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Wait...it's the week before Christmas?!

This week was both good and bad.

There was so much to learn for my new job. So much. And a lot of it math. Those who know me well know that math is my nemesis. I'm just not good at it. Completing simple problems requires weird visualizations and massive amounts of time. I'm working for a financial aid department. I need to be able to do math.

I can do it. There's no question. But when I have to take extra time, or when I struggle to find an answer after being prompted, I panic. My brain freezes and I shut down. Looking back on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I actually got most of my math problems correct. As long as I have a visualization that works for me and enough time to turn it around in my head, I can do it. But the few that I've gotten wrong haunt me, and the majority that I've gotten right "don't count" in my mind because it took me too long or I didn't do it "the right way".

It would be nice if this job would help me to get over my math hang-ups. Alessandra (my teacher) has been very patient and supportive. I have a 99% in the training class.

Wednesday was a little rough. Actually that's not fair, it was mostly a good day. But when I got home, there was a letter for me from the local PA tax office stating that I owed them almost a thousand dollars. This is not the first such letter I've gotten...ever since signing up with Growth Group, my taxes have been a disaster. It is true that my taxes are ridiculous to begin with, as being on tour means taxes in multiple states and anywhere from 14-18 W2s every tax year. However, if Growth Group did not feel up to working with such complicated taxes, they definitely should have declined to take me on. This letter was the last straw. It wasn't the first letter and it isn't the first time I've had to make a stink about this to my preparer. So...I guess if anyone has experience with tax law...call me, because we're about to do business.

Anyway. So much negativity, omg. How about something positive! Also on Wednesday, I received what's called a "token". It's a mini-beeper-looking device with a power button.

When you turn it on, it spits out a code number. That's it. You use it to access federal financial aid websites...it's pretty much two-factor authentication using a secure device just for that purpose (as opposed to, say, a phone). It will allow me to access sensitive financial aid information. I won't lose it.

And when I got home that night after a long day of the maths and a horrible tax letter, there was Jameson, cooking dinner for us. Seriously, if he weren't in my life I don't know what I'd do. There's nothing like knowing that despite all the idiocy in yourself and in your life, there is a person who actually still cares, and wants you to be happy, and will invest time and care into your well-being. Here is the delicious salmon veggie rice that Jameson cooked for us.

Thursday and Friday, nothing exciting. I spent a lot of time prepping for my "final exam" in financial aid math, and also had a rehearsal with Orlando Concert Band on Thursday night, where I was elected Operation Coordinator. This position will involve cramming this large wind ensemble onto tiny stages. I've never done something like this before, but will try my best.

Leaving Valencia College (where rehearsals are held), I noticed this huge tree all lit up in purple, and decided to pay a visit. Pretty cool.

Friday, I had my final. I got one question wrong, but that's ok. Overall I think I had a 98% in the training class. Yay! Afterward I got to meet with some of the people I'll be working with. Everyone seems really nice. There were a lot of questions about the circus of course, and I showed them pictures of the animals I'd gotten to work with. One of my coworkers is a former vet tech, awesome! Job shadowing my coworkers gave me a good idea of what to expect in this setting. Although the financial aid materials are a bit complex, it looks like we're allowed to work at our own pace, and there are plenty of people willing to help the n00bs.

On Saturday, Jameson left early for a gig out in the panhandle. It's a long drive for him and a lot of work, but he will hopefully be paid well for his trouble. I am still jealous, because I want gigs too. But I'm happy that Jameson still gets to be an active musician, and I think his main band (American Martian) is incredible. While he was away, I cleaned the house, cooked a bit, got groceries, ran errands. I took a little time to myself to watch Game of Thrones. That evening, I went to see a local performance of The Nutcracker with one of my coworkers who ended up with an extra ticket. The local ballet put on an incredible performance, and I got to know one of my coworkers a little better :)

On Sunday Jameson had a very long drive and very little sleep. When he got home he went straight to the bedroom and took a nap. I stayed in the living room and worked on fixing my phone's contact list (it got all screwed up somewhere along the way so I'm painstakingly repopulating it). Around 4pm we pulled ourselves together and drove out to Universal Orlando for the Full Sail/LA Film School Christmas party!

Full Sail reserved the main park just for us! We checked in and got some snazzy light-up wristbands.

Then we got to enjoy some awesome street food: tacos, kabobs, mashed potatoes in cups, mac and cheese. We each got two drink tickets as well. While eating we strolled around and enjoyed the sights of CityWalk. We ran into a bunch of Jameson's coworkers and friends, it was cool meeting them! And then we got to explore the park!

It was pretty dark and crowded with people, so I didn't take all that many pictures. We went to the Monster Makeup Show, where we learned a bit about what it takes to transform someone into a whole 'nother creature, both back in the day and in modern cinema. The show was really funny, and I think some small children sitting in the front row were traumatized by the werewolf thing at the end :P

Next we went to The Simpsons part of the park. That was really cool! We went on the Simpsons ride...and that started out really awesome...but man, I am the biggest baby when it comes to motion sickness. And within the first few minutes I got that cold sweat that happens when my inner ear and my brain do not agree. So unfortunately, I had to shut my eyes for much of the ride. I was really bummed. Can we not come up with a way to overcome motion sickness here in 2017/2018???

After that we made our way to Harry Potter world. Wow. It was stunning! Again, no pictures, but I was gaping at how gorgeously it was designed. The line for butterbeer was insane so we had to skip that, but there were dessert carts set up for us and we enjoyed some delicious treats while walking around and looking at everything. It's an amazing part of the park, and we both agreed we'd like to come back another day when Jameson was less tired.

Jameson was starting to fall asleep on his feet at that point, so we made our way back to the exit. On the way we stopped in the Minions store...

We had a lot of fun. It was very cool of Full Sail to reserve the park for us! Having only partially completed training, I felt especially blessed to be there. Thank you Full Sail for an awesome party!

Tomorrow we both have work, so we're going to bed early.

Before ending this post, I wanted to share with you an update from Brian Collins, who is working on the renovation of RBBX Car 38, formerly "the band car", formerly my home. It has been transformed. I can't wait to go visit it!

The update from Brian:

"This is standing in room seven [formerly my room y'all] looking toward the vestibule. The stage is to be covered with carpeting and laminate on the front with small L.E.D. lights. The back wall of the stage will have a large vinyl logo of the Queen City Sisters along with speakers and a rear curtain. On the other side of the bathrooms where bedrooms 4,5,6 and 7 were will be a long bar with seating as you come in the door. The windows have all been framed but have yet to be cut out and the new green tint glass installed."

...doesn't look like a circus car any more, does it?