This past Saturday, in the midst of our town’s nationally recognized and beloved parade, we decided to leave town. Because, when you’re searching for adventure and memories, it’s best to look for the more expensive version of good times inconveniently located hours outside of your own backyard. It’s the time honored tradition of knowing better and doing it anyway. Spend mo’ money. Have mo’ fun. Or, exactly the opposite.
Everyone loves to spend money they don’t have on stuff they don’t need in search of creating memories that rarely last. It’s the American way. So, full of the hope of providing cherished childhood recollections and relying on AAA discounts, we made our way North.
We’d driven about fifty miles when the car started rumbling like the introduction to a monster truck rally. Excellent. After a quick stop just long enough to wake all of our sleeping children, we determined that it was clear cut case of OurCarisaPieceofShititis. There was no immediate cure. We would have to ride this out for the remaining 2 hours with plenty of time to think about upgrading to a limousine, simply for the privacy glass, as the kids began the world’s longest game of, “Are we there yet?”.
It was sometime between the 35,000th explanation of amusement park height requirements that I played my own game of punch buggy and knocked myself unconscious.
When I arose, we were in the Motel parking lot. The best thing about Motels is that you set your standards really low and are still somehow disappointed. This year, we arrived to find the on-site playground had removed the slide, stairs and floor to the play structure. They did leave a huge amount of splintered wood for the kids to play with though which, I think we all can agree, was a classy move.
The thing the kids loved best about our stay was the phone in the room. They really enjoyed seeing how humans used to communicate before we all just talked into computer screens. When life hands you obsolete telecommunication devices, make history lesson lemonade. After their fortieth call to the front desk, “Which side do you talk into? Do you hang the cord around your neck so the phone doesn’t fall? Can we call China? Can we call grandpa?”, they disconnected our line.
The next morning, we made our way to the amusement park. “ARE YOU READY TO RUMMMMMMMMMBLLLLLLLLE?” If I’m being honest (which I must, the power of BPM compels me), my husband and I spent the first 15 minutes in the parking lot debating about whether or not to say the 3 year old was 2 to secure free admission. Yes, it’s totally wrong. It’s stealing. It’s lying. There is no Robin Hood justification. We finally decided against it at the entry. I could not bring myself to start a one woman show to distract the children from our thievery, “Oh look kids, a bird! Oh look, an ice cream cone on the ground! Oh look, a wallet someone dropped that your dad and I will obviously return because despite this momentary lapse in judgment, we are honest, law abiding citizens! Promise!”. Besides, $29.99 was just too low a price to sell my self-respect. For a $60 ticket? Let’s talk.
It started off great with the everyone running in separate directions and my tampons flying out of my purse next to the park mascot, a talking tree. I felt a little bit awkward with the cardboard applicators, but, thank you tree for your service. Your body gives us important things.
Honey Badger, our 3 year old, immediately found a lovely older woman who decided to volunteer her time handing out park stickers to the visiting children. You had to enter a giant shoe, request a sticker and walk out. Unless you are Honey Badger, then you walk the loop until someone lies to you and tells you they are all out of stickers. “Mama, I think that old lady is telling the lies!”
Sooner or later, every adult at an amusement park has to tell, “the lies”.
1) The park is all out of cotton candy
2) We can’t have THOSE Icees because they dumped poison into them. That’s why they’re green.
3) There is plenty of steering wheel for you both to share it.
4) Aren’t we all having the BEST TIME EVER? I know I am!
5) The park closes at 3:30 p.m., those other people staying are breaking the rules.
After six hours, we were done. Crawling through the desert in search of an oasis done. Someone please cut off my feet because they are now just bloody stumps of regret done. Are you going to eat that churro you found on the ground? done.
Long story short, it was the best almost $600 we couldn’t possibly afford that we never should have spent. I can’t wait to do it again next year.