As anyone who's been around the Anne B. Walsh fandom for a while can tell you, O readers, I'm not really all that old. Matter of fact, I'm approaching what I've heard called the prime of my life. But I have discovered a surefire way to feel ancient, literally overnight. Packing the house full of college girls will do it every time.
How it happened: a couple years back, my choir director went to hear a concert at the college one of his former music students now attends, and he was impressed. They worked together with the college's choir director, and we ended up with a chorus of 60-odd college students coming to sing at our church Sunday night. Which meant we had to come up with dinner for them and their chaperones, and find people willing to take them home overnight and provide breakfast in the morning.
The roommate and I did an inventory of bed-like surfaces and came up with six spare sleeping slots: she's got a full-size bed, our couch pulls out into a full-size, and my bed and the camp bed we got from my parents are both twins. For us, there's the bed in the cats' bedroom, which we would not ask a guest to take because of litterbox (though we use a wheat-based litter so it's really not smelly at all, but still, principle of the thing) and the old pull-out couch downstairs in the dogs' room, which the dogs think is theirs and insist on sharing with any human occupying it.
So we signed up to take six kids, with the proviso that they must have no pet allergies. We only ended up with five, since one of our assigned girls got sick and couldn't go on tour, but that simplified life a little because it meant we could just take the minivan (also inherited from my parents) to church Sunday night and bring everybody back in one car.
I would like to take a moment here and make a small public service announcement. If you have people with special dietary needs coming to your meal, it is always a good idea to make sure there are things available that they can eat, and that those things are clearly labeled. The little food committee that took care of things for my choir did do this, but the thrilled reaction we got from certain members of the visiting chorus leads me to believe this is not always the case. (Listening to one of the sopranos yell "OH MY GOD I GET TO EAT DESSERT" when she spotted the vegan and gluten-free chocolate chip cookies was definitely a highlight of the night.)
After a few minor mishaps in rounding up our five girls, we got them all in one place, with their bags, some of which were large and some of which were VERY large. Everything got squeezed into the minivan and home we went. Four out of the five wanted to meet Buddy and Brando, so they came downstairs and got jumped on, licked, wagged at, etc, etc. Starsky and Hutch poked their heads out once or twice, including my having to chase Hutch out from under the bed in my room so she wouldn't get closed away from her litterbox. We made a couple people tea, experimented with the house's plumbing (turns out you can run both our showers at the same time, good to know), and then it was time for bed.
Or so I thought. Turns out that college girls, despite knowing that they will have to be up at 5:45 to get back to the church and leave on their bus around 7, do not see any particular necessity for turning in early. 11:00 came and went, and there was still chattering and giggling from the living room and the roommate's room. 11:30, same thing. 12:00 midnight, the pair in the living room turned out the lights and settled in. I breathed a sigh of relief and snuggled down in the bed in the cats' room with Starsky warming my feet. Everything was great until...
Giggle, giggle, giggle from the roommate's room, which shares a wall with the cats' room. "Well, I never meant to, but it just happened around Thanksgiving." Giggle, giggle, giggle. "No, really? That's so crazy!" Giggle, giggle. Snort. "Sorry." Every time I would just be starting to drop off, there they'd go again, and not in whispers, either. Their dorms must have some really awesome soundproofing. Either that or they have hallmates who can sleep through earthquakes, which from my memories of college is about the level of obliviousness required to survive.
Finally, at 1 AM, I got up and tapped on the door. "One in the morning. People need to sleep. Old house. Thin walls. Goodnight." (Good grief, I sound like my mother.) That did the trick, and I was finally able to drop off... only to be roused by the shower starting up at 5:40 AM, against the other wall of the cats' room. And then the roommate started cooking bacon, which put enough particulate matter into the air that both our smoke alarms went off, after which absolutely nobody was asleep any more.
Crockpot French toast (which was a bit mushy, oh well, new recipe, less milk next time), bacon, orange juice, fruit, and everybody's packed up and out the door in time, or in my case, dressed for work and out the door. My schedule is a little less forgiving than the roommate's, so she took our guests back to church where their tour bus was waiting while I took the other car to the park'n'ride and caught the public bus to town. And now, here I am. Hoping that I do not fall asleep on my keyboard at any point in the next eight hours.
The concert was awesome, we're always glad to help out our music ministry, and having the girls stay with us was not really that much trouble. It's just that my ability to operate on four and a half hours of sleep is not what it was when I was twenty, and this coming weekend we have construction guys tearing out all our windows and doors to replace them with new ones. So there's not likely to be a whole lot of peaceful sleeping time there either.
On the plus side, I do some of my best writing slightly sleep-deprived. So you might be getting some fun fanfic chapters within the next couple days, and it's even possible I'll be able to overcome some of my panic reactions and get back to my very stalled originals. Greetings, by the way, to anybody new to the blog who's found me through Read an Ebook Week! I hope you're enjoying what you've read.
Please do remember that blog comments are moderated to cut down on badly written spam trying to sell fake designer sunglasses, so your comment will appear as soon as I am able to approve it. Thanks, as always, for reading, and I should be back in a couple days for another installment of Why Do I Work Here Wednesday!