Archive for April 2012

An Amazing Discovery

April 18, 2012

In 1985, I can remember going outside to watch the first Space Shuttle, named Enterprise, fly over the DC area on the back of a 747  while on its way to being turned over to the Smithsonian.  Fast forward to yesterday, when another space Shuttle, the Discovery, was also flown around DC before delivery to the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum annex.

We’ve been hearing about this transfer for some time now.  TV and radio stations have been telling people about some of the best spots to catch a glimpse the Shuttle as it circled the city.  Not wanting to cram myself into any of these limited (and therefore crowded) spots, I figured I would stand on the roof of our church and hope for the best.

And the best is what I got.

Arriving at work, I went up a series of steps into a mechanical closet, climbed a ladder, then unlocked a small door that led to the roof.

It’s good to have a key to every door at the church.

From my vantage point, I figured I just might be able to catch a far away shot of the Discovery, so I brought my new, high-zoom camera. I kept listening to the radio, hoping to get a clue as to when it might fly near.  About 2 minutes after I got on the roof, I saw our Senior Pastor walking up to the building.  Since we were supposed to have our weekly meeting about the time the shuttle was going to fly by, I texted him, telling him I was going to be a little late, being on the roof and all.

He immediately texted back, asking for directions to the roof so he could join me.

As he was working his way through the building, I happened to glance up … and saw the 747/Shuttle combo flying slowly by our building.

If that’s all I saw, I would have been thrilled.  About that time, our Senior Pastor made it out on to the roof.  We could still see the Shuttle far, far away, and figured it was just going to circle the downtown area.  Then we noticed it was heading back out of town.

But then we noticed that it looked like it was turning…

And turning …

And coming … right … at … us …

Can you say A … MA … ZING !

Then it came around again.

And again …

Overall, we spent about 45 minutes watching it fly around the city.  Finally, we saw it head out to the horizon, on its way to the Smithsonian Air and Space annex to land.

Can’t wait to go to the museum to see it from even closer.

Too many balls in the air

April 16, 2012

So much for my “at least one blog post a week” goal.  But the past several weeks have been hectic at best.  If you remember from previous posts, this time of the year is when K acts as decorating lead for a local charity fundraising ball.  This also means that I am the decorating lead’s head lackey.

The whole process goes something like this:

T – 6 months: Nail down theme.

T – 5 months: Start to lazily design based on theme.

T – 4 months: What was that theme again?

T – 3 months: Oh yeah, I guess I’d better order some supplies

T – 2 months: Did I order supplies?  Oh yeah, I did.

T – 1 month: Did I order supplies?  Oooo, I’d better go pick them up.

T – 3 weeks: Whoa, we’ve got less than a month.  Better get things going.

T – 2 weeks: Whoa, we’ve got less than a month.  Better get things going.

T – 1 week: Spend all waking hours unboxing, unwrapping, building, buying ribbon, painting, buying more ribbon, chasing rat from the garage (true story), having even more ribbon FedEx’d in overnight, assembling, using original ribbon.

T – 1 day: Finally putting all those hours playing Tetris to good use during loading of trucks.

T – 20 hours: Spend 2 hours assembling half of displays onsite

T – 10 hours: Come back the next day and spend another 4 hours assembling the rest of the displays on site.

T – 4 hours: Try not to collapse since you know you will never wake up in time

T – 1 hour: Turn on all elements of displays, including 35 battery operated centerpiece lights, 12 ficus trees with light strings, 6 trellis up-lights, 3 lanterns, a recording of birds singing, and a 200 pound fountain complete with running water … inside the ballroom.

Event: Enjoy 3 hours of relaxation and great food.

T + 3 hours: Start removing all of the above.

T + 6 hours: Finish repacking trucks.

T + 6 hours, 1 minute: Collapse into a heap.

So, that being said, let’s do a quick visual review of the evening.

A was ready to help

Staging room Friday night

After putting together so many centerpieces, we had to prop up K's arms.

Nana brought the kids by on Saturday afternoon so they could see the fruits of our labor. Of course they were most impressed by the shower in our hotel room.

10-foot gated arch serving as the entrance to the ball.

Obligatory "photo spot" for guests. Of course, two women plopped themselves down on the bench as soon as the festivities began and never budged. Lesson learned.

This fake rock normally covers our well head at home.

Breaking up dead space with up-lit pyramid trellises

Topiary centerpieces, complete with battery lights, fake moss, real potting soil, and rocks from our house.

The working fountain in the ballroom.

Overall, another fun and successful evening.

And it's always fun to break out the good clothes. Especially when I can now fit into the same tux I wore in high school.