Thursday, September 22, 2011

And I Thought Things Were Crazy Before

It looks like I may be going into this year's FenCon almost as sleep-deprived as the first one I went to. That year, I'd been at the Serenity premiere in LA the night before the con, and by the time I got to bed Friday evening, the first night of the con, I'd been awake for 43 hours. This year, I've had sleep and I've actually been to bed, but I'm not sleeping well. I think it's just that I'm feeling entirely overwhelmed with lots of stuff, all at the same time, and I can't shut off the brain.

The preschool choir last night didn't help. My co-teacher, who does a lot of the planning and teaching while I mostly herd cats and lead the actual singing, was out. I had a parent of one of last year's kids helping so we'd have the required two adults in the room, but we're also supposed to have two teen helpers. One isn't coming until October because of a schedule conflict, and one just didn't show last night. I don't know how many kids I had last night because I never got a good chance to get a head count, but I think I was only missing two and I had a new one. It really does take four people to manage that bunch because you need one person to teach, one to herd cats/do crowd control, one to deal with the clingy ones and one to help set up, pass things out, take roll, etc. We had some extremely clingy ones last night who were crying and had to be held, so that left me trying to teach, set things up and try to keep some control over the group. By the end of the evening, it was the teacher who wanted to cry for mommy.

For even more fun, the CD player was being weird. We don't have an accompanist, so we use CDs with the musical accompaniment. The CD that was most crucial, the one with the song we're doing in church in a few weeks, wouldn't play. The player wouldn't even acknowledge that there was a CD in there. So I decided that would be a good time for us to really work on the words, with me singing a phrase and getting them to repeat it. That worked until one of the kids commented on the way I sing. I wasn't doing full-on "opera lady" type singing (though I did find that hitting a really high note really loud and full works as well as a whistle for getting attention, since I can't whistle), but I was singing with proper technique. I have to go from the preschoolers to a real choir rehearsal, so I can't afford to strain my voice by not using good technique, but that results in what the kids call "fancy singing." And once one kid noticed and commented on it, they all had to. And then they all tried to sing that way. And things kind of went downhill from there.

In a final act of desperation, I handed out the rhythm sticks, and that went okay for a while, until they started pounding them on the floor. And that's when I gave up trying to control anything. I figured I might as well let them get it out of their system, so we pounded sticks on the floor (with me occasionally trying to guide them into particular patterns or trying to achieve something resembling unison) until it was the kids complaining that it was too loud.

And just to round out the evening, when I was thinking I'd survived because it was the end of the session and parents were arriving, one of the kids threw up during the closing prayer.

But on the up side, one little girl ran to hug me when she arrived, several of the girls actually fought over who got to sit next to me, and the special needs girl who at first wouldn't come in the room was now coming eagerly and was one of the kids wanting to sit with me and tell me everything about her week. And then at dinner afterward one of the kids who used to refuse to participate came over to show me her dessert. So I may be going insane, but they seem to be enjoying it. Even so, I got home from choir practice and had a glass of wine while watching CSI (I'd thought about trying to get some work done, but that wasn't happening), and I still didn't manage to unwind enough to get any sleep.

Now all that's left on my plate is revising the end of the book, ironing clothes, getting my cable service fixed (I can't access OnDemand, which is how I'm watching most TV these days), doing any final PR push for the con, preparing for my guest role at the con and something I'm sure I'm forgetting. Plus I got some sad news regarding a friend yesterday that's been a little distracting, so it looks like there will be a funeral to attend very soon. They haven't said anything to me about singing, and I'm not sure I could because thinking about the situation makes me cry.

I think I'm going to bake chocolate chip cookies. I need them, and I think handing them out to friends at the con will also make me happy.

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