I’m so tired. And full. I ate so much today. I ate almost nothing yesterday and made up for it this afternoon, where everything that was in my sight was in my mouth. I had a entire box of Rice Kripsie treats and three slices of pizza for dinner. FOR DINNER. And I had FOUR Diet Cokes to go along with it. (PS: Diet Coke is on sale. So. It’s no Diet Pepsi, but it was half the price, so it’ll have to do. This weekend was stupid expensive and I’m trying to recoup losses somewhere.) (PPS: Should probably slow down on the drinks.)
All week I’ve been killing myself trying to get a new theme completed. It’s just not happening. I’m trying hard to finish my ASW chapter, too, which just– I don’t know. Everything I write is wrong, or not wrong but not right either, and I want it to be perfect, and it’s just not, and it’s– frustrating. Creativity is the hardest thing to turn on. Anyway– I’m mentioning the theme because I wanted to have it done before I wrote this entry, because I wanted it to have my new Event Styling. Events in my life– now with more class! Except not. Since you’re getting this.
So Michelle and Chris came, and we did the state fair. They arrived around lunchtime yesterday, and I at least managed to have the house clean. I made some pumpkin-apple-bread-cake (did all the healthy substitutions, too), which I offered to everyone, and which everyone declined. FINE. MORE FOR ME, SUCKERS.
Seasonally plated lunch for kids.
I have a great aside to throw in here– during lunch, we were trying to get Addie to finish her sandwich. “Girl,” I warned, “if you don’t eat that, I don’t want you going to the fair and trying to get cotton candy.” Cotton candy is to Addie what cola Pez is to me. I knew that was ninety percent of the reason she was making the pilgrimage.
“SIGH,” Addie sighed.
“If you don’t eat it, someone else will,” Michelle piped up.
BECCA: I might just swallow it up, Addie.
Addie giggled. “Will you eat me, too?” she wondered, and I was like, “I JUST MIGHT,” and she said, “Then Aunt Shell eat YOU!” We all laughed.
“What then?” I asked.
Addie looked at Chris. “Aunt Shell will eat UNCLE CHRIS TOO!” she announced, and we all laughed because it was not where we thought it was going– and Millie, who had been sitting silently on the table, suddenly SCREAMED IN HORROR. All the adults started laughing harder, and Millie just WAILED. I’m sure it was coincidental timing, but Michelle was like, “Yeah, if you think about it, your parents cannibalizing each other probably isn’t that funny to a kid.”
Okay. Let’s do this fair. Printed our tickets out. Got directions. Sent them to everyone’s phones. Make a gameplan (such as BANK STOP: I’m not paying fair ATM fees). Millie is changed and dressed. Diaper bag checked. Kids are all ready. I think we’re off.
Get there quickly but traffic is horrible and parking is obscene. We have to wait like fifteen minutes in a line just to get on a bus, just to make it to the gate, just to wait to get in.
MILLIE AIN’T BOTHERED.
On the bus:
We’re in! Pause, make the kids take a photo.
Paparazzi shot of Shell, Millie, and Chris.
Pass the entrance booths and fountain and through the main midway of food.
We have to go to the other side of the fair to get our online tickets redeemed. By the time we make it there, everyone is starving, and it’s been almost three hours since lunch. (I KNOW.) Buy lunch for everyone. The fair will ROB YOU BLIND when it comes to food. I kid you not: drinks, cotton candy, plus various forms of fried dough and meat for our group? Almost seventy dollars. Yes. I’m sure it’s hurting you to read that as much as me to pay it.
At least everyone’s enjoying the sensory overload of smells and sights and sounds and tastes.
Michelle offers to take a group shot of the family.
Make several valiant attempts. Last is probably the best.
SO. We’re trying to figure out where to go next slash first, and Elias has mentioned several times that other kids are walking around with stuffed Pikachus. “I wonder where you get those Pikachus,” he announced. “Maybe there are games when you can get Pikachus… maybe they’re something you can win. I just think those Pikachus are REALLY cool. I think you’re probably really lucky if you can get a cool Pikachu.”
Eli never directly asks for anything. He’s really polite, and very money-conscious. He will let you know he wants something, but rarely gets his hopes up that those dreams will be realized. Heh. So while we’re eating early dinner and he’s kind of dancing around the question, I say, “You want a Pikachu, don’t you?”
Eli: “… yes.”
I laugh. “I will find one,” I said, “and I will get it for you. We will not leave the fair without your Pikachu, okay?”
He’s tentatively elated. This kid is head over heels with Pokemon right now. Like, CRAZY for Pokemon. It’s like the Mario obsession– possibly more intense. For one, Pokemon is in every game form known to man. It’s not just limited to consoles. Secondly, the kids in his class and in the neighborhood ALSO collect and trade Pokemon, so there’s a new social dynamic. He was even trading Pokemons up till the minute we left for the fair with our neighbor Soham.
Anyway. The point of this story is we tracked down a booth where the Pikachus were the prize. The guy was like, “STEP RIGHT UP, YOU LOOK LIKE YOU MIGHT BE A WINNER TODAY, LET’S TRY YOUR LUCK WITH–” and I just motioned him in. When he leaned closer, I whispered, “Tell me how to get that Pokemon toy.” I pointed.
He dropped the announcer schtick. “Twenty bucks,” he replied.
“Twenty dollars?” I’m like, this toy was probably made for THREE.
“It’s twenty for twelve darts. You have to hit twelve balloons as an adult to win a prize. Kids always win, no matter how many they hit.” He points to a sign behind him explaining the rules. KIDS ALWAYS WIN! it announces. I sigh. I look at J. TWENTY DOLLARS, I mouth-whisper.
Jason shrugs. “It’s your call,” he says in the tone that means THAT TOY WAS MADE FOR THREE.
I look back at the guy. “And you promise we have the Pokemon, no matter what?”
He nods. “Guarantee.”
I look at Elias. Elias is just staring up at the glorious sea of hanging Pikachus.
Twenty dollars later:
(I know. It was worth it.)
Let’s see. After that, we go on a few rides. Do the TORNADO!, which is basically spinning teacups in the air. Only individual seats versus a cup, but the shape and idea and motion is the same. Addie goes into it confident (“I’m not SCARED, this looks SUPER FUN!”) and Elias goes into it petrified (“I don’t think this is well made AT ALL.”). They come off the opposite. Addie was like I THOUGHT WE WERE GOING TO DIE WHAT WERE ALL THOSE CLINKING SOUNDS and Elias was like WHEN I WAS UP THERE I WAS LIKE, THIS IS NO BIG DEAL.
Kiddie roller coaster. Switch again. Addie is in love with the danger and jerry-rigged nature of these rides. Elias is horrified by the death trap.
Also. I made the mistake of referring to said rides as Death Traps, which Elias immediately picked up on: “DEATH TRAPS? Why do they call them DEATH TRAPS?” I was like no, they’re not really death traps, it’s just an affectionate name for something that, like– well, that’s shoddily made, and could– potentially injure you to the point of… death. (Michelle: “It’s worse when you explain it, Becca.”)
Shelly and Chris feed Millie, and our family goes to a nearby fun house. It has a maze of mirrors.
Take this photo afterward, which is my favorite of the day (after Eli-Pikachu-Love-Match) and sums up that moment completely:
Jason says he’ll go back for Shelly and Chris. Tells us to wait. We’re outside the livestock center. Nowhere to sit. Crouch in rocks. The next ten minutes are me convincing Addie to stop picking up cigarette butts, and Elias to stop freaking out that Addie is picking up cigarette butts.
HERE THEY COME. FINALLY. Go into the livestock and produce area. Michelle gasps: “THAT’S THE CUTEST ASS I’VE EVER SEEN!”
Me: “GIRL, LOOK AT THOSE MELONS!”
Our husbands pretend not to know us.
Walk to the other side of the fair (BY THE WAY, these fairgrounds are like MILES LONG– it’s 344 acres, total). Millie is sleeping.
She wakes up when we all stop by a climbing playplace thing. Jason takes the kids, and I hang out with my sister while Shelly snuggles Mills.
Everyone is getting tired, it’s almost dusk, and we’ve been at the fair like four hours or something. Last ride is a spinning mac and cheese saucer, which has an entire side story I won’t be able to do justice to on here, but suffice to say, it involved another child joining our cup on the ride and trying to jump out as soon as it started and us trying to keep him IN. We were so happy before the ride began–
– and so drained immediately afterward.
Bought Michelle and the kids some funnel cake because I promised I would, and I always keep my promises. Chris and Jason gets some deep-friend Snickers and Oreos, respectively.
“IT IS WHAT IT IS,” Michelle reads out loud. Then: “You know, I like that they’re not apologizing.”
Bathroom break. Bathroom line is forever long. At the women’s, at least. The men’s has NO LINE and guys are just darting in and out. “I don’t understand what makes this huge difference,” Michelle gripes, and I’m like, “They’re just unzipping and peeing on a wall.” Plus. When it comes to bathroom parenting, there’s a 90% chance the mom is taking the toddler or kid in, and that accounts for SO MUCH hold-up.
Let’s get out of here.
THIS WAS THE WORST PART. GIRL. CAN I TELL YOU. So I wore boots to the fair, which admittedly was a terrible idea, but to that point– even after almost five hours– I wasn’t in any real pain nor were my feet that sore. We’re about two and a half miles from our car. We’re about a half mile from the bus stop.
By the time we make it to that shuttle bus drop, though, I’m feeling it. Jason says the bus takes so long (true) that we should just walk back to the car. No, I say. Elias pipes up that his legs are really sore. Michelle and Chris have the stroller, and they say they’re going to walk to the lot versus have to unload Millie and fold up said stroller and get it back on the bus. We’ll meet you, we say.
Wait for nine seconds for the bus. I see a trolley pull up on the other side of the street. “RBC PARKING!” the guy yells. Hey! We’re RBC parking! Walk with the family to the other side of the road. The guy says they’re headed to the far lot, Jason says that’s not what we want, but instead of going back across to the original bus stop, Jason just starts walking. “I don’t want to,” I grouse. But I follow him. We’re all trudging along. “It’s not that far,” he insists.
LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING ELSE. I am INCREDIBLY good with both distances and directions. I was like, “It’s going to take us almost a half hour to walk there,” and Jason’s like, “NO IT WON’T. It’ll be like ten.” And I said, “I promise you it will.”
Twenty-seven minutes, we were walking. I was completely right. Poor Elias was being a champ, but I knew his legs were killing him, and kept bringing it up until J picked him up and put him on his shoulders. I would’ve carried Eli myself, but I was in the worst shape of anyone. It felt like both my feet were covered in blisters, and every step was STABBING AGONY. I was in tears. “I’M IN SO MUCH PAIN,” I wailed. “I JUST WANTED TO WAIT FOR THE BUS!”
(PS: Like six buses passed us during this walk. Mother eff.)
Jason was apologetic, but I was running off not only pain and misery but RAW FURY at that point. I ended up carrying Addie, too, who was really sweet (“But you’re hurt, Mommy– I don’t want to make it worse.”). I just felt bad because the boots were my fault, but she couldn’t help having tiny legs. And neither of them really complained AT ALL, the entire day. They were beyond fantastic. So I’d rather I suffered more than us both suffer a lot.
THE CAR. FINALLY.
Sob while I take my shoes off. I can’t move my feet. The pain is, like, paralyzing.
Spend the rest of the night on the couch, under a blanket, nursing some caffeine and gossiping with my sister. By the time I get up this morning, the swelling has gone down– and Jason and I are on much better terms. Take a long walk with Shells, where we gossip more.
Lunch with Erin. More gossiping. More playing, more cuddling Millie.
Highlight of the visit is some grade school bathroom humor:
I notice Preston isn’t playing with the other kids. “Where’s P?” I ask Erin. She sighs. “He made a mud pile right before you came over,” she answers, “and rolled around in it. I made him take a shower. He’s probably getting dressed.”
A few minutes later, Elias and Quinn were getting too wrestle-y. I tell him, “Go upstairs and see if Preston’s ready to come out.”
Eli is horrified. “I CAN’T.”
Me: “Um, why?”
Erin answers, “No, he isn’t.”
Then Elias: “Riley said he was covered in diarrhea.”
Riley starts cackling. IT WAS MUD, Erin scolds Riley, NOT DIARRHEA, YOU KNOW THAT, and then when we recount the story later to Garrett, G deadpans: “It could’ve been diarrhea. You never know with that kid.”
That entire exchange earned them dinner. Heh. After Shell and Chris hit the road– and I got in a much-needed shower– the Keeleys came over to our place. I ordered pizzas. The women talked. The men watched football. The boys battled and the girls dressed up as princesses, and we all just enjoyed a lovely weekend winding to a close.