Saturday, April 19, 2008
The Night the Lights Went out in Bothell
So, yesterday started out pretty normal. I had to work, and the school's variety show, which I'm in charge of, was rescheduled for last night (after being canceled for snow in March!). As I'm checking my email in the morning, I receive an email from the PE teacher at school saying that the 400 chairs I've had delivered from the district are sitting out in the rain and I "might want to organize towel duty". Knowing there's no way I can get 400 chairs set up and dried off in 45 minutes, I call the school and beg for someone to put them under cover for the rest of the day. I go to work, then off to Target to return something. Doug calls me and says "Can you believe this? Here we go again!" I have no idea what he's talking about, so he says "It's snowing like a son of a bitch outside again" and I'm sitting in my car, it's 47 degrees and sunny (this is less than three miles from where he is). I look outside and see a humongous mass of roiling black clouds moving toward me. It almost looked fake, like in a movie! After I run my errands, icy pellets start coming down and as I drive closer to my house, it's apparent it has snowed enough to cover the ground. I think to myself "HAH! This is nothing! The show must go on". I get home, grab some things for Hayley, pick her and two friends up at school and drop them off for cheerleading tryouts at the high school. It's snowing. I head to the elementary school, pick up the younger kids, and head home for an hour so we can change for the show, eat and I can burn a disc of the "curtain call" song. After struggling with iTunes for a while trying to learn how to burn a disc, I am finally successful. I throw chicken nuggets in the oven, make some mac 'n' cheese, cut up some apples and call it dinner. We make a mad dash and arrive at the school at 5:15. It's snowing. We set up chairs, sound equipment, video, and people start to arrive. I hear a lot of "Have you seen how much snow is out there?" and "This is worse than the first time we canceled." But the show must go on! I don't look outside (denial). Finally, just before the show, I peek outside to a wonderland of white, covering everything. But the show must go on! We begin. Everything is going great! The kids are wonderful, the crowd is entertained, and we finish the first half of the show. Everyone mills around eating cookies and chatting for ten minutes of intermission and then we set up for act two. The act is announced, the lights go dim, and then they go out! They flicker briefly and go out entirely. There is a short pause while this sinks in, then terrified screams, chaos and confusion as 400 people realize we are now in the dark. (That second act was a real show-stopper!). We regain some control, with the use of emergency lighting and a megaphone, and announce that we now have to cancel the second half of the show! It takes about 10 minutes to reunite parents with kids and get everyone out of the gym, then the rest of us (clean up crew) have to put everything away, racing against the clock as our 20 minute emergency lighting (think of lighting a few candles, that's how bright it was) quickly runs out. We exit the gym to a thick blanket of wet snow and head home. On the way we see tree branches down (that might explain the power outage!) but we are lucky to have power at home. After shaking wet snow off our playground trees and the magnolia in the front yard, we settle in for the night. Several adult beverages later, Jeff and I are laughing about the jinxed show. There were lots of dissapointed kids tonight (Harrison being one of them!) who did not get to perform, but we plan to reschedule another show for the second half. What a nightmare. We are SO ready for spring to begin. Our baseball/softball season has consisted mostly of canceled games (like today!), and the "spring flowers" we planted "after the last frost" are wilting and dying. Phoenix anyone?