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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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The "Triplets" Situation at a New School

The first day of middle school, the triplets were asked to stand up and tell a little about themselves. My daughter got up there: "My name is Carly Fox. I'm a triplet. I hate being a triplet." She was heading back to her seat when she turned around. "Oh, and I also hate my last name." Way to go on the positive self-talk, Carly. I looked up the number for the school psychologist and added it to my phone contacts so I'd know it when it came up.

Maybe I should have been one of those mothers who verbally assaults their kid by yelling:"Good Job!" every three seconds from birth through masters degree.

I told Carly-- I guess I can still call her "Carly". She didn't publicly denounce her first name. Maybe she just ran out of time. She does give me wrinkled nose face when I mention that my first name choice for her was "Samantha" but apparently Samantha Fox was a porno star and so daddy voted it down. (Funny how none of the women I tell that to ever heard of her but all the men smile knowingly like I just sent them down some smut-filled memory lane.)

So, I told Carly to feel free to revert "Fox" back to my husband's original family name: "Fuchs". And being from New York, I had no trouble giving her several specific examples of how that could go terribly awry at every middle school in the nation.

I also enumerated for her several of my girlfriends with whom I'd grown up, who lamented their last names for years and then married into far worse ones. (I don't dare get into them here. They might be reading. And you know who you are.)

As for the triplet thing, I told her that we hadn't really entertained the thought of reducing the number of embryos, and that now it was kind of late: The cut-off to make that decision was third grade.

While I dislike what she said up there for twenty-two or three reasons, I totally understand. When triplets attend a new camp or school or anything, it's different than one child. When you introduce triplets, it's like the circus side show has come to town. Everybody's staring and trying not to look shocked.

It's funny how students and campers seem to get over the novelty and forget all about it a lot faster than teachers and counselors. The girls don't look thaaat much alike: They have different colored eyes and one wears glasses. And not only don't they dress alike, you can tell just by looking at them that they're whole dressing methodology couldn't be more different: One tries on six different outfits in her room, running into the bathroom each time to look in the bathroom mirror, then runs downstairs to get the whole effect in the full-length mirror. She's practicing for the track team, without even knowing it. The other daughter puts on a t-shirt and leggings at night and calls it pajamas. Then in the morning: "Hayley! It's time to get up and get dressed! She rolls over in bed, eyes still closed: "I am dressed!"

And yet at least one teacher will ask all year: "Are you Carly or are you Hayley?" But okay. Teachers have a lot of kids to remember. Much worse, the last thing tweens want every time they're coming down the hallway is to be announced:

"Here come the Fox triplets!" like they're one big kid.

Then- and this is where her hatred for our last name comes into play- one teacher last year used to yell out:

"What does the Fox say?!" Yeah it was hilarious the first, second, thirty-fourth, fifty-second... okay it was never hilarious.

They also get: "Who let the Foxes out? Who? Whooo?!"

I keep trying to remind the kids that these people mean no harm. Still, as mother of this skulk of Foxes, I'm always tempted to get nose to nose with the wiseacre and say: "Who let the idiot out? Who? Whooo?"

Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope you were able to add a few laughs to your day. If you'd like more laughs at my/your kids' expense, please sign onto my monthly newsletter and/or check-out my eBook, specifically  for parents at this time of year. Available on all Amazons-- Now available at the Kindle Library too.

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