THURSDAY BEFORE THE FEIS
Annabeth has her traditional honking huge blister that she gets before just about every feis -- this will lead to limping around in pain by the end of the feis day. We try to brainstorm new ways to heal this up.
In the meantime, every time I turn my head I feel an odd little sensation of dizziness. When Thalia and I get home from her last dance class of the day I curl up with a book and a hot cup of tea. During the night I get up to use the bathroom. My teeth are chattering with the cold. Odd -- St. Louis in July usually isn't so cold that I shiver.
FRIDAY BEFORE THE FEIS
My temperature when I got up was 100.5F. I don't remember much else about this day -- I spent it covered in blankets and cats. The kids polished their shoes, located clean socks, and generally got everything organized. Rick took them to the store to buy appropriate snacks for the feis. In the evening I felt well enough to accompany them to check in to the feis, which is simply a matter of going to the hotel where it's being held and picking up their numbers. We fixed lunches to take along with us the next day, then went to bed. (Actually the feis site has a bunch of restaurants, but we've decided it's easier to just take something along.)
Up early to load things into the car, put Annabeth's wig on her, and thoroughly empty my digestive track (ahem -- trying to be delicate here). My temperature was now 99.2F, which was close enough to pretend I'm healthy. I took a wool sweater along, though, because sitting in a cool hotel with a fever really is not fun.
We arrived at the feis site, the Sheraton West Port Chalet at about 7am, and began preparing. I put Thalia's wig on her, and both girls started putting on makeup ... or something. Okay, really, I don't remember. It's all sort of a blur. I went to an orientation meeting about the job for which I volunteered, which sounded complex (I had to look at the numbers pinned on the dancers who show up for competition, and check those numbers off against a printed list ... umm, it seemed really formidable at the time, which should tell you my state of mind ).
Thalia and Annabeth danced their team dances. Eh. Nothing exciting to report there.
Then we settled in to wait for solos. Amazingly, both girls are dancing on the same stage. This has never happened before. So we can all sit together and wait.
Oh, oops, honey, there was too much flash near your face there. Mind if I try again?
Okay, apparently you do mind.
Anyway, we watched the First Feis dancers, who are adorable. Thalia knows several of them because she's been helping with some of the Beginner classes. And I sort of drifted off into my own world. Really, no clue what else happened.
By 11am the Beginners were all done and our competitions were underway. I saw the soft shoe competitions, then went to be a stage assistant in a different area.
And that area was very, very cold. And I rejoiced in having my wool sweater with me to help fend off the cold. I later told Rick: "You know when people fall through the ice and they don't drown because the water was so cold? It was sort of like that."
Our stage had some PC (Preliminary Champion) competitions on it. PC is the level right before the top level of OC (Open Champion), so these are the kids toiling away to try to get up that final rung. The competition is tough at this point, and they've been doing this Irish Dance thing for years. It's fun to watch them dance. But we had tremendously long breaks between competitions, during which the judges tended to go outside to the patio to warm up. Overall, I learned much more about the working of a feis, and had a chance to meet some new people who are associated with our school. Also, it was the first time I'd really observed judges doing their thing, and all the judges who came into our room were really great -- nice people, very professional. And our musician was amazing -- how he could sit there in the cold and play without freezing fingers is beyond me. When we were finished he went off to see where else he could help out.
Here's my tip of the day gleaned from working this stage: It's really clever to look at the computer monitors and/or stay within earshot of the stages so you can hear any announcements. That way you can keep track of what competitions are going on when. And then the stage managers don't have to search for missing dancers wandering about. Also, if we ever again decide to skip a dance (which happened last year at a different feis due to a honking huge blister) we're going to mention it to the people running the stage so they don't think we just absentmindedly wandered off for a minute.
Our stage wrapped up, we put away the bits we needed to put away, and I discovered that Thalia and Annabeth were also done with their competitions. So we all went to check results at the same time. (Note: the results room was next to the room I was in, and was at least 10 degrees warmer. Next year I'm volunteering for results.) And discovered that Annabeth got a 3rd and a 5th in her solos ... and Thalia got a FIRST! Which puts her in Open in that dance! Woohoo! She also got first in another dance, although there weren't enough dancers for it to count for placement into Open. According to the girls, though, Rick had said they could get a dog if she got a first in it. ??? Really? This was so weird. He explained that he was joking around (Rick doesn't like dogs, particularly since the neighbor's dog bit him). But, you know, I'm wondering if I should leave these 3 together much.
Then we headed home, with Rick refusing to turn on the a/c in the car until we'd all recovered from the a/c of the hotel. I think we could've driven to Atlanta before we really warmed up.
One of the snacks Rick had bought them before the feis was Doritos, although it was saved for apres-feis since the glop that gets on your hands would mess up the dresses at the feis.
Yet another odd thing. Since when do we buy Doritos? Have you ever read the ingredients? Ick. You can tell they're junky because the cat tried to get into them (she loves junky stuff). Again, the product of putting Rick and the girls together -- they not only spend their time discussing getting a dog in reward for dancing well, they buy Doritos. Hmmm. See if I get sick for a feis again -- no more dogs and Doritos, folks.
Later I ask Annabeth how she feels about her scores. Is she disappointed, does she want to try for a first next time, and if so, how can we help her? "No, mostly I want a dog."