Sunday, February 21, 2010

What, this isn't how normal people spend their Saturdays?

This weekend I attended my nieces' and nephews' talent show. If you weren't there, you were missing out.

Before the show we treated ourselves to the school's hamburger and brat dinner. It was a throwback to my old days in prison grade school. We had to stand in line like cattle and select the safest looking foods. I opted for a brat, which by no stretch of the imagination could be likened to a charred length of rope in taste, texture, and appearance. Further down the line we were assaulted by limp lettuce, vats of congealed baked beans, and buckets of corn stewing in their whitish corn juices.  To be truthful, the corn and the beans were okay, but anything served industrially loses its appeal rather quickly.

The desserts appeared to have been homemade by the parents so at least that part was good.  I may or may not have eaten two cupcakes. And a double chocolate chip cookie.

After dinner, the tables were rearranged to make show for Talent Show 2010, Down on The Farm Edition. Notable acts included: 4th grader dueling trombones, a performing dog that could not only sit but also lie down, and prepubescent girls dancing to The Black Eyed Peas' hit song Boom Boom Pow. (The last I found slightly disturbing as they were dancing to lyrics of being "beasts when you turn them on" and all that.)

Some of the acts were painful train wrecks to behold, but I give props to the kids for getting up there in the first place. When I was in grade school I was terrified to get out and do anything in front of people, much less perform in a talent show. To go onstage and play an awkward, halting, seemingly 10 minute long version of "Ode to Joy" on the bells earns my respect.

Of course, my nieces and nephews were great. That goes without saying. They played piano, sang in the choirs, and showed us sign language.

After the show we all went back to a hotel for some games and super fun time. In case you're looking for a review of the Quality Inn of Winona, Minnesota, here it is:

The backdoor entrances were deathtraps of ice. They were not salted or sanded at all. The outside card scanner only worked with some of our room keys. Our first room left much to be desired. The knobs on the bathroom heater were broken off. The bathtub faucet constantly dripped, and the grout work was disgusting. There was a mysterious brown stain on the white shower curtains. The room sported a large picture window overlooking the indoor pool area. In the center of that picture window was a wall unit air conditioner, which, when turned on, spewed chlorine air into the room. Even with the unit off, the sounds and smells of the pool still wafted in because the edges of the unit were not sealed except for a few haphazard pieces of tape. Having a hard time believing that? The photo doesn't even do it justice:

 I started to get a headache from all of the chlorine stink and humidity in the room so my brother kindly traded his room with us and we were afforded a view of the parking lot instead. It was a welcomed improvement, but our second room still was not too good either. I checked the other reviews and they all had similar complaints. I thought it was especially entertaining that one reviewer mentioned that the front desk staff tried to sell him pot. Welcome to Winona, smoke a joint in your room?

I missed out on most of the games and fun because I stayed in our room with Oliver while he slept thrashed around and moaned like a zombie. He woke up every two hours throughout the night so I've been unbelievably tired today. He still hates being unswaddled, and when we added in a hotel room and took away his cozy crib and mobile he was very perturbed. I hooked up my iPod and played a loop of classical music for him which seemed to help him some, but I think that made me go a little bit more nuts to be honest.

He better get used to hotels, though, because we'll be heading back to that area to visit my sister's new baby and to hopefully catch up with the long lost friend I spoke about in this post. I'm excited to get together because we've been chatting on Facebook and she's just as awesome as I remember her being.

As crazy as this weekend was, it was a fun adventure and it will give me something to laugh about tomorrow. That is, after I get some sleep.

P.S. This is what happens when you let Oliver put the pacifier in his mouth by himself.

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