Friday, November 27, 2009

Before and then Just Before

I’m a Merchant Marine!

Okay so we’ve been on the ship for two weeks. What’s been happening? Well, fire fighting, tests, water survival, visits, bits, shows and eating! I’ll break it down for you.

We left Maine around the end of October. I went to Omaha (ahead of Larrance) to visit my Mom, Ray, my Brother and his family. My Mom and I went shopping and had a great Mother/Daughter visit. Larrance joined us in time for Halloween. We had Halloween at my Brother Dan’s house. He and Dorthy (his wife) made incredible veggie chili and chicken chili. Seriously, delicious. They get hundreds of kids for Halloween - their neighborhood is known as a great Halloweenin’ spot. So we handed out candy to lots of Zombie princesses/doctors/lawyers/ninja (a lot of Zombies), a fair amount of straight up princesses, ninjas, one scary kid sniper and lots of witches. My favorite was one little girl who was dressed up as the Queen of the Night (not Mozart but more Witchy). We had a great time.

One bad thing happened - on Halloween morning my Mom took us to get Chocolate Croissants from the Bread Oven in Omaha (go there!). While we were driving there, we heard a loud pop and suddenly my Mom’s car sounded like a drag racing jalopy. We knew there was a serious problem so we pulled into Bucky’s on Dodge and had them take a look. While we were waiting I realized we were by a truck that had hit a deer the night before. So I was eating a Chocolate crossiant next to a fur and blood spattered truck. Omaha! Turns out that my Mom’s car’s exhaust system had cracked....they fixed it a few days later and all was well.

We ended our visit with a family dinner on Sunday. We made a delicious feast and played games. A great way to finish our visit.

After Omaha, we went to St. Louis to visit my Dad, Mary, Michele & Jay and their girls Isabel and Sophie. My Dad just retired so he had lots of free time which was great. We went out to the Indian burial mounds just east of St. Louis. I can’t remember the name - Kahokia? - anyone? They were cool but the museum was closed which was not cool. We walked around and looked at the mounds, the birds and one very large snake.

Mary offered to make us an early Thanksgiving dinner which was lovely. We had turkey, stuffing, potatoes, green beans and gingerbread cake with warm vanilla sauce. It was incredible. So good!

We also went with my Dad and Mary as they purchased their first Mac! They were excited. I thought we were going to look but my Dad informed me that, “I don’t shop, I buy!” Hilarious. There was a Lush store next to the Apple store so we went in there too - Mary had never been! So we had a good time smelling everything and Mary got a Hand Facial or would it be a Hacial or a Faciand? Dunno.

We finished our trip by spending the last night with Dad, Mary, Michele, Jay, Sophie and Isabel. We went to Pi to have the same pizza that Obama did.....excellent pizza. Then we went back to Michele and Jay’s house. I was lured into the backyard by Sophie and Isabel to see their new trampoline. Of course, I had to go on it! With a belly full of pizza and a trampoline full of fall leaves, we all jumped up and down and up and down. The leaves were very slippery and it was night so it was even more fun. Sophie and Isabel are my young and tiny nieces so it was fun to double jump the trampoline which made them fly out of control. We played - jump until everyone falls down, Isabel and Sophie lay down while Jen jumps, hold hands and jump until we fall down, and fall down. Then Larrance joined us. We jumped some more until my eyes were practically swollen shut with an allergic reaction. Try it! Actually, it was super fun times!

After that, we were off to Chicago. We got to Chicago and checked into our hotel and then we immediately went out to dinner with our friend Cheryl. Then went and saw 1,2,3 Fag at iO (ImprovOlympic) and then Baby Wants Candy at the Apollo. It was lovely. The shows were fun and the company was fantastic. We finished our evening by eating greasy diner food at 1am. Of course! Bleh.

The next day we started holding auditions for ImprovAcadia. We usually hold auditions in the Spring but this year our ship contract goes too late into the spring so we had to do them now. We rented The Playground theater and it was a great space for our auditions. We saw some great people and had some laughs. Good job, Chicago.

After our auditions were over, we moved to our housing for the week. We were sharing an apartment with our castmate Mike Kosinski. The apartment was lovely on the surface but while we were there, this happened: We found two windows that wouldn’t shut at the top, the heat only came on from 1am to about 5am, the shower curtain rod fell down, our sheets were dirty, the fridge was at best lukewarm and the internet wouldn’t work was a very cute though.

We had a busy week. Show rehearsals, many dinners with friends, a night out at Guthrie’s bar, Bad Touch at the Annoyance and seeing lots of shows. We got to see so many people, some of whom we hadn’t seen in years. It was very fun but kind of tiring. But very fun!

We left on Nov. 14th for Hawai’i. We flew on United. It was a 9 hour flight. United served no complimentary food on the flight. We could get water or soda or juice but no complimentary food. We could buy sandwiches for $9. We had purchased snacks but we made a fatal purchasing error. We only bought power bars which are sweet. We were so sick of sweet at like hour 5 that we broke down and purchased 2 sandwiches. Were they worth $18? No. Oh, well. We were on per diem so we just chalked it up to a lesson learned. Next time, I’ll bring my own damn sandwich.

We landed in Honolulu around 3:15pm. We got our luggage which was an embarrassing amount. We filled the back of van. Filled. It. We headed to the ship and we were greeted by Jeff, Jeannie & Brett! All of them have been up to ImprovAcadia many times. It was lovely to see them. We got onto the ship and so began our Merchant Marine training......