Sunday, March 14, 2010

I Shouldn't be Allowed to go Anywhere Alone!

Yesterday I learned that it's a really good thing that I'm married. Not only do I have a terrible sense of direction, but I also have no common sense. Luckily, Luke has a great sense of direction and a lot more common sense than I do. It's kind of fun in marriage when your spouse can make up for the things that you are bad at, or vice versa.

Anyway, back to my story. I had the privilege of being a Destination Imagination appraiser at Youngstown State University yesterday. It's hard to explain what DI is, but I'll quickly explain that my role in yesterday's tournament was to work at the Instant Challenge. During the Instant Challenge, teams of middle-schoolers had 7 minutes to complete a seemingly impossible task (I'm not allowed to mention what that task was! It's TOP SECRET information!!) My job was to rate them on how well they completed the task, and on their teamwork. It was a GREAT day! We, as in the four appraisers in our room, tried to complete the task once at the beginning of the day so we could work out any kinks in our judging, and WE couldn't even solve it! So that just shows you how amazing some of these middle schoolers were. Anyway, this is all not pertinent to my story, so I will move on.

I had only ever been to Youngstown State University maybe one time before yesterday, and I'd never driven to Youngstown myself. Luckily I was able to use a GPS to get me there. I was following this thing so closely, it could have led me straight into a lake, and I would have followed it. I can confidently say that I would not have made it to YSU without this trusty device.

When I finally made it on campus I realized that not only did I have noooo idea where my building was, but I also had nooo idea where to park. I drove around and found a little parking lot very quickly, and was very proud of myself for a moment. Unfortunately, the parking lot attendant told me that only the heads of the DI competition were allowed to park in that lot. The bad news is that I had to find another place to park. The good news is that if the head DI officials were supposed to park there, it HAD to be close to the building where the competition was taking place. The friendly attendant gave me specific instructions on where the parking deck was. I smiled and thanked him and went on my way. Unfortunately, as soon as I left the parking lot, I forgot where he had said the parking deck was. My listening skills could use a little work.

I drove around trying to find this parking deck. I weaved in and out of back roads, trying to decide what to do and where it was. I was starting to panic, when I found a parking deck across the street. I breathed a sigh of relief, and although it seemed quite far from where I thought the competition was being held, I was so happy to have found it, I just paid my $5 and parked there. One small mission accomplished.

However, once I got all of my supplies out of my truck, shut off the lights, hid the GPS in the center console, and locked my doors, the real problem began: How the heck do I get out of this parking deck?!

Seriously, had I not just pulled my car in thirty seconds earlier?! I couldn't tell if I should be going up or down, left or right, forward or backwards. I got out, and inevitably went the wrong way. I walked around for about three minutes and still could not find the exit! I felt like I was a rat in a maze! Not to mention, at this point I only had seven minutes to get to the check in area at the competition. Panic was setting in. Finally, I saw a woman get out of her car, and secretly stalked her to the exit. Am I the first person to ever get lost leaving a parking deck?! On foot?

Once out of the parking deck, I had a whole new problem. Where in the world is the DI check-in building?! My only clue was that it had to be close to the original parking lot where I had tried to park. I headed toward the first parking lot in the foggy drizzle. I was pretty much running at this point. My poor freshly-straightened hair was becoming damp and would inevitably curl and frizz out, so I was distressed. And I was asking myself why in the WORLD I had decided to wear my mary janes with the high, high heels?!

I finally came up to the original parking lot, still not even sure if I was headed in the right direction. It seemed like there was not another soul on campus at that moment. Where was everyone?? I desparately needed to ask someone for directions to Kilcawley Center. Right when I was about to burst into tears I saw it. By this time I was five minutes late, and pretty much having a panic attack (I HATE being late for things like this!!) But I had made it. I signed it and had to find yet another building where I would be judging. Thank goodness someone from the school where I work spotted me in the lobby and showed me to the other building. Who knows where I would have ended up had I not found her!

Anyway, I learned that I am practically incompetent when it comes to finding my way around unfamiliar places. I also learned that I panic A LOT when I can't find my way around unfamiliar places. It gave me a whole new appreciation for Luke.

After that whole fiasco, the day was great :-) Like a nerd, I snapped a picture in the bathroom after I changed into the free t-shirt that all the appraisers got (I forgot we would be wearing t-shirts. I wouldn't have worn my mary janes if I had remembered that little fact).
Somehow I miraculously remembered how to get back to my car after I left the building where I was judging seven hours later. I didn't even get lost in the parking deck this time, and pretty much found the truck right away. The day was ugly, but I was in a pretty good mood anyway, and snapped some pictures on my peaceful walk back at the end of the afternoon.

Here is a cute little fire hydrant I spotted outside Kilcawley Center
And I passed the Butler Art Institute on the way to the parking deck. If I hadn't been so tired with sore, sore feet and frizzy hair from the damp air, I might have thought about going inside :-) It was beautiful on the outside, and this picture does not do it justice.
Although it was a little scary being all alone in a new city, it was a great day! It made me feel a little more independent since I survived it without too many major problems, and it gave me a new appreciation for Luke's great sense of direction and navigational skills :-)


  1. I am so directionally-challenged it's not funny. Hubby bought me a GPS for Christmas because he can't be with me all the time! The sad thing is, my mom & brother are just as bad as I am...
    I can totally relate to you girl!

  2. I tend to remember things by landmarks, rather than actual directions. So it takes me a while to get used to new towns!! :)

  3. I am right there with you! I don't even remember landmarks!


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