What's happening with the Hill family!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The R.M.S. Connor

Last month Connor's school had a book fair and he wanted to spend some of his birthday money there.  Fine with me, and after some serious thought the decided $10 was a good amount  (the kid is stinking rich) and I told him he could spend it on whatever he wanted.  Over the years I have witnessed many a school book fair and figured my child, like so many before him, would succumb to the siren song of novelty erasers, giant pencils and other various cheap artifacts that seem to physically cry out to students at these events.

So I was surprised when he arrived home with the most depressing book ever written plus 82 cents in change.  Screw the 100 dollar bill shaped erasers, we were now the proud owners of "Heroes of the Titanic."  He was giddy with excitement and couldn't wait to shower, get in pajamas and cuddle up to read about the greatest maritime tragedy of all time.  Every night we took turns reading about a different hero plus tons of random and apparently intriguing facts about the Titanic.  But here's the deal, I am a person that doesn't even like to watch the news before falling asleep because it could potentially be too sad, so it was a real downer to fall asleep with thoughts of under used lifeboats rowing away from screaming passengers trying desperately to stay afloat in icy waters.  There.  See what I mean?  Depressing.

I have never been so happy to finish a book, but in typical Connor fashion the obsession was only beginning.  Bring on the research!  "Mommy, the Titanic had 20,000 glasses on board.  We only have 17 glasses."  or "Mommy, where are our au gratin dishes?  I want to see if they look like the Titanic's."  I had to break the news that not only were ours dissimilar, they didn't even actually exist.  I mean really, what if my children went around boasting that they ate out of au gratin dishes?  How pretentious.  I draw the line at individual souffle cups because those are clearly a necessity once a year when they get used to hold Easter egg dye.

All of this interest culminated last week, as most things do at our house, with a two man show.  Connor decided that he and his brother would be reenacting the heroic story of Jack Phillips and Harold Bride, the two telegraph operators on the R.M.S. Titanic.  (Ever wonder what R.M.S. stands for?  Well, guess what?  I now possess this knowledge! The Titanic was a Royal Mail Ship and guess what else, there were heroes in the mail room too!) But back to the show, Connor, as director, assigned parts.  He was going to be Harold Bride the young operator who had always dreamed of life as a wireless operator and Hudson would be Jack Phillips, Harold's boss, mentor and friend.  As we do not actually own a telegraph machine it was decided that messages would be written on paper and then physically thrown across the room to symbolize the passing of messages across the Atlantic.  Connor told his brother that their ship was going to hit an iceberg and it was their job to write "help notes" to send/throw across the ocean so other ships would know to come get them.  So far, so good.  Hudson began writing "his letter" (a capital H) all over the paper.  Side note:  Hudson is exceptionally good at writing the letter H.

"Wait," Connor interrupted, "I haven't told you the surprise yet!"  At the word surprise, Hudson dropped his marker, hopped to his feet and covered his eyes with his hands, clearly expecting some kind of gift to appear.  Connor sighed and pulled his hands down.  "No Hudson, it's just words.  A word surprise.  Listen to me, we are both going to work really hard sending our messages but only one of us gets to stay alive."  insert dramatic pause " And it's going to be me."  Hudson studied his brother's face for a minute and then said, "I be dead?"  "Yes, Hudson, we both make it to the lifeboat but when the Carpathia picks us up you are already dead.  You just didn't make it. But don't don't be sad, you saved lives!  You sent messages until the very last minute!  You are a hero!"  Hudson, now warming up to the idea of his heroic demise shouted, "Oh yeah baby!  I be Supa-hero and then I get dead!"

And there you go.  Cue the music (inexplicably "Route 66" from the Cars soundtrack) and this show was underway.  I have to say it was one of their better performances.  Hudson only broke character twice, once to do his infamous booty dance (which looks exactly like it sounds) and the second time at his death scene when he chose to spice things up by eating an imaginary poisoned apple a la Snow White and then collapsing on the floor.  End scene.

And that folks, is how history comes to life.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

An Aggressive Zoom.

Last month two semi devastating things happened to me. I turned 30 and my driver's license expired.  Really, I was fine with 30, but the driver's license broke my heart.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to renew it online which meant that I had to give up the best picture of all time.  Seriously, the photo on my license was probably one of the best pictures of me ever taken, which was kind of a shame that it was wasted on a little card that people rarely saw. but I loved it.  Oh, how I loved it.  I was a 23 year old newlywed, tan and skinny.  Now, well let's just say things look quite a bit different.  I had to come to grips with giving up this photo and let's face it, people were starting to question if it was really me whenever they asked for ID and frankly that is embarrassing.

So I hit the DMV determined to make the best of this new picture situation.  I actually brought a hairbrush and make up with me and spruced myself up in the parking lot, which in retrospect now seems sad.  I also wore the exact same shirt from my 2004 picture.  Yes, you read that right, I have and still regularly wear this one fantastic black sweater.  I've actually owned it since I was a sophomore in college and love it like a child.  Bottom line: I spent more time planning this one excursion to the DMV than I spent planning the birth of one Hudson Hill.  I was ready.

I got to the counter (A female clerk!  A good omen!) filled out my paperwork and then it was picture time.  I told the nice lady the whole story and how nervous I was about the new photo.  She stared at me for a second and then told me to stand in front of the blue screen.  Now, knowing that in terms of picture taking (and maybe just life in general) the farther one stands away from me the better, I backed myself so far against that screen that I literally pushed into a man seated at a desk behind the screen taking his commercial license exam.  I should have felt bad especially since I had already overheard that he was on his last attempt at this test after two previous failures, but I didn't have time to dwell, that lady was ready to click! One slight head tilt, smiley eyes and a millisecond later we were done.  I rushed back over to the counter and asked if I could see the picture.  She kindly agreed and turned the monitor to me.  I about fainted. It was the most hideous photo I have ever seen.  I don't know if you know this about me but I suffer from a debilitating disease called Fat Face.  It is kind of the long lost 3rd cousin twice removed of unfortunate diseases and no one is hosting a celebrity filled telethon to raise money for it's eradication, but trust me, it's real and it's tragic.  To rub even more salt in the wound the clerk then created a split screen of my last photo and my new one for comparison.  Even she said, "Yeah, that's just not great."  At least we were on the same page.

I took a deep breath and went into damage control. I told the lady, "Okay, I think this is fixable.  I feel like the camera was zoomed a little aggressively.  See on my last photo, it is shot from the collarbone up.  The new one starts at my double chin and that is never a good place to begin a photo. You can't see any of my sweater.  Also I'm thinking I should have pushed either one of both sides of my hair behind my ear. What do you think?"  I then demonstrated both a one, then two sided hair tuck.  She was quiet for a minute and then said, "I think both looks better.  You see more of your face."  Okay, now we were in business.  I moved back in front of the blue screen and said, "Thanks so much!  Remember the farther away the better."  She looked at me like I was nuts and said, "Oh, there's no retakes.  It's a done deal."

What. The. Crap.

I felt like I was in the twilight zone.  Had we not just had a lengthy conversation about what I could have done to make that picture better?  A conversation she willingly participated in?  And for what?  Nothing!  I signed off on the worst picture I have ever taken and then was forced to pay for it (that really hurt).  I left feeling demoralized and discouraged and added the DMV to the list of places where a piece of my soul has died (it's now #2 behind Chuck E. Cheese in case you are wondering). Matt tried to encourage me by saying that it would probably look better on the actual license.
Well guess what?  It doesn't.

So I tucked that little friend behind my old license and plan on showing it only under threat of arrest.