Friday, February 9, 2007

Day 28: Unexpected Visitors

On February 4, temperatures in the Toledo area were -4 F (-20 C) with windchills of -20 F (-29 C). We got up, dressed in layers and warmed up the car, which started with a little wheeze. Check out time at the hotel was 12 PM.

Because the continental left a little to be desired, we stopped at the local truck stop which offered a generous breakfast buffet until noon. As we sat, Valery went over the two classes he would be teaching. Last summer we had visited the same studio. They had put out a spread of snacks and fruit after class and asked him some questions. He remembered one student in particular as being quite good. She had done a lot of extra study with professional ballet masters. I made a quick call on my cell phone to make sure the Mapquest directions were correct, and left a message on the voice mail.

We had a few hours before the first class, so we went to the local mall. It was a ghost town, anchored with a Sears on one end and an Elder Beerman on the other. In between was one empty storefront after another. As we browsed the Elder Beerman clearance rack, my cell phone started to vibrate.

It was the director of the ballet school. She had completely forgotten she had scheduled classes with us, and didn't have any students lined up. We got back in the car and drove to Detroit.

In the upcoming week, six classes had been canceled on less than a week's notice, none of them because of weather conditions or other such emergencies. We were looking at a week and a half before Valery returned to Russia, and instead of our regular full schedule, we might have only two classes the whole time. I had to get back to work and try to find studios prepared to bring in a teacher from Russia on very short notice.