Sunday, November 18, 2007

Baltimore Thanksgiving Parade

Boy, was I tired last night. I dozed in and out of sleep on the couch for the better part of the afternoon and the night - my legs were so sore (but I guess I need to tell you why, right?)

So I showed up downtown at volunteer check-in at 9 AM or a little before. They were great - they had donuts and coffee because it was only around 40 degrees, so I stayed as warm as I could and chatted with other volunteers. After the water I had that morning and the coffee, duty called, and I used a port-a-potty on the corner of Eutaw and Pratt. It's a strange thing peeing on a corner in the middle of downtown, I tell you.

Around 9:30, we headed over to the Howard/Pratt intersection, which was the designated balloon filler-upper location. We didn't stand around for long before they started asking for volunteers for the first balloon. I volunteered immediately - I really didn't care which balloon I had - and although I initially thought I might get the penguin, I got a mini red balloon - just a round ball. That was fine with me. There were only two of us on the balloon. I saw on the schedule that there were supposed to be two mini balloons right before Santa, so I felt pretty special.

So my balloon was filled at 9:45 or so, and we held that balloon (standing) until about 11:20 or so. Yeah, an hour and a half of standing in cold weather holding a large helium-filled balloon. I had those hand warmers in my gloves, but my feet were really cold, so I was bouncing on my toes to keep them warm. (Note: Why my legs hurt Reason #1: calf exercises.) Next they filled up the penguin, then Pocahontas, and by the time they got to the pilgrim... they ran out of helium. Yep. Apparently helium contracts in cold weather, so it was taking far more helium than usual. By his point the penguin was looking really sad, so we had one red balloon, Pocahontas, a sad looking penguin, and a half-filled pilgrim. The line-up for the parade pretty much went to hell at this point, and Pocahontas went out immediately, and our single red balloon went out after the soap box derby car and before a middle school ROTC group. We were a red balloon completely out of context. We just knew people were thinking, "What the heck is with that red balloon?"

Knowing we were just thrown in to fill space, I decided I was going to make the best of it, so I started marching and dancing and kicking, and basically making a fool of myself. (Note: Why my legs hurt Reason #2: kicking, jumping and marching.) It was super fun. A the end of the day, I was lucky. The penguin and pilgrim never made it into the parade. It was a long morning, but my early volunteering at least got me in the parade. Those folks waited around a long time for nothing. I would have been so disappointed.

After my job was done (and okay, okay, I inhaled some of that helium when we were deflating the balloon), I walked back and met Katie, her little and her mom along the parade route. (Note: Why my legs hurt Reason #3: probably two miles of walking.) THANK YOU, Katie and little and mom and Ken and Jess for coming to see me! It was so super exciting to have support there, and thanks to Katie for my pictures. :)

We watched the rest of the parade go by, then we headed to the Galleria for eating and shopping. (Note: Why my legs hurt Reason #4: shopping.) I first realized how tired I was when we sat down to eat. My legs ached a little and I thought, "Uh oh." And so began Saturday afternoon of complete laziness.

So here are a few fun photos for you. I am so, so, so, so glad I did this and would do it again in a heartbeat. What a neat experience.

This is me and my fellow red balloon handler, L. Yes, these hats are horrible, but they wanted us to wear them, so I did.

My red balloon getting filled up!

Pocohantas filling up!

A self photo of me and my balloon waiting.

Here I come!!! Are you excited??


Oh, so sad... there I go.

A high school band. I should have taken more photos of the bands, I just didn't get a chance. I think this is Archbishop Curly, though, Rob's HS.

Very cool puppet. I think they had three of these types of puppets. They are sort of scary looking, but pretty cool, too.



Blogger Missy B said...

You look like you might be having way more fun than your co-handler. I am so glad you had a good time.

November 18, 2007 8:51 PM  
Blogger danielle said...

I'm sorry I missed it. It looks like you were a fabulous balloon handler, and you totally rocked that silly hat.

November 20, 2007 12:34 PM  

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