The Longest Day

Whew. I am bushed.

Our day started at 0530, which is crazy early for me. The last time I woke up that early (on purpose) was... okay, well, it was one month ago today for my surgery! I'm a month out! I didn't get to weigh in this morning, because we had to run, so I'll do it tomorrow.

Anyhoo, I first woke up Chloë, so I could get her in the shower with me in order to floof up her curls. Jack woke up in the process and dressed himself, thinking he was going to school. He was on autopilot. Teehee, it was cute.

We woke Sophia last; she's so adorable when she's just been awakened from a sound sleep.  Rumpled hair, squinty eyes... too cute.

After I showered and dressed and ascertained that all the children were dressed and ready to go, I ran downstairs to get them shod and coated. Then I made them each a bag of "breakfast blend": a mixture of Cap'n Crunch, Rice Chex, and Golden Grahams, along with a sprinkle of chocolate chips. No, I don't normally give them chocolate for breakfast, but I was feeling generous.

And off we went, for the two-hour drive north to Aylett, VA. I had to get gas first, and somehow managed to fill up for under $30. Sweet! I'd forgotten my debit card at home, though. Oopsie.

Nobody slept in the car, unforch. I had hoped they would, so no one would be a crankypants at the shoot, but no one was. I didn't know it at the time, but Chloë read 30-something pages of her Beezus and Ramona book on the drive up; I'd thought she was just being grumpy! I didn't realize it was because she was busy, Mooom.


Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Rob was having the beginning of an absolutely miserable day. He was supposed to do his 2-day motorcycle course, starting this morning, on the Navy base... but the bike wouldn't start. Hindsight is 20/20 - we should've started it before I left, but he was able to start it last night with no problem and assumed it would be the same today. Nope. I was already on 1-64 West when he called, and I asked him what he wanted me to do. What to do, what to do? Turn around and give him a boost? And be late for our call time in Aylett? Or keep going and be on time for the shoot?

In the end, he told me to keep going. I've regretted it ever since. I should have turned around. I could have pretended I got lost or something.

So he never made it in. Oh, he got the bike started eventually, but he only drove down the road a short piece before it died again, and wouldn't restart at all. It was gone. Damn thing! So he walked back home, leaving the 'cycle where it was all day, and fretted. His work wasn't happy. He couldn't get in. I'm flabbergasted that no one could take off for the 20-minute drive to come and get him?? I could have picked him up on my return. He contemplated renting a car, but I vetoed that idea for financial reasons. So he spent the day at home.

I'd have bitched about the kitchen still being a disaster when I got home, but then, he could bitch about the same thing in every other area of the house, and there would go that argument! And so I didn't.


Back to the NOVEC shoot. Our call time was 0830, and we got there ten minutes early. The director, Eric, pulled up at the same time as us, and he opened the back door to find Sophia absolutely covered in chocolate on her hands and face. I was mortified! Haha! He said, "Oh, my, you have been eating something good, haven't you?!" He was amused when he found out her name, as it's the same as his own daughter's.

I apologized for having the Littles with me, saying I couldn't get a sitter, and then let Chloë out to meet him. She ran up and gave him a great, big hug, and he was smitten with her! She has always been a man's child. She loves men. And they love her. Yes, I'm worried about ten years from now - heck, seven!

I spit-shined Sophia's hands and face, and then we and the suitcase went inside to stand around and look stupid. The shoot was at a model home in a new development, and so I was on the Littles like white on rice to keep them from touching a single solitary thing. And there were lots of knick-knacks and decorations, so I was kind of antsy! Plus it was my first time on a real, professional shoot, so I was nervous about my own comportment. Eric eased the way, though; he had called me the other day to let me know what to expect and to assure me that they were a fun group. And they were.

We met Terri, who played Chloë's mom in two of the commercials (there were three; Chloë and Mom were in the first one, all three with Dad in the second, and Chloë and Dad in the third!). When Terri finished hair and make-up, Chloë went in. She looked gawjus, dahlink. Just adorable. I'm saying this from a completely objective, unbiased, non-bragging point of view: that is one good-looking kid! (Are we sure she's ours?)

Anyway. The crew was setting up for the shoot upstairs, so Eric offered us breakfast in the kitchen. The Littles were all over that, although they'd demolished their "breakfast blend" in the car. They ate bagels, muffins, and granola, and drank half the bottle of prop OJ from the stocked fridge for the third spot! He said it was okay for them to have anything from the fridge, as long as we didn't empty it. I didn't allow them anything else.

Gosh, I'm totally rambling. This is going to be one long post. Sorry. And I forgot my camera, so the few measly pictures I have are on my cell, and I don't feel like dealing with that at the moment. And none of the Supah Stah! Jeepers, Melanie.

Then the NOVEC Client appeared and introduced herself to us. She was fancy and business-like, but also nice and pleasant, and I liked her. At the same time, Terri asked if Jack and Sophie were twins, and I said no and told her their ages and all that. Then Sophie piped up for everyone who was downstairs at the time to hear, "And Robby is in heaven because he died!" Oy. I hate it when they bust that out in front of just anybody! Eric said, "Who?" And I gave a wry smile and said, "Our son, my son." He and the Client and I don't know who else gave me that look and said they were sorry. Sigh.

So finally it was time for the first shoot. The Littles and I were banished from the house, so their noise wouldn't carry upstairs into the filming. We played in the backyard for at least an hour and a half, and I was so mad at myself for forgetting to take our coats outside! Brr. It was nippy. They played so hard that it didn't really affect them, but mostly I sat in the lawn and watched them and was cold. There were a ton of leaves in the yard, and they had fun with that.

Oh, the yard. It was wonderful. They had a grand time playing out there. It was a good-sized yard, with surrounding woods, and a deck under which they could play in the leaves and dirt. Really, the Nons had a ball, and Jack kept asking if we could move there. He even said, "Daddy can come to visit us here!"  Hahaha. He wanted to know if we could move all their toys and things to the house, since nobody else lived there. And that was mostly because of the fun they had being outdoors all day in the spacious yard. Breathing fresh air. Playing in the dirt. Scuffling in the leaves. Even getting pricked by the thorny vine he kept calling a "cactus plant." It absolutely breaks my heart. (What little yard we have, and I mean it's minuscule, is the dog's potty. And we don't scoop back there, ever. So no romping.)

Whenever I get my van back - and I hope it's next week - I vow to take them to the park every day!!

And definitely, our next house will have a yard. It's a must.

Finally, Terri the Mom came out to get us and let us know we could come back in and get Chloë changed out of her PJs (by the way, remind me not to get things together at the last minute like that again; the pink jammies we brought had yellow paint all over them! Embarrassing! But we had a back-up set) and into summertime clothes for the next ad.

I coudn't whittle down all the cute choices of Gymboree tanks and shorts, so I brought a whole mess o' summer clothes. They had a hard time picking, too! We finally settled on something, and then selected her winter outfit and outerwear for her quick change operation, for the second half of the shoot. She went back into hair and make-up to have her locks recoiffed, and then we were banished again.

By the by, we brought ten stuffed animals, a framed photo, and my cell, iPod and Palm for the first shoot. They didn't need any of them. Eric said, "I couldn't remember whether I'd asked you to bring them." Urgh. Uh, yeah, you did. But that's okay, I'd rather have it and not need it than the reverse.

This time, I took the Tots out to the van, because they were shooting downstairs now, and I wasn't sure if they'd hear us out in the yard. I was constantly having to remind the kids not to shout or stomp the first time, and I didn't want to get yelled at! So I let them loose in the back of the car while I knitted in the front seat.  They got back into their cereal and rice cakes, and now I have smashed Crunch all over my vehicle. Glorious.

I made it all the way up to the last 20 or so minutes, when I started stockinette-stitching myself into a coma. So I made the kids buckle into their seats, lest they get out and get hurt, and I put my seat back down. Jack fell asleep before I did! I don't know if Sophia ever slept, but by the time I dozed, it was only a few minutes before Eric was knocking on the window. When he woke me up, my right hand was tucked into my pants! Heehee. Again, embarrassing! He gestured and said, "Uh, sorry about that!" and I don't know if he meant waking me up or catching me that way!

It was lunchtime at last. We trooped into the house, where Chloë was already dining on chips, cheese, and cherry tomatoes. She goes for the alliterative meals, I guess.  I tried getting veggies and dip for the Bitties. Nope, not having it. Sandwich? Nope. What, then? Jack wanted some prop yogurt, but I put my foot down. In the end, Sophie agreed to some cheese, and Jack wanted some ham (ew). I made a turkey and cheese sandwich to share with Sophie, and pulled some extra ham on the plate for Jack.

We joined most of the crew out, and the grown-up actors, out on the deck for lunch. Sophie refused her sandwich and immediately, to my chagrin, started going up to each person and pointing to their plates, saying, "Can I have that? Can I have a bite?"  She's such a little piggy! I was so mortified, and kept calling her name to chastise her, but they were all enamored of her and shared their food! Aagh! Don't encourage her, people! She scored some celery and dip, some chips, some carrots, and Lord knows what else.  She did attempt to share some of the food she'd scored with other folks, which made them laugh.

And I made a mistake: I took two bites of the sandwich, bread and all. Oh, it was a yummy-looking (and tasting) onion roll, and I just couldn't resist. Well, two bites was all it took. I thought I was going to start puking right there on the deck, in front of all those people! I learned my lesson on that, for sure. I waited a few moments and then continued eating the cheese and turkey and was fine. But I will mourn bread.

After being given a chocolate chip cookie each, I washed the kids up and then it was time to get ready for some more filming. I sent the little ones out to the backyard to play (I watched them from the back door the whole time, and there was absolutely NO traffic except for our own group anyway) while I stayed in and watched the goings-on. First, they filmed Chloë's hand up close for the second ad, changing the thermostat. Amazing how long that little bit of acting took! How many shots, how much set-up and adjusting and discussion. Very interesting.

Then she went back into wardrobe and hair and make-up for the final ad. Terri the Mom left, as she was finished, and the extremely nice NOVEC Client took her leave as well, thanking me for Chloë. Eric had told me previously that she'd beaten out a lot of other kids for the commercial and had had to get the approval of a lot of people before being chosen. Proud Mama!

I was able to watch half the filming of the second ad, through two of Chloë's three wardrob and hair changes. At one point, she was supposed to pick up the jar of pickles and express her disgust. Well, she's such a ham; between takes, she kept going on about how she hated pickles, they were disgusting, etc. They told her, that's okay, you don't really need to eat them. She replied, "Oh, no, I really do like pickles. I was just acting!" OMG. They roared, and I was rolling. Hilarious!!!!

The Littles insisted on coming in at that point, so I let them stay for exactly ten seconds before Eric gave the "I need quiet on the set!" and I rushed them back out to the yard. I'd been assured that they couldn't hear us playing out there, so we stayed. By then it was beautiful out, so no need for coats.

We ran around, playing, and I lay on the ground and let them bury me in leaves. I got several in my mouth, blech. We were still rolling around on the lawn when Eric came out and said they were finished with her. He told me what a great job Chloë had done, that she's gotten a little tired at the end but did fantastic for such a long day of shooting. (She'd been up since 0530, and it was 1530 by then!) Most kids would have had a meltdown by then, in his experience.

I asked him about the commercials, since it's for a non-local-to-us power company. They're going to edit them tomorrow and email them to me sometime next week! And I can share with you and anyone I want, as long as I don't charge for the privilege. (Rats!) He and the hair lady helped me with our bags and stuff, and she fetched a string cheese and cookies for each of the kids.

And finally, at last, we were on our way home again. Rah.

We were maybe, possibly, a mile down the road before I looked in my rearview and saw three floppy heads in the backseat. Sound, sound asleep. As soon as I heard "I Kissed a Girl" come on the radio, though, I knew I had a problem. Sure enough, Sophie popped out of her deep sleep and said, "MOMMY! Is that Katy Perry?" She has a bit of an obsession with her. Heh. She didn't go back to sleep for the rest of the trip!

Jack and Chloë snored for quite a while, and then finally Curly woke up and started reading B&R again. She always loves to tell me what page she's on, what chapter, and what the action is. I love that she is so thrilled with books. "Mommy! In Chapter Four, Beatrice turns TEN! That means she was NINE for the first three chapters!"

We got to around Williamsburg with no problems, and then the late-afternoon sunlight striping the road started to affect my eyeballs. It makes me sleepy, and I had touch-and-goes all the way home from there. We ran into several accidents that delayed our arrival by at least 20 minutes - not bad, but I was dying to be home and crash. And not crash, myself. But we made it.

The rest of the night was pretty standard, with a little play, a little Noggin, dinner, baths, etc. Nothing exciting.

So if you made it all the way through this novella, bravo to you! It was a fun, fun day, and I'm so glad she enjoyed it and did so well. Next up: her movie shoot on Sunday!