There's only one home school on Chynna's list of possibilities--home being the state--and I thought it was a good and intelligent choice. University of Central Florida. Now, I'm almost sure she will wind up in California. Selfishly, I don't want this to happen. It's far, far away. It's a different time zone. Nothing against California, or Californians--some of my favorite people are out in that far, far away state. But there are good things for theater-type folks in Florida, too. It's a joke that people wind up working for Disney. I have had my problems with Disney--as have all Floridians--but it's not such a bad place to work--look at the Disney kids out there who have made it. Notice people paying thousands for a ticket to see Hannah Montana. So, she had Billy Ray Cyrus for a dad. Not only is Disney in the center of the state, so is Universal. And Busch Gardens, and a trillion other venues for talented young people.
So, one audition in the state, Saturday afternoon. Turns out, it's President's Day weekend as well, but there will be no fun out of town trip for whomever in the family wants to go. We have planned a major family dinner. My mother-in-law is now 86, and loves to cook, but it must be done her way, and you must eat it the second it comes off the stove. My aunt and uncle in law--the loveliest people in the world, our "muppet" relatives as I think of them, in the best way--are down. So dinner can be made for fifteen people. The time has been set.
I would not dream of changing the day of her dinner. I would rather face a firing squad.
So this means up on Saturday morning, spend a night, head back down to Nana's house for 2:00.
Honest, when we were all around the table, I couldn't help but think Sopranos!
But first there was the quest to reach the table.
We have a rental car for various reasons at the moment. I actually need to get a new tire, so I opt for the rental car. I made sure to check all the payment refill information on my Sun-pass, but then forget to transfer my sunpass from my car to the rental.
Tolls. Florida now seems to have tolls every five miles. Okay, that's an exaggeration--until you get into the middle of the state. I'm glad I allowed a little extra time. I didn't know the roads heading that way--my school was USF, the other way, toward Tampa. But the directions were pretty good, until you actually got to the school, which is mammoth. But there was another page just for musical theater students--lesson in reading everything first! So, we made it, and in plenty of time.
I admit to being a little startled by a somewhat "we ARE theater" attitude they seemed to have. There is probably not a place more renowned than Juilliard, and they were the friendliest, nicest people in the world, to parents, and to kids. They encouraged the kids to come back for all three opportunities they would be given. They told them if they were serious, it was really a small world, wherever they wound up, they would be a community. Good speech, I loved it. They weren't mean at UCF, they just weren't as open and . . . cool!
The kids were more nervous. They kid of sat apart. At the other auditions I've been to, they all talked, helped one another, and seemed aware that it WAS an audition, but at a certain comfort level with themselves.
I love my state. Passionately. But I did want them to just chill.
First up, dance. Chynna doing a ballroom dance is a vision of beauty. Really. Not just because I'm her mom. Long ago, we made a deal. I always give her my opinion. Opinion. Important word. Any art is suggestive. What I love, you may hate. And your opinion is as valid as mine. But I have sworn to be honest at all times. So, ballroom ,she is great. Dance in general, her weakness--at least, against some of the whizzez at New World. She can sing with amazing ability, and she can act. Dance is her Achilles heel.
But she had a good time, and she felt she did well. They used great music. She told me she was right in the middle--some kids had been amazing, some had been weaker than she felt she was herself. But what was nice--she enjoyed it. She'd been so afraid of it, and she wound up having a great time.
The kids changed. "Spritzed the pits!" As one of the teachers said.
And then, the audition was over. So, here we were, our big mother-daugher totally alone evening. We headed to the Dolphin at Disney where we had chosen to stay because she once thought we had owned part of it, we went so often. We thought we'd hop over to Epcot and go somewhere that we never went when the whole family was there. Great Britain for dinner--my choice, and she seemed to like it. Fun waiter, and a nice dinner, pot roast and chicken, explored a few appetizers. She wanted to go and see where we'd once had a doll made for her in Germany. It's expensive. A hundred something, and we'd saved up at the time and it was a big deal. So, we had walked to Epcot, then we walked all around Epcot, and went back. We love the folks at the karaoke at the Swan, and we thought we'd pop in for an hour or so.
But we didn't make it. On the walk back, I suddenly realized I'd been up since 6, driven hundreds of miles, walked several miles, and was tired. Before I could say it, Chynna told me, "I suddenly feel . . . exhausted!"
Our big night out. We went to bed at about 9 or 9:30. I didn't even make it for the movie we rented on TV. I fell asleep soon after the credits.
The hotel was crowded. It looked as if was Easter or Thanksgiving, even Christmas, it was so crowded. We decided to hop over to Downtown Disney for breakfast. That all went well. Easy to park, easy to go through the line, and get salads for breakfast and some granola parfait things which seemed like a good choice since we were doing the massive 1000 calorie Italian thing for lunch/dinner.
There's where I messed up. Wasn't sure how to get to Osceola Parkway from downtown, so I decided to take I-4. Okay, East just seemed wrong. I think it was because of the westward trail I'd taken back from UCF. If you get on a road going the wrong way at Disney, you are in trouble. You don't just turn around. You go for miles and miles.
The good thing about Chynna then was that she refrained from saying "I told you so," more than once.
Finally, we wind up back on Osceola Parkway. The turnpike is crowded. Okay, it is winter in Florida. But there was a line for coffee, a line for gas, and a line for the ladies' room.
Still, we were only about 45 minutes late.
And then, the Italian lunch/dinner with the crows of thousands was wonderful, and Graham crawled on the floor, and it was just like . . . .
A poor man's version of the Sopranos! Pasta, pasta, homemade, and absolutely delicious.