Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Goin' To The Far (you have to say it out loud, like Bob Loblaw)

Statistically speaking (ugh; you know it's going to be bad when the first word is "Statistically"; it's like reading an essay that begins "Webster's Dictionary defines . . ." Aaahhhh! High school flashbacks!)

Ahem. Statistically speaking, if there are 52 weekends in a year, and you have a 4 bazillion things to do, then you should have a bazillion/13 things to do each weekend. (There's math in there, so be careful. Re-read it if you have to.)

In real life, though, it doesn't work out that way. Sometimes the stars align just right to provide you with a perfect, thing-to-do-less weekend. Birds sing, children play, various sports thingys are watched on TV or played in the yard (snicker).

Of course, in order for that to happen, there also must be an opposite member at the other end of the line. There must exist a weekend so concentrated with events that to-do lists begin to crumple in on themselves. Eventually, there is an event-event horizon, and even the strongest RSVP's cannot escape.

Once weekends like this begin to form, they attract even more events. Birthday party invitations begin to pour in, previously postponed soccer games are rescheduled, additional meetings are called. By Thursday, you're afraid to answer the phone; mail stays in the mailbox; you don't answer the door.

This past weekend was one of those.

Friday: Dinner with friends. Of course, in 4boydom, this means dropping off said boys with someone responsible. Get off work at 5, be in car by 5:05 (it's good to work at home, I must say). The original plan was to have the brood to my parents' house at 6 and be at the restaurant at 6:30. But Adam bit the apple and caused traffic, so it looked like our house of cards was going to collapse at around 5:30 on Friday. Not a way to begin a packed weekend.

Note to kids: be nice to your parents. Honor them, obey them, feign polite interest when they tell you things. If you are good (or if they are very benevolent and forgiving and/or forgetful), they will meet you at the restaurant at 6:15 and pick up your children so that you don't have to spend an extra hour in the car and re-arrange dinner reservations. (Thanks Mom & Dad!)

After dinner with our friends and an hour at Starbucks drinking coffee and laughing about our children while avoiding actually going back to them, we all headed our separate ways. Since a simple majority (50%+1) of our Saturday events were in Cumming, my wife and I stayed at my parent's house.

One would think that a night in a king-sized bed in a sound-proofed basement apartment 2 floors away from our kids would be relaxing. Not so. My wife does not sleep well anywhere but her own bed. And since I'm not allowed to sleep if my wife doesn't, this technically counted as an event and not as rest.

Saturday: Oh! what were we thinking? I had a meeting at 8:30 AM in Marietta, precipitating a long, early drive. There were doughnuts, however, so it wasn't a total wash.

Also, due to the fact that Tammy remnants were still overhead on Friday, we figured that Stephen's Saturday soccer game would be cancelled. It was not, so my wife had to drive all the way back to Tucker for the game. We won, 12-2; Stephen made a goal. w00t!

By 1 PM, we were all back together in Cumming, although now we were at my wife's parents' house. Change of venue, and all that. The event was the First Birthday party for Margaret (sister of Frances and Charlotte).

Since dinner (and therefore the party) wasn't until 6, we had plenty of time for what was apparently the real main event: The Cumming County Fair and Festival (link not permanent).

Shudder. Suffice it to say, I was over-dressed and under-tattooed. Okay, that's not fair. I'm sure Cumming locals would feel equally out of place at the Decatur Wine Tasting Festival or Film Festival. Cough.

Due to a sudden influx of sanity, I only took Timothy and Stephen. A good time was had by all, except for Stephen, who cried a lot. The boys played Skee-ball, and both cried when they didn't get a prize. I tried to explain rigged games to them, to no avail. I probably should have attempted the explanation farther away from the carny, who gave me evil looks.

While Stephen wanted to do everything (including the hot tub sales booth [?]), Timothy had eyes for only one thing: The Pirate. Very similar to the old Flying Dutchman at Six Flags, this ride is a ship that swings back and forth, never quite going over. I hated that ride when I was a kid, and I wasn't looking forward to riding it this past weekend. I tried several dodges and distractions, to no avail.

So we rode it.

Side note, not all carnies are evil. This was a 4-ticket ($3.33) ride, and Timothy was not tall enough to ride it by himself, so I had to go too. An 8-ticket ride, and we only had 7 tickets. When I turned around to explain this to Timothy, tears were already rolling down his cheeks. I heard the carny yell over the ridiculously loud Def Leppard background music that seems endemic to fairs (sorry Kevin), "How many tickets do you have?"

"Seven!" I yelled back. He nodded, took our tickets, and let us on. My boy was ecstatic.

The ride started, and Timothy was fine for the first few swings. He was smiling, the boat was swinging back and forth. The Def Leppard song switched to Pink Floyd. I was explaining to my son about the humongous tires that were below the boat, pushing it higher each time we came back through. Joy, rock, and geekiness; all was good for about 10 seconds.

Then we got airborne.

I remember it vividly. My nerd lecture had moved on from ride mechanics to actual, Physics mechanics and I was saying to Timothy, "This is called free-fall, blah blah . . . astronauts . . . blah, blah." As I said this, we did hit free-fall, and the boy's face went from a huge smile to an even more huge grimace.

His cheeks bulged, and I waited for the onslaught. I had noticed the copious drainage holes in the seats and the shiny metal decking on the steps to the ride. I knew what they were for, but my feeling was that I was about to get a lesson in the difference between knowledge and appreciation.

[begin hyberbole] Luckily, he had been at my wife's parents' house, so he hadn't eaten in about 12 hours. If he had been at my parents' house, his stomach would have been full from the candy they would have thrown at the car as we drove away in an effort to supplement what had been shoved into pockets on the way out the door. [end hyperbole]

Thankfully, blessedly, he did not throw up. He did not smile again, either, until after the ride was through. Then he went and told Stephen how awesome the ride was! Kids.

A few more kiddie rides for Stephen (thanks to the generosity of my excellent brothers- and sister-in-law), a quick trip down the tasteless Titanic inflatable slide, and several thousand more exclamations of "Don't touch that!" and we were ready to go.

Good bye conveniently placed Lotto machine. Good bye thong store. Good bye Brian Ruth "Master of the Chainsaw"(whom we did not see). Good bye deathtrap ride playing Steve Miller band at defeaning volumes (I think they do that to mask the metal fatigue sounds). Good bye sickly petting zoo animals. We'll most likely be back next year.

Note: we did not take Jonah to the The Cumming County Fair and Festival. Doing so would be like taking a bull to a china shop. Well, not really. More like taking a bull to a place where there were lots of other wild animals, and where said bull would be very unlikely to hold onto his dad's hand as well as being very likely to get lost and/or pitch screaming tantrums.

Not that he minded. When we got back, he was singing this song: "If you're happy and you know it, fight some bad guys!" (dance around, kicking and punching).


At 10:56 AM, Blogger Becki said...

What a hoot! I wish I had been there! :) Mom


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