If days could come from hell and not from God....

Trip Start Aug 07, 2009
Trip End Dec 31, 2009

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Flag of United States  , New Jersey
Monday, September 28, 2009

... today would have been one of them! Man, rough one.

First of all, our weekend was a lazy, sedentary one. Kelsey wisely took it easy, rested a bit, and she's now feeling better. She woke up this morning with mild symptoms, and a clear enough head to work. But the first school of this long week gave no mercy! Kelsey may have not had symptoms, but we both had to shift right into high gear after a lazy previous two days, which was draining.

This week, we're touring the North Bergen school district. All of the school for the next four days are in the same neighborhood, just outside New York City. So it's compact, highly-trafficked, and bustling with angry drivers. The road up to the school was on a hill. The slope had to be like 40 degrees! I thought even if our van didn't slide back down the hill, our equipment would slide out the back! ... But no, neither of those things happened. But the hill was intense. Thankful that it wasn't in winter ice.

Anyway, the school was in an urban neighborhood. It's an old building, no parking lot. We had to park illegally to unload the equipment from the van... and then carry it all up by hand two flights of stairs, 23 total. Nobody there knew what we were there for, since the district supervisor scheduled our assembly. Nevertheless, we had to get started setting up in the auditorium. By the time we finally got all of our equipment into the space, we only had an hour until showtime.
The stage was nearly four feet high, and the stage was cluttered with school stuff. We barely had nenough room to unfold and assemble one frame! In the process of unfolding the screen and attaching it to the frame, the screen caught on some unseen obstruction which made a sizeable tear in it! We had to continue the set up, but Kelsey had to take time to tape, patch, and repair the tear. Meanwhile, I was able to find room on the floor to assemble the other frames. The stage was not wide enough for our three frames, so we had to set up the outer legs off the side of the stage, being sure to avoid the railings, piano, and podium (fortunately the big-screen TV that was in the middle of the stage had been moved). Soon enough, we had all three screens set up.

That left only a little time to set up audio-visual. Go figure, due to the distance from the screens, we had to set up the projector tables in the middle of the rows of seats. Oh yeah--and the floor was slanted. Talk about struggle.

All in all, we got the show going. It was a couple minutes late, but it was showable.

Ah yes, but just when you think the hard part was over, we had to tear down the whole set, carry everything back down the stairs, drive the van back around from its parking spot, load up the van, and drive to the next school a mile up the street. And repeat the above steps.

Fortunately, the second school's set up wasn't as bad. The stage was bigger, and we had an angel sent from God to come help us unload the van, and actually help us tear down and load it again afterward. Charlie's his name. He was a lot more helpful than the ladies at the first school who would stand at the doors we were struggling to lug our equipment through one piece at a time. "Hard work, huh?" "Wow, that looks heavy!"
But no, not Charlie. He was a huge help to us. He worked for the school in some capacity, and he appeared out of nowhere. Kelsey was drained, left energy-less from her bout with the cold. And there are many things that are simply too bulky for me to carry alone. So his presence was very encouraging. God knew we needed something or someone to help us get through the day.

We made it. Somehow. We're trying not to be daunted by the fact that we have five more schools in this district. The first two were nearly identical. We're hoping that the others are a little more Mike-and-Kelsey-friendly.

The only lasting consequence of today is our torn screen. It's patched with duct tape, but it's a little discouraging when we had planned to keep our screens intact the whole year.

Anyway... today was a reminder that our job isn't always cushy and easy. It's a very tough job sometimes. Sometimes you have to rush around and sweat like crazy. Sometimes you have to lug sixty-pound boxes up two flights of stairs. Sometimes you have to do all of it while being sick.   ... at least we have a nice hotel :)

Well! That's it for today! Pray for us this week. Looks to be a toughy. Looking ahead at the schedule, we'll be in Pennsylvania next week. Whew--we really like Pennsylvania (we never thought we'd say that!)

- Mike
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