Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My life as a 400 lb. ballerina princess...

An urgent call went out. Our community was being called upon to come together to do something absolutely amazing.  Extreme Makeover: Home Edition was visiting Salem, Oregon to build a new dorm for students at the Oregon School for the Deaf, along with completely remodeling their haunted house, which is their biggest fundraiser of the year and was in desperate need of a renovation.  It's a completely different kind of project than they have ever done before - to honor a school that really needed the help... and completely different for us, because it's literally just a few miles from our house.

The cool thing is that they had the site open for spectators from 8 am - 8 pm.  Michelle had been wanting to check it out all week, so we decided to make the inevitable visit after the kids got out of school.  Salem's paper, Statesman Journal, sent out a tweet asking for help.  The people of Extreme Makeover wanted spectators to visit the site dressed in Halloween costumes (the episode is going to air on October 31st).  We received a couple of other tweets saying that not many people were participating with the costume thing but they wanted people to come to the worksite dressed up.  My wife Michelle thought it'd be a great idea to get the entire family dressed up and the Condello's heard about it and decided to join us as well.  We had access to some great outfits, and had an incredible time looking through all these costumes and picking out ones we thought would be a lot of fun to wear. (Brian wasn't too excited.)  Michelle wore her 50's poodle skirt.  Kaylee dressed as a clown, and Noah dressed as Indiana Jones.  Grace was a geisha princess.  Hannah was a hobo. Chele was pathetic, whatever she dressed up as (sorry Chele).  OK, she had on her regular clothes and she wore a flower lei - trying to look tropical.  Brian really didn't want anything to do with it all.  But he reluctantly picked up a costume to carry along and put on at the last possible moment (pathetic as well).  Answering the call of our community we loaded up our cars and headed to the spectator transport area.  Brian joked along the way that the tweets for costumes were just a cruel hoax.  Michelle fervently showed him tweet after tweet and articles on Statesman showing it was "legit."

When we arrived to the worksite Brian's theory was vindicated. We were the only ones there that actually wearing costumes.  So have you ever been invited to a party where you were the only one who dressed up?  When I was in college, I was invited to a Halloween party and I assumed it was a costume party.  I dressed up as a hobo, but when I got there, I was the only person wearing a costume.  I felt like a complete idiot.  This same feeling was shared by our children when they realized that we were the only ones in all of Oregon to get the "costume memo."  The kids were really embarrassed, but as parents we did the best that we could to encourage them to enter the worksite any way.  My reluctant children walked in but instantly felt humiliated and out of place.  My daughter Kaylee really began to shut down and wanted to leave immediately.  My lovely bride, Michelle, in an attempt to make my sweet girl feel comfortable asked me if I would put on my costume.

You may have noticed I haven't mentioned what my costume is yet.  In the box that Michelle brought home there was this great mullet wig and a hysterical oversized blow-up ballerina outfit, complete with an air blower inside.  This beautiful ballerina sported a skimpy tutu, not quite enough to cover this inflatable dancing queen.   I looked at my wife with fear and trepidation in my eyes, thinking to myself, "are you absolutely out of your mind? There's no way I'm wearing this costume when no one else here is wearing costumes at all!"  But then I looked at my girl who was melting in her mama's arms, and my Daddy heart broke for her, and I knew what I had to do.

When trying to pull something off as bold and hysterical as a 400 lb. ballerina princess, you can't go half-way.  To all the children's delight (and Brian's too) I put on my wig and my tiara and then my inflatable fan blowing air balloon ballerina outfit.  And when fully blown up I began dancing around the spectator area, making a complete fool of myself.  All of the focus that my kids were putting upon themselves was now fully put on me.  My children started laughing and playing and enjoying being dressed up.  They made fun of me, kicked me in the backside (an easy target) and ran away every time I tried to dance with them.  The visitors around us looked at me as though I was insane and had absolutely NO idea why I was dressed this way.  Brian, who is too cool for school, refused to dress up in his groovy disco guy costume.  But I didn't care.  I was having a great time making my children laugh and acting like a clown.

There was a crew inside the dorm area filming Paige working inside the door, and I did all I could to draw their attention to the air balloon ballerina just 30 yards away from them.  I'm sorry to say, or maybe I'm happy to say, I wasn't captured by the tv cameras, but if I had been I am sure that the ratings of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition would have gone through the roof.  Happily, my family and I answered the call of our community to try to do something special for some amazing students at OSD.   But it landed up instead I was able to something amazing for my wife and my kids.  I know that my kids will look back at this experience as humiliating, but also remember their crazy dad exuberantly dancing around in front of the frightened multitudes and having the time of our lives.


Anonymous said...

oh my gosh STEVE. you are a complete crack up. i read your blogs out loud to matt and we both laugh. so hard.
thanks for being so awesome. and such a legit dad. your kids are lucky to have you, all 400 pounds of you :)

erik w/a "k" said...

Uhhh...400 pounds? Yeah your back side!!!

Awesome moments that will be forever treasured my friend.

pepto said...

They have a bunch of different types of those inflatable costumes - I got a sumo one for my brother awhile back. I hadn't seen the ballerina before - the wig is definitely the best part.

Great job answering the daddy call. Kaylee's look in that second to last picture says it was totally worth it. Hopefully I'll have the courage to make a fool of myself for my kids when the opportunity presents itself. ;)

That last picture is my favorite - I love how everybody is giving you a 5ft. radius of "personal space"....

Jeni said...

Love it!! Your children are lucky to have an awesome dad who is willing to humiliate himself so that they might relax and enjoy themselves.
My 15-year-olds best friends dad -who is definitely a mans man, owns a construction company and is built like a brick house- (ya following me?! lol) dressed up like Hannah Montana, wig and heels included, for their talent show performance a couple of years ago. It was hysterical but even more then that I remember thinking what a great dad he was and what a wonderful memory he was making for those kids!! -Something they will always remember fondly!
What a wonderful, positive memory you have made for your children!

Jewlz said...

Love it love it love it!!!!!