The Ads, Good Lord, The Ads

Deviere

I am thankful, thankful that political ads are OVER!

What the heck?

Apparently Kirk Deviere, a candidate for the North Carolina Senate, dresses nicely, with cuff links and  pocket squares – a criticism from his opponent that he looks good on the outside but apparently is a scoundrel on the inside.  I don’t give a rat’s behind how Kirk Deviere dresses.  I just care about what he might vote for!!  And whether he’s competent!  And I also have cuff links!  And his opponent, who had a photo, very small, at the bottom of the ad, looks sort of messy.  AND, Kirk Deviere is NOT even in my district, yet I am subjected to this hourly bashing of him!

One Super Pac, whatever that is, found the worst photo that has ever been taken of a North Carolina US Senate candidate, and accused her of not paying her taxes on time.  Like not paying them on time 66 times!

I’ll have to admit, I was quite appalled, until I read an article in the local newspaper that quoted her OPPONENT as saying that the ad was unfair and misleading to her explaining that the candidate in question received her property tax notice that says it is due by Sept. 30 each year but delinquent if paid after January 1.  Apparently she paid before January 1 like EVERYONE else in Wake County but missed the September 30 “due” date.

Guess what?  My property tax bill, which was due on Sept. 30, is sitting on my kitchen counter.  It will be paid by January 1, and my $5,000 will be collecting interest in the interim.

What ding dong would pay it in September?  Maybe the guy who ran against Kirk Deviere?

By the way, I don’t even know Kirk Deviere, whether he is a Democrat or Republican.  I also don’t know his opponent, not even his name.  The ad just annoyed the crap out of me.

You can tell when an ad starts if it is going to be snarky.  The images are gray, clouds are surrounding an unattractive candidate wearing workout clothes with her mouth wide open, a sprig of spinach tucked in her front teeth.  And then, suddenly, like the second coming of Christ, the clouds part, the sun comes out, the photos become clear and spring flowers descend upon the screen while the professionally taken photo of the sponsoring wannabe politician slowly comes into clear view.

Give me a break!  I know what they’re doing, and it makes me want to vote for someone else!  Stop it!  It is rude and distasteful.

I have an idea.  What if folks running for office honestly told us what they believe?  What their values are – what issues they would vote for and what they would vote against.  How about disqualification if they mentioned their opponent?  And what if we limited their commercials to two.  Only two.  And only the week right before the election.  We could all go to Singapore that week to put us out of our misery.

I recorded CBS Sunday morning before the election and turned it on last night to catch up.  Because it was a week old, I walked in the room and heard a political ad.  I had a visceral reaction.  It threw me back to a time of my life I didn’t want to return to: last Tuesday, pre-election.

It’s just a sad, sad state.

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Parent Weekends, Here We Come!

Georgia Parent Weekend

Elon Parent Weekend

St. Mary’s Parent Weekend, the day after shoulder surgery – un…

Whew.

Julie and I have attended three Parent Weekends at three educational institutions in three different cities over the past three weekends.  I have slept in more beds this past month than Marco Polo did when he traveled through China.  I have met folks from all over the country and hung out in multiple dorm rooms.  I have eaten cafeteria food, attended ball games, partied in a Frat house and listened to seven acapella groups.  I have walked, Ubered, driven and ridden in a train.  I feel like a Fed Ex package.

Our first affair was in Athens, Georgia, at the University of Georgia, with Julie’s sophomore son.  This two day event was sponsored by his fraternity.  I know nothing about frat life so I have no idea which one he’s in.  Alpha Gamma Phi Epsilon Mu Pi Omega – or something like that.

This weekend was a bit different than the others.

On Friday night, after a nice dinner under a big white tent with a swanky port-o-potty, we went to a bar which the brothers had rented out for our pleasure.  When it was suggested that we hit another bar at around 10:30 PM, all the parents put on a smile (it was past our bedtimes) and began the trek down West Broad Street.  At our second stop, I received a high five from a tall young man when I walked out of the bathroom enthusiastically singing the DJ’s current tune, Remix to Ignition by R. Kelly.  It actually made me sort of proud although it’s a pretty old song so I’m not sure I should feel so hip.

I became quite uncomfortable when six young college ladies climbed up on a table in very short shorts and began twerking right before our eyes.  I gave them a disapproving look and then turned away.  It was like watching a train wreck – I could tell something bad was about to happen.  Fortunately we left so I didn’t have to see it.  If I’d had their parents phone numbers, I would have called.  Had it been my child on that table, I’d have snatched her down, put her in the car and sent her to a convent far, far away.

We ended the night at a dance club across the street from the Twerking Tavern.  This place had a movie screen larger than my house with videos that accompanied the 275 decibel music.  I was offended when I was walking in and two dudes yelled, “Daaaad,” as if I didn’t know I was too old to be there.  But when you have the moves, it don’t matter your age.  And I have the moves.

Our second weekend was with Stephanie, my freshman at Elon.  It was different from Georgia.  Her dorm room was immaculate.  The music was an acapella concert in a huge concert venue in the middle of campus.  We met several of her professors on Saturday, went to a ballgame where it was 106 degrees, and ate lunch with one of Steph’s best friends and her family from Texas.

Our final romp was at St. Mary’s, Michelle’s high school.  It was rather tame, and I’d had shoulder surgery the day before.  After walking to the science building a quarter mile from our previous destination, I nearly threw up.  I think it was the Oxycodone, but it may have just been the bad memories that overwhelmed me from my days in Mr. Boyd’s biology class in 1982.  I can still picture that enormous, gray worm he made us dissect.

But I did get to see my kid perform with her chorus in an incredible concert on the lawn.

Julie’s youngest doesn’t have a Parent Weekend, so we’ve only one left.  For DJ, the senior, we’re gonna skip the formalities and spend a casual weekend in DC next semester.  We had to have a breather – we are just so tired.

Ouch, that hurt.

ice pack

My Ice Machine

My shoulder hurts worse than it did before surgery.  I don’t think that’s right!  HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR ME TO BE ABLE TO SLEEP ON MY LEFT SIDE WITHOUT AGONY?  I LOVE sleeping on my left side.  It’s my favorite side.  I MISS that side so much.

They called me at 3 PM on the day before surgery to inform me that I should be at the clinic at 6:30 AM the next day for the decimation of my arm.  I was also informed I could not eat or drink 12 hours before.

“Can I at least have black coffee?”

“No Mr. Tanner.  Don’t even swallow water when you brush your teeth.”

I immediately opened my snack drawer in my office desk pulling out my stash of M & M’s and Sweet Tarts.  I knew I should begin packing away nutrition immediately understanding the food sabbatical Dr. Isbel was putting me on.

When I was taken back to be prepped the next morning, the nurse asked if I needed to go to the bathroom.  I did.  She then asked if I had any concerns.  I said, “Yes.”

“So, what are your concerns Mr. Tanner?”

“I don’t like needles in my veins.”

“We will deaden the area before we stick one in.”

“Anything else?”

“I’m afraid of blood clots.”

“You’ll take an aspirin a day to help ensure that you won’t develop a clot.  Keep moving around, don’t be sedentary.   Wiggle your feet often.”  She showed me how to bob my feet and toes up and down to avoid this potential crisis.  I began immediately.

“Mr. Tanner, you won’t need to move them until AFTER surgery.”

“I just wanted to practice.”

Another nurse came in and pulled out a syringe.  She said, “This will deaden the area where we put the IV.”  She shoved the needle in my hand.

This is unhelpful.  They stick a needle in your hand to deaden the area so they can stick another needle in your hand.  She was right, the IV did not hurt.  However, I almost came off the bed with the initial injection.  Maybe next time I’ll ask if they can give me an injection to lessen the pain for the injection that lessens the pain for the IV.

The anesthesiologist was the father of a kid who went to middle school with Stephanie.  Because I knew him, I decided I had to act braver.  I didn’t want him to go home and tell his daughter that Stephanie’s dad was a weenie.  It’s a good thing because he shoved a needle the size of an ice pick in my neck and left it there four of five minutes while he maneuvered it around to deaden the nerves in my shoulder and arm.  Had he been a stranger, I would have simply left.

Once they had me hooked to the IV and I had my hospital gown on, I had to pee again.  Geeze this bladder.

They rolled me into surgery and two muscular dudes lifted my frail lifeless body onto a coroner’s type table.  That’s the last I recall.

When I woke up, my fiancé, Florence Nightingale, was in the room.  She helped me dress and fed me Cheez It’s.

My arm had no feeling.  The neck needle had totally deadened my left side which would last about 12 hours.  It felt like I had a two by four attached to my body.

When we got home, Julie told me to rest and headed to the store to buy some provisions.  I wanted to do as she instructed, but the Weed Man had just aerated and seeded my lawn, and I needed to water it.  She left, and I headed out to line up the sprinklers.

When Florence drove up from the store and saw me shoving the sprinkler head into the hard ground, she was NOT happy.  I never knew that sprinkling your yard could have the adversarial affects she described including additional pain, extended healing time and potentially more surgery.  But my lawn is beginning to take shape which is healing in and of itself for me.

I had planned to use bags of peas to ice my arm for the next week (I also had some Green Giant corn kernels in the freezer).  Instead, Florence purchased a machine that pumps ice into a pad that you attach with Velcro on your shoulder.  The doctor suggested I purchase it at my pre-opt appointment but it cost $150 and peas are $1.79 at the Food Lion so I declined.  I’m glad she got the machine.  It feels really good and will have ongoing use.  I plan to fill it with ice next summer and Velcro it to my armpits after jogging.

All in all, surgery went well and a couple of people at work who don’t really like me that much were extra nice on Monday when I wore my sling.  And in approximately 10 – 12 weeks I should be able to lie on my left side.  Eureka!

Pre-op

PhotoI just bought Stephanie a new car – well, a new used car.  She was driving my 2007 Acura MDX.  It has 260,000 miles on it.  It’s on hold for Michelle who gets her license in two months.  It has to make it for three more years before I can afford another.

Sometimes I feel like I have 260,000 miles on me.  On Saturday I turned 53.  I still have some hair which is good, but there seems to be less on my head and more in my nose and ears.  Sometimes my knees hurt.  Sometimes my right hip hurts.  My cholesterol is high, and I couldn’t touch my toes unless you amputated them and put them on the table.

And tomorrow I am scheduled for shoulder surgery.

When I first saw the doctor for the incessant ache to the left of my neck, he told me I had several bone spurs.  “Simple surgery.  You won’t need physical therapy, and you’ll be back to normal in no time.”

I think he sells used cars on the weekend.

When I went in for my pre-op appointment in May, the physician’s assistant told me that I would not be able to lift weights at the Y for 10 – 12 weeks.  That is not “no time.”  So I cancelled the surgery.  When I went in for pre-op in late July, because my shoulder still hurt, the same PA gave me a waiver and shared the news that, although unlikely, I might die from this surgery.  I cancelled again.  Last week I went back for my third pre-op appointment because my shoulder still hurts.  They made me put down a deposit.  The only thing I like more than not having surgery is money.  I assume I will be sliced open like an apple this week.

My parents enjoy surgery.  When one of them has a procedure, the other gets jealous and gets the same one.  They both had their eyes lifted because the skin on top was skewing their sight.  They both had their hands operated on because they hurt, and they couldn’t open the pickle jar.  My mom just had knee surgery.  She told me, “I need to get well soon because your dad has to have the same thing done to his knee.”  I’m guessing my dad tried to have a hysterectomy after my mom.  They are like conjoined twins that aren’t attached anywhere.

I think they sort of look at their bodies like car maintenance.  I call the dealership when the service needed light comes on in my vehicle, “I’m showing a B12 indicator light, what needs to be done?”  “An oil change, draining and replacement of your rear differential fluid, a full check of the transmission and a tire rotation.”

They call the doctor with similar questions:  “I’m showing an 80+ indicator light Doc.  What needs to be done?”  “A colonoscopy, an eye lift and a double hip replacement.”  “Can you take me on Thursday?”

I am not looking forward to this week.  Nor am I looking forward to the next “10 – 12” weeks of recovery.  I’ll let you know how it goes in an upcoming blog post… that is if I can type.

Roll Call

Last week, at Elon’s orientation, Julie and I were with a group of parents and were asked how many kids we have.  It’s sort of complicated, I thought to myself, but at the time, the word “five” just rolled off my tongue.  The other females in the group looked at Julie like she had lost her mind because y’all, that is a lot of kids!  Like more than two is a great plenty.  But FIVE?  Had she birthed them all she would have been pregnant for half a decade.

Three are in college.  One in DC, one at the University of Georgia and one in Burlington, NC, at Elon University.  Julie and her youngest are in Charlotte.  Michelle and I are in Raleigh.  We span five cities and three states.  If you speak to various members of this new tribe, you can often piece together a picture of what’s going on with each family member.  I secretly love it when siblings know something about each other that I’m unaware of.  It means they might talk to each other and be kind in the long term future.  A nice change from “You wore MY DRESS without MY permission????”

Keeping up with the crew is becoming increasingly difficult.  I believe it was DJ who started the first family Roll Call.  One kid sends a text to the entire family group:  Roll Call.  The appropriate response is a photo.  A come as you are, right then, right now pic sent back to the group as soon as possible.  This was our last call from earlier this summer.

Bailey

Child #1

Will

Child #2

Lucy

Child #3

lizzie

Child #4

Annie

Child #5

When Julie and I sent our picture, Michelle was shook!

“I cannot believe that the kids all sent pictures from our bunks at camp, with boxes of Cheez-It’s, hair in towels, unshaven, looking all regular and you and Julie sent this!”

Bruce and Julie

“I mean seriously?  Julie’s all in a long dress, and you’re wearing pants!  Probably just finished a glass of wine or something.  Are –  you –  KIDDING?  Is this how it is going to be?  We sit at home eating Cheez-It’s while y’all go out to fancy dinners?  We want in on that action!”

Truth be told, this crew would probably prefer the Shake Shack to grilled salmon and Nike shorts to pants with a button any day of the week.  Regardless, a little Roll Call every now and then is a good way to see your kids’ faces – which is nice when they are not coming in your door on the daily.

Another One Bites The Dust

packing

Stephanie, my middle kid, is heading to college on Friday.

I’m not sure what else I can do to prepare her.  We’ve covered sex, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, credit card abuse, #metoo, diversity, opioids, hygiene, tattoos, the benefits of making your bed each day, getting involved and academics.

Our conversations go something like this:

Me:  “Opioids killed 2,500 people in North Carolina last year.”

Stephanie:  “I’m sorry to hear that.”

Me:  “Often folks get addicted after having surgery because they use them for pain.”

Stephanie:  “Then don’t use them for pain.”

Me:  “I won’t.  You don’t either.  They may be running rampant at Elon.  I’m just not sure.  Please don’t take them.”

Stephanie:  “I won’t.”

I’m not sure if these lessons are seeping in.

I have such hopes and dreams for this kid.  She’s like the best kid in the world, and I’m about to toss her into the ocean of life.

Thankfully she will only be an hour away.  I can get to her quickly if I need her.  I guess I could just drive over there each morning to make her bed – just to ensure it gets done.  I’m sure she’ll be up early.

No, that’s ridiculous.  I wouldn’t really do that!  I’ll just see her on Sundays when she comes home to go to church with me.

OK – I’m going to be brave.  I’m going to unpack her stuff, drop her off and drive away without tears or a scene.  And I’m not going to drive to Elon to see her – until the second week when I’m “passing” through to go to Charlotte.  I mean seriously, I’m gonna drive RIGHT by the Elon exit on I-40, what do you expect me to do?

Theara and the Beatitudes

I recently taught a Sunday school lesson on the Beatitudes.  I think I may be plagiarizing, but I no longer have a copy of the book, and I don’t remember the author’s name.  So know that credit for the following concept goes to whoever the guy is who wrote this Presbyterian book on the Beatitudes.  Sorry dude.

The author says that often people who struggle economically find their joy in the allness of life.  He says that allness isn’t even a real word, he made it up.  But maybe it should be.

Am I’m making life too complicated?  Maybe it isn’t about the house or the car or the college tuition or the next vacation or the number of years ‘til retirement.  Maybe it isn’t about being included in the important meeting at work or having everyone in the world like you or being President of the Board.  Perhaps it is about being in the moment – being fully satisfied with what you are given today; right now.

Matthew 18:3 says to approach life in a childlike way.

When I worked at the Cary YMCA, there was a kid in our programs named Theara.  She had Downs Syndrome and came to the Y after-school and during the summer most days for years and years.  Now, Theara could get frustrated and definitely told you what was on her mind.  One day we were walking to Bond Park about a mile down the greenway from the Y.  She got tired, sat down, and refused to go any further.  It was hot, and she let us know that we, in her opinion, had mucked up her day with this ridiculous trek.

I sort of liked the fact that you never had to guess where you stood with Theara.  If she was happy, you knew it.  If she wasn’t, you also knew it.

But what I most admired about Theara was that she was full.  She was full of love, and joy.  She delighted in a camp skit, song or cheer.  She loved theme days where you had the opportunity to dress up in costume.  She loved running into me in the hallway, walking up to greet me with a high-five and a joke or some little tidbit about her day.  She would get so excited about the smallest things.

She wasn’t waiting around for happiness to find her.  She found happiness in almost every aspect of life, with the exception of hot walks to Bond Park.

The Beatitudes encourage us to be meek, merciful, peacemakers, pure in heart and several other things that I’m not very good at.  Who in the heck even wants to be meek?  Is that a good thing?

Perhaps what Christ was saying was to take the talents you’ve been given and maximize them.  Or maybe, that the things society says are important, like leadership and clout, are not the things He finds important.  He made this world and wants us to enjoy it no matter who we are or what we’ve been given.

The author says that happiness replaces pain but that joy embraces it.  He explains that joy takes conquest of all the stuff of life, both good and bad, while happiness depends largely on circumstances.

I, for one, too often seek happiness instead of living with joy.  And when you do that, happiness is sometimes evasive.  Joy isn’t fickle.  It doesn’t leave us even when things aren’t going our way.

I think Theara has it right.  She has contentment with who she is and where she is.  Maybe I should spend more times with kids – I might learn something about living.

I HATE Snakes!

black_snake_l1

About two years ago, my fiancé, Julie, sent me a frantic text.  It was afternoon.  I was sitting at my desk.

I’ve been bitten by a snake. 

Julie has a large natural area in the front of her house.  She walks her dog down to the mailbox most afternoons.  On this particular day, the coiled up viper saw her.  He was jaywalking across her driveway.  Unfortunately, she didn’t see him.

Ever since, I’ve been leery of walking outdoors in Charlotte, NC.  I DON’T LIKE SNAKES, and apparently on that side of our state they are rampant!

Therefore, I was rather taken aback two weeks ago when I walked into Julie’s kitchen on a lazy Saturday morning at 10.  It was hazy outside – thus not real bright inside the house.  I glanced down at the floor and saw a long, black, squiggly rope half way under the fridge.

I stopped.

It was still.

I turned on the light.

It was still still.

I took a step forward wondering if it could be rubber foam from underneath her appliance that had fallen off.

As I approached, the squiggle wiggled.

“JULIE!  COME HERE!  NOW!  There’s a SNAKE in the KITCHEN!”

By the time she entered, homeboy had slid all the way under.

I don’t care if a snake is black, white or polka dot.  Poisonous?  Doesn’t matter.  As a friend says, I don’t trust nothing that ain’t got shoulders.

Julie called Critter Control.  He said they didn’t have a technician on hand and that it was the weekend.  They’d charge an awful lot to come get him.

“I’ll pitch in!”  I yelled.

I love my money, but I hate snakes more.

He told her to call 311, it’s a city number.  And to tell them the snake was distressing her.  That would not have been a lie.

What the heck is 311?  It sounds like a place that you put people who flunk out of the Police Academy.

I told Julie to watch the refrigerator – not to let the snake out of her sight while I went to get a weapon.

When I came back in, Julie was chatting it up with the 311 operator while she stood on the other side of the dining room.  Julie tends to stroll around when she’s talking on the phone.

“You’re not watching the snake!!!!”

But she and the operator were having a lovely conversation.

It was clear that this job was not going to be taken care of by a professional.  No.  It was going to be taken care of by me.

We called Joe, a neighbor.  Joe too dislikes snakes, but perhaps less than I.

Joe asked, “Danny, do you want to pull the refrigerator out from the wall, or do you want to kill the snake.”

That’s like asking “Do you want a hand full of cash or a rectal exam?”  But it was my fiancé’s house, I had to offer.

“You pick Joe!  I’ll do either.”

I’m sure he could sense fear.

“I’ve never killed a snake before.  This’ll be a great story for my wife.”

I love Joe.

He got the spade. I grabbed the appliance.  As I started shifting it forward, Joe informed me that our friend was headed my way.  I jumped ten feet in the air grabbing my flat shovel in the process.  He squirmed along the baseboard with his mouth wide open.  His fangs were enormous (or maybe incisors, I couldn’t really tell).  I pinned him against the wall as he squirmed for his life.  Joe got his tool near his head.  Victory was ours.

The next day the critter man did come out.  He checked for entry points.  Nothing.  I’m guessing he came in through the door just like the rest of us.

The only unanswered question I have from this incident is “Why would someone work for Critter Control?”  I just don’t get it.

Running Late

Amtrak owes me $15.83.

Being engaged and living in two cities has its advantages and disadvantages.  The disadvantages are clear:  time, miles on the road, a goopy longing for one another, hours on the phone… yada yada yada – I know, it could be worse.  The advantage is I can give you a full rundown of every Starbucks and Chic-Fill-A between Raleigh and Charlotte.  Want a latte?  Burlington.  The one near the outlet mall.  Just a cup-o-joe?  Salisbury is best.  Fresh chicken sandwich, skip I-85 exit 41.  Plus it is way too crowded.

With a multi-layered travel week ahead of me, I decided that perhaps Michelle and I would train down to Charlotte on July 2, I’d train back to work on the 5th and then drive back down for the weekend.  Get a little work done while someone else chauffeured.  Michelle and Julie had yoga/shopping plans for Thursday and Friday, so it made sense for me to get the heck out of the way and return to a light half-week at work.

I waited to buy my Amtrak tix – I have travel transportation commitment issues.  What if I change my mind?  Plus, Michelle was babysitting for a family friend supposedly until 5 PM, and the train departed at 5:16.  We’d be cutting it close.

At 4 PM, I called her, “Baby, if Mr. Hill gets home by 4:40, I think we will take the train.  There seem to still be seats left.  If not, we’ll drive.  Let me know as soon as he pulls up.”

At 4:43, she rang.  “He’s here.  Can you come get me?”

“Ask him if he can drop you at our house.  It’s only 3 minutes away.  I’ll call Uber and carry the luggage to the street.”

The plan was in motion.  A click of the Uber App and five bags later, (one carrying a homemade ice cream churn – you gotta have homemade ice cream on July 4th) I was poised to depart waiting on Dellwood Drive.

Our Uber was there in a flash.  With an already full trunk, I crammed four bags in the front seat of his car and put the churn in the back with me.  Still no Michelle.  I called.

“Baby – are you on the way?”

“Almost,” she said sweetly.

“Hurry!”

“We’re coming!”

I hated to make the driver wait any longer so I told him he could leave and opened the passenger door to begin unpacking.  About that time Mr. Hill’s truck rounded the corner.

“Jump in Michelle!  Hurry!”

Our driver took off, and I quickly booked the tickets on my phone.

Raleigh has a brand new train station which is incredibly exciting.  I had read in the paper that the station was opening on the very day we were leaving.  We’d be on the inaugural 5:16 train.

We drove up to the station.  It was empty.  The signage was sparse and not one single passenger was inside.

“I swear I read it opened today,” I explained to the driver.

“I read that too,” he assured me.

I walked up to the door – it was 5:03 PM.  A guy in a uniform was inside.  He sauntered to the door.

“You looking for the train?”

“Yeah.”

“We open next Tuesday.”

“The paper said today.”

“Yeah – they got it wrong.”

ERRR.

I ran back to the car, and we sped out to the Cabarrus Street station only a couple of blocks away.

As we neared our destination, I got a text:  Your train is delayed by an hour and 8 minutes.

I guess that’s not all bad, I thought.  At least we won’t miss it.

We unloaded our goods and headed inside the hot, cramped room.  Michelle purchased a drink from the vending machine and used the decades old bathroom.

About five minutes later, I received another text.  Your train has been delayed another 34 minutes.

Had I driven, I could have been over half way to Charlotte by the time the train left the station.  I went up to the counter.

“Can I get a refund?” I inquired.

“Yep.  This train is out of New York.  It’s always late.  Probably be delayed again.  They’re working on the tracks in Maryland.”

Good lord have mercy.

$15.83 cents for the round trip Uber and an hour later we arrived home.  Just in time to repack and leave again… in my car.

Incidentally, I checked.  We made it to Charlotte an hour and forty-five minutes before the train.  I think we made the right call.

Somethin’ going down in the Dais

AT Speaker of the House

What do you do with a 15-year-old in the summer?  I’m not sure what Michelle would choose – maybe 13 weeks of watching The Office reruns on Netflix.

Nah.  Not in the Tanner house!  She can do that on the weekends.  I have her fanny busy Monday – Friday, and she is actually enjoying the activity.

Week 1 was exciting!  She served as a Page in the NC House of Representatives.  It was not an easy feat getting into that program.  Apparently it is fairly competitive.  But she’s a cool kid with a lot to offer.  I’m not surprised she got in!

One day she was helping two younger legislative staff members prep one of the committee rooms for the day’s meetings.  It was budget time in North Carolina so the work was abundant that week.  As they were prepping, Michelle asked the staff members if there was anything else she could do to help.  They said, with very serious faces, “Yes.  We need someone to open the meeting with the Star Spangled Banner.  Do you sing?”

“Seriously?” She inquired thinking they really should have considered this earlier.

“Yep.  It’s House protocol.”

She asked if she could practice.  After belting it out, rather strongly I would imagine – she has a very good voice – they informed her they were kidding.

At least something fun is happening in our government.

On the last day of her service, she spent the day in the House Chambers as the Representatives debated the budget bill.  She told me that she felt sorry for the Democrats because they knew they were going to lose, but, she explained, “they just kept talking.”

Apparently, the Speaker of the House, several staff members and two Pages are situated in the front of the room in an area called the Dais.  it is a large desk structure elevated, sort of like where a judge sits.  Michelle’s peer, Allison, was assigned to the Dais that morning.  According to my daughter, Allison is VERY southern.  She is form a small town in eastern North Carolina, and her accent is rich.

At lunch break, the Pages gathered to eat.  As they sat down at a table, Allison ran out of the House about to bust with the news:

“Y’all,” Allison exclaimed in her country accent.  “Someone farted in the Dais.”

Now I’m not sure of the culprit, most likely the male Page standing on the opposite side from Allison.  But the prospect of the Speaker of the House stinkin’ up the Dais during budget negotiations for the State of North Carolina brings me a little chuckle.  Michelle says it sounds like something I’d do at a Y Board meeting.

She’s probably right.

 

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