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Atlanta, GA

The train stayed put this week...great for me, as I neither have to drive for hours or spend money on a hotel :)
Having my car with me has been wonderful, don't get me wrong. Driving is one of my favorite things to do, and hotels are a special treat. But a break from traveling is very nice too!

On Monday we learned that another winter storm would be hitting Atlanta. By late afternoon schools in the area had already been cancelled. The circus rumors were flying...would we have shows on Wednesday??

I spent the day doing domestic boring stuff like laundry, replacing my air filter, paying bills, etc.
Around dinner time Jameson, Tom and I went to see the Lego movie. It. Was. AWESOME. Go see it!!!
Afterward Tom and I went to Whole Foods, just for kicks. I had already stocked up on groceries, but picked up some extras like dried mango slices and a loaf of preservative-free wheat bread. It's the little things.

On Tuesday it was rainy but not too cold. I walked the 2 miles to Kroger, just because I wanted to and because if the weather got crummy later I wouldn't be able to get out much. Of course the grocery was a madhouse. It always boggles me that people stock up on refrigerated items, like milk and eggs. Logically, wouldn't it be best to grab the canned goods and granola bars in case of a power outage?

Speaking of logic, when I finally got back to the train I discovered that my room was locked. Train crew had done a safety inspection while I was gone and had politely locked the door behind them...and I hadn't brought my key. This is why you ALWAYS take your keys with you!!! Luckily Erik (head porter) was around and able to unlock it for me. Thanks Erik :)

Right inside the door was a new bungee cord to add to my collection. Really guys, I have so many, I don't need any more.........

That evening around midnight, you could hear the freezing rain begin to pelt the train. The next morning around 8am, an announcement was made over the PA system: our show was cancelled due to weather.
This is the first time since I've been here, and according to my boss the first time in twenty years that this has happened.

I thought I'd start the day off by clearing some of the ice from my car while it was still fairly slushy.
About five minutes in, my ice scraper broke. *sigh*
Ice is not nearly as much fun as snow!!

Sleet continued to come down all day. There was at least an inch of ice on the ground by 5pm, and according to local news sources some 200,000 people in Georgia found themselves without power. Still, I couldn't help but feel surprised when another announcement was made that Thursday's show had been cancelled as well. Two shows in a row...unheard of!!!

Both Blue and Gold units had snow days as well!! The mass cancellation prompted some RBBBC alumnus to regale us with Tales of Cancellations Past. From Theresa, a former dancer:
"It has been a long time since weather has been able to bring the Greatest Show on Earth to a stand still. This is a picture of the train in 1993 when the red unit got snowed in in East Rutherford New Jersey and the three show day Saturday was canceled."

The best story that I heard came from Greg DeSanto:
"There was once a snow storm so bad in Norfolk,VA on a three show Saturday, the state closed all the roads during the first show...leaving the audience stuck in the building all day. We had the same audience for all three shows. A mother to be gave birth in the building during that day and for years afterward she and that kid were always guest ringmasters on opening nights. Another time in Rochester, NY, we did a show during a snowstorm with like 29 people in the arena." Wow...!

Someone even bothered to write an article about how the traveling shows in/around Atlanta spent their down time. CLICK HERE to read. Overall it was really nice to have the extra free time.

But the days off came at a price. An extra show was added to Monday, so now we've got a 9-pack! That's three shows on Saturday, Sunday AND Monday, and don't forget two shows on Friday. That is a lot of shows in a short time! Needless to say, I've got nothing else to write about :P The crowds were great all weekend, lots of kids, lots of enthusiasm. We were dead tired by Monday, but it was nice to have big audiences to perform for!

Next up is Raleigh, where I will get to see lots of friends :)

Other stuff:

Ryan took this photo in Charlotte, of Mabel's trunk poking out curiously from behind a box:

Our Blue Unit ringmaster Johnathan recently reposted THIS well-written article, along with his own wonderful statement:
"Few know the utter strain of working under a cloud of fear that what it is you do will be misconstrued and exploited by pariahs, in this instance well funded pariahs whose sole purpose is to exploit the naive compassion of the public for monetary gain. Tax free I might add. Thus, my absolute respect for the men and women I've worked alongside these near 16 years who have committed themselves to the authentic care, study and welfare of animals. People whose vacations are spent in stables and barns, etc., people who despite Mother Nature's whims put their own health and well being at risk for the sake of their animals, men and women who lose years with their families, who are not getting rich, unlike their vitriolic accusers. They're just dedicated to something they deem much greater then themselves. Something they simply love. Imagine that!"

Happy Valentine's Day from the three Ringling Ringmasters!