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After a good night's sleep at my parent's house, I woke up and had breakfast with my Mom on Monday morning. I was able to book a detailing service to clean my car (let's be real, a college-age man has had it for several years and it needs a good cleaning!). The next door neighbor was kind enough to take me to drop the car off. After that some of Mom's friends came over to play cards. We had a good time (though my team lost!) and enjoyed a nice lunch together. One of the ladies took me to pick my car up. I got it right at closing time, and unfortunately didn't notice that there was now a giant brown stain on the backseat that hadn't been there when I dropped it off :( I was disappointed, but the company was very responsive and offered to fix it for me the next day.

The rest of the day was great, I went to Bible study with my parents and we had dinner together at the Turkey Hill Brewery. I received the leasing paperwork and official application acceptance from the apartment in Kansas City, so now I have a place to live. Yay!

On Tuesday I got up early for a meeting with my bank, then returned to the detailing place to see if they'd be able to remove the stain from my backseat. They were able to improve it a great deal, and I was happy with that. Then we met my sister Kate for brunch and had a good time socializing and catching up with each other. We went to see Beauty and the Beast, and all agreed that it was quite good. Animation has gotten SO amazing!!! And the plot was deeper and more "adult" than the cartoon version. There were even elements from the original French fairy tale, which hadn't been present in Disney's original version. We really enjoyed it. After that we ran a few errands, and I set up my utilities for the new apartment. When my Dad got home we went to dinner at a nice Italian place in a neighboring town with Kate and her husband Pat. We had a great time and enjoyed each others' company.

On Wednesday my Aunt Nicole invited my Mom, Kate and I to brunch! I was glad to see her as we don't get to visit often. She gave me a present: a HQ image of my newspaper article in the Press Enterprise! She even offered to have it framed, but I've declined for now. After our meal I said goodbye to Kate and my aunt, promising to see them again "soon"...whatever that will mean! Hopefully at least over the holidays!!

Back home I made sure the car was packed, then hugged my Mom goodbye. Dad was at work so I'd said goodbye to him the night before. I felt bad for having so little time to spend with my family, and for leaving somewhat earlier than totally necessary. But there is just so much to do. Anyway, I'm grateful that I got a chance to see much of my immediate family before moving to Kansas City.

It took longer than expected to reach the train thanks to bad timing (I hit rush hour traffic in CT), but I made it there all the same. There is a Walmart nearby and I stopped there first to grab dinner and some groceries.

The next morning I woke early to take my car to a Toyota dealership. It was due for many recalls, and on top of that when I got it back from my brother I had immediately noticed a knocking sound coming from one of the wheel wells. It turned out to be the right front axle :( An expensive repair, but this is the first major repair I've had to do on my car after putting over 100,000 miles on it, so I won't complain! While waiting for the repairs I hung out in the dealership waiting room, walked to a grocery and a thrift store, and chatted with Jameson. Repairs were finished late afternoon, at which point I had a quick interview with a BBC reporter. Then I was supposed to go over my complicated taxes with my preparer, but didn't make it back to the train in time, so will have to reschedule that. Grand. I spent the rest of the evening doing laundry and enjoying some down time.


Friday was opening day. We had a very short rehearsal, giving me time to try and find the personal parking lot. In each city, we not only have to plan for where the train coaches and flatcars will be stored...we also need to take into account the RVs owned by various employees, the wagons that are removed from the flatcars and brought near the arena to unload, and the personal cars that people will drive back and forth to work every day. This week we were told that personal parking would be "near Main Street. You'll see some of our wagons in a tunnel. You can park in there." Using just that info, I found Main Street and walked in a direction that seemed to be away from the highway. Sure enough, I was able to see some of our wagons from several blocks away. As I got closer I was able to see that they really were parked in a sort of tunnel.



I'll try parking here on Saturday. Circus life.
Our opening day went well, and the arena was packed.

Saturday, three shows. I'll apologize now for the lack of photos and the lack of insight into the circus overall this week. Maybe it's because we opened on a Friday, I just didn't gather as much intel as usual. Unfortunately many of us arrived at the arena that morning to find that our things had been stolen from backstage. Nothing like some random theft to kick one's day off. My costume vest also never made it back from the dry cleaners, so I ironically ended up having to wear Jameson's! It was too big, but Rebecca (wardrobe) hemmed it to be more comfortable. I'm actually enjoying the loose fit; my own vest is nice, but sometimes I feel like a sausage wearing it.

Anyway, all three shows went well and were well attended, especially considering that it's Easter weekend. For the first two shows I had some friends visiting and got to say hello to them after each show. The band also took a group photo with the Mongolian troupe, which I'll share if they ever post it. I'm gonna miss those guys.

After the last show I decided to take some of my trombones to the car as they're being serviced next week.

On Sunday we had shows at 3 and 7 due to the Easter holiday. I used the morning to pack some things for a hotel and clean up my room for the train run, and also to reflect. Easter is a holiday that reminds me of my deceased mom, for whatever reason. Since joining the circus, I've found that I enjoy spending that holiday alone, preferably in nature. It seems to me like the birds sing more loudly, or more joyfully, on Easter.

Meanwhile at the arena, the circus kids were enjoying an Easter egg hunt! I don't have pics of the actual event, but it looks like there was a photo op with some camels and the "Easter bunny" (the fabulous Miss Claudia!).
Teachers, animal handlers, camels, and the Easter bunny:


(photo courtesy Cindy PT)

Claudia and Cody:

(photo courtesy Claudia)

Production/Show staff and Ringmaster Kristen Michelle Wilson (Pete the camel really seems to dig Kristen haha):


The camels really have a thing for her lol!


(photos courtesy Kristen MW)

After the egg hunt there was an Easter Mass. This is the last time that Easter will be celebrated at the Greatest Show on Earth. Many people of various backgrounds, ethnicities, and cultures were in attendance. And you didn't have to be particularly Christian to attend. I am proud to work with such a diverse yet unified group of people.
(photo courtesy Kristen MW)

I had planned to get to the area a little early and buy the band some donuts for the holiday, but my plans were thwarted by a pre-train run gas delivery to the generator car (there was only one way out of the yard and the truck blocked it for quite a while). I arrived at the arena kind of flustered and annoyed over this, but was quickly cheered by several coworkers, who wished me "Happy Easter!" as I was setting up my stuff on the bandstand, and walking down the hall, and walking on the concourse to reach the dressing room. Even people who I know for a fact do not typically celebrate Easter were making a special effort to show that they acknowledged the holiday. It was a really cool reminder of how awesome circus family can be.

Before the first show of the day, I had a few guests: Lisa, who had been my Toyota associate earlier in the week, and her boyfriend! We'd hit it off pretty well at the dealership, and I'd ended up offering her a backstage tour. They came early to see the animals in the Animal Open House, then I brought them backstage. The backstage in this arena is a little tight so there wasn't much to show, but I tried to make up for that by describing what our days are like, and by giving a little of the history of the circus. They seemed to have a great time, and as Lisa shows dogs and also owns horses, she especially enjoyed seeing all of the animals up close. Thank you both for coming to the show!

The second show went fairly normally, though it was underattended due to the holiday. During the second act the dancers came out wearing bunny ears! I think they're not supposed to do stuff like that, but it was adorable and the crowd loved it! You go girls!

After the show we packed up and left. Tomorrow I take my trombones to be serviced, and the day after that I'm having a detailing place try to remove the stains from my upholstry. And the two days after that I will spend sorting through all of my belongings, and packing them.

Three weeks left.


Other stuff:

Some photos from the Wilkes-Barre load out and the train run from PA to MA.



(photos courtesy Joe D.)



(photos courtesy Nikki R.)

During one of the Saturday shows, I happened to glance over at the Circus Celebrity guests sitting on the ring curb under the High Wire. On the end nearest me was an adorable little girl clutching a large plush Ringling elephant and staring in amazement at Mustafa & co forty feet in the air. Her father (I assume) was equally entranced, pointing upward as they prepared to do a trick, and putting his hand to his mouth in awe and probably fear as Mustafa did some of the crazy stuff he does. But what got me the most was the little girl, who was loving every minute, holding that stuffed elephant like it was her best friend and she'd never let it go. It was beautiful to watch these two people having such an incredible experience. Although generations after this one will not get to see a Ringling show, I'm glad that some people did. I hope they'll remember this moment later on.


A note to all of the train fans out there:
We have had several incidents lately of non-circus people entering train yards, climbing onto our train, or taking photos through the windows. This is incredibly rude, extremely dangerous on a variety of levels, and definitely illegal. You would not break into someone's house and start taking pictures of them and their things, right? So don't do that to us. If you or any train fans you know are planning to "chase" the train while it's moving or visit the train when it's stationary, please...exercise some manners and some self-control. Don't be foamers. Keep a respectful distance when taking photos. Don't ruin the last few weeks of the circus train's existance for everyone. Thank you.
Please share this, pass it on, spread the word. It's becoming a real issue and needs to be stopped.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Apr. 17th, 2017 12:51 pm (UTC)
People around the train
My husband and I always had an RV parked at or near the building. It was a sore spot to us that people would walk right up to us, cup their hands around their eyes to see better and look in the windows.
I always wanted to nicely ask them where they lived. Never got that brave. My husband did once though and the people said "on the corner of such and such" He said thank you and that he'd be by their house to look into their kitchen and living room windows. They got sooooo red and embarrassed and quickly went on their way.
Sometimes I think these folks feel entitled and sometimes I think they're flat out clueless
taz_39
Apr. 17th, 2017 03:36 pm (UTC)
Re: People around the train
So you understand haha.

It's always happened in the five years that I've been here, but now that the circus is closing people are getting kind of out of hand. Even when the train is parked in the yard it's not safe to approach, there are still live tracks with active trains and all kinds of equipment vehicles moving around. And when we're on train runs (our train is moving) it's even more dangerous. No photo is worth your life.

I don't think it's entitlement, I really think people don't consider the circus train or circus RVs to be places where people LIVE. In their minds it's not a "house". It's like a public display object or something. In "normal" circus life, encountering that mindset has been annoying, but in the past it's only been a few people that you could just gently ask to take a few steps back or whatever. But now there are instances of people taking pics through windows, climbing onto the vestibules, or standing on the tracks. It's not safe. And it's going to really irritate the people living here, and it's going to get someone hurt.

Since a lot of folks read my blog I'm hoping to at least deter a few extra people from doing something they'll regret. It's ok to take pictures from a distance, or from public roads. But if you wouldn't enter a train yard normally, don't do it now! If you wouldn't climb onto any other freight train, don't climb onto this one either! Same rules apply!
(Anonymous)
Apr. 29th, 2017 10:05 pm (UTC)
Megan,

Just wanted to let you know I shelled out the $$$ and got the time off work to see the next to last show of the RED UNIT. I will yell out for you. A long haul from Los Angeles---- but wanted to RBBB one last time.

ALEX SMITH

The Circus Report

Alex28smith@yahoo.com
taz_39
Apr. 30th, 2017 01:50 am (UTC)
My goodness, you are crazy.

I'll send you an email...let me know what show you're coming to, perhaps we can meet for a quick hello.

Safe travels!!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )