Monday, June 20, 2005

Ah, summer

An extraordinary weekend ... the only bad thing about it is that summer is probably downhill from here, even though it doesn't officially start until tomorrow!

The Significant Other has, of course, been very busy at work, but was finally able to pry a Friday loose for vacation. The Six-Year-Old had received a Six Flags ticket as part of a reading program he was involved in, and we'd been promising to take him for two years, and the Four-Year-Old was finally old enough to hold his own as well, so ...

Apart from the outrageous prices ($80 to get the other three of us in, even with discount coupons, and, get this, $10 to park so that we could give them the $80) , it was a lot of fun. We started with the ferris wheel, then headed for the "Loony Toons" area and let the kids ride the kiddie coaster, motorized swings and such. Then the first big ride of the day, Scoobie Doo. It's an indoor water ride. Kinda hokey, and the Significant Other outshot me with the little laser guns, but the kids loved it.

After that, a couple of turns on the "log flume" ride -- not greatly adventurous, but fun with one little near-vertical drop at the end -- then Thunder River, a rather pedestrian "river raft" experience. After that, we hemmorhaged some more money (a sports bottle full of soda, a turkey leg and a pretzel -- Seventeen Damn Dollars, and if I'm going to pay that much, I'm by God going to write it out in words and capitalize it), watched an alligator wrestling show, and split up: Significant Other and Four-Year-Old to ride the train, Dad and Six-Year-Old to tackle a real coaster.

His first: The Screamin' Eagle. It was the only one of the "monster coasters" in the park that he was tall enough for. The Eagle is a wooden coaster, and once upon a time was the fastest in the world. No loops, of course, but some really hair-raising verticals and turns, and those wooden coasters are mucho scary -- they always feel like they're about to fall to pieces around you. The Kid Did Good. He was a little disoriented at the end, but shortly wanted to go again (and we would have, but we didn't know how long the train ride would be, and we were supposed to hook back up with the Family Unit).

If I'd gone on the Screamin' Eagle at age six, I'd have soiled myself, run home to Mommy and committed myself to a lifetime of isolation and safety. Bubba just shook himself off and demanded more. We went down and rode the Big People's motorized swings -- the ones that actually get a little speed on them and, due to the centripetal force, get up in the air a bit. This was where Four-Year-Old had his first real meltdown. He wasn't tall enough to ride, and was he pissed. But hey, we'd been there for close to six hours; he's Four Years Old; do the math. We went back for a few more turns on the log flume and back to the kiddie area, and then it was closing time. Through the day, I considered knocking off on my own to hit the thrill rides, but we were having plenty of fun together -- I can wait another year or two to ride Mr. Freeze.

Six Flags is just not something we can afford to do on a regular basis but, all in all, it wasn't really much more expensive than going to the county fair where the rides aren't as cool. I didn't even dare look to see how much a funnel cake cost. These guys were charging more than $3 for a six-ounce frozen lemonade, $3.50 for a corn dog, etc. Next time, we pack a picnic lunch. This time, we did McDonald's on the front end, shakes at Steak'n'Shake for the chaser, and managed to avoid the worst of the ripoff in the middle, I think.

The rest of the weekend was less exciting -- and less expensive -- but just as idyllic. We took the kids to a public playground on Saturday for a few hours (where I managed, I think, to bruise my tailbone chasing one of them down a slide), then grabbed some some handyman needs at Home Depot. I installed a new deadbolt Saturday night, did a little plumbing work on Sunday. "Uncle Scottie" came over on Sunday, bearing a belated birthday present for Four-Year-Old -- a bike, which he loved until he'd taken a few spills. There's no going back to the tricycle, though. He's tough. Meanwhile, Scottie worked with Bubba on riding without training wheels. He's getting it. We grilled brats and dogs and drank Boulevard Wheat into the evening.

So, why am I telling you all this? Well, I've noticed that over at BlogExplosion's "Battle of the Blogs," I keep getting my ass whipped by blogs that consist mainly of mommies chronicling their little monsters' every bowel movement, temperature tantrum and skinned knee. So, I figure I might as well cater to the market at least a little.


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