“Another fair?” Samantha lamented my exact thought when I mentioned the upcoming fair this weekend. We had been with Carly and April to the last fair just two weekends ago. We had gone to some kind of Monk-fest festival the weekend in between. We were faired out. I knew it for sure when I asked if she’d rather watch cartoons and play; she greedily accepted that opposed to another day of long carnival ride lines.
I plan my weekend activities based on The Signal. By Thursday or Friday I have a pretty good choice. A fair here, a petting zoo there. Art show or farmer’s market at the college. A trip to Lombardi’s scare crow alley or a Friday night concert at the mall. Chalk art vs. a reading at Barnes and Noble and/or Border’s books. It’s enough to drive a mom to drink (a squeez-it).
My co-workers in Burbank that don’t share my commute also don’t have to share my decisions. Some have borrowed my Signal on Friday to peruse Carol Rock’s Escape column. She lists events taking place all over Southern California. Although have you noticed that there’s rarely more than one kid-friendly event in the “You could be home by now” valley we drive speedily past?
I couldn’t understand why people, especially with families, stay in the San Fernando Valley. My co-worker Maribel complains that she can barely get her hunk of a husband off the couch after a long week at work. And he doesn’t even have to deal with a commute! I’m almost afraid to tell her all we get out here because she’ll never motivate him to move.
Another co-worker, Kim, plans her own activities. Before I had Samantha I laughed at her silly Halloween nail decals, the way she’d decorate her desk for every holiday, the phone calls she’d insist her teenagers make to her when arriving home from school, and my favorite: the summer she drove her entire brood cross-country. Kim laughs at me playing the mom now.
Last week Kim, and her brood, successfully staged our office picnic. The softball was to go from 10 to 12. Lunch was to be immediately following. That’s all I knew and I purposely planned my busy day to arrive in time just for the eats. But it was after all the catered junk food was digested that our day really began.
First came the scarecrow coloring contest, then the piñata, toddler bowling, moon bounce, tug of war and finally, my old nemesis, potato sack races. I rolled down the edges of the sacks and helped Samantha and Jonathan, Maribel’s adorable five-year-old son, into their respective scratchy sacks.
Then the fun began. The twelve and thirteen year olds took off. Samantha and Jonathan quickly realized that they were not going to win if they didn’t start hustling. With camera in hand I tried to cheer them on but, suddenly, the tide changed. They were in the lead! Before reaching the halfway point Samantha quickly did an about-face, Jonathan followed her lead and the two were neck and neck leaving the teenagers several feet behind. They won! In their age category. And more than that; it was the best fair we had attended.
Okay so my daughter is a little cheat. And so what if Kim has to plan her own fairs? So what if Maribel had to leave her husband at home? They found their own way to have family fun in Burbank while we are lucky enough to sit back and let someone else plan it here for us in Santa Clarita.
Who can say which is better?