The phone rang just after 9:00 P.M. Saturday night. I knew something was wrong by the sound of the ring tone. It seemed darker than usual with a tune hardly recognizable from its normally bright melody. I picked up the receiver. The illuminated window said "Schools Public 801-785-8713".
"This can't be good," I whispered to my optimistic self.
"They might be done. They're calling to say they're leaving," it replied.
"No its bad. Trust me on this one," my pessimistic self unwelcomingly intruded.
"Shut up," I shot back. "I'm not in the mood."
It was bad news. Bracken called to ask me to leave the comforts of my home and return to the school to set the alarm for 3:00 A.M. People say you should never shoot the messenger, but what choice did I have? I unloaded my frustration. I didn't tell them to remove a part of the Odyssey's ceiling. I gave instructions to paint the front of the ship. How they got "remove a part of the Odyssey's ceiling" from my simple instructions I'll never know. Bracken told me that getting upset wouldn't solve the problem. The ceiling was damaged, the deed was done. Agreed, the deed was done but my commentary was just starting, and I had lots to comment on.
When Bracken called I was dosing in the comfortable plush arms of my rocking recliner, kept company by the flickering lights of my 65 inch TV. The lights had mesmerized me into a stupor. I hung up on Bracken, paused the TV show I really wasn't watching anyway, and three minutes later was in the Battlestar crossing over the canal and on my way to the school.
I saw the damaged ceiling. Bracken tried to explain over my streaming commentary. Rachel kept to the front of the ship painting. She knew it was best to keep a distance. When I'm in streaming commentary mode my arms like to flail about unpredictable and the spittle from my frothing mouth can be corrosive. Jon disappeared to the shop in the school's fallout shelter, the only safe place when I've gone nuclear.
Bracken attempted to calm things by taking full responsibility for everything, even though he was only there because he didn't want to go home and attend a Stake Conference meeting. I stopped him when his apology expanded to his birth.
"Bracken, why are you apologizing for something you weren't involved in?"
"If it helps, I'll apologize."
"Don't, unless you are the one responsible. Listen, sometimes you have to let people vent and that's what I'm doing - venting. Instead of apologizing, just tell me that you're sorry I'm upset and leave it at that."
Bracken left it at that. I changed the alarm to 3:00 A.M. I peppered the air with a bit more commentary before leaving, giving instructions on making sure the doors were shut when they finished. "We aren't stupid," their faces expressed without need for their mouths.
This morning I drove back to the school to see the results of their long night's labors. The Odyssey looks much better. Rachel did an outstanding job with the front of the ship. Bracken and Jon did a great job at repairing the ceiling. The ship was clean and ready for the 10:00 A.M. Monday morning mission. I spent a few more minutes at the school trying to gather the words I used in my volcanic eruption the night before but sadly couldn't find them. They were spoken, heard and gone. So, I'm going to apologize for my foul mood with a reminder that I'm in no condition to think reasonably after spending 34 nonstop hours at the Center for an overnight camp.
A word to the wise with our upcoming camp. If you want me to make a decision or think rationally about a problem, don't bring it up on the second day of camp. Wait until the third day when you know my sanity disappeared with the setting sun the night before. On the third day I'm usually beyond exhaustion and have been known to exhibit signs of giddiness.
"Mr. Williamson, a camper fell and broke his leg."
"Oh that's interesting."
"Mr. Williamson, the entire Pleasant Grove Fire Department, along with half the police force are here because the Voyager staff let out too much smoke and triggered the fire alarm."
"Really, how nice. Ask them if they'd like to stay for lunch."
"Mr. Williamson, the news says there is a n asteroid heading straight for Earth. It will wipe out all life on the planet, leaving Earth a barren wasteland."
"Really, break out the telescopes and let's have a nice look."
"Mr. Williamson, the pop machine is out of Diet Coke."
"Take me to the roof. It's time to end it all." (there is a limit to sleepless good humor).
Are we ready for our first week of camp? Well, ready or not, here it comes. Let's have a great time with the campers and enjoy each other's company. Let's work hard, play hard and continue giving the campers the best camping experience their money can buy.
Now, I'm off to the Imaginarium to recharge my batteries. Care to join me?
Marla Rosemond and her cat Harvey are the Imaginarium's Undersecretaries of Mathematical Curiosities (good job on using your imagination and thinking you see a rabbit instead). I like to stop by her office whenever I'm looking for lesson inspirations for my math class. I found her in a lively discussion with Harvey on the magic of numbers and equations. She told me take a seat and showed me an inspiration she'd implanted years ago and how it was used in a film.
"Use this with your math class to really confuse them," she said. Harvey twitched his nose in agreement.
And a few other thoughts from the Imaginarium.....
Finally a video game I understand and play well. After a mile or so, the bus stops and the little stop sign extends to stop traffic from passing in both directions. After a few minutes the player gets bored and guns the engine to illegally pass the bus. An obnoxious junior high student steps out in front of you just as the nose of your car reaches the front of the bus. You get points if you swerve and miss the heavily pierced and tattooed delinquent. You get docked points if you hit the kid. Honestly, its much funner to hit him and watch him sail through the air and land in a pile of manure right off the side of the road. There is no blood or guts, just a very unhappy teen. The game is rated PG-13 for the hand gestures the bus driver gives you and the words shouted from the manure pile.
Finally, this is an example of imagination overload. This historical display, built by 5th grader Alfred Higgins from Cornhusk, Nebraska (population 231 humans 154 dogs, 76 cats and barnyards of animals), was the cause of many discussions at the Imaginarium. Should historical imagining be restricted to the technology of the day, or is there a bit of wiggle room as illustrated in Alfred's Gettysburg display? While many Imagineers say "No harm done", others (including those that deal with professional educators) say that there should be limits on what imaginations are dispensed.
Well, I'd better move along. Have a good day and I'll see you at camp!