Thursday, January 17, 2013

Spoiler: The Tornado Didn't Kill Us

April 2010. St. Louis, well, Collinsville.  We were having lunch at a Denny's before Sydney's dance competition. The sky was growing dark, but we only had to go across the street.  Fia and the boys were at my mother-in-law's house. Emily was in St. Louis at the City Museum with her aunt. My stepdaughter, Melissa, was with us, as was, of course, Sydney.

We drove across the street to the Gateway Center. Once we got out of the car, the sirens started. Tornado sirens. The sky was...angry. We were herded into the building by security guards. The girls were starting to panic a bit. They filed us into rooms, kitchens, maybe for the convention center - behind the convention/meeting rooms. We'll ignore the fact that these were nothing more than aluminum rooms, with nothing but garage doors protecting us from the approaching tornado because once we got settled into our spots, we kind of forgot that we were under a tornado warning.

Now, anyone who has ever seen a dance recital, competition, or that show... has seen the costumes. So, when I make this next statement you'll understand the severity of my laughter. I saw some people..some younger kids, some that looked a little old to be in a dance competition in...costumes. Really inappropriate costumes. Like...leather underwear, with a lion tail...and a studded bra top..and belly rolls hanging out. I thought..not only is that one crazy-ass studio owner who chose those costumes, but that girl is out of shape to be a dancer. And then I saw more. And more. I hadn't yet perfected the art of secret picture taking, so I only got one back there in our "shelter" and I can't find it.

Little did I know...they LOVED having their picture taken. In fact, they encouraged it. And, yes, we were probably out of the shelter for an hour before I finally figured out, the center had booked an Anime convention AND a dance competition on the same weekend.

It was quite the weekend. There was security put in place (because they kept trying to come into our dressing rooms and the room where they were performing.) Our hotel offered us a free stay because...well, they were quite a riot. Doors were taken off hinges, toilets broken... and leaving the convention center that first night, I had to cover my kids' eyes because, well, get a room, people.

However, it was definitely one of the more memorable competitions we've ever been to. Unfortunately? we'll miss them by a week this year.

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