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Notes on a Water Park

My company sponsored a family day at a nearby water park -- discount tickets, free lunch, free parking, free ginormous refillable drink cup. I thought this was an excellent opportunity for some family fun. Chris was lukewarm about the idea. Lesson: always listen to your husband. Here is what happened.

10:30 a.m. Arrive at water park, along with half the other residents of North Carolina. Fight through the throngs in the changing room and lockers. Apply sunscreen to protesting children.

10:40 Mallory asks for cotton candy.

10:45. Go to the Wave Pool, a big "beach without sand." Phoebe, being under 48", is required to wear a life jacket. Phoebe whines incessantly that she does not want to wear the life jacket. Leave Wave Pool.

11:00. Mallory spies huge waterslide that she would like to try. Chris and I ask her if she -- our notoriously cowardly child -- really, really, really means it. She insists that she does. Chris takes her to the end of the vastly long line. I tell him I'm taking Phoebe to "Happy Harbor," the section of the park for smaller children.

11:10. Arrive at Happy Harbor. Why is everything in this park so far apart? My feet hurt.

11:15. Phoebe is crying and rubbing her eyes. Maybe she got a bit of sunscreen in her eye? I tell her to buck up and try the little Whale Spout slide.

11:17. Phoebe slides. Then she tells me that she needs to go potty. I sigh heavily.

11:20. We arrive at the closest restroom. Phoebe is whimpering and I know the situation is desperate. There are at least a dozen people in line ahead of us. I almost go to the front and ask to cut in -- and then I realize that it's too late.

11:23. Luckily, the restroom we are in also have showers. I whisk Phoebe into a stall, strip her down, and spend the next ten minutes scrubbing her and her swimsuit and trying not to think too hard about what I'm doing. (No, it wasn't just pee, in case you're wondering.)

11:35. Back at Happy Harbor. Phoebe is still rubbing her eye. "My eye hurts," she tells me. I show her the slides. She is not interested. She tells me she wants to go home. I say that's impossible. She commences wailing and thrashing.

11:40. We retreat to a bench outside of Happy Harbor. Phoebe cries in my arms. I figure at least her tears may wash away the suncreen and make her eye feel better. I wonder if Chris and Mallory enjoyed the big slide.

11:45. Chris and Mallory round the corner. They are both dry as a bone. After a 45-minute wait, Mallory chickened out at the top.

11:48. Mallory asks for a slushie.

11:50. We go back into Happy Harbor. Mallory decides to try the little slides there. I notice that as she slides down, she holds herself very rigid and braces herself with her feet, so as not to build up speed.

11:55. Phoebe is still crying and demanding to go home.

12:00. I wonder why my children are incapable of having fun.

12:10. We proceed to our free lunch. Phoebe wails when I leave her at the picnic table to get my hamburger. She stops crying to eat some potato chips. Then she rubs her sore eye with her salt-covered fingers and starts wailing again. My co-workers look at me curiously. Needless to say, no other children in the area are crying.

1:15. Lunch is over. Mallory is disappointed that she did not win the raffle -- two free tickets to the water park. As if we are ever coming back to this dreadful place anyway.

1:25. We walk back to Happy Harbor. Why is the pavement so rough? Why didn't I buy water shoes? My feet really hurt.

1:28. Mallory asks for cotton candy.

1:32. Back at Happy Harbor. Mallory splashes. Phoebe, who has apparently cried out all the sunscreen and salt from her eye, is starting to enjoy herself. I find a place to sit down. Things are looking up.

1:42. It starts to rain.

1:45. It's still raining. I hear a lifeguard say that they won't close the park unless there's a lightning report. Phoebe and Mallory are having a blast.

1:50. Phoebe asks to go potty. We go back to the bathroom, through the pouring rain. Throngs of people are clustered under the shelter by the they won't get wet. At a water park.

2:00. Back at Happy Harbor. Still raining, kids still having fun. We slide, we splash, we ride intertubes down the Lazy River.

2:47. Rain stops. Mallory asks for cotton candy.

3:15. Going down a slide with Phoebe on my lap. I trip when we get to the bottom and fall on my face, pinning Phoebe underwater. I scrape the hell out of my hand on the rough bottom of the pool. Phoebe is fine. A lifeguard has to bring me a gauze pad for my bleeding hand. "And they call this Happy Harbor," Chris says, which makes the lifeguard laugh.

4:00. We go back to the wave pool. Mallory asks for cotton candy.

4:15. Chris and I are done. My feet are killing me and my hand really hurts. Children don't want to leave. We bribe them with the promise of cotton candy and soda.

4:20. Back to the lockers. Change clothes in the bathroom stall. Mallory offended because I've forgotten her underwear.

4:40. Wait in line for hours at a concession stand.

5:00. Leave park. Kids buckled in with their snacks and drinks. As we pull away, Mallory says, "Can we come back tomorrow?" The "NO" from Chris and me is a deafening roar.


aimee said…
I hate to say that I laughed until I cried at your and your family's expense, but "I laughed until I cried." That was the funniest and the most honest. If a parent says that they and their little children (I'll say under 8) have had a blast at the water park (or zoo, or wherever) they are lying through their teeth.
Anonymous said…
The day sounds like it lasted forever! It is funny that Mallory wanted to go back.


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