Friday, August 12, 2011

Roller coaster

So in my last post I alluded to the "roller coaster" I was in the midst of when This is Kirtland! opened at the beginning of July.  Basically, it was just a series of events one after the other that took me from the end of June to the middle of August.  Well, here I am in the middle of August and that roller coaster has basically come to an end, but in ways I never thought or hoped!  Don't worry, I'm still OK and overall the "ride" was fun, but there were some unexpected surprises along the way that I could've done without.

With Katie at Camp Pennyroyal in Kentucky on July 23
Soon after the show was over I went to Nashville with my Mom to visit my brother and sister-in-law.  While we were there we also took a side trip to visit my sister at the summer camp she was working at in Kentucky, about a 2-hour trip from my brother's.  While we were down south, the weather was hotter than hades down there and even here, part of that huge heat wave that covered most of the US.  Thankfully, I was able to stay inside through most of it and have a relaxing time in Nashville.  It was also nice to visit my sister and meet all the people she was connected with at camp.

We got home from that Monday, July 25th, and then I had a few days before I had to get ready for my next adventure, the Ridinger family get-together in Bushkill, Pennsylvania.  Before I left for that I had most of the week to myself and even helped my mom teach kickball to 2 cub scouts (it's not easy with just 3 people!).  I also discovered that all 4 of my tires needed replaced, so I had that done Friday during the day, the same day my sister Becky was visiting with my brother-in-law and my nephew (they were here to come to the get-together in PA too).  Little did I know that would be the least of my car's problems soon!  On Friday night (the 29th) I had the opportunity to "reprise" my role as Lorenzo Snow as part of the Kirtland Stake's Youth Conference.  We had several of the cast members come back and get into costumes to portray their characters in Historic Kirtland.  My role was that of tour guide and I took my group to 4 different places in Historic Kirtland where different characters talked to the groups.  It was a lot of fun even though it was suuuuuper humid that night.  Because of that commitment, I had decided to put off getting a haircut until after I did that (though no one else did so), so the next morning I finally got a haircut and it felt absolutely wonderful!

In Manhattan at Battery Park with the new 1 WTC rising
 behind me, July 31, 2011.
After the haircut, I headed off to Pennsylvania and made the 6-hour trip along I-80 to a resort called Tree Top Villas in the little town of Bushkill, PA, right along the Delaware River and the border with New Jersey.  That trip was uneventful and very smooth.  The next morning (after staying up late to talk to my brother!) I drove myself to New York City (about 2 hours away) and amazingly parked for free on the streets of Manhattan.  I had a great time visiting New York for the first time since 1996 and doing so by myself.  I met up with a friend of mine there and we hung out for the evening before I headed back to the resort.  I'll definitely blog more in detail about that as well as the 2nd trip to NYC a few days later with my dad, sisters, and brother-in-law.  The next day was the big 5-year family photo, which went OK I guess.  Later that day I took my sister and her friend to the JFK airport in New York so her friend could go back home to the England.  Getting there was somewhat of a struggle, mostly though traffic, but getting back was a nightmare.  What should've been a 4-5 hour round-trip turned into an 9 hour round-trip.  Part of it was me missing a turn and not being totally sure where I was headed on Long Island's antiquated Parkway System of roads.  The other factor was the absolutely horrible traffic.  It seemed no matter which way we went there was total gridlock.  I cannot stand traffic congestion for long periods of time, so I was going crazy.  There were points it felt like we were never going to get home.

New York Stock Exchange, August 3
Just when it seemed like we were finally back on track and clear of the traffic, then things REALLY got interesting.  I had begun to notice that it seemed like I was having to push harder on the brakes while were constantly stopping and going.  We came to the Triborough Bridge (between Queens, The Bronx, and Manhattan) and I was trying to get the toll out and bumped into the lady in front of me.  Thankfully nothing happened as a result to either car (I was obviously not going very fast since I had been in line forever), but I then noticed that the brakes went completely to the floor.  I thought I had pretty much lost the brakes completely and then I have this toll worker telling me I need to slow down since it "coulda been a lot worse."  At that point I was so tired and irritated and now worried because I didn't know if I had brakes that I just nodded and drove away, albeit slower (which made someone honk their horn at me...New Yorkers HATE it when you go slow for anything).  I wanted to say "Slow?!?  I've been stuck in your $%*@*%$ city for 5 hours going 5 miles per hour and you wanna tell me to slow down?!?"  Anyway, next I had to cross the George Washington Bridge from Manhattan to New Jersey and used the emergency brake just to make sure.  I debated pulling off and calling AAA but at that point I just wanted to get home, so once we got across the bridge and back onto I-80, I simply was a little slower and kept my distance from any car in front of me.  I did have minimal use of the regular brakes; it just took much more effort on my part.  I came to find later it was basically that the brake boosters were out, but I still had brakes.  We finally made it back to our condo at like 11:15 after leaving around 2:30.  I pretty much lost it with my sister.  I was physically and mentally exhausted.

Times Square, August 3.  I absolutely love this picture!
Well, I figured there was obviously a leak in the brake line, so two days later I took the car into a local dealership to have it looked at.  I left it there as I went back to New York with my dad, sisters, and brother in law.  Well, of course I come to find that not only is the ENTIRE brake system rusted (on a 6 year-old car no less), but that the work would take me into the next week.  Too bad it was Wednesday and I was due to leave Friday.  Initially I said go ahead and do it, but then after talking to Mom (cell phone reception in Manhattan is actually HORRIBLE!) and others decided not to.  There was no way I could stay there with the car and no way to tow it back without renting a U-Haul truck.  My AAA towing only got me 100 miles and I was 350 miles from home.  I ended up hiring a company to have it shipped back here to Kent.  It cost me the same as if I had rented a U-Haul truck and towed it back myself ($350).  The car was delivered Tuesday and work started on it Thursday (for less than the original estimate too).  Shockingly, the car was done today (Friday) and that included some other work that needed to be done.

The last part of my roller coaster wasn't that bad as I had two more performances.  The day I got back from Pennsylvania, I had about 20 minutes to change and then my mom and I went up to Kirtland to sing in the Kirtland Temple for the Joseph Smith, Sr.-Lucy Mack Smith Family Reunion going on that entire weekend.  We sang the 2 number that we sang at the 175th anniversary of the temple's dedication back in March and then did some of the actual hymns performed at the temple's dedication.  I was sooooo tired and irritated at that point, but it's always nice to sing in the Kirtland Temple.  I also performed again for the same group at a dinner they had in Mayfield, Ohio (very close to Kirtland) with some of the cast members from This is Kirtland!  I performed "Lorenzo's Song with Rylee Mitchell, who played my sister Eliza R. Snow in the show.  Other cast members performed 2 other songs from the show.  It was nice to see a few cast members again and sing that song one last time.

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