We'll we're back and it was really fun!
We got up at 3:00am. Yes, that's mighty early. We left the house at about 3:30 and arrived at school at 3:47. The buses were there and some of the kids were already on them. Yup - their parents ditched 'em for the day and they ditched 'em early!!
We arrived with breakfast for 112 of our closest band colleagues. My car smelled like sweet danishes and muffins. If that wasn't enough to want to make me want ti hurl at that hour, I don't know what is. We put all the goodies on the buses and checked in.
The kids loaded their instruments and we headed out on time. All present and accounted for.
3 hours later we arrived at Hershey Middle School for our competition. The bus driver we had was a great guy, but he had no sense of direction. He thought he'd missed a turn - we hadn't even arrived in Hershey yet!! I saw a sign and told the band director that it said Hershey that way - you know, the other way - back that way...
The kids were nervous this time. Maybe it was the early hour. Maybe it was the anticipation of a day at the park. I dunno. #1 was not himself - he didn't feel well, he has a cold... He was nervous and a little bit bus sick. I told him a tylenol would be ready for him when he came off the stage. I could do nothing at that moment - he'd have to deal and the did - he sucked it up and dealt. The kids played their hearts out! They did a terrific job. There were no blatant errors, no catastrophic percussion mishaps, no fainting, no hurling, no nothing. It was beautiful! I won't tell you it was a perfect performance, and the kids won't tell you that either. It was a very very good performance - nothing more and nothing less. (I've heard them play better, but given that they just got off a bus and had had very little sleep the night before - it was terrific!)
From there we headed to the park. Again, our bus driver was clueless - totally directionally challenged! The sign said, Hershey Park to the right. He went left. He got so turned around that it took us 40 minutes to go 4 miles. LOL!! The kids were great, though. They didn't harp, complain, or even tease the poor man.
Once at the park we were on our own until the Awards Ceremony at 4:30. Grambug, Mr and I had LLB, her friend R, and HP as our charges. Grandpa took of with #1 to ride coasters. Our three didn't want to do the big coasters, so we did other stuff. We rode a bunch of rides including the carousel, the whip, the music thing, the ferris wheel (From the top, we could see the new water park that opens this summer and wow! We all want to go to that!!). We took pictures with the candy people. We took in a show. We even ate lunch - did you know that you could get a Greek Gyro in the Old West? Me neither, but it was yummy! The kids did a couple turns on one of the water rides and then, at about 3:00 they decided that they wanted to ride the Tidal Wave ride. We knew they'd get soaked, but thought it would be best for them to get wet when the sun was shining - so they could dry out.
They got on the ride. We watched them go to the top. I took pix of the whole thing (with my film camera). They started down. I could hear LLB screaming the whole way down!! When they got to the bottom and they made the biggest splash I have ever seen. Mr. and I booked it out of the splash zone and we still got wet! The kids were soaked to the bone. We bought them each a towel (don't ask how much they cost, you don't want to know!) while they poured water out of their shoes and wrung out their socks! We laid the children, their shoes, and their socks in the sun for about 40 min. until it was time to head over to the awards venue. They were a little bit dryer, but not much.
We got to the awards venue with the other bands - it was a sea of band kids all in their school's t-shirts. Our kids have polos and I have to say, they looked the best! There weren't that many in our awards group. Most divisions only had one band competing. Nothing like guaranteeing 1st place with a mediocre performance. Whatever... Our kids came in second with an Excellent rating. The rating was fair, but I thought they should have won. :-) Of course I did!! The kids cheered and hooted, but we knew that they were disappointed that they didn't win. Alas, you can't win 'em all...
From there, we headed off to the bus to get pants changed while #1 switched groups to be with his girlfriend (that left Grandpa free to hang with us). R and LLB had extra clothes. Poor HP did not, but he was pretty dry at that point. We decided to take the factory tour. We hopped on the ride and just after the roasting chamber the ride stopped... dead... We were all escorted off the ride to behind the scenes and out the back door. It was cool. And we still got our chocolate treat at the end. We got kissables this time. LLB loves them!!
We thought we might eat since it was late and we were tired. We chowed down on pizza (HP and Me), pasta (R), and a PA Dutch chicken thing in a bread bowl (LLB and the rest of them). It was yummy! While we were eating, we decided to give the factory tour one more try. So.. we hopped back on it and this time, we made it all the way through. Yes, we got another package of kissables.
After that, we thought we'd head back into the park to finish up the parts we'd missed like the flume, the kissing tower, the bumper cars and other fun things. We even took an extra turn on the carousel on the way out.
We boarded the buses and watched the fireworks from the comfort and safety of the bus... As we started to roll out of the parking lot, the teacher popped in a movie. The kids were quiet... they all conked out. Most of them didn't see the end of the movie. Once the movie was finished, we just turned off the TV's. It was so quiet - just road noise, a light snore now and then... but oh so blissfully quiet.
It was a terrific trip. The weather was gorgeous - 70 and sunny. Not a cloud in the sky. The kids were great! The music was wonderful. This is the stuff that memories are made of.