Tuesday, June 17, 2008

2008 convention season

You know what? It's a good thing I've been at this job for awhile. If I didn't already have 9 years of experience under my belt, I might just want to throw in the towel after the season I just had! It was quite the comedy of [costly] errors.

As you probably know, I'm a homeschool consultant for Sonlight Curriculum. I had 3 conventions to attend this spring. The first one was in April in Redmond, Washington (Seattle area). Then week-before-last I was in Boise, and this past weekend in Puyallup, Washington (also in the Seattle area).

So... let me tell you the saga of my convention trips this year!

In April we were just 10 minutes away from the church where the convention was to be held when my oldest daughter realized that we had forgotten the catalogs! Understand that the catalogs are the most important part of my booth. Everything else is just for people to look at. Not only that, I don't take orders. I only give out catalogs. So without the catalogs it was kind of pointless for me to be there. It was 4 hours home (one way) and the convention was to open in about 3 hours! Not only that, there was the ever-rising cost of fuel to consider. But there was nothing else to do. We unloaded the booth supplies and my husband and youngest daughter headed back home to get the catalogs, while my oldest daughter and I set up the booth and as graciously as we could tried to explain to people why we didn't have catalogs that night. Lyle got back with the catalogs about 1 o'clock in the morning, so we were good for the rest of the weekend.

Except... in the process of moving our travel trailer across the church parking lot Lyle bumped another car. ..::sigh::.. So he left a note for that driver. And that ended up costing us over $600.

The Boise trip wasn't quite so expensive, but bad enough. Lyle got a ticket for expired tags on the truck while we were down there. Apparently the reminder card got lost in the mail, and it had completely slipped his mind. That was a $50 fine. Then when we got home we discovered that our brand-new backyard gazebo had collapsed from the heavy rain over the weekend, and several of the poles were broken. Another $50 to replace them. ..::sigh::..

We started off this past weekend with such high hopes. I mean, what else could possibly go wrong? Well, I'll tell ya.

First, an ominous popping noise under the hood of the truck turned out to be something wrong with the inner cooler. (Don't know what an inner cooler is? Neither do I. It seems to be something like a radiator. Maybe. Or it might be related to the carburator. Yes, I'm sure that's what it is. Any time something is wrong under the hood, it must be the carburator. OK. OK. I do know that modern vehicles don't have carburators, but I just like saying that.) Lyle did some research on the internet and found out that it might be covered under warranty. The next morning he called the dealer. They couldn't tell him if it was under warranty. He'd have to bring it in. So he did. And no, it's not under warranty. But they charged him $95 to tell him it was broke. Thank you so much for that valuable bit of information. ..::sigh::.. Oh. And to fix it? Just the part from the dealer is $1500! Fortunately, he was able to patch it up enough to get home, and he is watching on eBay for a used part. [Lyle just corrected me. It's an "intercooler" (I argued with him that there is no such word, but he insists that there is!) and the dealer part was $650. I don't know where I got the $1500 figure from. Maybe total cost of repair?]

Then, I ended up being short-handed for the convention through an apparent miscommunication. My friend Cathy, my 15-year-old daughter, and I... just the 3 of us... covered the Sonlight booth for a 3000-person event. Needless to say, by the end of the weekend we were thoroughly exhausted. Hopefully we were able to encourage and help quite a few homeschoolers make their plans for the upcoming school year.

My reports are turned in. I can unpack my boxes and put my Sonlight books all back in the bookcase in the family room where they belong. I believe I'll have a glass of iced tea and just enjoy a good book on the swing on the back deck.

Oh, wait a minute. No, I can't do that either. We are in the process of staining the deck. We started that project last night.

I guess it's just time to "do the next thing."

And mostly I just count my blessings. The Lord did keep us safe over all the miles we've traveled. No one was hurt or sick. All the "disasters" that seemed so stressful at the time are really relatively minor.

As my Grandmother used to say, "We're glad things are as well with us as they are."

Life is good.


pse said...

Yes,this too will pass! We are so blessed and have so much to be thankful for.

Brumbemom said...

Hey, no I actually didn't know about your connection with SL. I guess I don't pay attention very well. Anyway, it seems like you have had many adventures lately :-) I have learned to look at those times as memory makers. Atleast you will have something comical to look back on. If not for some of the "unfortunate events" in our life, I realize that alot of the memories that we have made would not exist.

Toots said...

I am so sorry for all the mishaps! Some days we just wish we could start over, don't we?!
Looking forward to seeing you before long!

Farrah said...

Oh, Karla! WHAT A STORY!! Yikes! That's one for the ages!

Greg said...

The thing that got me was poor Lyle having to drive all the way back home for those catalogs. I like driving, but one 4-5 hour trip is almost too much; can't imagine doing it both ways in the same day, AND at night!! Thank the Lord He kept you all safe!

Nicol said...

Do you use the Sonlight curriculum or have in past? This is the one that I have been exploring for my dd in the next year or so.