Fun gig

Ridiculous driving conditions on the way home couldn’t ruin it (hugs to #1 Son for trading cars with us because we wouldn’t have made it home otherwise). Nor can the fact that schools are closed today — which means I’ll likely cancel yet another rehearsal because I won’t be able to get the Ranger out of my driveway — ruin it. Nope, it was fun.

For those of you who may not know, my vocal jazz ensemble sang the national anthem at the Cleveland Cavs game last night. Now, if you’re a teacher, you know that scheduling “field trips” can be a complete and utter nightmare. You’re worried about accidents, behavior problems, venue issues, missing paperwork…it can all combine to make you pretty miserable.

Not so with these people. They’re the Anti-Stress Bunch (well, with a couple of exceptions now and then). I always feel relaxed and confident with them. No worries about what they’ll say or do, or if they might behave in a way that would embarrass the district, or me, or themselves.

I also know that not one of them would ever consider, oh, skipping school, text-messaging from inside a jacket pocket, driving like a maniac, or thinking that the teacher is utterly clueless…heh. Gotta love it.

Still, to go to an arena with 20,000+ other people, and stand on the event floor having a conversation while 14 teenagers mill around freely — and not worry for one minute what anyone’s up to — is a blessing indeed.

All right, enough drippy sugar already. Story time.

So the Thriller and I get to Cleveland, right? We’re not any too early. I told the kids and their parents that we’d meet up at 5:30, and it was 5:25 when we got in line to pull into the parking garage. Before we left home, I said, “Did you get cash for parking?” He said, “Well, I have a ten in my billfold.” I said, “Cool – I have a five that I stuck in my blouse pocket; let’s go.” I figured anything extra we wanted to eat or buy could be bought with the debit card, so off we went.

We drive up to turn into the parking garage, where it’s fifteen bucks to get in, and T gets out his $10 bill. I reach in my pocket…nothing. Gone. The $5 bill I did have was sitting on my dresser, where I’d put it when I changed my sweater. And, of course, the garages only accept cash. It’s now 5:31 and I’m sitting in the Beast, having a meltdown.

So we drive. We find an outdoor parking lot — one of those small ones where they cram as many cars in as they can, and charge you $15 for the pleasure. I pull in and ask the guy, “Could you please let me wait here while my husband finds an ATM so we can pay you?” Fortunately, he says “sure,” and points us towards a downtown bank. T gets out and beats feet to the ATM and comes back to pay the guy his $15, and the man says, “Oh, yeah. An SUV is $20.” An SUV is $20. In a self-parking lot with spaces all the same size. Explain this to me. (Actually, don’t bother. I get it.) Whatever. We’re off and (literally) running.

After a minor issue with our tickets at will-call (they couldn’t find mine, but they were right there all along), and making sure the Thriller could locate the smoking porch, we were all set. Met the kids and our super-nice Cavs reps, went down to the event level, and all was good.

Little inconveniences aside, it was indeed a great gig, and they sang beautifully.

Now, off to get more coffee and start reading my next quantitative article. Real life is a gas.

Fink out.

17 thoughts on “Fun gig

  1. Greg

    Sounds like a scenario for a movie! I was in Lorain last night and it took a little extra time to return home. A semi-driver in front of me was a bit too cautious and thought that 20 mph was fast enough. School cancelled today and so is Time-Warner–this was the day to install Road Runner so I can get into the 21st century. Cancelled and re-scheduled for Feb. 6th–still in the Middle Ages of computer stuff. Enjoy the day reading all the quantitative stuff–which, by the way, you’ll never use again. It’s like “Philosophy of Nature”—took it, hated it and never used it again!!

    1. Rat Fink Post author

      “Philosophy of Nature” — HAA. Like there IS any such thing, right? Isn’t that like a contradiction in terms?

      Bummer about T-W canceling out on you! I’m tellin’ you though, it’ll be worth the wait. You’ll be planting your eyeballs in front of that box waaay more often.

      I just looked at the closings page on the WNCO website. Dozens of businesses and colleges (even AU — shocker) have closed. Amazing. Everyone’s shut down — I can’t even think about getting the Ranger out of the driveway until the Thriller either calls the plow guy or gets out there his own bad self, which worries me greatly.

      Have a relaxing day!

  2. Meg

    Thank ya soooo much for workin this out for us again this year, Jax. It is something we will always remember. :)

    Hey, where’s the “goofy” pic even at!??

  3. Ross

    Congratulations! What a fantastic gig.

    This is off-subject, but I gotta give you props, RF; I’m writing 8 blogs a week right now, for alternative fuel vehicles and for a lymphoma site, and collectively they’re swamping me- and I’m getting paid for them! Yet you crank out a quality blog every day, one that’s witty, extremely well written, and always an enjoyable read. Couple that with your busy schedule, and you impress me to no end. Thanks so much for the effort and the inspiration.

    1. Rat Fink Post author

      Aw, hey, thanks Ross. That means an awful lot coming from someone who actually makes his living as a writer, while operating what is probably the #1 men’s online magazine in the world. This, of course, makes you a demigod, and the object of my evergreen envy. To be paid to write…what is that like?

      I know of your work on the alternative auto site: Your name is all over the place over there! But I didn’t know you wrote about cancer as well — please post that! Or is it private within a certain online community?

      Regardless, thank you, friend. I don’t know why I’ve always overloaded myself with so many spinning plates. Just need to see if I can pull it off, I guess. I chase the bright, elusive butterfly of…something, I dunno! Someday, it’s going to be my undoing…

      1. Ross

        Well first things first, I don’t operate that site, not even close, I’m merely a long-time (3+ years) freelance contributor.

        Second, if this is where I tell you that writing for a living isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, I’m sorry to disappoint, but you’re familiar with those devices that go off around 5 or 6 AM alerting you to the day’s obligations? I don’t even own one, can’t recall the last time I even heard one go off. I sleep through my wife’s as well. And that’s just for starters.

        As for the lymphoma site, I just started blogging there recently. It was acquired by one of my clients (a fantastic media company) and I think is undergoing some rennovation, but the site is and the traffic is pretty high. They also own the car site, in addition to a wealth of others, including,, and others I can’t think of off-hand.

        At any rate, whenever you’re ready, interested, or have time, you’re the only writer I know I would recommend anywhere, without hesitation. Not that I have much sway anywhere, but some is better than none.

        1. Rat Fink Post author

          Aw man, I can’t believe this…I typed out a huge response and WordPress barfed and I lost it all. The nerve! Stupid fat hobbit.

          Well suffice it to say that I am humbled by your endorsement, and after this ridiculous exam garbage is over, I am going to be all over your email. You’re right – a little is *way* better than none. None is what I got right now. :-) Thank you!!!

          I have been to…I can’t remember what for, though. I know I was researching something — some drug, obviously. And I will check out the site tonight.

          And no alarms…so every day’s a snow day. I’m liking that idea, lots. Heh.

          Thanks again, Ross.
          PS – I fixed your HTML, no charge.

        2. Ross

          Thanks for all of it, incl the free HTML fix. If you need a reason to think twice about freelancing, I can give you one: I didn’t pay quarterly taxes this year so I’m facing an IRS bill that is just plain ugly. Without quoting actual figures and by using one of my favorite baseball players (and I assume a local fave out there), according to his current salary, Grady Sizemore would need to play 7 innings of one game to pay it off.

    1. Rat Fink Post author

      Surprise? I love surprises! (Especially if they’re ponies.)

      I loved the picture where I’m standing next to you; it’s good to be taller than someone. HA


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