And the winner is…

This weekend I had the privilege and honor of judging the Miss Colorado Job’s Daughter pageant.

For those that don’t know me well, let me back up for a minute. From when I was 11 to when I was 20 I was very active in an organization called Job’s Daughters. It is a masonic youth group for girls — kind of like a sorority for the jr. high and high school age group. Job’s is a wonderful organization that teaches leadership skils, public speaking ability, and a wealth of other valuable skills. The meetings are filled with traditions that emphasize and teach important life virtues. The basis of the organization and its teachings is the Book of Job in the Bible. I can’t even begin to tell you what a positive impact my membership in Job’s has had in my life. Through this organization I have met some of the most incredible people and gained so much confidence and grace. I honestly don’t know where I’d be today if I had missed out on all the amazing experiences and friendships I acquired during my time in Job’s.

MCJD 2000-2001 When I was 17 I was crowned Miss Colorado Job’s Daughter 2000-2001. (That’s me in that blurry picture at my outgoing pageant – my last night at MCJD.) It was one of the best nights of my life. I know it sounds like a beauty pageant, but it’s very much not a beauty pageant at all. The MCJD pageant is a competition of the best Jobies representing cities all over the state. They are tested on their knowledge of the organization (bylaws, teachings, etc.) and public speaking ability and how well they will represent our organization. There are various parts of the competition during Pre-Pageant, the morning of the pageant. Then at the actual Pageant, each contestant must answer an impromptu question which is judged, and this score is added to their scores from Pre-Pageant to determine the top 5 finalists. The top 5 must then answer a more in-depth impromptu question, usually about a major aspect of the organization or how they would promote Job’s if they were chosen as Miss Colorado Job’s Daughter. It’s really a competition to find the best of the best, as the winner will represent the entire state of Jobies for the next year, including going on to compete for Miss International Job’s Daughter (there are Job’s Daughters in 5 countries) the following summer.

Earlier this year I was asked to be a judge in this year’s pageant. This is such an honor, I can’t even begin to tell you. To have a part in selecting the next MCJD … it was awesome. I had such a great time spending the day at a competition I know inside and out (I competed 3 or 4 times before the year I won), but being there on the other side of the operation. It was all the thrill of the competition with way less stress.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there was still stress. A very important decision rested partially on my shoulders, and I really, really didn’t want to mess it up. Of course, I wasn’t the only judge, and my scores were averaged with the other judges’ scores, so I couldn’t mess anything up too much. But still, I doubted myself in my ability to judge these girls (some of whom I knew, some of whom I’d never met) objectively without letting my own personal bias get in the way. Luckily even the girls that I knew, I didn’t know all that well, so it wasn’t too difficult to judge fairly and objectively.

Cassandra, who was crowned MCJD 2006-2007, really, really deserved to win. She did an outstanding job in every part of the competition, and she will truly represent the Jobies of Colorado well over the next year.

From a non-objective standpoint, I did get to know Cassie and her dad during my last years as a member, and the two of them are incredibly dedicated to the organization. I’ve had the pleasure of watching Cassie mature and grow as a Jobie, and I can say from personal experience (which I honestly did not let affect the way I scored her) that she is a great asset to the organization. I am so happy for her.

Being a Pageant judge was such a great experience for me, and I really hope I’ll be asked to come back and judge in future years. There’s something really incredible about being a part of giving someone something that will completely change her life just as it changed mine so many years ago.

It’s a moo point … It’s like a cow’s opinion. It doesn’t matter. It’s moo.

I am happy to report that yesterday’s garage sale was a huge success. The weathermen had told us there was an 80% chance of thunderstorms for the entire day, but it turned out that they were completely wrong. I was shocked. The weathermen have never been wrong in the history of weather forcasting in Colorado. Never.

In reality, it was a warm, clear day with absolutely no hint of rain until about 3:00, at which point the sale was over anyway, so nobody cared.

The day didn’t start so well for me, although most days that start at 4:00 am without hope of being on a beach by the end of the day don’t start well for me. I was grumpy. As in, the mere thought of unpacking and organizing a garage full of boxes brought me to tears. I was really grumpy. Tim later informed me that when he told me to go take a nap around 6:30 it was the best decision he ever made. Because when I woke up 3 hours later, I was ready to sell. And sell I did, through the rest of the day. While everyone else who had been up at the butt crack of dawn hit a wall and went inside to take a break, I kept on selling.

Since it was a neighborhood-wide garage sale, we had a huge turnout. There were maybe 2 5-minute periods the entire day when there wasn’t anybody there. The rest of the time (from 8am-3pm) there was always someone there, and usually 3-4 families shopping at a time. I’ve never seen such a good turnout at a garage sale.

For most of the day, we had the following pricing strategy: All the clothes you can carry for $2 (we had A LOT of clothes to get rid of); Everything else, make us an offer – we mostly want to get rid of everything, so we are very willing to negotiate prices (also, the Salvation Army is coming to pick up whatever we don’t sell, so if we can get even a little bit of money for it rather than having the S.A. pick up one more box for free, we’ll take it).

The $2 all-the-clothes-you-can-carry deal worked wonders. See the pile of clothes behind Tim? We got rid of about 4 piles that size in clothing alone. People laughed when we told them the $2 deal, but they loved it. It was like a challenge they just couldn’t pass up. Who cares whether or not they wanted the clothes they took home? They sure as hell weren’t going to miss opportunity to get as many clothes as possible for only two dollars. People dug through that pile of clothes until they could dig no more, and then they dug through everything all over again just to make sure they didn’t miss a single thing. And it’s not like it was an organized pile in any way, shape, or form. No, we just took garbage bags full of clothes – my clothes, Tim’s clothes, Jenn and Aleisha’s clothes, Tim’s Grandma’s clothes – and dumped them onto the driveway. The people who dug through that pile were truly dedicated pile diggers.

We sold a ton of non-clothing items, too. We had each contributed a couple of boxes of things we didn’t want anymore, but the majority of it came from Tim’s Grandma’s house. So it was a lot of knick-knacks, glassware, etc. There was one set of 12 small glass (or maybe crystal) goblets that one lady wanted to buy. I told her we could do 25 cents for each goblet, so for all 12, that would be $3. She asked if she could give us $2, and I suggested a compromise at $2.50. She looked at me for a minute, then told me she’d “have to think about it” as if I had just suggested the most outrageous price ever for 12 goblets that may very well have been crystal. But I guess she really wanted the goblets, because she ended up deciding to take them all for $2.50. As Jenn was wrapping them up for her, she asked, “None of these are chipped, are they?” I am amazed Jenn managed to not laugh in her face. When you’re paying less than a quarter per goblet, are you really going to feel like you didn’t get your money’s worth if any of them are chipped? I guess these garage sale people are serious about their bargain hunting.

About 1:00, as the afternoon was starting to wind down, we switched to an even simpler pricing plan: Everything is 25 cents. There was one family that spent $30 after we switched the prices. That means they walked away with 120 items at a quarter apiece. I have no idea what these people are going to do with all the crap they took home, but they just couldn’t stop shopping. I heard them say “Okay, we’re leaving now” about 5 times only to watch them go back for “one more thing” again, and again, and again.

One couple ended up getting a leather ottoman, among other things, for the 25-cent deal. The wife really had to convince her husband to get it, though. He was concerned about the color, about where they were going to put it. And she kept saying “but it’s only twenty-five cents!” And he’d reply, “That’s not the point, dear.” To which she’d say, “Yes it is! The cats will love it!” Then he’d look at me like, “do you see what I put up with?” But I wasn’t about to take his side, because our primary goal was to get rid of as much stuff as possible. So I just shrugged, smiled, and had Tim help them carry the ottoman up the driveway to their car.

We sold SO MUCH stuff, people. Once we split the profits with Tim’s sisters, we still walked away with a couple hundred in cash, and there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.

Nor is there anything wrong with the great time we had. It warmed my heart to see people walk away with things like the 2nd pair of tap shoes I ever owned and my tiara from my days in Job’s. I was so happy to watch that stuff move on to be cherished by a new owner – someone who would love those things as much as I have loved them.

Yes, the sale was definitely a success.

my weekend.

All in all, i’ve been in a melancholy rut most of the weekend.

We picked up some Big City as soon as we got into town and went to John’s house to eat burritos and watch the dogs play. It was pretty fun, and that burrito was DAMN good. I’m going to have another for lunch today before we leave. And Tim’s out to breakfast with John, so he’s just going to miss out. Ha.

Went to lunch with Grandma to celebrate her birthday. This was fun and good. Then we went to her house and helped her take down her outside christmas lights.

I didn’t get to hang out with Amy at all, which was really disappointing.
I also arrived here at my parents’ house friday night to a message on the machine from a crying woman from Job’s telling my mom about Mr. T. My mom already knows, but I left the message on the machine anyway (my parents were out of town). It really broke my heart hearing it. I had managed to keep things together since the funeral, but then that message kindof sent me a few steps backwards. So I had that hanging over the weekend, added to the fact that i didn’t get to see Amy at all, all of the disappointment and grief kindof came spiraling together into a massive blob of upset Audrey. Yeah. It wasn’t pretty.

So we’ve just kindof bummed around the rest of the weekend. we went back to John’s last night for dinner. It would have been fun had my stomach not decided to inflict massive amounts of pain on me all night. And now Tim and John are out to breakfast while I am sitting here alone. My plan is to take a shower soon, then maybe go visit the new Dance Closet (it’s called Prima Bodywear now, but it’ll always be the dance closet to me), and then pop over to Big City to pick up a delicious, indulgent lunch for myself. Then I’ll come back here and finish reading The Bone People. (oh yeah. Also I’ve been reading the end of that over the weekend. Great book, but certainly hasn’t helped boost my mood.) Tim has promised to be back by 2:00 at which point we can go home.

But it’s not all bad, really. I mean, lets not forget that Tim and I got here Friday night and noticed the basement smelled like shit. The cause? The downstairs toilet was FULL of UNFLUSHED shit. literally. Not even like it clogged. The person didn’t even try to flush. So. Freakin’. Gross. We have the dogsitter’s boyfriend to thank for that one.

On the bright side, though, I did get an email from Annie this morning asking me to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. This improved my day massively. I quickly called and told her that of course I woudl love to be a bridesmaid for her. So I’ll probaby be back up in the next few weeks to go dress shopping. Definitely very exciting.

There have been a few good things about this weekend. I really shouldn’t be complaining this much.

random thoughts

The funeral was okay, as funerals go. It was really short and nobody but the jackass mega-church pastor (who I hated) talked, so that was too bad. It was clear the pastor didn’t know anything about Randy except what he learned in the conversation he had with the family the night before. It was a little unsatisfying to say the least.
Immediately after the service lots of folk went to the graveside service, which was to be officiated by Randy’s masonic brothers. I considered going, as it would have probably been a more satisfying service, but opted not to in the end because I kinda feel like the graveside service is for family and very close friends, and even though most of the people at the service went to the graveside, I just didn’t feel like I should. I also don’t think I would like to have had my last memory of him be the image of his casket (which was closed through the whole service, by the way, giving me one less decision to make) being lowered into the ground.
Since most people went to the graveside, there wasn’t much sharing of stories and such at the reception, but I still feel like I got a good amount of closure. Even though the pastor sucked ass, I don’t know if anyone could have done a good enough job putting into words the amazing person that Randy was.

On the way home we stopped in castle rock at the outlets. There was nothing good to buy and it was cold, so we didnt’ stay long. Then we went over to John’ sister’s house for dinner. It was really really fun. We had a great time. BJ (john’s sister) and I drank a lot a lot of wine, but we talked a lot and hit it off pretty well. There’s a chance I may actually have a non-family friend here in the springs. It would be nice. BJ reminds me a lot of Manda, one of my friends from FC. I can definitely see us having lots of good times together. I hope we get to hang out with them again soon.

Also we took Ben over and John had brought Charlotte and BJ and Garrett (her husband) have two big dogs – Daisy and Hagrid. The playing dogs were soooo cute. Ben is one tuckered out puppy today.

God, I hate this week.

Since I stopped pretending it wasn’t true so I could enjoy Christmas, I have been having a shitty week. I almost cried in my boss’s office when I asked for Friday off so I could go to the funeral. Oh, yeah, the funeral is friday, by the way. I don’t know how to feel about it. Do funerals help? Do they bring any sort of closure by forcing you to stop blocking all those thoughts you don’t want to think – that you’ve been trying so hard not to think so as not to cry in front of people who aren’t your husband – and thus making you cry in front of loads of people who aren’t your husband? God, I sure hope it helps. I’ll be fine, and then suddenly it’s all I can do not to cry. Unless I’m at home, in which case I try not to hold it all in. I know that’s not too healthy a thing to do. Thank God for Tim.
Another thing that I’ve been debating about the funeral – what do I do if it’s open casket? I’ve given it a lot of thought. Normally, I would think I’d definitely want to see him (or the shell which once contained him) one last time. But it’s more complicated than that. He was a fairly large man before he was sick, but when the cancer spread from his esophogus to his stomach, he went a long, long time not being able to eat and lost something like 130 pounds. I never saw him after he was sick. I am afraid that body in the casket won’t look anything like the man I knew. I’m afraid he’ll just look sick and that will make it harder. Or worse, I won’t even recognize him and I’ll have an even harder time believing that he’s really gone. I’ll just think, oh, that’s not him. I’m at some other man’s funeral. I don’t know what I’m going to do. Maybe they’ll just keep the casket closed and make the decision for me.
I miss him so much. I’ve been missing him for the past couple of years, and I was so looking forward to seeing him again and getting one of those great big bear hugs he was so good at giving out. And hearing him go on a rant on the latest thing that needs to be done better and agreeing with him and feeling inspired to work to make those changes that need to be made. And watching the way he interacts with everyone and how everyone flocked to him because they were always so happy to see him because he just gave out that vibe that made you know that yes – I am important to this person. He is happy to see me. Because no matter how busy he was doing whatever needed to be done, he would always, always take a moment to give each one of us who came up to say hi to him a hug and ask us how we were and actually listen to our response. And that’s just a tiny part of the great man that he was. He approached everything with enthusiasm and a positive attitude of “this is how we can make this work best.” He was an amazing father to his daughters and husband to his wife. My heart aches so much for them. I can’t even imagine what unbearable pain they’re going through right now.

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