It’s Never Too Late

Pursue your dreams. Reach for the stars. Take a leap of faith. Just do it. You only live once.

I’ve heard them all before. My mind screams with thoughts about following my dreams and accomplishing my goals.  I hear inspirational stories all of the time that get my blood pumping and compel me to do whatever it is that I always wanted to do. Yet, once that flock of enthusiastic goose bumps fades, I don’t move a muscle.

I’ve watched as the Susan Boyles of the world made it happen. I sat in awe of the double amputee performing in the Olympic games. I listened to the 95-year-old college graduate state “it’s what I’ve always wanted to do.” I remain paralyzed.

My heart swells with emotion over the accomplishments of  complete strangers; meanwhile doubts, fear and uncertainty are being pumped into my head preventing me from fulfilling my own. Ah, there really is nothing like curling up with a cozy set of fear & self-doubt. 

What’s holding me back? What am I waiting for? What will everyone think? Am I good enough?

Then it happened. An offer I couldn’t refuse. Fate had entered the building and I was presented with an opportunity to pursue one of my long time dreams. Drum roll please… 

I am officially a Balloon Handler or as I prefer, Latex Engineer in the

Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade! 

What?  You thought I would be climbing a freaking mountain? Please! If I’m climbing, it’s onto a barstool.  Ok, ok so my dream may not be on the grandiose scale of climbing mountains, but the upside to my shortcomings is…my dream is doable.

Thanks to my long time friend, who pleaded repeatedly on her Facebook page for volunteers to represent the SPCA in the parade, I will be on the other end of a 40-foot vinyl Lorax.

If you didn’t already know, the Lorax has been inspiring kids to think and talk about the environment for more than ten years. A match made in heaven, if I do say so myself.

Now, I will admit when I first realized this dream could be a reality, my heart did skip a beat. I didn’t respond immediately because believe it or not, I loathe parades. I know, I know, I know. Just another opportunity for doubt to creep into this over-crowded head. Do I let my dream die over a mere technicality like loathing the venue? Hell no!

As you might imagine, my enthusiasm over this opportunity has been met with mixed reactions. The expression to your right followed by long awkward pauses, high-pitched responses and laughter pretty much sums it up. It was probably due to my OMG! GUESS WHAT I’M GOING TO DO? introduction. 

Hard Core Training Session

I’ve already attended training not practice TRAINING last week, which was a bit of an eye opener.

A woman in our group, who did not appear to be ruler of the free world, felt the need to answer her cell phone while holding the balloon. As if that wasn’t bad enough, during the “clockwise” “counter-clockwise” session there was lets just say….hesitation. Dear Lord I’m in Mr. Kotter’s class!  

I’m praying confident they’ll pull it together on the big day. Feel free to throw a Hail Mary’s this way …  just in case.

Since the training, several emails have been sent with additional instructions. One in particular titled ABSOLUTELY NO EARMUFFS!! left me baffled. Confession: The all caps and double explication points had me laughing out loud.  It remains a mystery as to why the EARMUFFS are banished from the parade, but if I’m being honest, it makes me want to wear them even more.

Now that we’re getting down to the wire, I received my “BALLOON HANDER JOB DESCRIPTION” it was written exactly as it appears. Let me just say, in case there were any doubts, Latex Engineer will be added to my resume. It’s much more complex than you imagine…trust me. 

So while everyone is gathered around the table this Thanksgiving expressing their gratitude for the years bounty, I will be coming down from my high after a stellar performance at the 92nd annual Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Living the dream and Enjoying the Ride!

36 responses

  1. Congrats! Make sure you post some pics after the parade.

  2. free penny press | Reply

    Ah, that sounds freaking awesome.. seriously.. First, I love parades but you will actually be a “latex engineer”.. Tres’ Cool.. Is it televised? I would so watch!!!

    1. Thank you! Yes, it is televised. It’s actually a very historic parade and apparently a big deal.

      1. I’ll have to watch the telly that day and hope I see you 🙂

  3. I’m just trying to imagine my response if I were interviewing someone with Latex Engineer on their resume. Congratulations and have fun (and wear those earmuffs)!

    1. Hahahahaha! Exactly! The curiosity alone is a guaranteed interview.

  4. Oh this is wonderful. We are the same person! I love the Lorax. I actually know it by heart and I am not making it up. “At the far end of town where the grickle-grass grows and the wind smells slow and sour when it blows …” My niece and nephew loved that book, and I read it to them every time for years.


    1. Omg! Isn’t he just the coolest ever? I thought it was so appropriate considering my plight to save the wooded area near my house this Summer….we are indeed one!

  5. Congratulations! Years ago, a friend of mine attended clown academy so she could be a clown in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Latex Engineer is so much cooler! xoM

    1. I thought of clown college, but was scared at the thought of not graduating. Hahaha Latex Engineer is so official.

  6. Go Latex! You can cross it off your bucket list! Woohoo!

    1. Hahahaha! I thought I was too young for a bucket list, until I did the math.

  7. You’ll be livin’ the Thanksgiving dream, Lisa. Good luck, have fun and above all let me know what a balloon holder come latex engineer actually does. I have visions of lots of rubber gloves. We don’t give Thanks here so you have me intrigued

  8. Congratulations! It does sound like a dream job.
    There is no Mr. Kotter’s class with out Vinnie Barbarino (aka: John Travolta). Was he adorable?

    1. If Vinnie was there, believe me when I tell you, that would have been a whole other post.

  9. Congratulations! The Lorax is so perfect for you, Erin Brockovich!
    Please find out why earmuffs are banished from the parade. It’s going to drive me crazy! Every time I meet anyone who’s been in a parade I’ll ask them in hushed tones “Did they let you wear earmuffs? Did they let you wear earmuffs?”

    1. Oh, I will find out…IT’S KILLING ME!

  10. I’m going to take a moment to say, “HUZZAH!” Congratulations!!!

  11. I’m so happy for you! Enjoy every minute of it! Sophia is going to the parade, I’m going to give her earmuffs so she can run over to you & stick them on your head 🙂
    My dream is to decorate the Christmas tree at the White House, now that you’re The latex engineer, maybe you could make that happen…

    1. I love your dream!! That would be so amazing. I’ll see what I can do….lol

  12. Deliberately Delicious | Reply

    Latex Engineer! So funny! You go, girl!

  13. Congratulations! I am sooooo envious. I always wanted to be a Latex Engineer!
    I love your ending – “living the dream and enjoying the ride.” Perfect. This is a precious post worth saving for posterity. In my book, you are a big winner and for fun, I would wear the earmuffs just to see what would happen. P.S. I will be watching the parade and looking for you under the latex. 🙂

    1. I want to wear the earmuffs sooooo bad, just to see if the earmuff police show up. Thanks, I am excited.

  14. Congrats – I have been in 3 parades in my life! I was in the Santa Claus parade & the Red River Exhibition parade as a cheerleader for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. We marched & twirled batons. I was also a clown in the Buffalo BBQ parade & was filmed as part of the parade for the local news. I also handled balloons in this parade, but not the blown up kind. BTW – I’m afraid to tell you what came to my mind when I read the title of “Latex Engineer” – think Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, “I’m a safety girl!”

    1. Hahahahah! I thought of Pretty Woman, that is so funny.

      Clearly you are famous in the world of parades! It’s an honor to have you comment.

  15. Congratulations! Sounds like you’re gonna have fun. I plan to narrate this next week, since its Thanksgiving.

  16. Very cool!!! Send pictures! Wish I could watch on t.v., I would cheer for your balloon, and proudly boast that I know a latex handler!! Congratulations, really, I think this is great!

  17. I’m dying over here. First of all, those pictures, the woman on the bike and Petie with drops in his eyes. Too funny. I have visions of you being hoisted by mistake up one of those giant ropes. I’m versed because of Macy’s, I had to be a snowflake once on the Santa float. I looked more like a Playboy bunny in white but it paid well. I do think it’s uncanny that after what happened in your neighborhood that you’d be working an environmental float. All giggles aside, I think it’s great. Hope you take some pictures to share.

    1. I’m dying! I can totally see you being a snowflake…so elegant. The Lorax protects ironic is that? Not to mention we are representing the SPCA! Don’t worry there will be plenty of pictures.

      1. Anything for a buck. I do think it’s uncanny that’s the balloon you’ll be harboring. God has a sense of humor, doesn’t he?

  18. This is wonderful. I am sure, you are going to have a great time. Live your dreams, and please do not forget to share some of those pictures of that parade. SO that we too can get a glimpse of that. 🙂

  19. This made me laugh. Glad I just found your blog. The ear muffs, classic.

  20. […] suspense is over folks! The Oscar goes to Life With The Top Down for her stellar performance as a balloon handler in Philadelphia’s 93rd annual Thanksgiving […]

  21. Congratulations on your balloon handling! My hats off to you! I narrated Its Never Too Late,

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