The following daily recaps are transcriptions of my nightly messages to my family. They're raw and they're nowhere near the quality writing I would normally be proud of, but I can't imagine a better way to paint the most accurate picture of what I'm experiencing each day. I will continue to post more polished content that elaborates on the moments I'm experiencing and ideas I'm exploring.
As always, please reach out to me on social media or on my contact page. I'd love to answer the specific questions and quandaries you have.
If you have no idea what I'm talking about, check out my intro to my summer adventures here.
Richmond KY - Morehead KY - Cincinnati OH - Chicago IL - San Antonio TX
In my 12 hours of traveling, I accidentally threw away my boarding pass in an airport trashcan at 4am, dug through said trashcan, watched the minutes tick by as my flight to Chicago became more and more delayed, made a 20 minute layover in the second busiest airport in the country, had to show my ID to a flight attendant to prove I was over age 14, and sat through a 3 hour flight with a very enthusiastic child drumming on the back of my seat, all before my 10:55am arrival at SAT airport. Never in my life have I had such an adventure before brunch time.
After leaving baggage claim, I saw a circle of people with striped Adidas pants. I wandered that direction, wearing my own three-stripes, hoping to see another sign of Drum Corps. Sure enough, I'd found my people.
I met three snare drummers, a bass guitarist, and a colorguard girl. We made our introductions, realizing we had a 4 hour wait in the airport before our shuttle came.
I had on my Dunder Mifflin shirt, which is my go-to for first days of anything. I figure that anyone who gets the reference is a great candidate to be my best friend. To my excitement, they all did. To pass the time, we used suitcases to build a make-shift TV stand for my laptop. We watched The Office, Key and Peele, and a few indoor shows.
We enjoyed Sonic slushees as our last part of the real world before making it to Heroes Stadium. We made our beds for the next 30 days, made more new friends, and had our first full-corps meeting.
My job, as introduced to the corps, was "everything". I did lots of everything in one night. I learned how to lock up the stadium, and exactly 24 hours after waking up to start my travels, I fell asleep in my air mattress, hidden in a ticket booth off the side of the field.
The day of little victories. The first full day of spring training was full of enough little jobs to keep me constantly going. I worked on everything from fighting an ant infestation to cooking 500 hot dogs. I broke down cardboard boxes and filed every medical/insurance/member contract form known to man. We worked in the uniform room sorting all of their many things. Oh, and of course, I made many copies.
In an attempt to learn the 150+ names of the members and staff, I got the drumline's down.
Every day is broken up with breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack. Each of the five blocks in between seemed to hold an entire day's worth of activities on their own. I've learned a lot about time management and productivity already. Still, I already lost track of all concept of time and date.
They have sun flower seed butter as an alternative to peanut butter. So far the sun butter and jelly count is at 3.
Scorpion. More ants. Walmart. Thunderstorm. Baby fox/coyote.
In other words, Texas tried to kill me. I spent the entire day wrangling the wilderness: killing scorpions and ants, running away from rain, and chasing a coyote thing off the field and into the stands and out of the stands and honestly who knows where else.
On a happier (and definitely more embarrassing note), I finally got to make a Walmart run to get a towel...not that I'd been drying off with paper towels...because I definitely remember to pack that very essential item...obviously.
SBJ Count: 5.
Monday was mostly taken over by the food truck. I've always enjoyed cooking, but preparing food for this many people is a challenge unlike anything I've ever quite experienced. Honestly, it's kind of fun. I don't know when I'll ever need to cook for 200 people again, but I will be ready.
This afternoon was the first emotionally weird time. After my two food truck shifts, I watched some of the percussion ensemble rehearsal. It was the first time I was hit with the big “wow I wish I was on the field right now.” I didn't know how to handle emotions in a place where no one has known me for longer than 72 hours, so I went and found a quiet place and drummed for 3 hours. I’ve been practicing a lot and I’ve gotten better at some things I’ve been trying to do for months. I think the environment is helping that a lot. Being in Texas, all of the anxiety I’ve been holding for a year of college has disappeared because it’s a world away.
I talked to some of the snare players about how I was feeling about missing drumming, and the weirdness of being on this side of the band world. They’re super encouraging and I’m so lucky to have them to lean on.
SBJ Count: 8.
I did lots of admin things. Woo.
I learned how to schedule emergency dental appointments. I learned a lot about dental insurance...maybe those are just adult skills...regardless, I can do all of that now, so that's a life win.
I ran 2 miles. It hot.
We unloaded an entire box truck of food. I ran night meal so our head cook could pick up a food order.
The power went out at night and the breaker box to the lights that went out is in a room that we don’t have a key to. So that was fun.
Sunscreen for the win this week. I fell asleep halfway through writing this...so yeah...this message string is a mess.
SBJ Count: 10.
Today was full of children’s olympics at our stadium, shuttling members and equipment to the facility down the road, filing and copying and transferring medical documentation, making ice baths, an intense bleachers workout, and the first full ensemble rehearsal of the season. At one point, I was sent to the wrong location and thought half the Colorguard got kidnapped. Luckily, they didn’t.
It was the most admin work I’ve gotten to do and it was glorious. It's all of the mom things I do with my friends and the lines I march on, but it's my job.
SNBJ count: 11
Today I got to experience the outside world. I made several coffee runs, picked up supplies from Walmart, and a local showed us a Fruteria. They had fresh sliced fruit and squeezed lime juice and chili powder in front of us. It was some of the best stuff I’ve ever had. The mango made me want to cry...it's the little things.
I also did the normal paperwork. I learned how to use Volunteer Match and input requests for every single place we’re traveling to. That was fun. Also, if you're reading this, please get on Volunteer Match and find a Crossmen rehearsal near you. There's an intern out in Texas spending hours of her day typing entries that would probably cry happiness if you came.
I measured a bunch of prop things. I finally used some 7th grade math (shoutout to Mr. Wells) and actually used the Pythagorean Theorem for something I forgot to measure.
We did some research and found out that the coyote/fox thing is actually a mutt of the two animals. It has three baby pups that actually look like kittens. They hide in the holes of the trees but they peek out at night. They’re adorable.
Wake up was 30 minutes later so naturally a couple friends and I stayed up an hour and a half later drumming. It was fun though. I’m getting so much better. I used to be scared of padding out because it normally just turned into a "everyone who is better than Chloe spends an hour trying to fix everything she does weird." And don't get me wrong, I highly appreciate the help a lot of the time, but it also makes it not fun...sometimes I just want to hack some stuff out and not be in a drum lesson. My insecure mindset is slowly (finally) changing. I'm enjoying the playing in the process, not just when its a final product.
I can’t believe tomorrow marks a week. Having so many blocks a day makes it go by soooo slowly. We’ve had 30 blocks so far. It’s insane.
Also, avocados are only 58 cents in Texas. I could buy three avocados for the same price as one at home. I think about this way too often.
SBJ count : 13
I started my day by running up and down every set of stairs in the stadium bleachers. Workouts have been becoming more frequent due to my complete loss of all concept of time. The drum majors and younger admins are trying to make gains this summer. The problem is, I accidentally end up working out multiple times a day because everyone has their own routine. I don't mind.
There are much worse things I could be doing with my speckles of free time throughout the day.
I called many chiropractors. 12 to be exact. I'm learning lots about scheduling random medical appointments.
I did airport pick ups, checkins, and stadium tours for the new arrivals. Lots of members graduated high school this week. Yay them!
I'm starting to come out of my shell with the members and staff. Life talks are fun, especially with this new perspective on the world of music.
Full music block was great, as usual. I still get goosebumps when they do full music runs. This activity is powerful. Of all of the crazy jobs I could be doing right now, there is nothing where I'd get to end my day like I do here. I'm beyond lucky to be surrounded by these people and their music.
I stayed up until 1am walking barefoot on the turf field. Looking up at the stars, I know I'm looking at the same twinkling little dudes I did back in Kentucky. During the day, we're surrounded by Texas wilderness and the whole world seems artificial, but in the end, I'm still living and breathing, but doing life in a new way. My little bubble of who I am is starting to become a part of other people's stories, and theirs in mine. Maybe I overanalyze and maybe I'm overly introspective, but I think it's cool to think about the universal impact of all of life's endeavors. It's humbling, in a sense, to think that I get to go beyond my normal daily sphere and be a part of something bigger.
I think I'm too tired for my own good at this point, so rather than go down some existential rabbit hole, I'll go to bed. Happy Week 1, Crossmen. Thank you for all of the fun friendships and sore muscles and beautiful music.