Tuesday, April 30, 2013

"I Need To Poop!"- Little Boy At Intermission

Monday, April 29: New Athens, IL-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 70
Lot: Okaw Valley Park

The drive this morning took awhile because of traffic going into St. Louis, as well as a lot of areas with dense fog.
Crossing the river into Illinois, I couldn't see more than a few feet in front of me!

Today we were set up on another funky lot; I remembered it from two years ago. The tent and semis were in their usual places, and the performers' trailers were lined up on both sides of a little road leading to the tent.

There was a little creek running right by my trailer, but I didn't let Emmie swim in it because it smelled like sewage.

Our friend, Alex Zaprudsky, arrived this morning; he is going to be visiting for a few days. He baked some yummy lemon ricotta cookies for me and Ryan that did not last long.

The inside of the tent was strange today. The backdoor was at an angle from the ring, so some entrances and exits were funky.

The first audience was rough. Whoo boy, were they rough! At Intermission we were chatting with the local police and EMTs, and I was questioning one young, female EMT who was "afraid of clowns".
I asked her what her job was, and she responded that it was to help people. I then presented her with a hypothetical situation, "What if there was a clown bleeding to death on the side of the road, and you were all alone, and he was yelling, 'Please save me! You're my only hope! I'll die if you don't help me!' What would you do?"
She did not have an answer for me.
Note to self: Never get stabbed while wearing full clown make up and wardrobe in New Athens, IL.

The police were some of the friendliest folks we met all night. They invited us out to the bar with them after the shows, but we politely declined since we already had after show plans with Alex.

After the shows Tatiana made dinner for all of us, and we chowed down on the delicious food while watching a couple of episodes of "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia".

Monday, April 29, 2013

"This Is Where They Live"- (Said Disdainfully) A Woman Walking By My Trailer

Sunday, April 28: DeSoto, MO-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Miles: 25
Lot: AmVets Post Grounds

When we got to the lot in DeSoto, everyone was instructed to pull into a little parking lot to await further notice.
Apparently the lot we were going to use was very soft, and the sponsor didn't want us tearing it up.

After awhile all the show's trucks started moving to a small parking lot down the road. The tent and semis were set up there, and all the trailers were parking in a line on the side of a little road leading to the tent.

Even though I was one of the last trailers to arrive in DeSoto, by luck of the draw I was one of the first in line to the tent.
I was worried none of us would get power or water, but many of the trailers ended up getting those "niceties".
I feel bad for the folks without power; I would have been up the creek without it today, since my generator is getting a tune up from Castro.

Speaking of Castro, he did some work on my trailer today too. Fridman noticed that one side of my trailer was lower than the other, and he diagnosed the problem as a broken spring.
Luckily the show had a spare, and Castro had it fixed in no time. God bless that man!

Our friends, Dave and Cherie Gregg, the Ringling Gold Unit Advance Clowns, stopped by to visit today.
I saw them in January for maybe 20 minutes, so I was glad this time the visit was longer.
They took me to brunch, and when we got back to the lot it was already time to unload the props and get ready.
Luckily I was able to move my truck close to the tent for an easier unloading job.

There was no rain today, but it was still pretty gloomy. The sun peeked out a couple of times just long enough to tease us.

There were puddles of water in the tent, including a big one where Ryan and I got into the little car, so the soles of our shoes were very slick for the carpenter gag. I almost slipped and busted my butt on a few occasions.

Dave and Cherie watched the first show, and Tim Smith and his friend, Steve, came to the second show. Tim made some great Steve & Ryan stickers for us last year, and this year he made some awesome pins to give us.

Thanks, Tim!

Today was a day of good audiences and good visits with friends. I topped it off by going to a BBQ over at Radar's trailer where we pigged out on delicious food that Radar's mom prepared.

(By the way, can you believe this is my 1,000th post?)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"It's A Dolly Parton Pocket. I Filled A Hot Pocket With Rhinestones"- Roger On "American Dad"

Tuesday, April 23: New Madrid, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 120
Lot: Dawson Park

There was a Flying J on this morning's jump, so I stopped to take advantage of their RV dump station.
I timed it just right; two show trailers pulled in soon after me to use the station as well.

We were on a nice, flat, grassy lot today. I walked into town (Main St. to be exact), but we didn't find anything too interesting.
At the end of Main St. we came upon the mighty Mississippi River. It didn't seem so mighty to me; I spit in it and the river did nothing to retaliate.
Wussy river!

The shows tonight were fun. I was a little worried when the first audience was less than responsive for the trombone gag, but after that they really warmed up and were into everything we did.

During the first show Tavo told us that everything was going to pull off the lot after the shows in anticipation of heavy rain.

I took off very quickly after the second finale. We hopped on I-55 and drove 50 miles to a Walmart in Cape Girardeau.
On the way we got pummeled by some rain, but it only lasted for a few miles. As we were entering town I thought I spied some very high water on the side of the road. Later I did some research and saw that Cape Girardeau is experiencing heavy flooding. Thank goodness the water level wasn't up to the road yet!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

See The Blog For Multiple Quotes Of The Day

Monday, April 22: Ellington, MO-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Ryan spent today painting the props that we latexed yesterday; they turned out looking great!

This afternoon I walked into downtown Ellington to run some errands. I went by the post office to send some money home, and on the way back to the lot we stopped in a pet store.
We ended up talking to the owners, a husband and wife, for awhile; the husband was a billposter for "Gopher" Davenport's shows in the 70s.
His wife let me hold a chameleon and a hairless rat; I drew the line when she offered to let me hold a snake.

There was a little pond next to the lot, so when we got back we took Emmie swimming. One section of the water was covered with thick algae, so we did our best to keep him out of it. I like his natural green hue just fine.

There was a man in the second audience who was the spitting image of Zach Galifianakis, the star of "The Hangover" and many other recent comedies.


He stumbled over to us at Intermission (under the influence of something) and asked to get a picture with us.
When we posed he bent over and began grinding on Ryan's leg. Ryan kept trying to move away, but the man's butt seemed to have leg seeking technology. 
After the awkward photo was over, Ryan quipped that he felt like we were in the film, "The Hangover".
The man leaned over to Ryan conspiratorially and asked, "How did you guys know I have a hangover?"

He then began to tell Ryan that he was a male stripper. I told him directly, "Sir, I'll pay you to keep your clothes on right now."
Undeterred, the gentleman continued his pitch, "I make $200 a night, and I don't even have to take my clothes off. Magic Mike had to take HIS clothes off. It's the way I dance. The ladies just love it! I don't know why!"

Needless to say, Mr. Galifianakis's doppleganger brought much enjoyment to our evening!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Travel Day

Hey everybody,

Look for two posts tomorrow. Peace!

Friday, April 19, 2013

"That's It, Man! Flat On His A**!"- Man Enjoying Our Hijinx

Thursday, April 18: Mountain View, AR-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 40
Lot: fairgrounds

Once we got into Mountain View I was blowing the arrows like crazy. I kept having to turn around in gas stations, but since the area was very hilly, I was scraping the bumper of my trailer on the asphalt as I entered and exited the stations.

Shortly after the tent was set up this morning it began the rain began to pour. Ryan and I kept putting off unloading the props until it calmed down.

With my truck unhooked from my trailer there was a little ditch separating the two. It was filled with water when we went out to unload the props.
Since I would have to back up through the little pond to hook up, and since a lot more rain was expected throughout the day, I began to stress that I wouldn't be able to hook up again tonight.

We decided to go ahead and hook my truck up, and put our Plan B gags into action. We have some material with us just in case there is ever a lot too soft for me to unhook; without my truck being a good distance from my trailer, we cannot get the carpenter box out.

It rained all day up until show time; it was just nasty weather. I stayed inside as much as possible. By show time it was freezing outside. I was very grateful for the great Under Armour shirts and robes that our CFA Tent gave us. They helped keep us warm as we waited outside the tent for our cues.

In place of the carpenter gag tonight, we did the cookie gag that we did on the Bill Hall produced Christmas tour last year, and in place of the mouth we did a short club passing routine to cover the prop change.
(Eggroll, I can hear you now, "You Ringling clowns and your skills!")

I was so self critical of my performance of the new material during the first show. Thank goodness the audience loved it; if we had bombed I probably would have quickly spiraled into pants wetting and thumb sucking in the fetal position.

In the second show the tiger cage strike took forever. Luckily John Moss, Ryan, and I were able to stretch the trombone gag without losing the audience. Yay, team!

I was feeling much better about the new material in the second performance. In the future we may break out the cookie gag now and again just to shake things up.
We should take advantage of the creative freedom that the show allows us. The cookie gag is also a nice clowning exercise for us since it is virtually without props.
I'm just happy we got to work it in front of such great audiences tonight.

Since it was so cold the generator was left on all night. Thank you, everyone involved!


Thursday, April 18, 2013

I Don't Need No Stinkin' Quote Of The Day!

Wednesday, April 17: Batesville, AR-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 37
Lot: Riverside Park

Today we were very excited to be visited by Mike Snider, a 26 year veteran of circus clowning. Mike came by in the morning and shared many entertaining and funny stories from his career with us.
Later in the afternoon he brought a pizza for me and Ryan to share. Thanks, Mike!


Our new advance clown, John Sayre, and his wife, Clara, arrived on the lot today. They joined Mike in visiting with us backstage during the first performance.

Towards the end of the first show I helped John and Clara get hooked up to power. Their RV was parked about five feet too far from a gypsy box to plug in to show power. They couldn't pull forward because there was a huge puddle of the cookhouse's grey water between them and the box.
Danny suggested that they turn their motorhome around so the cord would reach, so I helped Clara execute a forty five point turn in the tight front yard until their RV was in reach of power. Yay team!

John, Clara, and Mike all watched the second show. We had good crowds tonight; I always like for our friends to see us in front of an enthusiastic audience.

Today was a great day for spending fun time with friends both old and new. I could always use more of those!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sorry, No Internet Yesterday

"Ya'll Were So Funny We Almost Died Laughing!"- Boy At Intermission
Sunday, April 14: Newport, AR-2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Miles: 64
Lot: Behind Village Mall

This morning when I got to the lot I saw that everyone was lined up on the side of the road, awaiting further instruction.
I'm not sure what the exact problem was, but I assume the lot was unplayable.
After a short wait we moved across the street to another lot.

A couple of days ago the spark gimmick we use in the carpenter act went on the fritz. Ryan fixed it with the help of some JB Weld that Sean brought to us last night.

Sean also gave us a good idea for a different way to try one of our bits in the carpenter gag, so we've had fun playing around with that.
Fine tuning a clown gag is a never ending process!

After the shows we had a little pizza party in Radar's yard in lieu of a BBQ.


"My Husband Almost Wet Himself Laughing At You Guys"- Woman At Intermission
Monday, April 15: Pocahontas, AR-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 54
Lot: fairgrounds

There's a very tight turn in Pocahontas that stresses me out every time we play here. There is a stone wall that we have to be careful not to hit with our rigs, and traffic is coming almost non stop down the hill we are turning onto.
I lucked out this year; there was a break in traffic right as I pulled up to the turn, so I swung wide and took up both lanes until I was clear of the wall.

The yoga mat that Ryan uses to break his fall into the carpenter box has been falling into the hole before the gag's blow off, ruining Ryan's softer landing, and the surprise of him going through the box.
Last night Ryan bought an alligator clip from the Walmart across the street, so we attached it to the box to help hold the mat in place.

At the start of the first show Ryan told me about the bombs that had gone off in Boston. He told me that his family was alright (his mom lives three blocks from where the two explosions went off); Carolyn and Elisa's families are also safe.
Ryan, Pete, and Tatiana were watching CNN all evening, so Ryan kept me posted on any new developments.
It's crazy how much I'm cut off from the rest of the world on the circus when I don't have Internet.

There was a lady at the first Intermission that came over and asked if her grandson could come take a picture with us. She wanted some kind of keepsake since it was her first circus and they didn't have any money to spend on souvenirs.
We told her "of course", and posed with the boy.
She then realized that she would have to have a camera to take the picture of us; I guess she thought we had our own camera.
For the rest of the Intermission she kept shooting us dirty looks. Remember boys and girls, no (attempted) good deed goes unpunished!

Kris, a rodeo clown that we met a few years ago, was at the second show, and during Intermission he tried to talk me and Ryan into abandoning the circus to take up rodeo clowning.
I'm not going to ignore the notion, because apparently at one time I said that I would never work for a mud show.
Funny, the paths that we go down in life....

While I was running around getting everything loaded up in the second half, I wasn't paying attention and almost got run over by two llamas: one dressed as Uncle Sam, and the other as the Statue of Liberty.
How many people can say THAT about their work day!?


Friday, April 12, 2013

"There's A Diaper In My Pocket!"- Man At Intermission

Wednesday, April 10: Benton, AR-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 73
Lot: fairgrounds

After I parked at the fairgrounds in Benton, I walked around to my trailer door to put out my steps. Right at my doorstep was a big pile of horse crap.


Welcome to Benton!



During Intermission of the first show it started to rain a little bit. The worst part was that the wind was blowing directly into the tent entrance, so all the dirt, dust, and horse crap was getting blown over our table, and into our eyes and the eyes of the customers coming and going.

Between shows we had the Great Kelly Miller Flood of Aught 13 (well, I hope this is the only one we have this year).
The rain started pouring down, the wind was blowing the rain sideways, the lightning was flashing, the thunder was booming, and pretty soon there was a river running past our houses.

I ran out to put Emmie in his kennel and move him closer to the house. I'm lucky the rapids didn't create Emmie's Ark and spirit him away.

video

After everything had died down Ryan and I went in to survey the damage in the tent. It really wasn't too bad; even the ankle deep water by our trailers had drained away after awhile.

There was a puddle right where the ring crew would be dragging the ring mat, so we helped spread it out to prevent a very slick performance space.


Well, Ryan helped....

The second show really wasn't bad. Thank goodness we were on cement instead of grass.
Jonathan, who is the blow off of our carpenter gag, hasn't been feeling well for a few days, and tonight his mom told Ryan that he couldn't work.
Luckily he has a twin brother, Jonary, that was willing to fill in.

Ryan briefed him on what he needed to do (he had never seen the act), and we quizzed him again before the gag.
Right before we went on I advised him that he should run very carefully since the ring mat was likely to be very slick.
Luckily everything went well, and Jonary did a great job.

During Intermission we were talking with a man who brought his three girls over to get coloring books. He was asking us a bunch of questions and cracking jokes with us (the quote of the day is his).
When he was trying to coerce his girls into taking their picture with us, he told them, "They're not clowns. They're the Jonas Bros. in make up."
"Actually, we're wearing less make up than them," Ryan corrected.

Tavo came around during the second show and told everyone to sleep in in the morning since we were not leaving at our usual time.
The plan was to wait around until a suitable lot was found in the next town, Mayflower.

When I went to bed I noticed that all of the trailers were still plugged into the generator, so I figured we really wouldn't be in much of a hurry to leave in the morning.


Thursday, April 11: Benton, AR-Day Off

The show canceled its stand in Mayflower, AR, because a suitable lot could not be my found. It is my understanding that all of the grass lots were way too soft from the deluge last night, and all the solid ground was taken up with vehicles dealing with this:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/11/us-exxon-spill-mayflower-insight-idUSBRE93A0PI20130411

Since we didn't have to work today (or move until the morning), Sean and his fiance, Erica, came to take us away from the circus for the day.


We ordered pizza for dinner, and while we watched one of the rental movies, Ryan helped Sean learn how to make clown props out of foam.

Erica sent us home with some delicious baked goodies (Oreo balls. Look up the recipe, make them, and try them. Now!)
Thank you Sean and Erica for your hospitality and generosity. We had a great day off!

It was around 1:00 a.m. when we got back to the lot in Benton. I was dismayed that I still had to put Emmie away and hook up my truck, but I set my mind to it and finished as quickly as possible so I could get a little sleep before our 6:00 a.m. call.



Thursday, April 11, 2013

Hey everybody,

We had an unscheduled day off today, and I am out having fun with my friends that live in Little Rock.
I will post two entries tomorrow.
Later!

Friday, April 5, 2013

"This Town Keeps Getting Sadler And Sadler"- Ryan

Thursday, April 4: Sadler, TX-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 61
Lot: High School

Even though we jumped to Sadler last night, our route slips informed us that we would be spending the night on a parking lot next to the lot.
It went on to tell us to get up at 7:00 a.m. so everybody could move onto the lot. I was happy to get out of bed and into my truck where I could crank up the heater (it was freezing in my house), but nothing really started happening until around 7:30 a.m.

The cookhouse was the first vehicle to attempt to go on the lot. It got a "running start", but got stuck in the mud just a few feet onto the lot.
A tractor was on hand, but as it pulled the cookhouse into its spot, it also got buried in the mud. We waited until a bigger tractor could be obtained, and different options for where to set up were examined.

It was finally determined that only the tent and show vehicles would go on the lot. All the rest of us would stay exactly where we were parked.
Oscar told me and Ryan that they could pull us onto the lot to be closer to the tent, but he kept using the words "at your own risk".
We, along with everyone else, decided to stay put.

I was happy that we still got water today, but there was no power. Luckily my generator decided to work, but whenever I tried to turn my heater on, the generator would overload and shut off.
Let's just say it was a mighty cold day in my house.

Since we were so far from the back door, it was a real pain getting our props into the tent. I parked my truck as close to the tent as I could while still being on cement, and then it was a matter of hauling everything all the way around to the other side, where the back door was.

Nothing too extraordinary happened in the shows. It didn't rain today, so the ground wasn't terrible....except for the humungous ruts where the trucks had been pulled!

The ring was very bumpy from said ruts. In the second carpenter gag all of the props in the back of the little car were jostled out into the ring as we drove around.
Since our first laugh of the gag is the surprise of pulling one of the props out of the car's bed, we promptly skipped that bit and moved on with the main action of the gag.

God bless Pete, who helped me pull the big carpenter box around the tent after the second gag. He made the job a lot less of a pain in the butt than it would have been otherwise.

The second audience was very wacky at Intermission. They certainly kept us on our toes, and helped us hone our improvisational skills.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

"You've Got To Pick A Pocket Or Two, Boys"- Fagin

Wednesday, April 3: Farmersville, TX-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 54
Lot: Fagin Field

I got off to a bit of a rough start this morning. While walking around my trailer doing my pre-departure check, I got lots of clay stuck to my shoes (apparently it rained more during the night), which I then tracked into my trailer.
When I jumped up into the cab of my truck, I spilled half my cup of coffee onto my seat and route slip, and then I got stuck trying to leave the lot.
I put my truck into 4 wheel drive, but it was too late. Castro came over with the Bobcat and pulled me out.

The drive to Farmersville seemed to take forever due to lots of stop lights and morning traffic.
The new lot was soft from the rain the area has been getting, so all the trailers were pulled up to the curb for an easy exit.

There was a little thrift shop and grocery store next to the lot, so I checked them out this afternoon. It's always best to take advantage of conveniences like that, I've found.
Besides that outing (and unloading our props), I tried to stay indoors where it was warm. It was another yucky day out.

At the first Intermission I met Jessica, a reader of my blog; she found it randomly on Blogger. Hi, Jessica!

Manny Casalino came back to see the show again tonight with his family. He's planning to try and catch us one more time in Ardmore at the end of the season.

It started to rain during the shows. It wasn't coming down hard, but I couldn't believe how quickly the backdoor and backyard became a nasty, muddy mess.
I can honestly say I haven't missed that at all!

This was our first time having to load the props while it was raining, and it was a real pain. Our main goal is to keep the big mouth as clean and dry as possible, which is far from easy with so many other props and so little space in the back of my truck.

After the shows we jumped to the next town. I was afraid I might have trouble hooking up my truck and trailer due to the soft ground, but it was not an issue.
Neither was leaving the lot; I put my truck in 4 wheel drive and pulled right onto the road.

When we got to Sadler we all parked in the parking lot of the high school where we are playing. The route slip instructed us that we would be pulling on (or pulled onto) the lot at 7:00 a.m.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

"You Made Us Laugh So Hard We Almost Peed Our Pants"- An Australian Woman At Intermission

Tuesday, April 2: Krum, TX-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 71
Lot: Krum Public Library

I remembered the lot in Krum from last year. The tent and show vehicles were on one side of a ditch, and all the house trailers were on the other side.

It was a drab, dreary day, but that didn't stop me from walking into town to find the post office.

I watched the film classic, "Weekend At Bernie's II", with Ryan and Pete this afternoon, and Tatiana was nice enough to include me when she made lunch for everybody.

During the first show I got into the big mouth prop, and I was waiting for Ryan to come over and hook up the water gimmick.
I waited, and waited, and waited, and then I started to get worried because the Fusco family (the act before us) were about halfway through their act; still there was no sign of Ryan.

Suddenly Pete ran over to inform me that Nico had made a huge mess and Ryan was tending to that. I threw off the big mouth, suited Pete up in it, and ran into my trailer to put on my shirt and wig.
I quickly ran over to Ryan's house to grab the dentist's lab coat, and then I picked up the toothbrush and mouth wash bottle while sprinting to the tent.

As I made it about halfway to the back door, I heard John Moss giving the Fuscos their final announcement.
I made it to the curtain just in time to run out after Pete; I didn't even have a spare second to button the lab coat closed.

Luckily Pete had performed as the mouth a few times while I had the flu, so he already knew the act. In lieu of sound effects, Michael added extra accentuation with the drums, and John Moss provided laughs, yelps, and glugs over the microphone.
Thank you, guys!
Never a dull moment on the circus!

Our friend, Kyle Clay, a local firefighter/clown, and his wife, Anna, came to see the second show. They brought a couple of mullet wigs attached to headbands for me and Ryan, some clown coloring books that Kyle drew (and Nico loved), and boxes of gourmet cookies from a local bakery.
Thank you, Clays!

Kyle and Anna got to see us in front of a fantastic audience, which Ryan and I definitely needed. Nothing puts a spring in your step like a great crowd.

Ryan and I wore our mullet wigs for finale, which gave Kyle, Anna, and the cast a good laugh. A kid in the audience even yelled out, "Nice hair", as I skipped by.

It was sprinkling rain during the second half, but it wasn't bad enough to warrant me taking my umbrella to the tent.
Naturally, when I came out from finale the rain was coming down much harder. D'oh!

After the shows Kyle and Anna took me out to dinner where we had time to catch up. I'm glad they didn't visit in Royse City, because with our night jump out of there, we wouldn't have had time to visit.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tonight On It's The Mind

Monday, April 1: Royse City, TX-4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Miles: 50
Lot: Red Line Raceway

Becky texted me this afternoon and let me know that we were moving to the next town tonight after the shows.
Armed with that knowledge, I took a little nap so I would be well rested.

Because we were on cement today, I was very careful during the gags. Grey water left some puddles in the tent, and I was slipping and sliding a bit on the ring mat.
I told Jonathan, who helps us in the carpenter gag, to really watch his footing.

Manny Casalino, a former Cole Bros. clown, came to see the second show. It was nice to see him at Intermission; thanks for visiting with us!


Even though it was April Fool's Day, I had grown complacent and secure in the knowledge that Ryan would not play any jokes on me.
After all, when you are a two person Clown Alley, it is pretty easy to figure out who the joker is. And payback is not pretty!

However, Pete and Ryan got me good in the second mouth gag. Right at the beginning of the act, I always jump forward and roar at the first row.
Tonight I did my usual moves, but instead of a funny roar sound effect, there was a long, loud burp.

I started cracking up, and backstage I congratulated the Combs brothers on making a fool out of me.

After the shows we had our 71 mile night jump to Krum. Danny pointed out a clear exit path to me, so I was able to leave the lot in Royse City fairly quickly.

Christian and I were laughing on the drive, because we went back the way we came this morning, step by step. We even went past Frisco to get to Krum.
On Wednesday we will take the same route back again to go to Farmersville.


Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 31: Frisco, TX-Day Off

It poured again this morning. In addition the wind was making my trailer rock. I couldn't get back to sleep once the storm woke me up, so I got out of bed a little earlier than I had planned.

Even though we moved to the parking lot last night, we still had power and water today. Huzzah! And everybody had a clear path to get in and out with their vehicles as they pleased. Double Huzzah! And after the deluge early in the morning, it was beautiful day. Three Times The Huzzah!

I went over to Ryan's house in the morning to see his mom (who flew in for the day), and to give Nico his Easter present.
Nico was already halfway through a giant chocolate egg, so I was happy that I didn't get him candy. He was very excited about the Angry Birds play set that I bought for him.
Nico and the Combses also gave me my Easter gift, Cadbury eggs!
They know me well....

Mr. North treated everybody on the show to easter lunch at the Great Wall China Buffet. After everyone had their fill we had the 4th Annual Kelly Miller Circus Easter Bonnet competition.
I didn't have anything prepared, but I was struck by inspiration while in the shower.

I took a roll of electrical tape with me to the restaurant, and in true Macgyver fashion, I created a cunning rabbit disguise out of things I found around the buffet: chopsticks, straws, paper, and a napkin.



Can you believe I won first place for Funniest Bonnet? It just goes to show you that if you want to succeed, all you have to do is be lazy and throw something together at the last minute. God Bless America!

I don't remember every winner (I was busy hopping around the restaurant and shaking my cotton tail at people), but here's what I recall.

Winners of Most Beautiful Bonnet:
3rd Place- Katherine Ringling North Carroll
2nd Place- Carolyn Rice
1st Place- Shirley North (who after winning, declared that nobody would lose their job)

Winners of Funniest Bonnet:
3rd- Luciano Loyal
2nd- Becky Ostroff
1st- Yours Truly (I won a swank camping chair)

Winners of Most Creative Bonnet:
3rd- Doricela Rosales
2nd- Nico Combs
1st- I Don't Remember! (I was still incredulous that I had won)

The winner of the Best Bonnet was Argio Loyal, who had this big, honkin' bonnet on his head:


He won an awesome Kelly Miller Circus clock!
Here are the other photos I got; sorry there aren't many....


 Jacob Kessler and his BMX Bunny 
Luis Olivares' Neck Breaker


Later in the evening I was invited to go out with Ryan's family to a Brazilian steakhouse. We met Ryan's uncle, aunt, and nephew, and we all ate delicious cuts of meat until we thought we would pop.
Ryan's mom was nice enough to pay for my dinner.
Thank you for the tastiest meal I've had in quite awhile!