First, an overall summary of the week: 1 car, 1 wife, 3 kids, 2 footlockers (for camp), 2 Barbie suitcases for grandma's house, 3 rolling 22" suitcases (1 for along the way stops and 2 for New Orleans), 1 garment bag for hanging clothes, 2 briefcases, 2 laptops, 2006.5 miles driven... You get the idea. It was a blast.
We played a great game with the kids called "Kids versus Grown-ups." It is a trivia board game where the questions are generational-based (so the kids ask the grownups questions like, "Lance Bass starred in what boy band?" and the adults ask questions like "What was the last name of Paul Simon's singing partner?"). So much fun. Two best answers of the game: to the question "What 2 parts of speech are necessary to make a sentence?" my 9 year old quickly answered "a capital letter and a period." And to the question "What was the name of the era where alcohol was outlawed?" my 11 year old said "The Great Depression."
Trip was much fun. The kids did great, Susan and I got to enjoy the scenic beauty that is Southeast Arkansas and Northeast Louisiana as well as each others' company. We got to explore the limits of phone based GPS systems.
Actually, that one requires some elaboration. Now, I have a phone that is a couple of years old, but it does have GPS on it. I don't want to tell you what service I use but let's just say it might be better named "Slow" or "Spurt" or "Spotty" or "%$^#." Whatever you name it, what you should not do is name it after a short distance running race that occurs with rapid, precise movements. Anyway, I had this GPS and decided that since we were traveling mainly highways between Hot Springs Arkansas and New Orleans, it would be sufficient to guide me from the kids' camp to the highway that I needed (easy route Hwy 270 to Hwy 65 to I-20 to I-55). All I needed was to get to Hwy 270 - easy right? Here is my summary of the 1st hour after dropping off the kids:
We leave the camp and follow the kind voice that instructs us to turn right, then left, then right again, then "you are off course, modifying route," turn right in 100 yards... So we turn... onto a narrow paved country road in central Arkansas. We travel for 10 miles or so, with no other traffic in either direction noted. Also, no other houses or signs of civilization... Is that a banjo I hear?... Quick glance at gas gauge - full - sigh of relief... Turn left in 100 yards. We turn, the road takes a sharp bend to the right and the pavement disappears and we enter a one lane gravel road. And then those magic words from the GPS, "Your GPS signal is weak," and then it crashes. Excellent. I'm not in any hurry or anything - I only have 500 miles to drive and would love to get into New Orleans in time to rest before my meetings start at 8:00 am (which is 14 hours away).
The dirt road is too narrow to allow me to stop and turn around. I don't ask Kathy Bates for directions and refuse to buy a squirrel (obscure Rat Race reference), so I decide to just keep on down the road. Ten miles later (not kidding, I would have taken pictures but Susan and I were in too much shock) the GPS comes back to life and we hit pavement, then signs of life, then are told to turn left onto a highway going north. At that point we get really confused and decide to double check the route on the phone; apparently when it reset, it decided that we should drive through Memphis (2 hours northeast) instead of cutting diagonal across Arkansas. So the result of our 1 hour of driving was to go in a complete circle
We do, eventually, find a highway going south and we arrive at our hotel just before midnight (you can do the math but let's just say the roads were not heavily populated with county mounties.
While in New Orleans, Susan and I were able to do a little sightseeing. The highlight of it all was spending a few hours in the National World War II Museum. I have such a fascination with that era of our history and feel such a debt of gratitude for the men and women who served in that war. I came away with a stark reminder that they were not professional soldiers. They were doctors, lawyers, teachers, farmers, engineers, etc. They put their lives on hold and served their country (and I will say, all of mankind) for a few years to defeat evil and then returned, put down their arms, took off their uniforms and returned to their jobs and helped build this nation out of the Great Depression.
Celebrity sighting: At Emeril's in New Orleans (highly recommend - awesome food and great table with a view of the kitchen). I look up and in walks Eli Manning. I scarcely have time to tell Susan when in walks Archie Manning. And, of course, bringing up the rear - yep, Peyton. They were seated at a Chef table in the kitchen so no one else even saw that they were there, and I couldn't get the camera out in time. The next day, in the hotel lobby we see Jesse Jackson. Needless to say, after those celebrity sightings Susan had her head on a swivel looking for Brad Pitt.
Now quickly to the meeting itself. If you have never been to a large convention-type meeting you may not appreciate that your status is determined by your name tag banners. In this case, size really does matter and bigger is definitely better. Here was my badge from this meeting:
Which got me to thinking, "Is that what I really am?" If I wore a badge everyday, what would I list and what would be at the top? I'm pretty sure "Dentist" would be on there somewhere, but not at the top. OK, deep thought over, now it also got me to thinking that there are some badge banners I would really like them to make:
-Only stop for free samples
-White socks with sandals are too in style
I would go on, but this is getting long and I'm sure my sarcasm would get me in trouble if I listed more badges I would like to see. But do you have any ideas? I would love to hear them.
Now, I do need to comment quickly on the House of Delegates. It went very well and if you are an AGD member you can be proud of the 199 men and women who came to New Orleans to represent you - they did well. To summarize the HOD I have decided to write the 1st of what will become my annual HOD Haiku. At first I thought it might be more deserving of a limerick (you know, "there once was a delegate from . . ."), but thought the 17 syllable art form from Japan was a better vehicle for a family-friendly blog. Enjoy:
Substitute motions often
Teachers pay full dues!
That's it from me. The voices are telling me to start going through the pile of mail on my desk.
Have a great week.