Getting My GRIP On.

This summer, I am excited to announce, I will finally be making it to my first-ever extended learning event, the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP). Tension was high in anticipation of the sound of the opening registration bell. It was just like those scenes in the westerns. High noon was almost here. We were all lining up, fingers twitching, ready to jump the second we got the signal. Shopkeepers were closing the shutters, women and children were ushered inside to safety. Someone pleaded for reason to prevail. Okay, maybe it wasn’t quite that dramatic, but close.

Registration opened at noon. At 11:55, my computer locked up. I restarted it, which took until 11:57. At 11:58, the mailman pulled up at the neighbor’s house. Why is this bad? The dog hates the mailman (I know, I know. I’ve tried to tell him it’s cliche). He goes nuts. Nuts was not what I needed in such a pressure-packed moment of peak typing performance. At 11:59, he opened our mailbox. I cringed. But wait..what’s this? The dog didn’t hear him!

DING DING DING! We were off! I jumped in, feverishly typing away. OH NO! My password doesn’t meet the criteria?! I shook it off and entered a complicated one – a risky move under the circumstances. There was no margin for error, but I did it. I thrive on pressure.  I raced through the first page. On the second, I had my browser window side-by-side with my Word document that contained all the answers to the narrative questions. I cut and pasted, pasted and cut, and well..I basically just used the keyboard a lot. And then it was over. One final button to press to see if I would be one of those still standing. I took a breath and pressed it.

I WAS IN! I WAS GOING TO PITTSBURGH! It then occurred to me that while I was going to Pittsburgh, I had no place to stay there. I was so fast at registration, I raced right by the “Do you want a room?” question. Fortunately, the GRIP team was responsive and offered me a shared room. If you’re reading this and are some random dude from Seattle – Hi, I’m your new roommate. Scary thought, I know.

So Advanced Research Methods, here I come. If you are interested in genealogy and have not checked it out, go to the course description and look at all the wonderful things I’ll be learning. Some really great stuff taught by some really great people. And this class is just one of four they are offering this summer. I know I’ll see some of you there. Can’t wait!!

(Chris exits, planning to ride off into the sunset – a fitting western-style end to the show…but then he realizes he’s in Cleveland, and there is no sun. So he basically just gets smaller and fades into the grayness)

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17 Responses to Getting My GRIP On.

  1. avatar Mark says:

    What a great read – thanks for the excitement and entertainment. Have fun in Pittsburgh.

  2. Good for you, Chris! The institute experience is just wonderful, and Tom Jones is outstanding. Wish I could be there too… but I have this minor issue called “working for a living” that prevents me from being everywhere I’d like to be! ENJOY!

  3. avatar Chris Staats says:

    I know what you mean, Judy. That’s why I’ve never gotten to go to Samford or SLIG – it just never quite lined up with my schedule. This one did, yay! The only downside is that I had to give up NGS in Cincinnati. I would have loved to go to both, but only one was do-able.

  4. avatar Jean says:

    I’m extremely happy to say, “See you there!” Your experience sounds a good bit like mine, probably of everyone who got in. I think (hope) my only error was the last digit of my zip code. They even let me fix that. Some folks considered my obsession with registration over the top, but when told that the class filled in five minutes minds were changed.

  5. avatar Shelley says:

    Love it, Chris! I too was poised to attack at the stroke of noon. I zipped through initially but then, at the crucial moment I hit “register,” I got an error message saying that the number of single rooms requested exceeded the inventory. I had to go back to the beginning and do it over with a double room. My heart was pounding and I was sweating bullets, but I made it through. Whew! So congratulations and thanks for this fun post. See you there, classmate!

  6. avatar Chris Staats says:

    Word on the street is that I was the sixth registered person. That tells me that five people were cheating. :D I knew I played all those video games for a reason!

  7. avatar Carla Cegielski says:

    The video games paid off Chris. I was registration number 27. Like you, I fumbled on the password. However, I got into Advanced Research Methods and managed to grab one of those single roomsI

  8. avatar GeekyTexan says:

    Maybe I was one of the ones cheating! I starting hitting Refresh repeatedly at 11:58. I’m registration #5 according to my 12:02 email confirmation! Chris, Jean, Shelley, Carla – see you in class!

  9. avatar Barbara Schenck says:

    Totally in sympathy — and empathy — with your registration process, Chris. I was doing it, too, and fumbling through the password as well. I got in — squeaked in, I expect — as registration #25. Is that #25 for the class — Advanced Methods — or 25 overall? I couldn’t have typed any faster. I’m just glad I typed as fast as I did.

    Looking forward to GRIPitt and to meeting all of those who’ve posted here. I went to NIGR last year and had a fantastic time. Learned a lot. Expect this will be an exhausting and exhilarating week as well.

  10. avatar Wendy says:

    I was #10 – I also flew by the dorm room page without noticing but got one afterwards. Looking forward to it and to meeeting you all.

  11. avatar Eric Stroschein says:

    I am that random dude. Hey didn’t I contact you about your Staats surname?

  12. avatar Chris Staats says:

    HAHA, Eric, that just made a crappy day better! Hello random dude. Yes, you did contact me about the surname a month or so ago. Actually, since I wrote this, more rooms opened up and I took a single room. You’re safe!

  13. avatar Chris Staats says:

    Awesome! I wonder what percentage of the class is represented here in these comments? I just filed my taxes, so soon I can write the check, and get ready to see you all this summer!

  14. avatar Ginger Frere says:

    So funny! and so true. I’m number 21 so see you there!

  15. avatar Cindy Hineman says:

    Loved your description of the process…I did not make the initial list, but got on the wait list and into the Intermediate course. My mistake was editing my narrative!! (even though I did the cut and paste, too!) Never satisfied, some of us writers!!! and I finished at 12:09!!
    I am so keen on immersing totally into the institute experience, (this will be my 5th!) that even though I have family in the area, I will stay in the dorms…I don’t want to miss a moment of sharing my passion, (ie, obsession) with my fellow students!
    Shall we begin a countdown??

  16. Chris, you can add me to your list of classmates. Your registration story was similar to mine only in my case the dog was sitting at the back door giving me that “I gotta go pee” look just at the moment when it was time to register. “Patience is a virtue,” I told her. And I made it into the Advanced Research Methods course as registrant #30! The dog got a nice long walk that afternoon and a new squeaky toy. See you there!

  17. avatar Linda Vert says:

    I felt the same stress Chris, only maybe just a little more, as I was at the FHL in Salt Lake and between the password debacle, and the slower internet I didn’t originally make it into my perferred class. (7 minutes) But… after being wait listed and sweating bullets I got in! Yea! all is good. See everyone in Advanced Methods in July. Can’t wait.