Monday, June 25, 2012

Downgraded Like Greece

Saving The DaySometimes even the smallest upgrade can make the biggest difference. Pony Express and I share an antique Mad Men-style electric hand beater. I was thrilled to discover I had custody of it last week when it was time to make Alita's birthday cupcakes. I often dream of having a fancy stand mixer but, honestly, when you've tried to incorporate powdered cocoa into a stiff sugary mixture with only the aid of boiling water and a wooden spoon, that little hand mixer is pretty ding danged miraculous! It cut my work load at least in half and I had more fun, too.

Last year at the Mermaid Parade we were gifted with an enormous upgrade. It was like giving a person with a 1995 Sentra a shiny new Prius. The upgrade was named Mark.

Mark is an engineer by education, he's run a theatre company, and he's now a recognized, certified, employable expert in many facets of the IT industry. He's a solver, is what I'm saying. First we couldn't get the birthday candles lit so he pulled up a breath-sensitive lightbulb app on his phone and we held that over a cupcake for the birthday girl. Then he made sure our group number was visible as we marched. He pushed the cart full of our crap and wouldn't let anyone else help even when we went to the beach after the parade. I knew at the time that we were lucky as a death row pit bull meeting Sean Casey but the lesson didn't genuinely slide home until this year's parade.

Untitled For a successful parade for us we need stuff. We need not to be sunburned. We need to be hydrated. We need to be beach ready and dinner ready. We have make up needs and birthday needs and personal hygiene needs. So we need a cart to haul our needs so we aren't obscuring our costumes with purses and backpacks and other saddlebag equivalents. Still, if you're pushing the cart, it's hot, sweaty work and it does obscure your costume to some small extent. It's not exactly the glamor position on the crew.

Also, I like to take pictures. I need to be mobile and have my hands free for that. The parasol I used this year was brilliant for sun protection. Between that and an old oxford shirt for the beach I had one small spot of mild burning but nothing else. It was a personal best. However, it made it hard to take photos, hard to push the cart, and almost impossible to do both.

So I asked the other adults for help but that made me worry. I want everyone to have a good time. Now I know they're reasonable folk and the cart does contain all our stuff but still and all, I worry. At it's origin I think it's that I love tradition. I love that we do this every year and I'm afraid that if everyone doesn't have the. best. time. EVAR. then our tradition will come to an end. Not to mention how nervous it makes me when someone gets mad. The what ifs abound. The end result of the parasol and the camera and the shared cart pushing is that I didn't take as many pictures as I usually do. I felt rushed and weird even though I was having fun and I found it super hard to focus, if you'll pardon the expression, on documenting the occasion. There are a couple of pictures of me, some I like a lot, but the overall effect of the parade isn't in my camera.

UntitledMark had to work this year. Don't think for a minute I blame him for my shortcomings. I am, if possible, enormously more grateful that I have such a great problem solver and all around helpful and enthusiastic dude as a friend. This is all simply to say, you were missed, man, from your cheerful smile to your ingenius hacks. I hope you'll join us again and you won't have to work so hard when you do.

I've got some ideas for how to do better and relieve the burden next year. But that's for another post.

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