children

Fair Food-Part 2- Gotta Be NC Fair: The Triplets, The Husband, & Me

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Food Glorious, Disgusting, Absurdly Over-Priced Food

Last time I talked about my family going to the Gotta Be NC Fair and how wonderfully I dealt with 11 year old triplets, inclement weather, ride wristbands and every parent's gift from Gd-- bumper cars.  But there was one aspect of fair life that I didn't mention: The fair food. (Feel free to take that as a pun.) Last time, I omitted it intentionally. I thought that the fair food required and deserved a blog post all its own. And this is it.

As I explained in the first post, "Gotta Be NC" held every May, is a smaller version of the state fair held every October. This way, we North Carolina residents get two opportunities a year to pay homage to local farmers and eat our body weight in saturated fat. I've always considered that having the two events in spring and fall respectively, serves a dual purpose: The weather is most likely going to be pleasant, and our digestive systems will have several months between events to successfully complete the five stages of gastronomic grief:

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Denial: "I didn't eat that much fair food. Last year I ate way more. And that deep-fried butter should be no big deal. Last year I had three of those."

Anger:  "I can't believe I wasted an hour and a half at Planet Fitness that morning. If I was going to eat all that fair food, why oh why did I go to the gym when I could have been sleeping? Oh right. They had bagels.

Bargaining: (Day of the Fair) "Please don't let me get sick! Please don't let me get sick! I swear if I don't get sick, I won't eat another thing all day." (Day after the Fair) "Please let this pain be an 'antacid' blockage situation and not a 'surgical' blockage situation. If this ache can be cured by TUMS, I swear I'll only eat organic, unprocessed, gluten-free, dairy-free, paleontological vegan food from now on."

Depression: "Oh... the Thanksgiving feast in an egg roll... I can't believe I missed that booth. I saw it advertised on TV the week before and stupid me I didn't even notice it at the fair... And those chocolate covered knee caps. I forgot about those too! I mean, I don't think they're actual knee caps but I never got the chance to find out!"

Acceptance:  "Well, the next fair is coming up in just a couple of months. I'll get them then."

50% of all fair attendees never go on any rides or play any games. We just eat our way from one end of the festival to the other. Basically, the rides, the games, the blue ribbons, the bands, and all of the other attractions are just something to occupy yourself with in those brief bouts of eating downtime between: "I'm so full I never want to see fair food again" and "Hey, that smells good, let me go ask her where she got it."

Many of us fair-goers convince ourselves that we will "walk it off" during the sprawling event, failing to realize that it's difficult to do so when you're strolling with a turkey leg in one hand and a deep-fried Snicker's bar on a stick in the other. (If you never thought you could actually feel your BMI rising, you've never been to a state fair.)

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And gluttony doesn't come cheaply. I always prefer to get my fair food from a local business or charity that has a stand there. This way I know that it's likely to be decent food at a somewhat reasonable price because they either want your business again next week at their restaurant or the money's going to a good cause.

However, my son always wants chicken tenders and fries from one of those: "Have a good day. Scam you next fair!" tents.

I always think to myself as I order: "$7 for frozen chicken and potatoes they throw into a deep fryer. I'm surprised they call them 'french fries' instead of 'pommes frites.'" This year was different. This year the same meal was $10. I knew what was going on. It was lousy weather all weekend and attendance was way down... While the executive chef stood over the fryer tending to our order, I said to the person at the front of the tent, as politely as I could... and as quietly as I could so as not to upset the person actually touching and within spitting distance of my son's fair food:

"How come the price went up from $7 to $10 this year? The people who showed up have to make up for the people who didn't?" I knew I wasn't going to get any satisfactory answer, especially since it was more or less a rhetorical question.  But the young lady was friendly and said she didn't know because the owner usually kept the prices the same at a particular fair from one year to the next. When we got our fair food and left, my son looked at me:

"Why did you have to say that?"

I said: "Because I'm me. And no matter where I live, I'm a New Yorker. New Yorkers don't mind paying more for something that's worth it, but there's nothing a New Yorker hates more than feeling like they're getting ripped off." He still stared at me. So I  continued: "And... like I said...I'm me."

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I really appreciate you stopping by! I hope you enjoyed my buffoonery. If you'd like to check out Part 1 of this post (which is largely about mean punishing my kids with bumper cars for a year of misdeeds): "Gotta Be NC: The Triplets, My Husband, and Me" immediately follows this post.. Also, please consider subscribing to my not-so-frequent-you'll-want-to shoot-your-inbox newsletter or check out one of my Laughing IS Conceivable books, all on the home page... or you can do both. I won't fight you on it. 

 

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Gotta Be NC- The Triplets, The Husband, & Me

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And how many family outings have you regretted while still in the middle of them?

Fit To Be Tied... with a wristband

Every year my husband and I and our triplets (now 11 1/2) head over to "Gotta Be NC" which is a smaller version of the state fair. If you buy a $20 wristband per child instead of tickets, they can go on unlimited rides. The people selling them are very particular. They have to wrap the wristband tightly around each child's right wrist. Not the left.  Not over a sleeve. Not dangling. (Gd forbid the kid has no right arm. "Sorry, those are the rules.") If the ticket booth people worked for the criminal justice system, people on house arrest wouldn't be slipping out of their tracking bracelets every other day. This past weekend when the fair was held, the weather was a little iffy. But there are no refunds for inclement weather. If you factor in the cost of tickets and how many tickets are required for each ride, we figured each child would have to ride 5 rides for us to break even.

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So we got the wristbands and I looked up at the clouds and my kids were standing around deciding what they should go on first while my husband started off the day's festivities by yelling at them:

"What are you standing around for? I just spent $60! Go on something before it starts pouring!"

Finally they all agreed on a tween-approved helicopter ride. The girls went together. My son disassociated himself altogether and went on by himself. They got off the ride. They're sauntering through the exit while we're looking up at the clouds:

"Come on! Come on! What do you want to go on next? How about this one?" My husband shoved them through the gate of the adjoining ride as I called after them: "You're doing great. Another four rides and we'll break even. After that you can go on whatever you want."

Triplet C yelled back: "I'm starving! I want to eat!"

"There will be plenty of time to eat once we break even! The sooner we break even, the sooner we can eat!" Not that I had a one track mind or anything.

My Two 11 Year Old Daughters and Their Geriatric Triplet Brother 

Triplet B knew what rides she wanted to go on. Triplet C looked at Triplet B to tell her whether she too wanted to go on the ride or not. Triplet A, my son, looked up at most rides and commented thusly:

"I can't go on that. It would upset my equilibrium."

I looked at him: "Upset your equilibrium? How old are you?"

He prefers to take the can-never-be-too-careful approach to amusement park rides. He likes the rides that never leave the ground and look like an eighty year old church lady is driving them. You know how kids are always crying at carnivals because they're too short to go on the rides? My son is the opposite. He laments that all the rides he would feel safe on have a height limit of 3 feet tall. The only other would-be riders who are ever turned away are those who haven't yet mastered sitting up by themselves.

If I hadn't been a somewhat crucial part of their birth, I would swear that my daughters were born two minutes apart and half a century after my son.

Fasten Your Seat Belts... It's Going To Be a Bumpy 4 Minutes

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Bumper cars are something we can all agree on. Although, the second time my son went to get on them the other day he said:

"I'm not sure if I should go again. I think I pulled something." I said:

"Get in the seat. Your Medicare will cover it." I was adamant. Nobody will stop me from sitting behind the wheel of my own bumper car with all three of my children driving around the pit. Bumper cars with your kids. What a wonderful idea and legal in all 50 states. I'm never prouder of having passed my road test 37 years ago than during a round of bumper car derby with my kids. I like to personalize my hits as I gun it towards each child: "This is for crying during Final Jeopardy!" "This is for finishing my Mother's Day cake before I even got any!" "This is for handing me your report card to sign Monday morning as the bus is coming!"

I've considered renting out the whole bumper car pit for an hour or two so I can "reconnect" with my family without any innocent people getting hurt. It gets tiresome yelling at strangers: "Get out of my way! She's the one I want! You're blocking my shot!"

I suspect I'm not the only parent who feels this way. In fact, I know it. Lots of times while I'm driving around on my mission, a parent will call out to me from the other side of the gate: "Over there! Blond hair, blue shirt! Hurry! He's getting away!"

If you'd like more laughs at the triplets' expense, please subscribe to my not-overly-frequent newsletter and check out my eBook written especially for parents at this time of year: Laughing IS Conceivable: From End of School to Back-to-School. (I love my kids. I love my kids. I LOVE MY KIDS!!).. Both doable from the home page.

 

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First Day of School Blues in the Fifth Week of School

First day of school: It's so hard for any kid. Monday morning was a very hard morning for all of us... The only thing I don't get-- Yes, it was the first day of school, but not for my kids. Their school started a month ago.

So why then, this Monday morning of all mornings, did one child sit on the steps for a half hour crying and making that repetitive droning sound like he's doing an impression of my vacuum cleaner (and a very good impression, I might add) because he didn't know what to wear, while another refused to brush her hair saying she had no idea where her brush was? Of course, the third child was well-behaved. There always has to be a well-behaved child if only to show-up the others. It's never the same child by-the-way. Just like a pitcher can't pitch two days in a row. Each child needs a day or two off to rest from being well-behaved. It's a rotation. They take turns being "Kiss-ass for a day".

On this particular Monday, however, I did have a third misbehaved child played beautifully by my husband who chased the brushless girl around the living room with scissors threatening to give her a haircut should her brush not magically appear in the next thirty seconds. And I sensed by the venom in his eyes that he wasn't planning to deep-condition or blow dry like the salon does... or even let her sit in a chair. Even Great Clips lets you sit in a chair. No, he clearly was fantasizing about hoisting this eleven year old off the floor by her raggedy locks and dangling her over the couch so she and her new bob would have a soft place to land.

I still can't figure out why my kids were so miserable on other kids' first day of school. Wait. I got it. You know how guys sometimes have sympathy pains when their spouse is pregnant? They start craving things and get heart burn? Maybe it's like that. Maybe my kids (and husband) are so compassionate and sensitive towards others... okay, forget it. I can't even type the whole thing in good conscience.

In fact, come to think of it, everyone didn't turn back into their normal jovial selves until we'd arrived at the bus stop and my husband proposed a new game:

"Of all the kids you know who are starting middle school today, who do you think will get their ass kicked first?

"Sammy The-Know-It-All" got voted number one unanimously. What this kid lacks in intelligence he makes up for in obnoxiousness.

Teacher: "Who can name all 7 continents?"

Sammy: "Asia, North America, Europe... oh and Fun Fact!: Mrs. Stern, I bet you didn't know that Antarctica was originally...."

Let's face it: Any 11 year old who readily blurts out: "Fun Fact!" is a prime candidate for an ass-whoopin'. And you can almost guarantee that when they have Meet-the-Teachers, Sammy's parent will be the first to correct the teacher, typically on something that couldn't possibly matter less.

Teacher: "And when the kids finish lunch at 1:25..."

Parent: "Don't they have lunch only until 1:23? I believe they're already lined up by 1:25."

In my experience: The apple usually doesn't fall far from the know-it-all tree.

 

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My Daughter's Bedroom Takeover & Makeover #2

Last week I discussed how slow-moving we are in this house when it comes to getting things done.  I mentioned that when we picked this 4+ bedroom house ten years ago,  we had specifically done so, so that each of my triplets could eventually have his or her own room, I could have my own office, and that would leave a total of zero rooms available for anyone to ever even consider coming to live with us. My husband Lloyd and I don't really care what relatives think of us as long as they don't think of us as the couple with the spare bedroom.

I say 4+ bedrooms because there are four indisputable bedrooms with walls and floors and everything. Then you know how nowadays they give you this unfinished room that you can do whatever you want with like you can put up walls and finish the floor or you can leave it for ten years as a dark, sweltering, stifling sawdust mess? Well, we've toyed with making it into a man cave or office but so far we're still  going with the sweltering sawdust mess motif.

This is of no consequence to my daughter. She's been kvetching for her own room for years, and just like contractions, her kvetches have been coming closer together: Right now they're about 2 minutes apart. So while that sawdust museum upstairs will someday likely maybe probably who knows? be my office, she is done waiting. Her sister must move out of their room and into my current office. So next time I write a post, it will likely take me twice as long as I will be holding my PC with one hand and typing with the other while standing in the hallway between the bedrooms. (Yes, I have heard of lap tops. I told you I'm behind with everything.) With the minor task of disposing of her mother and sister out of the way, it's time to decorate. (I've concluded that the abbreviation for "interior decorating" is "deteriorating".)

The first thing she's picked out of a catalog is a $2200 swing chair. That's certainly a fair price for something that's eventually going to make my roof buckle. Do we have the dimensions on that swing? Perhaps we can sell the house and all live in the swing chair. Next is the bed which is up in the air. No I mean literally. She wants to sleep in the top bunk of a bunk bed-- preferably with a canopy. but she's willing to forgo the canopy if it's not possible, because as she stated: "I'm not totally unreasonable." And no, her sister can't sleep in the free bunk. Are you crazy? This isn't about saving space or money or accommodating anyone else you know. The bunk bed just looks cool. Speaking of looking cool, there's going to be an ice cream sandwich bench at the foot of the bed.... and a corner desk because she's going to middle school and she needs that corner desk to do her homework. I agree a middle schooler should have her own desk. I'm not sure why a normal rectangular desk wouldn't promote homework focus as well as a corner one, but apparently it won't. And the room will be painted light turquoise except for the window frames and edges which will be dark turquoise and can we get someone to paint her name on the ceiling? A quick calculation brings this room to about $20,000.

I knew I was probably wasting my time, but one day mid-bedroom designing hallucination when she was showing me where she would put her revolving shoe display, I had to finally confront her: "Not to interrupt but: Do you have a top ten hit on the charts that I'm unaware of? Have you been signed to an NBA team? Do you have any idea who your parents are? Haven't you seen me wearing the same pair of jeans your whole life and driving a vehicle that only starts every third try?"

To which she responded, predictably: "I've noticed. I just always figured you were saving up for my room."

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Planning a Kid's Birthday Party or 2 or 3 (part 2)

A week or so ago,  I whined about planning a kid's birthday party or, more specifically, my triplets' birthday party (parties) and how demanding they are and how they each want their own party, in its own location complete with three totally distinct cast of characters that they call "friends". True they walk all over me but I don't think it's my fault. My mother used to tell me that when I was in kindergarten she asked whom I would like to invite to my birthday party to which I responded: "My class."

"Who in your class?"

"The whole class. It wouldn't be nice to leave anybody out."

Before you mistake this for a heartwarming story, you'd have to have known my mother and her wind-up to the story every time she retold it:

"So I, like a moron, invited twenty-three 5 year olds to my house."

This is why I don't take the blame for being my children's doormat. Clearly the problem is genetic. Or maybe my mother started sending me subliminal messages when I was in kindergarten:"Your kids will one day do the same to you. Your kids will one day do the same to you."

Planning A Kid's Birthday Party: The Eats

Back when I made one party for all three, there were still disputes... Over the pizza for instance:

"Can you get Domino's?" That's my favorite.

"I don't like Domino's. Can you get Pizza Hut?"

"I like Papa John's, but Mommy doesn't like Papa Johns' politics."

Since Little Caesar's was the cheapest, I brought a stack home and tossed it onto the counter:"Here's what I got. You wouldn't know the difference if you didn't see the box. If you don't like it, don't look at the box."

Planning a Kid's Birthday Party: The Cake.

Two like chocolate. One doesn't. Does she really not like chocolate or does she just like to be difficult? Everyone agrees on ice cream cake but my husband and me. Sorry, we can't be that precise. If you don't time ice cream cake exactly right you need a chisel to cut it or a straw to drink it. When they were four, my husband gave BJ's bakery a photo of the kids that they "painted" on the cake. It was lovely until my son yelled out at the party:"I want to eat Hayley's eye! Please can I eat Hayley's eye?!!" (Should I be concerned? Maybe it's a common trait among psychopaths and cannibals: When they're little, they all beg to eat their sister's cake eye.)

Planning a Kid's Birthday Party: The Presents.

Then the kids urge us every year to let them open their presents at the party in front of their friends. No way. I'm not getting suckered into that. That's all I need. A child tearing into a gift, holding it up and announcing in front of every invitee and their photo-taking parents: "What the fuck is this supposed to be?'

(The above photo is not us. We have never looked like this. I especially, have never looked like that. Ever.)

So instead, in the privacy of our own home later that evening, we gather in the living room in our jammies where we sing songs in rounds, laugh, and drink hot cocoa with mini marshmallows while the adorable trio gleefully open their gifts on the floor and proclaim:

  1. I already have this. Can we take it back?
  2. Why did she get one in blue? Blue's my favorite color.Who doesn't know that?
  3. Oh no! I broke it when I pulled the paper off!
  4. I don't care that I got 22 presents. I didn't get anything good.
  5. I already opened all of mine and they have one more left. Now I have nothing to open. How's that fair?
  6. Mommy, could you put this together now? Mommy?...Daddy?
  7. Hey! He took my blue one. The blue one was mine!
  8. I'm so bored. Can I go on my tablet?
  9. This was the worst birthday ever.
  10. Oh, my show's on. I promise I'll clean up the wrapping paper in the morning.

Thanks a lot for stopping by! If you'd like more laughs at your child's expense, please consider signing up for my newsletter at the top of my home page and checking out the new edition of my little eBook especially for parents at this trying time of year.

http://laughingisconceivable.com (home page)

https://www.amazon.com//dp/B07261ST2P (eBook)

And if you missed part 1 of my triplet birthday saga: http://laughingisconceivable.com/planning-a-kids-birthday-party/