A Great Day, By the Way…

stateLast Tuesday afternoon, my teenage daughter casually said, “By the way, I’m supposed to be at the Utah State Capitol building tomorrow at 9 a.m.”

What kind of a BTW statement is that?

I knew the state legislature was in session…hmmm. Was my daughter leading a secret teenage life as a lobbyist? All those times she claimed to be in her room cleaning her fish tank suddenly seemed suspicious.

Upon probing into the matter I learned my daughter really was cleaning her fish tank when she said she was, and she’d been invited to the capitol to receive recognition for her entry in a state high school art competition.


A day in the big city schmoozing political VIPs as a proud mom was way better than my typical Wednesday gig! Bills and swampy bathrooms could wait.

Early the next morning, my daughter and I headed excitedly into heavy commuter traffic. My daughter didn’t retain many details from the call about this event. All we knew was: capitol building, 9 a.m.

(I hoped this was an actual thing.)

When we arrived I really wished we knew about visitor parking options. We parked somewhere high in “The Avenues” of SLC beyond the barrage of doomsday parking signs, and trekked in skirts and heels toward the majestic Neoclassical revival structure.

When we reached the vast complex I really wished we knew the specific location of this event. We found a map and must’ve looked very lost, cold and impractically dressed while desperately scanning it because a guy with a badge stopped and offered help.

Between shivers I asked, “Do you know where they might hold an awards ceremony somewhere here?” He graciously hid how idiotic that sounded as he admitted he didn’t know, but said he’d lead us where we could hopefully find out. He could’ve been taking us to the state dungeon for stupid people, but we were at his mercy. We entered the grand marble rotunda and luckily found a hostess for our event. Relieved to find out it was an actual thing, we thanked the badged man and followed our hostess to the “Gold Room.”

Oh yeah.

The young artists received accolades from the lieutenant governor and presented their art on the floor during live legislative sessions. Then a senior adviser stopped my daughter in the hall and offered to buy her painting right there.


With a check in hand that would go straight into her college fund, we headed out to celebrate. Our euphoria almost sustained us through the hike back to where I thought we’d parked. When we finally found the car, we beelined to The Cheesecake Factory.

By the way, I did hear from another parent the details of this event were emailed to the students weeks before. When I told my daughter this over lunch she said she’d heard that too. “I never check my email,” she quipped while snarfing cheesecake. Bugged that I almost ended up spending the day scrubbing toilets, I told her she probably shouldn’t give a neglected email address for important correspondences. I told her she could have missed out on an amazing experience and opportunity!

I told her, “By the way, I have no idea where we parked.”

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