Life Experiences: Some Wacky, Some Wonderful

“Who I Am” – Chapter 6

Throughout 2016, I am participating in the “Who I Am” project which is the brainchild of Dana from Kiss My List and Bev from Linkouture.  This month’s topic is: ‘Betcha didn’t know…’.

(You can find all of the other chapters in my “Who I Am” story here.)

Mocadeaux - page breakWe all have some life experiences that stand out in our memory for one reason or another. Wacky, wonderful, life-changing or personality-revealing, these experiences help to illustrate the story of our life.

Please let me share a few “betcha didn’t know” facts about myself.

Over the course of my life, I have moved 25 times.

moving boxes

Witness protection program?

No, just a family that likes adventure and isn’t afraid to try new places.

These different homes include 3 dorm rooms in college, a couple of temporary housing apartments occupied while we waited to move into one house or another and multiple homes in five different states. Each of these moves involved copious amounts of boxes, paper, and tape.

So, yeah, I’m kind of an expert at moving. If you need any advice, I’m your gal.

I’ve been to dinner with Phil Donahue and on a late night Denny’s run with Timothy Leary.

When I was at Notre Dame I was the Comptroller of the Student Union. This very exciting job meant that I paid the bills for all of the Student Union sponsored events, got free admission to these events (making me a very cheap date) and occasionally got to dine with the various celebrities who came to campus.

 

Phil Donahue, Notre Dame alumni, husband of Marlo Thomas, and former talk show host is the person whom Oprah credits with paving the way for Oprah to become OPRAH.

Phil was on campus for a lecture and four or five of us took him out to dinner at a fancy-pants restaurant.

Quite charming, he spent the entire meal asking us about life on campus and seemed particularly interested in how women were assimilating into life at Notre Dame since the school had become co-ed only a few years earlier.

 

Our trip to Denny’s with Timothy Leary, world-renowned proponent of the mind-expanding benefits of LSD, was something different.

I assure you that no LSD was involved but Mr. Leary did bring a bottle of liquor in a paper bag from which he took frequent gulps while enjoying his Grand-Slam Breakfast.

I’m a proud member of the CPA Exam 300 Club.

The CPA exam consists of four parts. The passing score for each part is 75. Those of us in the 300 Club scored exactly 75 points on all four parts meaning that we just barely passed studied precisely the correct amount of time and not one minute too much.

My place of employment has been robbed – twice.

The first time was when I was in high school working at a bookstore in the mall with my sister. One day I was managing the cash register while my sister was in the back room working on inventory.

There were a number of customers in the store and a few in line at the register. As one customer departed, a couple stepped up to the register. She distracted me with questions about a display behind me before I had a chance to close the register drawer. After what seemed like only a few seconds, I turned around to see her accomplice yanking money out of the cash register.

Insanity kicked in. Yelling something like, “What do you think you are doing? Give that back!”, I grabbed the money out of the robber’s hand and the duo ran out of the store.

(Definitely one of the most foolish and unsafe things I’ve ever done and was, in fact, my answer to Coach Daddy’s 6 Word Challenge for June: Tell us about something you did decidedly unsafe – in six words.)

shakedown

The second time, I was working at a bathing suit shop on the beach and noticed a woman stick a couple of string bikinis in her beach bag. This time, I was smart and called the authorities rather than taking matters into my own hands. The police nabbed the woman in the parking lot and – wouldn’t you know – she had a gun in her purse.

I’m not sure that those bikinis were worth risking a charge of armed robbery. Throw in a Speedo or two then maybe…

I volunteered on the committee to bring the 2016 Olympics to Chicago.

Chicago 2016

For a couple of years, I spent hours each week as a volunteer with the Chicago 2016 committee. Without a doubt, this was one of the most rewarding and amazing experiences I have ever had.

I rode the train downtown one or two days per week to work in the office doing everything from making copies to researching international holidays. I helped out at events all over the city including Taste of Chicago and youth fitness events.

I greeted International Olympic Committee members when they came to Chicago for their site visit and stood on the stage near President Obama as the city celebrated making the first cut from Applicant City to Candidate City.

Even as a volunteer, I got to participate in small ways at big events.

I collected a lot of great SWAG and most importantly met lots and lots of incredible people who were all working diligently towards the same goal.

Sadly, the International Olympic Committee decided that the games should, for the first time ever, be held in South America rather than in the greatest city in the greatest country in the world.

Go figure.

So as you are watching the Rio Olympics with all of the talk of Zika and filthy water and crime and power outages, remember the folks who tried really, really hard to bring the 2016 Olympic Games to the good old U.S. of A. Coulda, woulda, shoulda.

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Atlanta

Last weekend Peter and I traveled to Atlanta for a family wedding.

Peter’s folks lived in Atlanta for a number of years. We visited many times including spending a magical two weeks immersing ourselves in the 1996 Olympics.

The last time I was in Atlanta was almost four years ago for the funeral of my beloved Uncle Dick. This time we were back in town for the wedding of one of Uncle Dick’s granddaughters.

We arrived early Friday morning on the red-eye. After a nap, Peter set up in the hotel room to take some conference calls and I headed to the hotel lobby for the free internet.

I spied some giant, comfy white leather chairs and decided to position myself there. Nearby a handful of hotel employees were standing, clearly having a meeting about something.

Then three Atlanta police officers – in full uniform and packing heat – joined the conversation.

Several more hotel security staff – guys talking into their sleeves – and a couple more police arrived, accompanying two businessman type gentlemen.

I was doing my very best to be nonchalant as I craned my ear to hear what the heck was going on.

It turns out that the two businessmen had just been robbed at gunpoint in the 2nd floor men’s room of our hotel – The Ritz Carlton.

Holy Moley! Quite the start to our weekend!

Needless to say, we avoided the public restrooms for the rest of our visit.

Once all the police activity calmed down (and there was nothing more of interest to see in the lobby), Peter and I met up with my cousins for dinner.

After dinner we strolled over to Centennial Park and rode the SkyView ferris wheel.

SkyView Ferris Wheel

Although I don’t love heights, the cars on this attraction are comfortable, solid and air conditioned so I was able to enjoy the ride and the view without getting the vapors. (Please note my use of the very Southern term “the vapors”, used as an homage to the fact that I was in Atlanta.)

Saturday we had time to kill before the evening wedding so we headed back over to Centennial Park, bringing back sweet memories of many, many wonderful hours spent there in 1996.

Centennial Olympic Park

As home to The Georgia Aquarium, The College Football Hall of Fame, The Center for Civil and Human Rights, The Fountain of Rings, The World of Coke and more, the park is really the center hub of attractions in the city.

Taking a vote, we decided that The World of Coke was the perfect place to visit in the limited time we had available. All agreed that we would have to come back to Atlanta to enjoy the other museums at some point.

The highlights of the giant Coca-Cola advertisement that is the World of Coke were the vintage Coke artifacts, the tasting room in which you could taste dozens of Coke products from all over the world and….wait for it….

The safe which contains the one and only copy of the actual secret recipe for Coke.

The Secret Coke Recipe is Inside!

Impressive, right?

All sugared up from tasting Coca-Cola, we headed back to the hotel to get our party clothes on for the wedding.

The ceremony was held at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, known as Atlanta’s Most Historic Church. The story goes that the parish priest, Father Thomas O’Reilly, a good Irish guy who took great care of soldiers from both sides as the Civil War fighting ravaged Atlanta, saved the day with some quick thinking and non-traditional military strategy.

In November of 1864, William T. Sherman ordered his troops to burn down what was left of Atlanta. Learning of this plan, Father O’Reilly appealed to Union Major General Henry Slocum asking that his church and its facilities be spared. Father O’Reilly hinted that the Catholic soldiers might be so offended by being ordered to burn down a church that they might rebel. It worked.

Immaculate Conception Church was spared along with Central Presbyterian, Second Baptist, Trinity Methodist and St. Phillips Episcopal churches. Way to go Father O’Reilly!

Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Reflection of The Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the Georgia State House

The wedding reception was held at the historic Commerce Club at the top of a downtown office building adjacent to our hotel.

My Uncle Dick was a member of the Commerce Club from its inception in 1949 right up until his death. Several longtime members of the staff, remembered Uncle Dick fondly. His presence was definitely felt in the warm and festive atmosphere of the reception.

Sunset view from the Commerce Club

The Sunset View From The Commerce Club

The view and the decorations were lovely, the food was delicious and the music and dancing were epic. At the end of the evening, the beautiful bride and sweet groom were sent off in style under an arch of sparklers.

By the way, the “favor” given to all the guests as we left the reception?  A box of two heart shaped Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Amazing!

On Sunday we all met up for brunch before everyone left town. I headed to Florida where I am spending a few days visiting my mom and step-dad.

I will try to check in during the week but we have a pretty busy schedule of sites to see! Stay tuned….

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