We went to the state fair last weekend. I waited until Friday to book a hotel (mostly since Friday was
payday). I can usually score a decent room on Priceline even at the last minute. However, I couldn't get a room to save my life. It didn't seem to matter how high I was willing to bid or how sketchy a neighborhood I was willing to accept. I was turned down every time I tried. I then contacted my friend who works for the Hilton in case there might be some super secret network through which rooms can be procured. He tried and everything was definitely booked. I posted my woeful story on Facebook and whaddya know - a couple of friends were willing to open their guest rooms to our little clan. My friend Cindy offered first so I took her up on it. She has two pit bulls, a cat, and several reptiles (she does reptile rescue), and I knew my daughter would be thrilled to spend the night in such a place.
So, we were all set. We went to the fair and had a great time. My friend Kate met us at the gate and gave us two free tickets, so we only had to buy one. We were on a roll! We followed Kate and her family around until they finally said they had to leave (I'll assume that they really did need to go home and not that they were ditching us to eat food-on-a-stick in peace or something). We proceeded to do all the stuff you're supposed to do at a fair - eat stuff you wouldn't usually eat, ride rides, look at cows, etc. It's a good thing we had saved money on a hotel room and fair tickets because the kid was plowing through our cash at lightning speed. She even conned us into letting her jump on a trampoline to the tune of $8.00. Her dad stood in line with her in the blazing sun until it was her turn. I'm a delicate flower so I sat in the shade nearby with an adult beverage.
By late afternoon, we had reached maximum fair and left to scout out some healthier fare for dinner. We ate at a restaurant with a largely vegetarian menu and lots of vegan stuff, too. They even have vegan cookies, so I got one of those for dessert. After that, we picked up some stuff for breakfast and headed to Cindy's house. We spent a quiet evening at her place (her beau lives there, too). They told us about the guy who lives downstairs from them. Apparently, one day he accused them of blaring death metal and at the time they were listening to Devo. I'm not sure I'll ever think of Devo quite the same way again. We were dirty from the fair so we showered and then spent a quiet evening just hanging out.
In the morning, we left to head to a science museum. I had checked online and at 11:00 a.m. they were offering a craft project - making a bowl out of an old vinyl record. I thought that sounded like fun so I was pretty determined to make it there as soon as the museum opened at 10:00. Well, little did I realize . . . there was a massive triathlon going on directly next to the museum. Every road was closed. Grrrr. This also helped to explain the shortage of available hotel rooms, I guess. After a half hour of driving around aimlessly while my GPS said, "Recalculating!" about 80 times, I finally found a friendly police officer who gave me some vague directions to a parking garage. We parked and then proceeded to walk to the museum, weaving our way around mega-super-fit triathlon people who had race numbers pasted all over them. Did they not understand that we needed to make a bowl? We finally got to the museum and headed to the admissions desk.
"Can I use this coupon?" I asked.
"Nope. Special event today." By this time I was used to my plans going to hell in a handbasket so I didn't really react to the bad news.
We got our wristbands and headed to the craft area so that my kid could make the record album bowl. The sullen teen at the craft desk looked at my daughter and said, "Sorry, she has to be ten to make a bowl."
I almost lost my shit at that point. "We drove all the way here, all the roads are closed, and now you're telling me that she can't make a bowl when that's the reason we came?"
"You can make a bowl," he said to me.
"Oh, I am making a bowl," I replied. I was going to make a Goddamned bowl if it was the last thing I ever did. Inside the art area, my kid constructed a soda can bracelet with her dad while I waited my turn to make the bowl. When I was finally ushered into the bowl-making area and given some gloves to wear, the kid came in to watch.
"Sorry, no one under ten years of age can be in here." This was from the boy who was running the workstation. I was about to say something but then I was afraid that he might take away my bowl-making privileges. I guess I can see why they have these policies but shit, she's my kid - why not just make me responsible for her actions?
My daughter and husband left to look at some of the other exhibits in the museum while I made a bowl. Basically, you take a metal form, set the album on top, then apply heat (from a gun that looks like a hairdryer), and then mold the vinyl to the metal form. Voila. Anyway, here's my Goddamned bowl:
After we left the museum, we grabbed some lunch, stopped at Trader Joe's for some goodies, and then headed home. As much as it annoys me when my plans don't work as expected, it was a good weekend. Now . . .what, oh what, should I do with my bowl? Oh, and I've already established that it doesn't quite fit on my head, in case you were going to suggest that.