Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Teeth, Commercials, and "Falling In!"

Wow, the past few weeks have been crazy! (That phrase seems to show up a lot in my blog. I guess it's time to admit, that is how life really is around here most of the time!)

Claire had her first "surgery" a few weeks ago. Nothing major; she had 4 teeth pulled. (Time to get ready for braces). Dr. Marshall, a man in our ward, is an oral surgeon. (He was Claire's primary teacher once upon a time.) Several women in the ward work at Dr. Marshall's office, so it was very comfortable paying him a visit. Claire was so hilarious before and after surgery. When they put her under, she fought falling asleep. She kept trying to get up out of the chair and was talking up a storm. Then, all of a sudden, she just froze and stared straight ahead. When she woke up she kept asking the same question over and over. "How did I get in the car, did I ride in a wheel chair." I would answer her, and then she would ask the same thing again as though it was the first time she asked. Everything went well and Claire now has a mouth full of holes. She looks like she's related to Granny Clampet. (You have to be old to get that joke).

Of course, now that Claire's missing a bunch of teeth, she got called to go on 3 auditions for television commercials. It was nuts trying to get her up to L.A. after school every day. It ended up being worth it, because she got hired to do her first commercial for a new vaccine that helps prevent meningitis. Watching a commercial being made is so interesting. So many people are involved; it's like a traveling circus. There were at least 100 people on the crew and about 15 children who were in the commercial. Every day, 6 big trucks rolled in full of equipment. The trucks were unloaded and equipment was set up. Then, in pulled another big truck that prepared food all day for the crew and cast. (I was expecting a "roach coach" with nasty food, but it was AWESOME! They were barbecuing ribs and grilling steaks!) A few huge RVs pulled in that were used for "wardrobe and makeup." There was a teacher on the set and when they weren't filming the kids had to go to school. Then there were a few paramedics, firemen and policemen in the event of a problem. There was also a shuttle van that drove kids and parents to and from the set. (Whew, I feel sorry for the person who has to coordinate all that.) We spent two days up in Malibu and Santa Monica filming on the beach and the Santa Monica Pier. The weather was perfect. I don't think the kids had any speaking parts; they mostly shot scenes playing and hanging out together. Claire was in a scene with another girl taking pictures in a photo booth and drinking milk shakes on the pier. By the end of the shoot, all of the kids became friends. We had such a great time, but I'm glad it's over. It was pretty stressful trying to make arrangements for Eden and then drive up to L.A. for the day, especially since we had to be on the set at 5:50 a.m. If you see a commercial on TV about the Menactra vaccine, look for Claire. It should be on in about a month. Cross your fingers that Claire's scenes are included in the final cut -- it might pay for her books when she goes to college.

A few days after the commercial shoot, Eden, Claire and I went to the San Diego Naval base with the Young Men and Women in our ward. What an adventure. We have a woman in our ward named Tanya who served in the military for about 30 years. Tanya joined the church a couple of months ago and has been dying to take all the kids down to see the base. (Note about Tanya: She is an amazing woman -- full of spunk. She raised 15 foster children. She reminds me a little of Forrest Gump in that she's lived such an interesting life and been present at major historical events.) Plans were made and a few parents (myself included) carpooled all the kids down to San Diego. Tanya gave us all a set of directions to the base (along with a patriotic pen) and everyone caravaned down to San Diego. Somehow, anyone who ventured away from the caravan (myself included) ended up at a Motel 6 in National City. (Hummmmm. Apparently the directions were wrong). It took a little while, but we finally got to the base. We first toured a Coast Guard ship and got to speak with the Captain. That ship had just returned from sea where they made a billion dollar drug bust. (That certainly impressed all the kids).
Next, Tanya yelled at the group to "FALL IN!!!!!!!" (Whatever that means. We all looked a little bewildered.) We all shuffled back to our cars and drove over to a huge battle ship: The USS Denver. It was cool to see the Captain's chair and look at all the battle and navigation equipment, but the most interesting thing was going on at another battleship docked right next to the Denver. That ship (I forget it's name) was departing for Iraq. The dock was busy with military personnel hugging family goodbye and loading gear onto the ship. What a humbling moment. I've seen that scene many times on television, but watching it in person was sobering. Some of those people may never come home. Some of those children waving "goodbye" may never see their parent again. Our group became very emotional watching the departure scene. I am thankful for all the people who willing serve our country. Whatever our feelings about war, they deserve our appreciation and respect.
I think if I had to live on a ship, I'd would spend most of my days in the sick bay with broken legs. There are so many pieces of metal sticking up out of the floor, and the stairs leading up and down decks are SO steep. There's no railing for support, you have to hold on to a slippery old chain. One of the women in our group (who made the mistake of wearing flip-flops) tripped over some metal thing in the door frame and fell flat on her face. If it would have been me, I would have broken a hip! After the ship tour, we got back into our cars and drove over to the commissary. I have no idea what happened, but we ended up sitting at the gate in our caravan line for over an hour while Tanya talked to the officer at the gate. (Not fun when the entire car has to go to the bathroom). We all ended up making U-turns and traveled to another part of the base, which I'm sure puzzled the entire caravan. We pulled up next to a cafeteria building where we were to have lunch. We waited outside the cafeteria for ANOTHER a half hour. (Can you tell I'm beginning to get impatient. I think it had something to do with my lack of bladder control). FINALLY, Tanya appeared and yelled at us to "FALL IN!!!!!" We shuffled into lines and we went inside the cafeteria. Low and behold, we were met by an angry cafeteria worker with folded arms and a scowl on her face. She started yelling: "We been waiting over 2 hour! We only have grill cheese and and orange for you. Nothing else!" She slammed a huge vat of stale grill cheese sandwiches on the table and stomped off for the oranges. Apparently, we were a little late. We all stood there looking like deer in the headlights. You could have heard a pin drop in that place. Everyone grabbed a moist 2 hour-old sandwich and gagged it down in total silence. It was SO FUNNY. I don't think I've ever seen our youth that quiet. The next thing I know Tanya is up in front of the group yelling "WHO WANTS TO GO SHOPPING AT THE COMISSARY?" All the adults looked panicked. I had reached my limit. No more "FALLING IN" for me! I bribed all the kids in my car with In-and-Out Burger and Cold Stone Ice Cream if we could just get the heck out of there. It worked, thank heavens. We made a run for it. I have no idea what happened after we left. Boy was I glad to get home. I had planned to take a huge nap, but forgot that Matt had planned a "man party." Curses! (If you are wondering what a "man party" is; it's men getting together to play video games and eat.) I made a bunch of food and Matt and his friends raced cars on the Play Station. I heard a lot of laughing, so it must of been fun. They all want to do it again.

Last week was teacher appreciation week at the elementary school. I spent the week helping the kids in Eden's class make and do stuff to thank Mr. Parla, their teacher. We ended the week with a "Pizza for Parla" lunch. It was a hit with the kids. Eden's class are a pretty wild bunch. There was one occasion when I looked over in the corner; two boys were having a contest to see who could chug-a-lug juice packs while several others where throwing pizza and jumping off chairs. (I hope this isn't a sign of things to come. We needed Tanya there to tell them to "FALL IN!") Mr. Parla deserves the "Teacher of the Year" award.

One day, I hosted a cup-cake exchange with a few of my friends. Boy, am I sick of frosting. I made about 4 batches of cupcakes before I found one I liked. I ended up settling on cherry chip (my favorite when I was little) and a chocolate with lavender butter cream (very interesting flavor). I think my friends did the same thing. Everyone came to my house looking exhausted with frosting in their hair. We had lunch: mushroom bisque and raspberry mint salad with raspberry vinaigrette, tea sandwiches and corn cakes with several kinds of sauce. (My friends helped with the lunch, it was so good!!!!) Everyone got 2 dozen cupcakes to take home. It was a lot of work, but so much fun. I'd definitely do it again; maybe this Fall.

Today was Mother's Day. Eden and Claire both had to speak in church. They did a great job. Matt did all the cooking today which was the best gift I could ever get. He spoiled me! I wish he would make dinner all of the time! I spent the day loafing around the house. I really enjoyed having a break. Now I'm off to take a long overdue nap (I know!!! I have nap issues!!!!). My kids have instructions to wake me up just before they have to get to school on Monday.

No comments: