Sunshine State

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Even in Florida it rains sometimes. And this weekend was one of those times.

The week flew by in its usual flurry of homework and more homework. This semester is ridiculous with its workload. I’m writing so much, but it’s rarely ever stories or novels or plays, like it was over the summer. It’s essay after essay, and blog posts and articles and stuff for class. I miss the summer, and its endless hours to be filled writing whatever I want. And sometimes a Bat Outta Hell song will come on and I’ll find myself itching to write more scenes for our mostly-finished musical.

Speaking of Bat Outta Hell, one of the highlights of the week was having a read-through with my friends (I still don’t really know how that

Ari and Ballou enjoying Star Trek after a long day.

Ari and Ballou enjoying Star Trek after a long day.

happened. I had the script pulled up and some people were over and we just…sat down and read it through. They had some good suggestions.) Everyone liked it. God I hope this show will get off the ground one day.

Another highlight was Wednesday. Kat and I do pretty well for ourselves with the whole no-car-but-need-to-get-to-the-store thing. We have friends. But Wednesday we were a critical no milk or eggs or bread situation. So, after burning through most of our friends with cars, I got Ari, who was sick, to take us out. We made soup and watched Star Trek as a reward. The best part was how little Ari and Kat knew about the Star Trek universe. I spent most of the movie waxing poetic about this series. I sounded like a total nerd, but by the end Ari was promising to watch Enterprise, so it was worth it.

And then Girl’s Night, where Patricia swung by and we broke out the baked brie and wine and dried fruit and cheese. So incredibly girlie, made worse by watching massive amounts of Gossip Girl and talking about boys and spying on the apartment across from us. Sometimes I feel like we wandered into a movie about college. We’re such stereotypes. It feels kind of amazing.

Jumping into the football game in the middle of a storm.

Jumping into the football game in the middle of a storm.

But that brings us to our rainy weekend. Saturday didn’t seem so bad until you stepped outside, and realized it was actually drizzling, little raindrops absolutely everywhere. So. Kat decided to stay in and watch the UF game while Ari and I went to see FSU. We only stayed for a quarter, because it was wet and strangely cold and we were beating them soundly after only fifteen minutes.

The coolest part of the game was that it was military appreciation day, so there was a small battalion of army and navy officers, and there were parachuters. Yup. There were three guys who parachuted right onto the fifty yard line of the stadium. And even with the rain, there was a good-sized crowd to appreciate this.

But Ari and I couldn’t stand to stay there and get wet, so we went back to the apartment and watched The Great Gatsby. Ari had been dropped off for the game, since parking is impossible, and after the movie she couldn’t rouse any of her friends to come get her. So we improvised a sleepover, complete with popcorn and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? I haven’t hosted a sleepover at college yet. It feels strangely like high school.

And now we’re back to the regularly scheduled week. And another pile of homework.

Football!

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If the Giants keep playing like they did last week, FSU is going to become my new favorite football team. Especially if they keep playing like they did this week–62 to 7 against the Nevada Wolf Pack. And those seen points were scored in the first quarter. After that it was a shut out.

So I went to my first ever college football game yesterday, and it was only after watching the pre-game show that I realized I’ve never been

The clouds rolling in rather dramatically.

The clouds rolling in rather dramatically.

to a live football game where I wasn’t in the marching band (okay, once, in eighth grade where I went to watch Absegami win States.) The point is that the marching band immediately caught my interest. And kept it.

It was hot. Florida hot is different from every other kind of hot. It’s the kind of hot that makes you know what it felt like for the witch when Hansel and Gretel pushed her into that oven. But luckily by halftime the clouds had rolled in and there was a bit of a breeze. Nothing that you would call “comfortable,” but it was definitely “better.”

Kat and I were among the only students to hang around til the very end of the game, mostly because a blow-out is fun for the first three hours but after that, you know, the war chant gets a little repetitive.

(it does not, but I’m sure that the other students’ various states of intoxication made the heat harder to handle.)

A note on “On the War Path.” This song was my high school’s fight song. No one in Gami cares about FSU. I had no idea what city Florida State was in until I actually landed here. And one of the first things I heard was my high school’s fight song. I graduated from an Absegami Brave to a Florida State Seminole (or Chief) and get the same fight song. Sometimes I really do think life is just the same few things over and over.

One last thing about the marching band–I’m glad for the week I got to spend as a Chief and totally think they made the right decision in not taking me. I am not a future music teacher and I have next to no skill with an instrument. But I was a little bit jealous of how much fun they seemed to be having at the football game. Oh sure, they’re half time show was cute and their roving trombones caused a stir, but between the first and second quarter they played the “Game of Thrones” theme music. Between the third and fourth they played the main theme from “Star Trek: Into Darkness.” These are very much my people, and I’m glad I still have friends in the band.

Kat with her game-face.

Kat with her game-face.

Now, on the game day–we were supposed to go with Ari, who became unavailable about an hour before kickoff, so Kat and I meandered down by ourselves and got a seat that apparently people paid about a hundred dollars for and we just wandered into. The stadium slowly filled up with various drunk spectators. Cue a fiery spear and a horse. Cue marching band. Cue football. Ready? Play.

We pulled ahead early and won easily. The majority of the entertainment came from a shouting match between a very drunk guy right behind Kat and a very drunk guy right in front of me. The one behind Kat kept shouting at the Nevada team players–not nice things, you can fill in the blanks–and it eventually turned fairly personal. A guy next to me asked this drunk dude to please stop yelling such vulgar things, as there were women around (welcome to school in the South) Drunk dude then started in on guy next to me and shoved him. Guy next to me shoved back. Scuffle turns into fight that would have been less funny if Drunk Dude wasn’t so freakin’ drunk and the whole thing wasn’t broken up in about ten seconds by various frat bros.

We stayed until the end, doing the Chop too many times to count, and then headed back to the apartment as the sun was going down. We’d been at the stadium for almost six hours. Sore from sitting on bleachers, we took showers and laid on our backs, staring at the ceiling until Kat’s stomach literally rumbled. “Okay,” I said, pushing myself to my feet, “I’ll make chicken, you find something to watch on Netflix.”

And so we spent the rest of the night slowly making our way through chicken, noodles, carrots, and yelling at the screen as the characters on Gossip Girl messed up their lives. Some days it’s nice to be a ‘Nole.

A Lot Can Happen

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…in two weeks.

So, in the span of two weeks, I’ve somehow been volunteered to be workshopped firs tin my Creative Writing class (yikes!), we lost our third roommate (can’t seem to keep ‘em) and got roped into going to my first ever college football game. Oh, and I kind of figured out my life–until graduation, at least.

The workshopping thing came completely by accident, though somehow I wasn’t all that surprised. We were supposed to have a couple pages of a rough draft brought in last Friday. I brought in sixteen pages. My teacher glanced at it, then looked at me and said, “you’re going first, you know that, right?”

I’ve always had a fondness for going second. I’m pretty sure that has to do with birth order. Second means people still pay attention to you but you don’t have to break the ice of going first. And anything first can do, second can do better. But I knew that I was further along than anyone else in the class, and to make someone with less of a story go first would be unfair. “Okay.” I said. “Okay.”

I have until tomorrow afternoon to fix my story, or at least fix the major problems of my story. Creative writing classes do not promote trick endings, and that’s exactly what I wound up with in this sixteen page adventure. If I don’t fix it by tomorrow, every single one of my classmates is going to give me the same advice: no trick endings. What can I say? I spent much of my grammar school years reading Goosebumps. Trick endings were the thing when writing for children.

The second thing that happened is that we lost our third roommate to sickness. Nina, a study abroad student from Germany, met up with her boyfriend this weekend and went to the beach for her birthday. When she got back she collapsed onto the couch and said that America was very different from London, where she’d studied abroad last. She was homesick and sick-sick and needed to go back home. She already had a plane ticket.

“I’m sorry your experience couldn’t have been better here,” Kat said, sounding truly upset. Hey, we’d both done the stranger-in-a-strange-land thing Freshman year, but at least we were doing it with a whole group of Americans. And because we’d done the abroad program, we understood that sickness on top of homesickness can make you miserable, especially if you’re surrounded by strangers.

When Nina left the room, I turned to Kat. “It’s you,” I said, not really thinking about it before. But it’s so true. Last year, Kat’s roommate left

I'm fairly certain FSU is just about this ridiculous about football...

I’m fairly certain FSU is just about this ridiculous about football…

halfway through Spring semester. Our original third roommate never showed up. And Nina leaves after a week and a half. “Three strikes,” I said, smiling, “It has to be you.”

“Shut up,” Kat huffed, annoyed. “I’m not that hard to live with.”

She’s not, but it’s back to the two of us again. That’s okay. Tuesday night we whiled away the evening singing musical songs at the top of our voices. You can’t do that kind of thing with a third roommate.

It was just after we were informed that our trio was going back to two that Ari texted me and said to get a ticket to the home game this weekend. I’ve never been to an FSU game. I told Kat, and we both went online to make sure we had tickets. I’m actually really excited. I love football, and have been looking forward to seeing a game live since I first got to Tallahassee. Even if we’re just playing Nevada, and even though it’ll be a three-thirty afternoon game and therefore be about a hundred degrees, I expect it to be an experience.

Speaking of experiences…

I’ve wanted to work at Disney since I was little. The idea of a cast member appealed to me. I remember my dad pointing at the slightly-scaled-down street, the costumes, and saying that Disney World was just a big theater production. That may sound like a mean thing to point out to your child, but I thought it was the greatest thing in the world. After all, if you try hard enough, anyone can join a show.

When I got to FSU, the first person I got close to was Patricia, who had just come off her semester as a Jungle Cruise Skipper in the Magic Kingdom. That kind of sealed the deal for me. You can do this as a college program? You can take classes and make a little money and have what sounds like the time of your life? Where do I sign up?

So I signed up. There’s more to it than that, of course–an application and tow interviews and step-by-step whatever, but I signed up and expect to be offered a position for this coming Spring.

If I went to Disney World, I'd be working a ride, hopefully the Jungle Cruise.

If I went to Disney World, I’d be working a ride, hopefully the Jungle Cruise.

But. But I have the Yeti, and going the editor thing over there. But this is Patricia’s last semester, and Ari’s second-to-last. But I love living with Kat and just got comfortable here. Not to mention I’ve never stayed in the same room for more than one semester since I got to college (two flat in London, Florence, a room in the basement in the fall, a room on top in the spring, Ragans…) The idea of leaving again didn’t really feel right. But I also knew that if I passed up the college program I would regret it.

This is where talking things out comes in handy. Patricia picked me and Kat up and we went out for dinner and I asked them their honest opinions. “You should definitely do it,” Patricia said, “It was the best experience I had in college, other than London.”

“Why don’t you do it next Spring?” Kat chipped in, “Graduate in December. Use it as a break before grad school.”

You know when something just suddenly sounds right? That sounded right to me. It felt right. I have enough credits and have come far enough along in my two majors to graduate in June if I wanted to. And having eight months between undergrad and the grad school sounds like something I’m going to need. I’ll have time for internships in the summers. I’ll have time to say goodbye. I’ll have time.

A lot can happen in a couple of weeks. I’m just lucky that it decided to happen to me.

Apartment Tales

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Tuesday was my first real day in Tallahassee–the first full day without dad, the first day I was going to classes and making food and thinking that I was actually going to be here for three months, no joke. And we powered through. Kat and I have watched a pretty depressing amount of Gossip Girl, and I made dinner for us and our friend Courtney and we talked about The Name of the Wind. We actually ended up talking about that book for six hours. Other than telling people to join the Yeti, it was the most productive part of my day.

I didn’t really venture off campus until Wednesday, when Patricia and I decided we needed a Girl’s Night, which mostly meant we needed Ben and Jerry’s and a Friends marathon. She lives in a two-bedroom off campus, and we crashed there at 8:30 after doing a marginal amount of grocery shopping. The plan was to watch Black Swan, since I’d never seen the movie and Patricia thought it was just creepy enough for the two of us to watch in a dark apartment. But, being that we both like the sounds of our voices better than anything else, the movie wasn’t actually started until an hour later, after I met her roommate, a West Point refugee who joined us on the couch.

I like the idea that I have places to go off campus. There’s Patricia’s, and Ari’s, and I can bake for them and they’ll let me teach them about football and we can eat food together. Aces.

Thursday, we were already finished with a season of Gossip Girl and Kat and I decided we needed to prove we still had friends other than

New year, new mahjong tiles

New year, new mahjong tiles

each other, and reinstated Girl’s Night. Last year, we used to crash at Laura’s and eat Panera and drink a lot of wine and gobble dark chocolates and watch really awful television. This year, we’re doing basically the exact same thing. With no bad television to watch yet, we substitute in mahjong.

Of course, Jules and I were more interested in the pizza and stories than playing a game, but we had four good hours of dealing and tiles and hashing out or Study Abroad stories (everyone I hang out with studied abroad. Everyone.)

And then Jules and Courtney cleared out, after promising to swing by next week, and me and Kat, still just the two of us in a big apartment, went back to our Netflix life.

On Friday, I finished my week of making sure to see all of my good friends by watching Ari’s documentary. But of course, in the film school, it’s never just one movie, it’s thirty. So I joined Ari and her mother and of course Ballou to watch the thirty student documentaries in the SLC. They started at one in the afternoon and weren’t over until five thirty. But they were good. As someone who’d seen their F1s, the first film they work on at FSU, I can say that they were definitely better.

The film schoolers were going out to celebrate and I didn’t want to crash that party, so Patricia and I went to dinner and did more shopping. I miss LBI, where the grocery store was within walking distance. If you forgot milk, or cheese, or a nice loaf of bread, the worst you’d have to do is hop on your bike. Now it’s a production. A fun production. But getting to the store is like orchestrating a dance where you don’t want to have to step on too many people’s toes, trying not to call the same friend four days in a row because you forgot…whatever.

But by the end of that day we were firmly entrenched in the weekend. Kat was going to a party and after Patricia dropped be back home at nine I settled in with my textbook and highlighter. The workload is manageable as long as you stay on top of it, and I hadn’t been staying on top of anything.

Courtney, saving a life on the way back from grape picking

Courtney, saving a life on the way back from grape picking

Which is why I spent the early part of Saturday writing an 1800 word essay about my life as a reader/writer (no joke, this was an assignment for a class) before Kat got back and needed me to go eat Denny’s with her. I can take one for the team, so I went. We were both supposed to go grape picking with Courtney that afternoon, but Kat begged off on the grounds that her head was about to explode. It was really too hot to spend much time in the grove, pushing 100 by midday when we set out, but it was a dollar a pound and the place was beautiful, so it was worth the trip.

And when I got back–I should mention again that Kat and I had had the apartment to ourselves this whole week. We had friends over and cooked and watched a lot of television and were comfortable, the two of us. When I got back, there was a third. A girl from Germany named Nina. We promptly switched rooms and I haven’t seen much of her since. I get it, though. In a new country, a room to yourself makes all the difference.

Kat and I spent all yesterday evening watching Gossip Girl and making tea and brownies. We invited Nina to join us but she was heading out around town. I was comfortable in my sweatpants and t-shirt, so I didn’t move much. And the grape picking had been hard work, you know.

But that’s how our days go by here. There’s always something to do, someone to be with. There’s always homework and always a room to yourself to retreat to if it’s all too much. It’s the ideal setup. And my classes might actually teach me something.

Junior Year, Week 1

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Everything went off without a hitch, which was probably the weirdest part. I was waiting for the hitch. There’s always a flaw in the plan, right? But I met dad at the airport in Atlanta and we did the last leg of the flight together down to Tallahassee. This was after the week I spent with Amanda, trying to see all my friends before I left again, watching all the movies she claimed to have never seen (which ranged from Twelve Angry Men and Singin’ in the Rain to Titanic) and after we went to the movies for my last night at home and after I’d packed and forgotten things in my room.

We got to Tallahassee Friday evening and stopped by the school to check in and liberate my boxes from storage. Half of that was accomplished, and we celebrated by taking Kat out to eat. Kat and I get to live together this year, and spent most of the evening talking about our mysterious new roommate Victoria, who hadn’t answered any of our emails or Facebook messages and hadn’t shown up yet.  “She’ll be here by tomorrow,” I said, confidently, “She has to be.”

Well tomorrow rolled around and we went shopping. For everything. Food, of course, but also shower curtains and trash bags, plates and cups and coconuts. It takes a lot to furnish an already furnished apartment, let me tell you. And after we dumped everything back into the apartment…still no Victoria.

“Tomorrow’s the last day of move-in,” the RA said, “she’s bound to come in then.”

So I called up Patricia and dad took us all out to dinner and we played search-and-find with her new tattoos and she listened to my

My new hall, halfway across campus from the old one.

My new hall, halfway across campus from the old one.

adventures in babysitting. And I still went back to the hotel that night, because I didn’t want to set my stuff up in a room I was going to switch out anyway.

Sunday. Last-last minute things. Lamps and light bulbs and command strips and hangers. Halfway through the day it was Kat, fed up, who told me just to take the other big room, and riddance to latecomers. I put down my bed sheets and claimed a new home.

Now it’s Tuesday, and it’s still just me and Kat in an apartment meant for three. Which is fine by us. We’ve started a new tv show and cook each other lunch and generally, genuinely enjoy the company. We celebrated the first day of school with crepes and smoothies, which isn’t such a bad way to ring in the new year.

And we talked about how, even though we’re Juniors, even though by credit hours we’re both Seniors (you better believe there was some mild freaking out about that) we feel just exactly like Sophomores. It is, after all, only our second years on campus.

Let’s make it a good one.

Closing Up Shop, kind of

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On Sunday Caryn came over so we could watch shooting stars. This is one of my favorite things to do with my friends in the summer, so much so that scenes about watching meteor showers have made their way into most pieces of fiction I write. She didn’t get over until after dinner (which is almost preferable, as it’s difficult to feed a vegan) and we had a pleasant time waiting for Tatiana to swing by, making brownies and watching 10 Things I Hate About You.

imagesBut when we got down to the actual star-watching part–there’s nothing like it. If you’ve ignored every news announcement that there’s going to be a meteor shower, you need to get on top of that. Find a clearing somewhere and lay on your back and look.

We almost always do it in our pool, but the weather has decided to turn beginning-of-October-cool early, so we could only stand about an hour of swimming, too early to watch the shower. But then we put on sweatshirts and Caryn, Michael, Tati, Amanda, and I pulled lawn chairs together and looked.

It’s not like tv, if that’s what you’re thinking. You’re almost never looking right at the spot a shooting star appears. More often it’s in the corner of your eye, a fast moving blur that feels a little more magical than the everyday beauty of the cosmos. But Sunday there was a big meteor, one that lit up the sky and flamed, and for the first time I understood why people thought that a meteor shower whole suns are flying out of orbit, or angels are crashing down to earth.

After a sight like that, the annual meteor shower that always means the end of summer, the rest of the week seems kind of…dim. I had my last couple of days of work, split up because we had to go back to Galloway to have a meeting at Gami.

Short interlude: if you were trying to reform the public school system to make it amazing, and inspirational, letting an alumni who won the school’s play-writing contest and another alumni who was the school’s stage crew put on their original musical in a theater that would be left empty for the Summer anyway doesn’t seem like a half bad way to do it, right? Inspire some people to go into the arts, help a non-existent alumni program…

Absegami goes not agree.

That disappointment was followed by minor victories–a package I thought was lost in the mail was returned to me, I fell in love with a new book series, Michael got his housing for the Fall straightened out, and we closed up the beach house for the summer.

So today, nearly at the end of my time home, I decided to be a little productive and “finish” my room. At the beginning of summer I boughtDSC02155 blue picture frames from Michael’s, because they were on sale, and meant to put pictures in them. I never did, so I attempted something of an art project.

I’d seen these pictures on Pinterest of wall art made out of book pages and quotes, and I thought “hey, I can make that.” Turns out it was pretty easy.

Like I said, I already had the frames, so all I needed was a book I was willing to mutilate and a way to get words onto a page. The book I got from the library–a collection of stories, poems, and proverbs, from which I took the story of “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Velveteen Rabbit.” I used an knife to get the pages out of the book and then laid them down on the picture frame’s mat.

The hardest part was figuring out how to get the pages to stay where I wanted them to. The frame was for an 8 by 10 picture and these pages were not nearly that big, so I used four pages and arranged them so they kind of told the story. Then I used good ol’ Scotch tape to make sure they stuck to the places I wanted the pages to stick.

This process took longer than I expected the first time–with a lot of trial and error with the pages slipping around and a near-fatal attack of “but I’m pretty sure glue would work.” The second time it took no time at all, so if you want to make more than one know that the process gets a lot easier.

In order to get the words, I went to Michael’s again and got a big pack of alphabet stickers, bold-face so it would stand out against the DSC02157print. Then the hardest part was finding quotes short enough to fit in the frame and long enough to meal something.

The whole project took about three hours (and trial and error, so it should go faster for anyone else who wants to give it a whirl) and cost in the neighborhood of fifteen dollars, split up pretty evenly among two picture frames and a pack of stickers (the poor mutilated book I got from the library for a buck.) And, if I do say so, they look pretty awesome.

My bedroom art.

My bedroom art.

 

Adventure is Out There!

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So yesterday we decided to go on an adventure. See my mom had gotten these tickets to go tubing before the summer started, for the six of us, but that was before Christina decided to break her feet. You can’t go in water with broken feet. She gave us the tickets, for a place pretty far away, and we liked the plan even if we didn’t like the location. We looked for something closer to home.

The plan was to go Thursday, or maybe Sunday, get a couple of friends and go down the river. But Monday afternoon Michael said his girlfriend had off on Tuesday, the next day, do we want to go then. “Sure,” I said, “why not?” It would mean none of my friends could make it, but it would also mean getting a plan down. And I like plans.

Amanda called one of her best friends and then hosted a sleepover for her band section, which meant that with a plan to leave no later than ten-thirty on Tuesday for the tubing adventure, we’d have to kick out the section pretty early.

Tatiana came over and the family, minus Amanda who was gallivanting with her section, had a pretty wonderful night of hamburgers, old stories, and Sequence, followed by laughing at the small children on Kid’s Jeopardy. Amanda’s section spread out over the house, which seems a lot smaller since the basement was taken out in the flood.

The next morning went off pretty smoothly. Everyone was out of the house, getting dropped off by our dad, and Emma and Tati were on standby, waiting to be picked up. We packed a cooler of sandwiches and grapes and water and set off. It was ten thirty in the morning. It didn’t look like rain.

The place we went was only a half-hour away in Mays Landing and seemed pretty nice. You get there, park, and then get on a bus and get

On the river

On the river

dropped off with your tubes to flow down the river back to your car. And it was the most relaxing experience–just like a lazy river in a water park, except more beautiful and a lot quieter. The only people we saw for the first half of the trip was the five of us.

We stopped for lunch and declared the day excellent. At that point the river was still pretty wide and while the sky had gotten grey it wasn’t raining. We spread out a sheet (I actually remembered to pack a sheet, it was such a cute picnic) and ate fruit and sandwiches and Oreos while waving to the kayakers and canoers who passed us by.

There were turtle spottings and frog sightings. We made a chain and floated down the river holding hands until branches made us stop doing that. And then the wind blew, and it felt a little colder, and there was that first drop of rain.

Even after it started raining, the day was still fun. Amanda, Emma, and I got ahead of Michael and Tatiana and started playing “name that tune.” Amanda hung on to Emma’s tube and wouldn’t let go, making it so her friend had to do a lot of work and Amanda had to do nothing at all. But we were all good sports about the weather, and eventually the end point was in sight.

Picnic lunch on the bank

Picnic lunch on the bank

By now we were all cold with rainwater and river water, and thinking of nothing but hot showers and tea and maybe cookies before heading over to National Night Out with the puppies. It was three thirty, and Michael went into the office to get our deposit back and get the car keys. We opened the trunk to get out towels, and then Michael slammed it shut.

A second later: “…did I just lock the keys in the trunk?”

He had, and none of the car doors were open, and there was no spare key at home. We did what we always do when faced with a serious dilemma–we called dad. And he came over with a key that wasn’t the right key and his AAA card (Michael’s was in his wallet, which was locked in the car.) While Michael called AAA, dad tried to MacGyver the door open, which probably would have worked eventually but didn’t work now. He had to leave to set up for National Night out, which meant that the five of us were still locked out of the car in wet clothes, waiting for AAA. At least it wasn’t raining anymore.

Everyone took the delay pretty well. Amanda, Emma, and I played on the campground’s swings and Michael kept trying with the wire hanger. A man stopped on his way to a Phillies game with his family and offered to help. He probably would have gotten it, too, but he was already running late for the game and his family was anxious to get under way.

When AAA finally showed up at five thirty, they opened the door in about three minutes.

But while that sounds like a full day, there was still more to come. Michael dropped me and Amanda off back home so we could get on dry clothes and head to National Night Out. He was going to drop of Emma and Tati, and then had to get our script copied for a read-through.

National Night Out is a big thing in our town, and dad always has a tent with the puppy group. I took Kramer and Amanda took Nikolai and we walked around, looking to win shirts (you always get free shirts at National Night Out.) I tried a game five times to get a shirt, but am apparently very bad at tic-tac-toe. At the end of the night, the boy running the game gave me a shirt, because I am persistent and pretty.

Michael got over to the event just as it was ending, but the six of us were going to head over to LIndy Hops, an ice cream parlor that is also a National Night Out tradition. With three dogs and the six people, we made quite a sight sitting outside the small parlor.

it was a full day, but in the end everyone got what they wanted. I got a great, lazy time on tubes. And when it first started raining on the river, Amanda declared that the only thing she wanted in the world was ice cream. It was cold, and she wanted ice cream. Seven hours later she got her wish.