Friday evening, Monte and a van full of teenagers trapsed into the house to pick up Matt for a weekend youth retreat. I was in between the Salchak lessons and Sue Branson, and I forgot to hand over Matt’s registration form. After a round of hugs and filling the van back up with the teenagers, they headed southeast towards the Roberts Center near Wilmington, Ohio.

At 6:30 PM I received a call from Monte – “Do you have Matt’s registration form?” Yes, it was still on my desk. We went through the options and finally, I felt, since it was my error, that I should drive it there rather than Monte doing all the leg work on his end. Before taking off, I repaired a nick in the radiator hose, swung through Wendy’s to feed the youngster, and we were soon on our way towards Wilmington. On I-71 I realized something was wrong, and then the Hot Engine light came on. I pulled over to the side and opened the hood. The hose had slid off. That fixed, we sat a few minutes waiting for the car to cool down. We started back up and within a few miles the needle began moving back to the right. Grrr…. The Hot Engine light came on, again. I realized that the fluids had all run out. So, I added more (which I always carry in the trunk during the winter) and added several bottles of water to the radiator. After turning over the paper – finally – Jose and I made sure there was more water in the radiator. It worked. At 10:00 PM we were heading 48 miles back to Dayton. Now, how butch is that?

On the way home, Jose slept and I chatted with Jeff Carter who was in an Indianapolis hotel the night before an ISSMA vocal competition he was judging. We seemed to focus on the theme of “reinventing” ourselves – career, family, etc. Jeff is assuming a new position at Ball State, and will still – THANK HEAVENS – be directing the Ball State Singers. He has been to China twice this past year, brought the Singers up to a level, musically, they have never been, and adopted a new son. I now have two sons, am in the process of getting one or two more, and am beginning an entirely new life in the arts/education with the Muse Machine. I feel like several new chapters are opening, or have already opened, and it will be interesting to see where this all shall lead.

Saturday morning we woke early to work with the ladies from ACTION Adoption at the Miami Valley Adoption Fair held each winter at Fairhaven Church. It is always a big turn out, and well worth it as the agency always tends to get several new families through this fair. Several other families showed up and I got to spend some time with them in between talking with those who were investigating adoption. Jose was great with the children who came with other ACTION families – what a cheerful little babysitter.

At 3:00 PM we swung by Chris & Monte’s to retrieve Adam for the night. Chris was excited that her sister, Brenda, was coming from Columbus to spend the night since all her menfolk were away. Chris and I were chatting and she asked how I met my friend, Rick, and when I said, “At drum-major camp…” she saluted me as only a fellow field-commander could, and whisked me away to the guest bedroom where she kept photo albums. We checked out drum-major and band photos, and then she showed me photos of their wedding and the boys. She kept apologizing, but I do love looking at photographs! I think my home and blog site are proof enough.

The boys and I went to see Cheaper By The Dozen 2, and it was so well done! Steve Martin is the ultimate screen dad. I use to think that title belonged to Fred MacMurray, but Steve Martin is one of a kind. It was a delightful movie – hilarious in place – but it was also a very tender production for parents. At the end, when Steve Martin cried, I cried. I urge everyone to go see this movie, and then buy it when it comes out on DVD.

We hit the mall so Jose could get a memory card for their Play Station 2. I purchased a travel camera kit – which I later discovered does not work with my camera – though I was assured by the young sales associate it would! We left the hustle and bustle of the mall and ate at Olive Garden – a slow evening on their end. Fortunately, Adam brought a little technical contraption, much like a Game Boy, which played movies – at least the boys were entertained.

En route home, we began playing the alphabet game that does not seem to get old with my sons. Since each of us were only around the letter “I” I drove down to an area near Dorothy Lane and Wilmington Pike so we could get more letters. Determined to finish the game, we ended up several miles south in the Centerville-Bellbrook area near Wal-mart. I accomplished the letter “Q” as I drove through the McDonald’s drive-thru – “Quart Pounder.” Of course, to a 12 and 14 year old, that is just not fair. Well I showed them what “that is not fair” is. I drove to the Game Stop store to get my letter “X” on XBox! Haha! Take that, you prepubescents!

At home the boys immediately headed downstairs to the play station arena, while I tidied up the study and went to bed at 11:30 PM.

The next morning, we arrived at church while I was still chatting with Mother on the phone – a Sunday morning ritual while driving to church. Adam, who normally arrived with his mother, was not use to the Jolliffe-Haas arrival time – early. “I have never been to church this early in my life!” chuckled Adam. However, in my defense, it was only 8:57 AM and Sunday school begins at 9:15 AM. My grandfather was notorious for always arriving early – everywhere. So often we got to head on other excursions due to the fact we were ahead of schedule. Well, life is no different with his eldest grandson who follows the philosophy, “To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late.” I can remember how often we entered church on Sundays to turn on the lights, or on Saturday morning men’s breakfasts we would be there freezing until the fellowship hall and kitchen warmed up. Ugh!

Sisters, Brenda & Chris

Sunday school, as always, was fun. Brenda came with Chris and the class seemed to carry on as usual – tons of laughter and great conversation.

Since Monte was with the youth, Kristen Zimmann, a parishioner, gave a wonderful message about “influence” and the entire service flowed just as smoothly as though Monte was there. For some ministers, this would be uncomfortable, but I firmly believe that it is a sign of great leadership when the church can function normally when the minister is away. Kudos!

I did something I have never done before – I slipped out of church early. I learned that the youth would be returning to Monte and Chris’ home around noon, and Jose had made a special request to eat at Golden Corral (ugh). So we hurried to a Golden Corral near by and enjoyed the “culture” surrounding us at near by tables while chuckling at the bitchiness of our waitress. We retrieved Matthew and headed home. I slept for two hours and woke at 4:00 PM to run some errands, rake the back yard, sweep the first floor, dust, fold my laundry, cut Matthew’s hair and complete some Emails – all before 6:30 PM. Zinnnnngggggg!

Now, it is 11:25 PM and I am feeling tired… Sleep for six hours and then up for another day at the Muse and teaching – and it all starts over!