Your families sound lovely! You are both great citizens and should be commended for fitting into your surroundings so wonderfully. Bravo!
Dan, it's funny you mention the Southern California pageant circuit. I have often admired pageantry from afar and was recently persuaded to become more involved. I was attending the Midwest Little Beauties Pageant at the O'Hare Best Western a few months ago and someone overheard me quietly judging to myself the 3-4 year old contestants on stage. I like to attending these events alone and try to wear nondescript clothing so I can blend into the surroundings. I'm sure you know how many weirdos there are out there and I'd hate to be inadvertently lumped into that category. Over the years through some trial and error and many awkward conversations I found the following outfit to be my best option. I'll list it here just in case either of you decide to join in on the fun:
1) A collared button down shirt with a light colored plaid pattern over white, snugly tucked into your pants. Remembering the idea here is to blend in.
2) Khaki Dockers with a brown leather braided belt. It's best if the belt is one to two sizes too big so you can get the desired amount of belt hang down.
3) Hunter green members only style jacket. London Fog sells a nice fitting version of this at a reasonable price.
4) Off brand white sneakers. Readily available at any Costco.
5) Plain khaki ball cap with no logo (see Mike Rowe Ford commercials).
6) Fake mustache and aviator sunglasses. These are optional but can be really fun to toy around with.
Anyway, as I mentioned I was quietly judging the 3-4 year old contestants near the back corner of the room when someone approached me. The man explained he couldn't help but over hear my (what I thought were) private comments about this particular age group. I quickly began to apologize for being so loud while my adrenaline began to pump in anticipation of running home without looking back. To my surprise this person explained he was one of the pageant organizers and he found my comments to be quite insightful, well measured and most importantly fair. At the break he introduced me to other gentlemen on the judges panel and asked if I would be interested in sitting in on a unofficial basis to judge the 5-6 year old contestants who were about to perform. I agreed, and quietly decided to put my all into this unexpected opportunity.
After the judges awarded the prizes to all the gals, we met privately to compare our notes from the last round. In short, they were impressed. They commented on my technical knowledge and my appreciation of artistry, but they still had some concerns. They wanted to know more about my personal life before they could consider extending me an offer to become an official pageant judge which would give me full "backstage privileges." Thankfully their concerns would soon be put to rest. It was as if I had been preparing my whole life for this moment and in my excitement I began listing all of the following facts about myself which I felt would help make my case as a perfect fit for judging innocent children. These are the qualifications that flew out of my mouth with excitement and at a cadence much faster than my regular speech:
1) I'm a single 35yr old male.
2) I live alone.
3) I work alone.
4) I have an extensive knowledge of video taping and editing equipment.
5) I frequently have long portions of my day where producing an sort of alibi would be incredibly challenging.
6) I have a Costco membership and access to very large bags of candy. Some might say more than any one man could possibly eat by himself.
7) I have soft hands.
8) I have intricate knowledge of the use of spirit gum with regards to it's use in applying fake facial hair.
9) I'm handy.
10) I know how to pull coins out of children's ears.
11) I mastered the knot tying diagrams on the place-mat at Cracker Barrel.
12) I can dig a hole like, really fast!
13) I can be quite charming.
14) Finally, I love pageantry!!!!
Needless to say they were quite impressed and offered me a position on a tryout basis. That being said, I'm 4 months into judging and things are going very well. I'm expecting a full time offer very soon. Please keep your collective fingers crossed for me!
Anyway, I'll wrap it up here. I think it's great we all are doing so well and seem to have each found our life's calling. Stay in touch and I look forward to meeting your daughters... hopefully really soon!
Happy Presidents Day!