Monday, August 27, 2007

All the kids dig the Lagoon

Last week, we went to Lagoon, an amusement park here in Utah. It's a very old amusement park, which is part of the charm. Yes, it's been updated and updated over the years, but it feels nothing like Great America, the Six Flags in Illinois that my wife and I grew up going to. The park is a little smaller, the rides are a little smaller, the corporate immensity of Six Flags is absent. I imagine this is what amusement parks 50 years ago were like, before Disney and Six Flags and mega-parks took over.

We had gone to Lagoon last year, through a function of my wife’s workplace. It was fun, Eldest had a blast, though he was mostly relegated to kiddie rides. He was able to go on some bigger rides, like the Scrambler and the Tilt-a-Whirl, but most of them required him to be 46 inches tall. So when we went back this year, we were hoping he’d be tall enough to go on some more rides. He missed by two inches. It was odd, too, he needed to be that tall to go on a Wild Mouse rollercoaster. At Great America, he would only need to be 42 inches to go on the Demon, which goes upside down four times. But Eldest did have a lot of fun nonetheless. His favorite ride was the kiddie bumper cars, which we somehow missed last year, but went of five times this year. His bigger rides included the Scrambler and the Pirate Ship, as well as the river rapids ride in which he and Wife got soaked.

Littlest had fun, too, though in short bursts. He’s too small to go on most of the kiddie rides by himself or his brother, but too big to just leave in his stroller. And unlike Great America (which had Fort Fun), there aren’t many kids attractions that aren’t rides. He did go on a few things – the merry-go-round, which he loved; these little kiddie boats that went in a circle, which he rode with his brother and was ambivalent; and the kiddie coaster, which he rode with his mom and was a little freaked out by. And he liked the train, of course.

Wife and I managed to get on one ride on our own. One of her co-workers offered to watch the boys (who were angels for her after whining for us) while we went on the park’s ancient yet fun wooden coaster. It felt like a date, and we were tempted to go on a second ride (and were told we should have). We stayed at Lagoon about six hours, which seemed to be about the perfect time. We skipped the little waterpark they had, all the slides required Eldest to be taller, the kids area would have been easier if Littlest was walking better. Both boys fell asleep on the way home.

Growing up, the one trip to Great America every summer was always such a big deal. Despite the smaller scale of the park and the smaller ages of the children, that’s what this felt like. It was a great way to end the summer.

(For the record, the title of the post comes from the Beach Boys’ song “Salt Lake City” that actually references Lagoon.)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Back from hiatus

Yes, I haven't posted in almost two weeks. Just off kilter with my routine somewhat, while (and this is getting old, I know) working on the NFL blog. Plus, I've been, well, not uninspired, just a little less creative lately. Not writer's block, just off kilter.

Summer is almost over, it went quick. This month is sailing by, Eldest starts preschool in two weeks, college football and the NFL start up soon, and I'm wondering when the last time to mow my dry lawn will be. August always goes fast, it did as a kid, when you knew school was coming, but I can't explain why it does as an adult.

We've had a couple of moderately cloudy days here, but not like a Midwestern cloudy August day. One of Wife's friends in Chicago called her yesterday, said it was 73 and cloudy -- a typical August day in Chicago. And those, unfortunately, were the days I always remembered about August, at least before school kicked in, when it inexplicably got sunny again. Those cloudy days that were an ominous sign that summer was toast, that the Cubs were already out of any sort of playoff contention, that you could barely enjoy under the gray skies what you had left of freedom before school started again. There were exceptions of course, but dreary just seemed to define August in the Midwest.

It's not dreary here, just hot still. There is a little rainy season in SLC in late August/early September, nothing yet though. Oddly, I'm ready for September. I'm ready to get the routine down pat, ready for the NFL to start and my blog to go into overdrive, and a little ready for Eldest to start school (though I'll be a little sad, of course). I could do without winter, but fall should be nice. I barely enjoyed last fall (aside from the two weddings we went to, with their accompanying trips), I want this one to be fun.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

It's been one week

Vacation just ended, or so it seemed. It's already been a week since we returned from the Midwest. I'm always surprised a) how quick the few days after vacation seem to go; and b) how tricky it is to get back into a normal routine. It doesn't help there is no routine now -- not swim lessons, tumbling classes, preschool, etc. It's finally starting to feel like I'm off vacation time and back to normalcy, however that is defined. Did the big grocery day today, bigger considering we only bought the basics last week after we got back to get us through few a few days. Still wish I was posting more, but as usual, I've been focusing my energies elsewhere, at least temporarily. Plus, even though there's stuff I want to write about, I just haven't had the will so much, maybe just post-vacation blahs (though I'm not that blah that we're back -- it was a great trip, it had to end, it's good to be home). I guess that will come around as the routine does, too.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

No signal

The vacation was great. But no vacation would be complete without some misadventures.

There was Wife tripping over a very small tree stump while carrying Littlest at a park in Thorp, Wis. (She skinned her knees pretty good, but didn't drop the baby). There were meltdowns by overtired kids (on any trip like this, avoiding overtired kids is tough). There was our rental car losing power in stop-and-go traffic in Minneapolis (it started right back up thankfully, and no, we weren't near I-35W).

And then there was the saga of my cell phone. We arrived at Wife's sister's family, and while the ladies went to the store, I took the kids swimming in their inflatable 3-foot pool. As I was getting ready, I put my phone in my pocket, thinking I wasn't dumb enough to not take it out of my pocket before I got into the pool. I brought it along in case of an emergency, that was a responsible thing to do, right?

Turns out, I was that dumb. All the kids were in the pool (except Littlest, who went with Wife to the store), I climbed in, my nephew noticed my waterproof watch, causing me to realize the phone was still in my pocket. This was only a 3-foot pool, and I hadn't jumped in, so the water was more lapping the phone for a minute or so, rather than it being completely submerged. Still, the damage was done. The phone was no longer operating and wouldn't turn back on.

I immediately got out of the pool, dismantled my phone and hoped for the best. I was so pissed at myself, I thought for sure my phone was toast.

My hope was that it didn't get that wet, and that if I let it dry out, it would return from the dead. For about 18 tense hours, nothing happened. Then I tried Wife's battery in my phone, and it worked! So I just needed a new battery, which I got cheap ($30, would have been more, I bet, at a Verizon store). The main screen was a little faded, however. I could live with that. Then, it went totally white, even though I could still call out on the phone. I couldn't live with that. I dismantled the phone again, it dried out some more (probably the remaining moisture) and then it worked fine.

We went swimming a couple more times on the trip, and I'm happy to say, the cell phone didn't meet the pool again. It's worked fine since and should, at least until the next time I do something equally dumb.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Vacation's all I ever wanted

The long trip to the Midwest is finally over. And at the same time, it went too quickly. When we first planned this, 12 1/2 days seemed like such a long time. Indeed, it was the longest vacation we'd ever endeavored.

Now that it's over, and we're back in our comfortable home, I'm amazed how quickly it really went. It just seems like we were here very recently, when it was almost two weeks ago. Maybe vacations simply aren't meant to go slow.

Anyway, there's a lot I want to blog about our trip, but not tonight. We had a good flight back, arriving early, got home, and have done very little the last five hours. The boys are sleeping, Wife is finishing the final Harry Potter book, and I'm settling down to go to bed early, too. Though I don't work again for a couple days, starting tomorrow, it's time to get back to work.