VACATION!!!!!!! Day The Third


Another slow morning, slow conciousness seeping into our bones.  Stace wakes up, face and shoulders BRIGHT red, lips looking like she’s the winner of the Angelina Jolie look-alike contest.  Sun poisoning is a fun thing!!  She can barely move her mouth without it really hurting.  Nobody really wants to move. 

The discussion starts again.  This time, though, no choice, really.  Going up to Happy Tymes, for the go karts and the batting cages.  We get motivated, get moving slowly.  We rub aloe all over our sunburns.  WHEN will we learn that our skin doesn’t LIKE sunshine?  WHEN?!!!? 

We don’t really feel like eating any of the food in the house, and Stace really wants to be served.  Friendly’s!!  We go up, Brian with his Nintendo DS, his new favorite thing in the universe.  We get into Friendly’s and we’re literally the only people there.  Whole place to ourselves.  I think for a moment about all three of us getting our own tables, but that idea runs out quick.  They have all kinds of chicken strip meals, barbecue. teriyaki, Buffalo, honey mustard, all kinds of stuff.  As soon as we got in there, Brian told the hostess his name and he wanted cheesey bread and has she ever seen a Nintendo DS?  So, he got his cheesey bread, we split an appetizer combo thing, and Brian got a really bright red fruit drink that was really good.  He wouldn’t share much. 

In typical me fashion, since I wear my food so well, barbecue and teriyaki combined on my shirt.  Just can’t take me ANYWHERE.  We got out of there, feeling really good about being with each other.  Went home, threw the leftover chicken in the fridge, got a new shirt, and left.  Up the road to Happy Tymes.

Happy Tymes is a smaller version of Chuck E. Cheese, with three distinctions.  It has a go kart track that Brian and I love, batting cages(OOOOOH, the batting cages…but I’m getting ahead of myself) and a bowling alley.  We arrive, the parking lot’s a little more full than usual.  Brian looks around while Stace gets the tickets for the go-karts and the coins for the batting cages. 

Over at the line for the go-karts, there’s a lot of people together, a day camp or a church group or something.  Some of them are being kinda loud.  Brian picks up on this and starts being kinda loud himself.  We try to calm him down.  I’ve got the camera ready to take pictures of the little man in the kart.  Stace suggests I go tackle the batting cage.  Well, seems like a good idea.

I take the coin, I get a helmet and a bat that seems okay.  Go in, put the coin in, take a few practice swings.  Have it set for 70 MPH fastball.  I’m not overconfident, am I?  The yellow light comes on.  I get ready.  The red light blinks twice, I get in my stance.  It shoots the ball at me!  I swing, with a mighty crack–the bat hits the fence behind me.  The ball bounces off the fence behind me.  I have the pitch set too high.  Okay, so move it down a little.  I hit the stupid down button ONCE.  Next pitch–under my knees.  Would’ve been okay, almost, but the stupid red light never came on, so I wasn’t really ready.  I try to adjust the height one more time, Stace calls me to see how I’m doing.  I look over as the yellow light comes on.  I’m talking to Stace as I hear the pitch shoot out.  Next thing I know, my right upper thigh feels like, well, like it’s been hit with a 70 mph fastball.

That was REALLY stupid! I tell myself.  Watch the damn ball, not the Pretty!  Then I look, if I HAD gotten the ball up a little higher, and been standing three inches to the left, Brian would be forever an only child and I could get a gig in a Bee Gees tribute band.  Fortunately, it didn’t, and I was the only one in there so no one SAW it.  My teeth are clenched, it really hurts like a big hurting thing, and I’m really mad now. 

A few more pitches.  I catch two of them, they tip off the bat.  I connect with the last one, it hits the ground, I feel okay about that.  So, I limp out of the cage at the end and make my way over to the kart track.  Tell Stace what happened, and her eyes have the odd combination of sympathy and “You idiot!” that’s she’s developed over the last 11 years. 

Brian’s the first one into the karts.  He gets a blue one, the third in line.  Gets himself in, buckles himself, waits with a sort of eager Zen expression on his face. 

What did the Zen master say to the hot dog vendor?  “One, with everything…”

They start driving.  I’m still astonished that the 7 year old I live with can drive that little kart without hitting the walls or the people around him.  The really cute thing, he talks to himself as he drives.  Sometimes it’s self-encouragement, sometimes it’s a junior Pixar Movie Cars race call, and sometimes I don’t know what.  He manages to get around people, avoid getting hit, and just really knows how to maneuver on that track.   All this and I can’t get him to try his bike without the training wheels!  What kind of sense does that make?!

The guy running the go karts doesn’t get paid nearly enough for everything he has to put up with.  People bumping into each other, not listening to the instructions, almost getting run over–I couldn’t do it.  Brian steers into the stall, stops, waits.  Gets bumped from behind.  Again. 

Brian gets out, and we decide to go inside.  We play a couple video games.  He really likes the driving games.  After that, he plays Stace on air hockey.  He beats her, barely, and decides he wants to go into the tunnels.  It’s a great big collection of platforms, kind of a fast food playland on HGH and steroids.  His natural habitat, he jumps right in and climbs all over the place.  Stace and I sit holding hands outside.  A mother comes up with her daughter, who’s in flip flops.  All over this thing it says kids have to have socks on.  The attendant says she’ll need to get socks, and of course the woman gives him a hard time.  He obviously came up with the sock rule just to annoy her, right?  People are dumb. 

We finally get out of there.  On to Sears to get Brian’s school pants!  From the time he first started in day care, Stace has gotten him sweatpants.  She likes sweatpants.  I like sweatpants, meself, but I also have jeans.  Lots and lots of jeans.  Now, she always swears he doesn’t LIKE regular pants.  I have a feeling SHE doesn’t like regular pants and is convinced Brian’s the same way.  Whatever.  Well, this year, he has to wear the school uniform.  No sweatpants.  Khakis.  He has to wear khakis.  Okay, no problem. 

Or so I thought…

Brian’s broad.  He’s a solid kid, freakishly strong.  Apparently, though, he’s a completely unique body shape.  Any pants we found that had the right leg length didn’t fit around his middle.  Any that fit him right around the middle were at least four inches too long.  We tried what seemed to be every pair of pants in Sears.  We mugged dwarves to get their pants off for Brian to try.  We cut up tan sheets to make pants, the Sound Of Music Goes Goth.  NOTHING.  I’m starting to feel like a horrible father, maybe even though the kid doesn’t SEEM fat maybe he really is, and on and on and on. 

We leave there.  Go to Payless, find shoes for him.  At least his FEET aren’t unique.  Try Boscov’s, they have nothing.  There’s a dry cleaner/tailor in the mall, we get Brian measured.  30 inch legs.  Okay.  We’re walking around, wondering where else to try, when, as though delivered straight from Heaven, Gap Kids appears.  It showed up waving it’s well-tailored hand in a Jedi mind trick, “Try in here, we’ll have pants for Brian, these aren’t the pants you’re looking for…”  We go in, all three of us feeling out of place.  I, myself, am a jeans and shirt kinda guy.  The funnier the shirt the better.  Brian doesn’t care, as long as he’s comfortable.  So, we’re looking around, hopes not high.  Stace finds some pants, Brian’s getting a little disturbed by the headless mannequins, and we go back to the dressing room.  Stace and Brian go in, I hang back.  More of the headless mannequins are back here, except these don’t have clothes on.  That image seemed really cool, so I tell myself to remember it.  Thinking on it now, might be a little too close to Eccleston’s first Doctor Who episode. 

Miracle of miracles, like something delivered on a silver platter from Clover Past, these are a decent fit and not THAT long on him.  I sit there, watch Brian checking himself out in the mirror and rubbing my now bright purple bruise.  I crack up when I think of it.  Talk about a “D’oh!” moment. 

We get the pants, then decide to head for home for just a quiet night.  I check out the bookstore.  Nothing too interesting.  Well, nothing too interesting that it’d be worth waiting in line for RIGHT THEN with a tired kid and a tired wife for.  We went to the arcade, played some games.  I really wanted to play either the Voyager sit down game or House of The Dead 4.  Brian and I ended up shooting up Borg in Voyager, then we did the Star Wars game, then more air hockey.  He played SoulCalibur for a good half hour, till his hand cramped up and I took over.  While doing all this, Stace had gone to the other side of the mall aisle and got Brian a Nintendo DS game.  However, she had MY card, so I had to run over to sign the slip to pay for it.  Lots of confusing running around right then.  A little after that, we went home, and just had a quiet night.  I kept rubbing my ever-widening bruise.

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~ by Sean on August 22, 2008.

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