Tag Archives: pageants

Chickens, Pageants and Parking Ramps

Saturday, I traveled to the Miss Minnesota Pageant. My niece was a contestant and I wanted to join family to offer support. I am not your typical pageant goer. I don’t wear  a lot of makeup, heels or dresses. As one who works with children, usually on the floor, I tend to dress in a wash and wear style.

I thought I would make it easier on myself by driving to Minnesota (near my daughters) to get ready there. I had my hair styled at their salon and proceeded next door to get my nails done.

Running short on time, I exited the salon against the stylists recommendation and ran for my car. As I fumbled with keys and phone, I decimated my first nail. Darn! I tried repairing the nail by pushing the still wet polish back into place as I drove. That is when the rain storm hit. I parked outside my daughter’s home hoping the rain would subside. It didn’t. I ran for the house trying to save the hair and saturating the dress I planned to wear as I held it over my head. The lock box with the key for the home (since my daughter was out of town) would not budge and trying to force it open damaged a second nail. I stood outside the locked house and wailed…quietly.

Pulling myself together, I headed back to my car, this time saving the dress from another soaking but exposing my hair to the elements. As I gazed at my image in the rearview mirror, I wondered how other people could calmly get ready for these events.

I drove to my second daughter’s apartment where I dressed, dabbed on makeup, my daughter salvaged my hair, then we sprinted for the car. I handed my iPad to my daughter with a screen shot of the directions for the location where we were meeting my sister-in-law. She looked at the directions and said, “I can’t follow this. Where’s the dot that shows where we are on a map?” And I thought, “Oh, for crying out loud!”

We decided to try my car’s GPS. I have a 2007 Prius with a GPS system that only works with voice commands when you are driving. Not having time to stop and type in directions, we used our voices.

GPS system: “After hitting the talk button, please say the name of the state.”
Me: “Minnesota”
GPS system: “Minnesota. After hitting the talk button, please say the name of the city or change state.”
Me: “Eden Prairie”
GPS system: “Eden Prairie. After hitting the talk button, please say the name of the street or change city.”

Everything was working smoothly until we came to the street number. The system was unable to get the street number correct so we had to start over from the very beginning. I know, I know, I should have pulled over and typed in the directions. But that doesn’t work so well either. I have a demented GPS system.

We arrived (late) to pick up my sister-in-law. She got in the car as we prepared to travel to another location to meet my sister and her daughter.

I gave the iPad (with the next set of directions) to my sister-in-law. My daughter was relaying the new address into the GPS. My sister, ever helpful, telephoned to guide us. Unfortunately, all we could hear of her voice, over the speaker, was static. This was just too much for us. As the GPS talked to us, the iPad went into sleep mode and my sister conversed in static, we howled with laughter causing makeup to stream down our faces.

We finally met up with my sister, who took us to her car. As we were talking about our ordeal, unbeknownst to us she was driving through the parking ramp going the wrong way. As vehicles approached, we screamed, she dodged cars and executed an amazing feat of chicken with one man. We won.

Five bedraggled women arrived at the Miss Minnesota Pageant. We cheered, hooted and howled as my amazingly beautiful, talented niece performed throughout the night. At the end of the evening, she was the last woman standing. Yes, that is correct. She won and is the new, reigning Miss Minnesota.

After the pageant, we were allowed on stage to offer congratulations, hugs and say our goodbyes. That is when the photographer decided to take an extended family picture. Noooooooooooooooo! Just thinking about standing near an evening gown clad Miss Minnesota for a public photo made me cringe. With no hope for escape, I stood in the back row trying to look invisible.

What a day! I dropped my daughter off at her apartment (after getting her sister’s spare key) and drove to my eldest daughter’s home (with my sister and niece following in their vehicle) for some much needed sleep. We walked into the home when I remembered I needed to head to the basement to make sure the chickens were okay.

Chickens you say? In the basement? Yes…. but that is a story for another day.


Two Walkers, One Elevator and the Pageant…I mean Scholarship Program

A while ago my niece was in the Miss Minnesota pageant. I attended the second night of competition with my dad, sister, sister-in-law and our daughters. When we entered the performing arts center we encountered a long flight of stairs. This was problematic. Dad’s balance was precarious and with his walker the steps seemed like a mountain. Not a believer in insurmountable challenges, I scanned the lobby and noticed a door with an elevator sign. I maneuvered dad and our crew through the door which opened into a small room with an elevator.

Unfortunately, our movement did not go unnoticed. A group of elderly followed us into the tiny room. I pushed the ‘up’ button and as the doors opened a surge of people, two with walkers, entered the elevator. Our daughters looked at the group crammed in the small space and said, “We’ll take the stairs.” I depressed the button for the second floor and as we began to move I remember thinking “This would be a bad time to get stuck in an elevator.” And just like that there was a grinding sound, a jerking halt and the lights went out.

Quite honestly my first though was “We are going to die.” My second thought was “I can’t breathe.” My third thought was interrupted by a man saying, “Great, I’m stuck in an elevator with a bunch of strangers.” Thank goodness. This ridiculous comment brought me back to my senses.

Thinking I need to alert someone of our predicament, I fumbled in the dark for the control panel hoping to find the alarm. While I punched many buttons, not one of them was the alarm. Meanwhile, my sister and sister-in-law were rummaging through their purses and soon we were engulfed in the eerie glow of two cell phones. Now we have light. My sister-in-law who is not fond of small spaces bent at the middle and said, “Dear Jesus.” My sister looked at her phone and realizing she did not have any bars began to wave it in the air while saying, “Move back, we need to give her some room.” I backed up and my rear end hit the alarm button and I called out, “I found the alarm!” I pushed the alarm, holding it down for a few seconds and repeated this over and over again. The sound of the alarm was not comforting to any of us and did not provide any assurance that we had been heard.

My sister continued to search for phone reception, my sister-in-law continued to remain bent in the middle. I have no clue what anyone else was doing, except dad, he snorted with laughter. It only took a few minutes but soon the lights flashed on and we began to move. We passed by the second floor. We passed the third floor. We finally came to a stop at the fourth floor. The doors opened into the performing arts center media control room. A young man held up his hands and said, “You can’t get off here, this is the control room.” He was mowed down by 11 people, 2 with walkers.

We stood in the control room. Those who could, went through the control room and descended to the auditorium through another exit. I looked at dad. Going this route would not be easy. The young man in the control room informed us the elevator had stopped because the power had gone out. He said he had heard our alarm. I looked at him and blustered, “Well why didn’t you yell to let us know you heard us!”

Looking at dad I said, “So do you want to chance it?” He nodded and headed back into the elevator. My sister and I followed informing the technician that if he heard any alarms he better let us know that he heard it. Then the doors closed and we descended to the second floor. When we got out our daughters asked, “What took you so long?” As we shared the story the emotions took hold and we could not stop laughing. We were safe. We were on the second floor. We were out of the elevator.

When we got into the auditorium we noticed the long set of stairs that lead to our seats. If it wasn’t for the elevator, I am sure we would have turned around and left. Thankfully, our brother came down from his seat and literally carried us all to our places.

The pageant was a wonderful experience. My niece was fabulous. The impromptu ‘I was stuck in the elevator’ support group meeting at intermission was not to be missed.

After the pageant, my brother informed us we didn’t need to worry about the elevator again because the center has an exit on the second floor that leads to the upper level parking lot. Upper level parking lot? Of course.