Brenda and I were going to take the girls sailing but there was rain in the forecast so we decided to put it off for a week. Rainy combined with slightly chilly (60 degrees) doesn't make for a good time outside of Wasilla. So we decided to go to Kinderfest at a local regional park. An event designed for Pre-K and elementary aged kids.

After walking the length of the Iditarod (chilly but not raining - yet) the first stop was the port-a-pot for Lauren. They have these portable sinks outside of the port-a-johns now where you pump for water with a foot pedal. Hand soap and paper towel dispensers go with that. There are so many printed instructions that it took the entire time Lauren was busy for me to digest it all. When she came out, I explained the process for her and started to pump water with my foot. Nothing. I pumped harder. Faster. Nothing. A little girl came up behind us and semi-patiently waited her turn. When she saw the struggles I was having she asked if she could try. Fortunately for my ego, she couldn't make it work either. Unfortunately for my ego, when her mother approached and asked her what the problem was, the little girl replied, "That man broke it." Rather than give lame denials against the word of a three year-old, I just mumbled some sort of apology and stumbled away.

Next dilemma - where's Brenda? While I'm doing bathroom duty, Brenda has wandered off with Olivia to go look at duckies and bunnies, I assume. I call her cell and get no service. I'm too embarrassed to go back to the port-a-poops so I'm kinda stuck waiting for Brenda to show herself. I get through on the second call and she tells me where she is - a few thousand yards away from where I saw her last. So I'm a little ticked.

We have to buy tickets for everything and I don't feel like figuring out stuff like 3 tickets for the carousel, 2 tickets for the face paint, 1 ticket for the port-a-stink, etc. And everything times 2, so I bought forty for 20 bucks and told them all that's all they get. First stop after that is the pumpkin patch.

It starts off as a maze through stacked hay bales that are all topped with small pumpkins that the children may choose for their very own. Because the event has been going for a couple hours the ones at first sight are the slightly mutated or completely filthy ones that everyone has rejected up to this point. The real treasure trove of pumpkins lies at the end of the maze. We reach that and it's like Linus time - searching for the Great Pumpkin. I remind Lauren that she needs to pick a reasonably sized pumpkin as I'm the one who has to carry that sumbitch for the rest of the afternoon. She enthusiastically agreed and we inspected and rejected several. We got to a corner of the patch where the last of the trove awaited searching. There was a pumpkin she had settled for but was still anxious to look at the last few. I began pointing at one that looked promising from my vantage point (two feet taller making a huge optical difference). She wasn't understanding my directions and I couldn't seem to clarify any better so I told her to step aside and I would get it for her. So I picked up one pumpkin that sat atop the one I was aiming for and then picked up the magic pumpkin. In maneuvering out of the corner I had stepped into, I promptly stepped onto a different, rejected pumpkin. This caused me to stumble in a direction I absolutely did not want to go - straight into that orange colored rubbery temporary fencing they put up to define borders. That stuff rips really easily as I found out when I rolled right over it. I'm still clutching two pumpkins as I land on my back and promptly lose my left shoe as I do an awkward cartwheel of sorts. I could just hear that angry port-a squirt Mom saying, "That's the idiot who broke the sink five minutes ago." An attendant nearby helped put the fence back up while I got my dignity back together. That's not easy when you're putting your shoe back on while covered with dirt and sprawled amongst a hundred rejected pumpkins. I did save the magic pumpkin which Lauren summarily rejected. Thanks for the sympathy, sweetheart.

Next stop, the carousel. A long line awaited but they let the kids ride for a good long time and the sumbitch holds about sixty kids at a time. The girls got a delightful few minutes while I sat alone on a bench slumped over the two pumpkins I was cradling. I should have been enjoying the girls vicariously but kept thinking that I probably resembled what Pamela Anderson would be like in thirty years with these two heavy globes sitting in my lap.

Next stop - moonbounces. Olivia has a different way of enjoying a moonbounce. She's very passive about it all. She lays down (not always in a convenient spot for the other turd-droppers) and appreciates the sensations of the bouncing being caused by others. She rarely gets up to jump herself and I'm past the point of encouraging her to do this. This isn't physical therapy - this is her just enjoying the experience. There was a moonbounce slide that a very kind attendant willingly assisted Olivia in making the top. She slid down with just an incredible look of joy that brought Brenda to tears. We skipped the moonbounce slide that resembled the sinking Titanic and the inflatable caterpillar tunnel that had children exiting from it's buggy butt. Olivia and Lauren were able to play carnival games for cheesy prizes until it finally started to rain. So I'm standing in the rain, holding two pumpkins, watching Olivia play Plinko and get two washers right in the clown's yap and win some cheap sunglasses. It doesn't get any better than this. I mean that.

Three Replies to Kinderfest

Lori Lancaster | October 4, 2010
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Steve West | October 4, 2010
Me and Mr. Bean - separated at birth.

Jackie Mason | October 17, 2010
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Web Junkie

Steve West scours the Web searching for interest or absurdity and then shakes his head ruefully when he finds it. Read more »

Absurd One-Shots

Small collection of photos that caught my eye while surfing and gave me at least a brief chuckle. Funeral services ad in an interesting location; Signmaker with a sense of humor; British bus ad with an unfortunate exhaust pipe placement; and finally from the "How Could They Not Notice" department, a Parents Magazine cover with an even more unfortunate layout. Go »

Isn't That What You Asked?

When in college, I would go bar hopping with friends on occasion. We'd go to 5, 6, 20 different bars, dance clubs, etc. I've since reformed my ways and on a wild night may go to 1 1/2 (that's one and the threat of falling asleep at the second). Go »

Strange Dreams

I dreamt that I had died and gone to Heaven. Brenda lived a few more years and then she passed. When she got to Heaven, she saw me and ran to me with open arms saying how much she had missed me. Go »

Speaking Of Tattoos...

"She Who Must Be Obeyed" (my wife) has graciously allowed me to alter my flesh by getting a tattoo. Much thought has gone into this. David Spade put it well after getting a Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes tattoo on his shoulder. Go »

Special Olympics

"Special Olympics athletes are spokespersons for freedom itself - they ask for the freedom to live, the freedom to belong, the freedom to contribute, the freedom to have a chance. And, of all the values that unite and inspire us to seek a better world, no value holds a higher place than the value of freedom." - Eunice Kennedy Shriver Olivia's participation in today's Special Olympics was incredibly uplifting for me and Brenda. Go »

I Must Really Be Sick

Recent conversation with Brenda while recuperating in hospital: Me: Hey, wanna hear a joke I made up? I'm gonna tell my RN the next visit she makes. Brenda: Of course. Go »