Sunday, October 28, 2007

worlds of fun

Warning: This is a stinking long post. If I weren't doing Fun Monday tomorrow, I would break it up into two parts, but I am so I won't. And if I wait until Tuesday no one will give a fig about our adventure, so I'm doing it now. (Like anyone really cares now. Riight...)

Consider yourselves warned.

Like most everything else in my life, the amusement park trip was both more and less what I expected. Some things turned out pretty much the way I thought they would, some things turned out better and some things...are just the way my family does things.

The first indication that Control Freak Mom was asleep at the switch was when my friend Stacey, whose family we were going with, called me and said Jules, did you notice that they don't even open until 6 pm today? Somehow, in our zeal to pick the kids up right after school and head out, we had missed that little fact. Quick juggling ensued and a new plan was formulated. We are undisputed Queens of Complicated Logistics, a fact I would like noted on my headstone.

By the time all the kids were home and ready to go, we were already in a state of agitation. Sasquatch had walked in the door with a few friends, even though I had told him to be ready to leave as soon as he got home from school. I made his friends leave, which made him mad and I got a patented Sasquatch tantrum to elevate my blood pressure. (I'm such a big bad mom. I even drove them home, for god's sake). Then Gumby and Surfer Dude were disappointed that we weren't heading right out. They got over it, but they were buzzing they were so excited. Anyone in their range got zapped with static electricity.

Then there was the Film Geek. I had been a little skeptical when he said he was planning to go with us. He had a very busy weekend planned - a model show he was trying to get something ready for, students shooting projects that he had to supervise, and, as the day unfolded, a festering political situation at work that got uglier by the moment, and that he, of course, had been sucked into. He spent the day alternating between the studio with his model and sitting on the computer or cell phone raging about the problem at work. I was asked to read and comment on emails. Department heads were tracked down and roped in. He was, to put it mildly, livid.

Now I love my husband dearly, but there is something about him that has driven me crazy since our second date and really has never changed. The man is late for everything. Everything. When he dies and the mourners are assembled, the car carrying his body will go to the wrong place and we will all sit there for hours waiting for him to show up. And I will not be surprised in the slightest. (I've been predicting it for years, as a matter of fact). His sense of timing has been the single most contributing factor to arguments in our married life because I am a human alarm clock and think it is unspeakably rude to keep people waiting. He thinks I need to lighten up a little bit and, in his words, "take my pack off." He has also, with very few exceptions, managed to end up in work situations where he can get away with it. It infuriates me, but I've learned to work around it. I don't see much change in his future, but I do see a lot of Maalox in mine.

You may be wondering when the hell we're getting to the amusement park stuff. And here's my answer. There's a reason why all the road trip movies like National Lampoon's Vacation and all the others of that ilk start with the planning of the trip. Because the mood you're in when you actually sit your butt in the car to leave is huge. (The mood. And my butt, but that's another post). And affects everything if you let it. If you let it. Do I need to tell you that in my family we let it? Do I really?

I won't bore you with the details, but by the time everyone in my family was in the car and on the way, tempers were hot. I had been screaming and running herd on the whole motley crew. Sasquatch was being dropped off to ride with Stacey, since her son is one of his closest friends. Stacey was in a small state herself, since the plans had changed so many times in the course of the week and she's anal like me (though on a much smaller scale). On the way to drop him off (already late), FG realized he had to go by work, but when we swung (out of the way) for him to do this he realized that he didn't have his work keys (do NOT get me started), and that the only person who could unlock the door for him was the person the entire political brouhaha was about, who was leaving out the back door as we pulled up. He opted not to, but was ticked off. I kept checking my watch and imaging Stacey pacing in her living room waiting for us and I was ticked off. Sasquatch was ticked off in the backseat because I had dragged him out of the house without giving him time to burn a CD for he and Evan to listen to, which meant that they would now have to watch The Princess Diaries (or something like it) with Evan's younger sister and her friend all the way to the park. (And since when do kids need entertainment in the car driving to be entertained?) Gumby and SD were happy about life in general and not ticked about anything. (Never fear. This will change).

And so, tempers high and adrenaline soaring, we hit the highway.

For anyone who needs a bathroom break, this is the ideal place to stop - Installment Style. You could even, if you can't stand anymore, walk away now and come back tomorrow to finish up. Of course then you'd be behind because of Fun Monday, so I don't know what to tell you. It's your own fault for encouraging my diarrhea of the mouth. Who was it who said "I would've written a shorter letter, but I didn't have time"? It wasn't me, but it could have been. It's all in the editing. And the meticulous attention to detail. And the time and desire to do both.Where was I? Oh, yes...

By the time we got to the park we had somehow crossed the line into happy mode. (Maybe it was my husband saying, only half jokingly, After all the money we're spending on this you'd better have fun, damn it!) As we bypassed the admission lines (thanks to mom thinking ahead and buying tickets on line), we were starting to feel positively giddy. For a minute there we looked (minus Sasquatch who was, as figured, with Evan) like a glossy poster for happy amusement park attendees. Freeze this moment in your mind. Now start your stopwatches.

We hit trouble immediately, on the very first ride. It was a low-level roller coaster, not one of the twisty mammoths but not a kiddie ride either. SD saw it and wanted to go on it immediately. We got in line. Gumby refused to go on. SD gave him grief, but he wouldn't budge. He stood and watched as we got on. It was a four person car, two on each side facing each other. The cars ran along the track, going up and down hills and curves. The twist was that the cars themselves spun around in circles while they were running the track. FG and SD were on one side and I was facing them on the other. Everything was fine until the safety bars clicked and the cars lurched forward. At that exact point my youngest child's face morphed into a cross between Linda Blair in The Exorcist and Edvard Munch's The Scream. I spent the whole ride spinning in circles and shouting Are You Okay? SURFER DUDE! ARE YOU OKAY??

He was okay, he just wasn't okay. He stumbled off the ride, his King Of Roller Coaster Rides crown tarnished after one wearing and swore not to set foot on a fast ride until...never. Gumby was relatively nice about it, although he did say it was too bad that SD wasn't as brave as he thought he would be on the roller coasters. Then he asked if we could go through the Haunted House right next door, since he had been looking forward to the Haunted Houses like SD had been looking forward to the roller coasters. So we did. As we approached the sign that warned that this wasn't appropriate for kids under fourteen, my ten and eleven year olds scoffed loudly.

Then we went through the Haunted House. Could we just say that at the end no one was scoffing? (I was laughing hysterically at the sight of the FG screaming like a little girl when a really loud vampire jumped out of a dark corner at him until a nasty little werewolf snuck up on me and took three years off my life). I will carry with me for a long time the vision of Gumby being chased in circles by a demented bloody clown with a shovel. As we walked away from the ghouls, Gumby pitched his Haunted House crown into the discard pile that already contained SD's roller coaster crown. He summed it up pretty aptly - That's It. I'm Done.

So - neither one would go on either one. But...there wasn't much else to choose from, so from then on we improvised. The FG and I went on this

which was really a lot of fun. His vertigo was nowhere to be found, so we hit a couple of other fast rides while the kids ate dinner and sat with Stacey. I kept trying to get the two younger guys over to the more age appropriate attractions, but they didn't want to feel like they were on the "baby rides." It didn't matter how many times I told them they weren't "baby" rides - they wouldn't budge. Then we had a major meltdown from SD saying that this was the worst day of his life because there was "nothing to do" and that he was "bored to death." Sasquatch got all over him, saying he couldn't believe that SD could ruin this for everyone. (The sound you hear is me choking to death on an irony overdose). Even Gumby got mad at SD and for a brief moment it looked like we would be heading home a scant two hours after we arrived.

Then the FG said we should split up and he took the younger two and went to the smaller kid section (over their violent protests), where (of course) they had a blast. I went on all the big coasters with Sasquatch and Evan and had a blast. It was the best time we have had with each other in a long, long time. I had forgotten how much I've always adored roller coasters. There were virtually no lines, the temperature was cool but very comfortable, the moon was full and the entire park was filled with smoke from the smoke machines. As we climbed coaster hills higher and higher we were in smoke clouds and couldn't even see the ground. As the last ride of the night Sasquatch talked me into going on the ride in the video above in the very front seat, which will go down as one of the more unpleasant sixty seconds of my life, but it felt nice to share my terror with my teenager. The fact that he was screaming with me instead of at me was a big improvement on the norm.

By the time we hooked up with the rest of my family it was almost eleven and we were all ready to call it a day. Stacey and her group had already left. We got in our car, wrapped the kids in blankets and headed home. The kids were going on and on about how much fun they had had. The FG and I had faced death together on an inverted loop and come out on the other end still alive, which made us happy with each other. It was all good.

As we turned on the car, this song was on the radio

And you know what? I think that about covered it.


Kaycie said...

Woo hoo! A good time was (finally) had by all.

That's a great park, isn't it? I miss being so close to it.

Kimberly said...

Amazing, amazing, how much life can be crammed into one mere day.

I love that song with a fierce passion.

Altaglow said...

I always think of the song as the last thing that happened with Seinfeld. Great song. also sounds like parents between them managed to come up with a good night for all involved. How could it be better?

Much love!

laurie said...

gosh, that wasn't too long! you just got wound up and it was over! i could have read twice as much.

i loved it. i love your details--the bliss of having Sasquatch screaming with you instead of at you, the sullen "i'm bored and there's nothing to do" in the middle of the world's biggest amusement park...

it sounds like hell! i hate rides! but i'm glad you all had a great time. because clearly you did.

ped crossing said...

You survived and created great memories. It was a success. Yeah, you!

Thalia's Child said...

Wow. Sounds like in the end it all worked out, but... what a roller coaster ride? (pun veryintended)

Willowtree said...

Sounds like fun (except for having to take the kids along).

Amy said...

Sounds about right. That roller coaster looks SO FUN! I'm glad your day ended nicely.

pursegirl said...

I can't believe you rode the "feet hanging down" roller coaster! You are brave. Just think of how much longer this post would have been if our family was added to the mix. I'm glad you all had fun in the end.

Anonymous said...

Great read, RC! The kids were kids and you were a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing it with us. Quite liked the sound of the haunted house! Although ghosties aren't always creepy!

Crystal xx

Anonymous said...

Love this post, love the song, what a perfect way to end the day. Despite the ups and downs (literally) the overall day will go down in the family memory banks as a keeper. Wonderful!!! We need to do more of this family fun stuff, even if the stress getting to that point kills us, ha.

my two cents said...

Glad you had such a nice time, in the end. Why does it have to be so hard to get there though? I'm with FG on these things...they cost WAAAAY too much money for everyone NOT to have a good time. Which is why my husband never goes when we go to Disneyland. I have to say even watching the video of the roller coasters makes me sick. One more thing...Do you remember our first trip to Disneyland??? Still hunts me, but every now and then I'll take the kids there over spring break. I'm all for baby rides, myself.

ciara said...

i absolutely ABHOR amusement parks. it wasn't always that way. when i was young to late teens i liked them....then i grew up and had kids lol my kids, with the exception of my 20 yr old, loves em. then, the more i hear or read about kids/adults getting killed on different rides (like about 5 of them just this spring) it makes me more nervous...those lovely parks don't have to be regulated. despite my fears, i can't let my kids live on fear. anyways, steve wants to plan a family trip to disneyland which means about 6 hr or so of driving on top of the amusement park (OH, GOODY!) lol

Potty Mummy said...

Surely the boys have to put you down for 'coolest mum in class' now?

Jo Beaufoix said...

Ohh love this song.
And the post was perfect Miss RC.
Sounds like you all had a fab time in the end and like Laurie, I love the bit was Sasquatch was screaming with you not at you. Hee hee.
You're amazing.

-Ann said...

Excellent post - I feel like I was there. Any sight of a big swinging boat?

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

Sounds like you had the typical Theme Park Experience, which is what makes me hate and love them. When are you going again?

Akelamalu said...

Next time leave the kids at home and you go on all the rides! :)