. I also had a problem about what our issue actually was, since I was at all those meetings I know that it was thrown together really just to have something to present. The purpose of the rally is to get everyone excited about the issue, and our issue is just frankly not that exciting. I really pushed my committee to work on asking the city to fund a housing advocate, but it just didn’t get off the ground fast enough. And all the stuff that I was working on did not make the cut anyway. So are you ready… it might just be too thrilling for you to handle. We want the city to put out an RFP in order for a CDC to run the Rental Rehabilitation Loan Program. And if you don’t already know what those acronyms are, well it’s too boring to care.

Let me just say that no one was thrilled. It was fine, and I think I did the best that I could but I don’t know how you can really fire people up about grant procedures and contract writing. It’s long been a criticism of our organization that we don’t work on things that are exciting enough, that actually meet our own criteria for what makes a good issue. There’s work to be done there for sure.

We did have the Marching 100 (or 30 of them at least) play some music for us that included a drum roll before I got up to speak. But I think it may have had the opposite effect that they were intending, well on me. The opening speaker was talked about Les Mis, and I know what happens after drum rolls during the French Revolution. Gulp.

You’d think that I’d learn my lesson, but I managed to overdraft my checking account for the second time in a month.  It makes me mad at myself because I prided myself on being in tight control over my finacial life (maybe one of the only areas really.)  The problem is that the job I have now literally pulled me back onto the finacial cliff.  I did not have enough money to pay my November rent.  But it also marked the first time in 3 years that I was back to living on a paycheck basis.  I lived two years being paid in big chunks and then I lived off the savings of the big chunks.  And about 3 years ago I stopped using my checking account.  I’d pay my bills out of the chunk, I’d make purchases on my credit card, then pay it off in full at the end of the month from the chunk.  While I was working I alway had the big chunk and it was plenty and more.  In fact I managed to save about a third of what I made that got me through the year.  But as that chunk started running out I started to carry a balance on my credit card.  Which I don’t like at all.  So now that I’m working again and living literally paycheck to paycheck (which are luckily enough) my chunk mentality is still getting me in trouble.  My expenses have gone up at least as much as my salary from the last time I was on the tight biweekly pay. Stupid grocery costs plus internet plus about $1000 more per year in rent.  So that control  I need it back.  But some things are hard to learn and when you make money mistakes you literally pay.