Tuesday, May 03, 2005

All's Well That Ends Well!!

Back in February, I wrote about how my Diva Daughter managed to win her school's regional Solo/Ensemble competition which earned her the privilege of attending the State Solo/Ensemble Competition. Kaley has been very excited about this competition and has worked very hard on her music. But the road to State seemed to be paved with pitfalls. First of all, the school and everybody seemed to be planning on the weekend of April 22. Reservations were made in Ellensburg, the site of the competition. A couple of weeks earlier word spread that, NO, the competition was the following weekend of April 29. Needless to say, we could no longer get hotel or motel reservations in Ellensburg.

Ellensburg is 100 miles from Seattle right over the top and on the other side of Snoqualmie Pass. It is a small town of about 15-20,000 people and home to Central Washington University. We managed to get reservations in Yakima, 35 miles the other side of Ellensburg. But my husband decided that Cle Elum which is 25 miles this side of Ellensburg would be a more reasonable place to stay and he changed our reservations for the third time.

In the meantime, Kaley learns a week ago that she must have four "originals" of each of her songs. No copies allowed! She scrambles and orders sheet music online for overnight delivery at significant cost to us. Two days later we still have no music and Kaley dissolves into tears that she has worked so hard only to be disqualified for not having enough original music. (Damn copyright lawyers!) We cancel one order of music and reorder from another website; I reserve half of what she needs at Capital Music in downtown Seattle as a back-up; I flag down a voice teacher who walks her dog in front of my house for help; and Kaley begs and borrows music from her friends but she is still short the eight originals. Finally, finally, according to our computer, all music is in stock and has been shipped to arrive by UPS Friday immediately before we leave.

Thursday evening, the night before we leave and the night before we expect to receive all of the necessary music, my husband says, "What about Apolo? What are we going to do with him?" Oh my GOSH! With all of the upsettedness over reservations and music, I totally forgot to make a kennel reservation for our dog.

"We'll have to take him. Does Stewart Lodge in Cle Elum take dogs??" A quick visit to the computer revealed that indeed pets are allowed at Stewart Lodge with no size restriction. After all, Apolo weighs 95 pounds and he cannot be snuck in anywhere! "Whew!"

Friday morning, the UPS man brought all of the correct music and I almost hugged the cute fella in the brown shorts. I loaded up the car with paper towels and carpet cleaner because Apolo always throws up and we were off to Cle Elum. Cle Elum, nestled in the Cascade mountains, is a small old picturesque logging town. Stewart Lodge looked appealing as we pulled in but the overweight man with the crew cut at the front desk told me NO DOGS were allowed.

"What did you say?? This is impossible! It says right on Yahoo that you take dogs for a small extra charge. We are in a fix. My daughter is in a competition tomorrow and there are no places to stay within a 100 mile radius. We have to stay here!" I offered to show him on HIS computer where it says they take dogs. He wasn't terribly responsive to the idea.


Things deteriorated from this point. Immediately before I transformed into bitchy grizzly bear obnoxious attorney venting mom, the fat rude man reserved a room for us at the place down the street. He continued to deny that they had ever allowed dogs though he admitted we were the second family in 20 minutes with the same problem. As I walked out, I emphasized I was an attorney and the Consumer Protection Agency and the Better Business Bureau were going to hear from me about Stewart Lodge. Ok, ok, I'm not proud of myself; it was my fault we even had Apolo with us but the stress of the week just got to me at that moment and chubby jerkwad shaved head man became the object of my rancor.

The place down the street by the railroad tracks was a dive but we had no choice. The train with a very loud horn zoomed on the hour every hour right next to "Timberdump Lodge" but the people were extremely accommodating and they loved our puppy. Unfortunately, the night was terrible between the train and the dog scratching and woofing when he could not find his water dish at three in the morning. Apolo, not the brightest dog in the world, had no idea where he was and was frightened of the train whistle. Poor Kaley! She slept a little; Dave snored a lot; and I watched the clock all... night... long.

Saturday morning, thankfully, was gorgeous in Cle Elum. Kaley looked adorable in the new dress I bought her for her performance. We walked Apolo and figured with the train noise, it would not matter a bit if she practiced alone in the room. So Kaley entertained guests of Timberdump Lodge with her operatic pieces of "Che Faro Senza Euridice" by Gluck and "Mandoline" by Debussy. We checked out and loaded up the car and made certain we had all of Kaley's orginal music. Off we went onto I-90 for 25 miles to Ellensburg.

"Apolo is just like a stupid little brother! You are never bringing him with us again ever. And look at his stupid hair all over my new black dress," cried Kaley. One of the reasons I did not sleep even a minute was that Apolo kept wanting to stick his nose in Kaley's face on the roll away; he loves her so much and having her still and sleeping was just too much.

In sunny Ellensburg, Dave dropped us off at the Music Building and found a place to park with shade. Kaley found her accompanyist, I brushed off dog hair, and we settled in to watch her 10 minute performance--her biggest competition of the year. Where did that lovely voice come from? Dave and I shake our heads because we have no idea. The judges liked her and commented on the nice original music; she was darling. Kaley did a beautiful job after all of the pitfalls.

As we waited for her scores and the sweatshirt we ordered, Apolo was with us on his leash greeting contestants and parents with his big goofy Golden Retriever grin. Kaley was proud of herself when she found out she received two 1's and a 2 from the three judges with 1 being the highest possible score. She did not place but in essence received an honorable mention by being listed on the website with the winners for her superior rating. If you scroll down to page 18 out of 21, you will see Kaley's name in the mezzo soprano winner's list. We were thrilled to death with this result. All is well that ends well!


But, do not stay at Stewart Lodge in Cle Elum nor the other place either!

Oh yes, and Apolo did throw up but not until we returned home. Five minutes after we walked in--bleeeeech--all over my nice rug in the kitchen.