Sorry for the delay getting this entry up, but I had to wait for John Travolta to swing by my place and stab me in the heart with an enormous, adrenaline-filled syringe … because I overdosed on fun this weekend.
(Sunday and Monday, actually, but “I overdosed on fun this past Sunday and Monday” doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as nicely as “weekend,” so I took a little poetic license back there. My blog, my rules.)
Yes, Wonder Woman and I took the kids on an adventure of epic proportions — a 33-hour bonanza packed with more fun and excitement and joyful family bonding than I previously had thought was humanly possible in such a short span of time.
It all started earlier this summer, when Wonder Woman and I realized that our grand plan of taking the kids to Disneyworld this fall wasn’t going to happen, since it seems that the Disney Corporation doesn’t consider as sufficient payment for such an excursion the promise of a guaranteed look of joy on my children’s faces upon their entry into the The Magical Kingdom. No, that Mickey is a selfish little cocksucker who answers only to the call of the almighty dollar, and he expects us to pay for airfare and lodging and admission to the park and souvenirs and snacks and meals, and so fuck you, you greedy little rodent, I’ll take my children’s mirth and joy elsewhere, and then you’ll be sorry, now, won’t you, you money-grubbing ratfuck?
Whoah. Sorry about that; the Mouse and I apparently have some issues to work out. Let’s save that for another time, though, shall we?
So, as I was saying …
’Round these parts, when you’re too poor to take your children to The Happiest Place on Earth, you take ’em to the Slightly Less Happy But Infinitely More Affordable Place In New Hampshire — a.k.a. Story Land.
We left our house at about 7:30 on Sunday morning and pointed the car toward the White Mountains of New Hampshire … and, as usual, our roadtrippin’ kids did a great job of tolerating the two-and-a-half-hour drive … especially considering that we misjudged it and told them it would be only two hours. Oops.
On Saturday, Mother Nature directed the streams from a thousand fully charged firehoses through a thousand turbine engines aimed diagonally downward, and do you know how happy I am we decided weeks ago to do a Sunday/Monday trip instead of a Saturday/Sunday trip? Because on Sunday, Mother Nature flipped open her recipe book to the page titled “How To Make The Most Perfect Day Ever,” and whipped up such a huge batch that there was plenty left over for Monday. Yes, it was that beautiful out.
Now, I don’t know if it was just because we were under the spell of the spectacularly spectacular weather, or the gorgeously gorgeous grandeur of our White Mountain surroundings, but I have to say that, overall, Story Land impressed the hell out of me. No, it wasn’t Disneyworld by any stretch of the imagination … but the degree to which Story Land isn’t Disneyworld is infinitely smaller than the degree to which the cost of going to Story Land differs from the cost of going to Disneyworld, and, with that in mind, our mini-vacation was a downright bargain.
Despite having grown up in New England, I’d never before been to Story Land, so I had not a clue what to expect — and, therefore, set my expectations extremely low. I was thinking something along the lines of a petting zoo with a few broken-down-looking goats and a couple of lame-ass, carnival-style rides — so imagine my surprise when I opened the map of the park and saw this. Suffice to say, the place turned out to be a more than passable Disneyworld substitute for our 6-year-old and 4-year-old. I mean, look at the oodles of fun they had:
(Note to prospective parents: when your children do something such as pose in the manner demonstrated above, you will momentarily forget about all of the child-related chaos and bullshit that generally fills your day. Savor it.)
And here we see them busting a move in one of the many rain tents located throughout the park, in any one of which my apparently amphibious son would have spent the entire day:
They also enjoyed stopping at the top of the ferris wheel:
So, yes, it turned out Story Land was more than up to the challenge of entertaining our little family.
But it wasn’t just the sheer size and scope of the place that surprised me; it was how well-maintained and clean it was. Hell, when I walked into one of the restrooms, there was a college-age employee diligently spraying with disinfectant the already immaculate walls and urinals. (Being the germophobe that I am, I considered this my honorary Ride of the Day.)
Story Land wasn’t the only thing that impressed the hell out of me this weekend; Zan’s display of cojones did, too.
Yes, my son — who, as documented in “My Summer Vacation, Part IV,” was traumatized by his experience aboard an inappropriate-for-his-age ride that we inadvertently placed him on last year — came up big by deciding he wanted me to take him on Dr. Geyser’s Remarkable Raft Ride. This was, by far, the most grown-up ride he’s ever been on, and though he clearly was experiencing some serious nerves as we waited in line, he was adamant about wanting to do it, so I just played along and tried to keep him upbeat and in the zone … you know, by saying things like, “I’m almost positive we won’t drown” and “Hey, how long can you hold your breath underwater?” (I’m just kidding, assholes. I kept it lighthearted as all hell, and happily held his hand for the entire ride, per his request.)
The hardest impact we encountered took place early in the ride … and, of course, the majority of the concussive force converged on his seat; if he hadn’t been wearing a seatbelt, I’d still be looking for him. Fear flashed across his face for a moment, but I helped him laugh it off, and he recovered quickly.
It turned out that there weren’t any subsequent collisions of that magnitude … but there was water aplenty.
By the time we got off the ride, I was soaked, and he was jacked up on an adrenaline rush brought on by both the ride itself, and the post-ride realization that he had conquered his fear. Perhaps to prove to himself that it wasn’t just a fluke, he later dragged Mommy back onto the ride for a second pass — and again declared that he loved it. Thatta boy, dude.
And that wasn’t the only bit of extreme boundary-pushing my boy did this weekend; just wait till I tell you about Monday …
To be continued …
I know, I know: yet another cliffhanger. Sorry; Zan starts first grade in seven hours, and I really need to get a little shuteye between now and then. Hang in there; I’ll make it worth the wait. And, hey, here’s a little bonus Scratches Family at Story Land photo to tide you over … because I give. That’s what I do. I’m a giver.