Thursday, June 11, 2009

Colondar -- Day 2 (2nd half)

Before I could remove my makeup, I had some more business to take care of. Sarah was our video person for the shoot and she was taping interviews with each model. It was kind of like "the confessional booth" in a reality show or on "The Office." She sat us down in the corner of her bedroom, so we could have privacy. (Too many jokes) The questions we were given weren't a surprise, as we had answered some of them in our Colondar application. It was simply a way for us to tell our story and have it online for others to view us as something other than still photographs. We are actual people who each have an amazing story. You know, it's weird. My interview was about 10 minutes long and almost a complete blur to me. I have no idea what I even talked about. I say "almost a complete blur" because when I came to the question, "how did this affect your friends and family?" I started to break down. (As I mentioned on the Day 1 blog, I wasn't done crying for the weekend.) I could not get the lump out of my throat for the rest of the interview. It really helped that every time I looked over at Sarah, she was nodding and giving a look of understanding. Sarah's job was a difficult one, but one that had to be pretty cool, too. Afterwards, I talked about my tearing up on camera and she said that almost everyone was crying in their video (If you are one of those people who made out to "Schindler's List" at the movie theater, then this probably won't affect you. Otherwise you'll be moved.) It turns out that only one person didn't get emotional during her taping. (But Jill said she was drunk.)

I dried my eyes, went to change clothes, and then headed back to the main house for lunch. It turned out that several of the models were going to take kayaks and canoes to an island in Lake George and eat some packed lunches. Because of my neck problem, I opted for the canoe. The canoe crew consisted of Lori in the front (who admitted she wasn't too strong of a paddler), Evelyn in the middle (trying not to think about her aquaphobia), and me in the back (with one side of my body having no strength.) So, we aimed for the island (and instead would have gone in circles had the kayaks not come over from time to time to guide us.)

Once on Saint Agnes Island (Agnes was my grandma's name), the seven of us shared our stories. Some people have been through some unbelievable things. I didn't do a survey, but I'm willing to bet that most of us there this week thought that most of the others had a more difficult path than he/she did. That's mathematically impossible, but you manage to get through whatever you have to. If there were things you didn't have to go through, you would have thought you weren't capable of doing them. (I hope that makes sense.) All the sagas started off sad, but most peaked with a nice moment. A couple examples: Andrew said that when he was little, his dad would take him hiking. During treatments he could not even hike up a flight of stairs. But eventually, he climbed a mountainside with his dad. His dad congratulated him with, "You're back." David has a 6 year old son and they used to wrestle. During treatments, David didn't have the strength. But eventually, they wrestled again. His son congratulated him in a way only a 6 year old could, "Daddy, I'm glad you're useful again."

We packed up the cooler, collected our trash, and went back to the "boats." As we were trying to get the canoe off the rocks, we all turned suddenly after hearing a splash to find Joe dripping from head to toe. He was standing over his kayak looking down as if to be saying "what the f*** just happened?" (Either that, or he chose a bizarre time to be baptised and bow his head in prayer.) I felt a little bad, but it was also funny. This time David paddled the canoe and I could rest. Evelyn went back to pretending we were on land. The kayak people all made it back to the house in no time. We arrived about 17 hours later (with only one person rowing). As we were pulling up to the dock, time slowed down. I witnessed Joe and Andrew jumping in slow motion from the dock on either side of our canoe. I knew the splash (or tsunami) was coming, but I could not turn my neck to look away. Jeans, shoes, camera, and neck brace were all soaked. Evelyn took the brunt of it, too. She's going to get even, though. I think she is going to air some choice photos of Joe and Andrew on her TV show in Boston

Back at the house, while I was toweling off, I ran into Mark who was grabbing a beer. Remember how I said his hair was neatly combed? Well, apparently, it only stays combed for a short while. He gets like a mad scientist as she everywhere!

After a nap (the narcotics were hitting me), dinner was soon upon us. Todd and Tammy go all out preparing every meal. (Todd never took off his Flamenco dancer apron that he name Francesca.) Pasta and lasagna, garlic bread, salads, fruits, all kinds of cakes and pies. It was all laid out on the dining room table and everyone could take as much as they wanted (provided they saved room for drinking later in the evening.) Outside on the porch, while we ate, some decided to tell some funny stories. Krista is married to a colorectal surgeon, so she has stories, let me tell you. I won't get into all of them, but can I just say...that place where the sun doesn't shine? Well, some guy apparently didn't like darkness and thought to use a lava lamp to brighten up the place! Simon told a different type of story...I'll just leave it at that. Then Todd had an announcement. Each page of the Colondar has a sponsor ($6000 to sponsor a month). Well, he had the idea to get the past models to purchase a page since the economy is making it difficult to find sponsors. He announced that $3500 was pledged so far by past models. Within 10 minutes (probably more like five minutes), we told Molly and Todd that it was now at $4700 as all of us were in for $100 each. We just all knew that other people deserve to have this same experience.

At Lake George the cell phone reception and internet access was spotty and even non-existent for some. (We were living like the Amish for a few days. I bet they had a barn-raising while I was napping.) So, while Todd churned some butter for the next day's meals, a few people were desperately trying to connect to the internet. Finally, Troy yelled from the garage, "I got it!" Everyone hustled to the garage to watch Dom. Dom's middle daughter was about to drive with the rest of his family to her high school graduation in California. So, we all improvised a graduation song (to the tune of happy birthday) for her. It was funny when we came to the part where we sang "dear so-n-so" because none of us knew her name! I knew Dom had to be torn about where to be that day, so I asked him afterwards. When he heard the date for the Colondar shoot, he told his family he was cancelling. His daughter said, "the hell you are." (Actually, I lie...I'm sure she doesn't swear.) But, she told him that this was his thing and he HAD to do it. It was her idea to get him involved in it. During the video conference, you could just see how proud they were of each other. It was really special to see.

A short while later, I found myself on the wrap-around porch with some of the others -- as well as mosquitoes the size of dinosaurs! Andrew is the lead singer in a rock band named "Big Nixon" and he brought is guitar with him to the lake. He played a few songs and Sam (you may remember her from the chest-shaving adventures) joined in for a duet to an Indigo Girls song. I love acoustic guitar songs, so this was right up my alley.

I looked around and not enough people were accounted for on the porch. I walked into the kitchen and Todd was at the sink (where we keep him at night) and a couple were at the table chatting. But, half of the crew/models were still missing. I noticed the garage door was closed, so I opened it. For a second I thought the place was on fire...there was smoke everywhere. But it didn't smell like smoke and people weren't running around frantically (but with all the alcohol, they might not have been frantic during an actual fire.) I turned to the left and found Jill in her bra and Lori lounging on the floor swigging a bottle of champagne. (Hello! Why wasn't I notified of these goings-ons?) No, they weren't trying to pick up guys because it was closing time. Simon was on the floor giving them direction from behind his camera. I knew right away it was for his photography portfolio called "Windows." I could try to describe his work, but it's easier if you just go to his website. It's incredible. Well, the champagne bottle was running dry, so you know what that meant. (If you said, "get another bottle," you'd be wrong.) It was time for Lori not to be outdone. She was fully clothed and that simply wouldn't do with a buzz and a camera pointed at her. The jeans had to come off. (I'm going to take a camera on dates from now on. It might help me get the girls' clothes off.) Andrew immediately popped up and said, "I'll work the mist spray!" (conveniently located closest to the girls in their underwear.)

After the clothes came back on and the dance music that was playing throughout the shoot ended, it was time for me to grab a little dessert and head to bed. My shoulders were sore and I had to take a couple of narcotics.


David said...

You are my hero Shawn! Thanks for the kind words, and bringing my most special recovery moment into your life. I love you dude!

PleaseActNow said...
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Eve! said...

LOL. Great blog! I was trying so hard to keep my hair dry! We all know that did not happen. LOL.