Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cincinnati trip--last day (this is a boring one, but had to do it, just for the record)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014
9:00 a.m.  Had breakfast at the hotel, and now we're leaving.
10:30 a.m.  Gas at Marathon in Shelbyville, IN.  12.5 gal x $3.33/gal = $41.89
11:49 a.m.  Subway near Crawfordsville, IN to feed the beasts. Noah has been wanting Subway the whole trip, and he finally got it.
2:00 p.m. home

Sarah--King's Island
Janel--Creation Museum
Mike--the baseball game
Noah--the baseball game

Cincinnati trip--day 3

Tuesday, August 26, 2014
9:00 a.m.  Free breakfast at hotel.
10:00 a.m.  Fillmore challenge for Noah (using peanut butter as hair gel).

Ice bucket challenge for Noah & Sarah (dumping a bucket of ice water over their heads and donating $25 to charity).  I was going to use the tiny little hotel ice bucket, but Mike asked at the desk, and the desk clerk was happy to provide a big busboy tub. 

We had planned to spend a lot of time in the pool today but were informed that it would be closed all day to be drained and refilled. We're planning to go to a fun place today, but it doesn't open till 4:00, so we have hours to kill at the hotel.  The kids want to do Kid Hotel Olympics and have us judge.

Sarah won.  Then we did Parent Hotel Olympics, and the kids judged.

I hurt my ankle doing a backward twist maneuver.
Mike won.
3:30 leaving for Lazer Kraze.  Gas at Speedway in Erlanger, KY. $3.51/gal x 10 gal = $35.20
We played two games of laser tag (because I had a buy one get one free coupon).  That was lots of fun!

Then the kids jumped on the trampolines for 30 minutes.  They were super hot and sweaty after that.

From there, we drove to Covington, KY, parked under the Roebling Suspension Bridge,
and walked across it to the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Mike and Noah went to Cubs/Reds game (which the Cubs won 3-0 after a 40-minute rain delay).

After we left the boys at the game, we girls sat on these swings outside the ball park and argued about what we were going to do for the next four hours.  It was hot and very humid, and Sarah was tired, so she was not feeling very adventurous. We walked aimlessly along the river for awhile until she refused to go any further. Then we sat in stony silence for a long time.  I spotted a Barnes and Noble across the river, and she was excited about going there.
 So we walked across the Taylor Southgate Bridge to Newport, Kentucky.  

As soon as we got across the bridge, Sarah said she thought a bird pooped on her head.  Then I felt a sprinkle.  The sun was still out, and it didn't look like rain, so I told her it was just a little sprinkle.  We kept walking towards Newport on the Levee (the mall where Barnes and Noble was), and all the sudden rain started pouring down, accompanied by thunder and lightning.  We dashed under the closest awning.  An amish woman and her kids were seeking shelter there too.  Sarah whispered to me, "They look like they're from ye olden times." A bright flash of lightning cracked right in front of us VERY loudly, and Sarah and I clung to each other, not feeling especially safe under our little awning.  Her attitude was briefly better after our shared ordeal though. 

After at least 30 minutes of huddling under the awning, we ran through the lessening rain to Barnes and Noble.  Sarah had a gift card to spend, so she bought a nice sketch book.  While she was shopping, I was studying my map and determining the best way to get back to the van in the dark in a city unknown to us and wishing we had just stayed at the hotel.  We would have to walk back to Ohio on the Taylor Southgate, then walk along the river to the Roebling and walk back to Kentucky.  A lot of walking for the overtired, whiny 10-year-old.  I found a bus that we could ride for a dollar, which would take us through Cincinnati and then back to Kentucky and deposit us near our van.  I discussed it with Sarah, and we determined that it would be a dollar well spent.  

We walked to the bus stop and waited.  When the bus showed up, we got on, and I put in my dollar and confirmed with the driver that we would end up where I thought we would.  She said that we needed the trolley.  I asked for my dollar back, and she said she couldn't get it back so I realized that was not a dollar well spent after all.  

But just then the trolley pulled up, and the bus driver told him that I had already paid, so we got to ride the trolley without paying again.  We toured around Cincinnati as I tried to figure out what button I needed to push or handle I needed to pull in order to request a stop.  I never did figure it out, but we just got off with someone else who requested a stop near where we thought we should get off (after some disagreement with Sarah's opinion about where to get off).  After some aimless bumbling around, we spotted the bridge and found the van, near these beautiful murals.

It was 10:00 p.m., and the baseball game was still going on, compliments of the rain delay.  It was still hot and muggy outside, and Sarah was all done adventuring, so I took her back to the hotel and put her to bed.  I showered and went back to pick up Mike and Noah, who had really enjoyed the game.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Cincinnati trip--day 2

10:00 a.m.--leaving for the Creation Musuem.  Stopped at Walmart to get a charger for Mike's phone and Steak & Shake drive-thru for breakfast.  Somehow we got 8 tacos for less than $8.  Browsed the exhibits, saw 2 shows, rode a camel named C.J., and petted the animals at the petting zoo.  Walked the beautiful gardens, but hard to fully enjoy them because it was miserably hot and humid.

4:00 p.m.  Country Inn & Suites in Hebron, Kentucky.  Free cookies! Mike and Sarah failed to see the "CLOSED FOR MAINTENANCE" sign on the door to the pool, so they got right into the murky waters.  Noah and I came along about 15 minutes later, saw the sign, asked at the desk how long it would be closed.   The guy said it would be closed till 5:00 so they can add chemicals.  We came back at 5:00, and there was still clearly something wrong with the water.  At 5:15 Sarah asked the guy at the desk when the pool would open, and he just went over, took the sign down, and declared it open.  Against my better judgment, we got in and swam.  While swimming, we noticed a leak in the ceiling that was dropping a stream of water into the pool.  Sometimes a stream, sometimes just a drip.  I figured it was toilet water that streamed whenever someone flushed. After we got out, Mike informed the desk guy about the leak.  He said he already knew about it and had informed the maintenance man two days ago.  I asked him if it was toilet water, and he said, "I really don't know.  It could be."  My germophobia is really flaring up on this trip.  There were other disgusting incidents too (involving my own children), but I can't talk about it anymore right now.

Later we ate leftover pizza and went to bed.
There was much jockeying for position and covers all night long. Noah complained that he only had "this much" space, because Sarah was sleeping diagonally.  I told him to move her over.  When he did, she punched him and kept right on sleeping.

Cincinnati trip--day 1

Sunday, August 24, 2014
5:00 a.m.--Leaving.  Foggy, humid.  Everyone sleep-deprived and a little grouchy.  McKenna (Sarah's doll) has her own suitcase.  Listening to Mr. Stinky Feet's Road Trip CD, but nobody's heart is really into it.  GPS says arrival time is 11:00 a.m.  We were planning to arrive at 10:00.  It takes us awhile to realize that we're driving into Eastern Time Zone, so we're losing an hour.

5:30 a.m.--stopping to tie down the luggage in Goodfield.

5:37 a.m.--gas at Pilot in Bloomington, IL. $3.26/gal x 15 gal = $49.14. Watching "Liberty's Kids" DVD.

6:15 a.m.--breakfast in Champaign.  Wanted Subway, but it's not open yet, so McDonald's.

7:02 a.m.--Indiana.  Some luggage fell on Noah, and he yelled out, "Hashtag: 'crushed me!'"  Sometimes he speaks in hashtags.

8:25 a.m.--Circle K somewhere near Indianapolis to pee and get coffee and water.  Mike announced that he likes Illinois better than Indiana. I gave him some Indiana trivia from a library book.

11:05 a.m. (Eastern Time)--arriving at King's Island Resort.  We were just going to leave our luggage and catch the free shuttle to King's Island, but we were surprised and happy to learn that our room was ready and we could check in!  It's an old, dumpy place, but it's only $45 for the room, and it's good enough for a night.  I chose it based on its proximity to King's Island and the free shuttle that saves us $15 parking at King's Island. The air conditioner worked, and that was the most important thing.  It's HOT and nasty humid.

We spent the whole afternoon at King's Island.  Here's what we rode:
Banshee--Mike, Noah, Sarah (They loved it!  7 inversions at 68 mph).  They're in the front car:

Drop Tower--Mike, Noah
Delirium--Mike, Noah

Adventure Express--Mike, Noah, Sarah
Monster--Noah, Sarah
Scrambler--Janel, Sarah
Grand Carousel--Janel, Sarah

Vortex--Mike, Noah
Diamondback--Mike, Noah
The Beast--Mike, Noah

And at Soak City (waterpark):
Rendezvous Run--Mike, Noah (Mike got smacked in the face by his mat)
Mondo Monsoon--Mike, Janel, Noah, Sarah (waited over an hour to ride that one, and it was scary!)
Pineapple Pipeline--Mike, Noah
Tropical Twister--Mike, Janel, Noah (I didn't like that one--almost drowned)
Breakers Bay--Mike, Janel, Noah, Sarah (wave pool--Sarah's favorite)

Four disturbing things I witnessed at the park:
1.  On our way in, a guy was carrying a little girl, and he tripped and fell, rolled on the little girl and crushed her.  They turned out to be ok, but it was scary to watch (and hear the girl screaming).

2.  A girl hurt her ankle on the Pineapple Pipeline, and she had to be carried to a bench while the lifeguard called the EMTs.  I watched all that unfold while I was at the bottom waiting for Mike and Noah, who were held up at the top.

3.  While waiting in the long line for Mondo Monsoon, somebody puked on the steps.  I held my breath as I stepped over it.  Somebody at the top told the lifeguard, and he pushed his way down to the scene of the crime to clean it picking it up with his hands!  He wore rubber gloves, but still some got on his hands.  I was a little nauseated and tried not to watch, but it was like a train wreck.  I had to watch.  Then when he got back to his post at the top of the ride, he washed his hands in the water I was about to get in! I swallowed a wave of vomit, but almost lost it when the lifeguard proceeded to SPIT right into the water of the ride!  I was way beyond grossed out by this time, but there was no way down except to get in that pukey, spitty water.

4.  Mike and Noah were riding something scary, and I was in the wave pool with Sarah.  After riding the waves 3 times in a row, I got out to watch for Mike and Noah, who were supposed to meet us.  I saw a little boy, about two years old, who looked lost. He was looking all around in a panic, and he started screaming.  Some lady picked him up and started carrying him off.  I was pretty sure she wasn't his mom, so I kept my eagle eye on her.  She took the boy to a lifeguard, who took the kid by the hand and started leading him away. Just then a woman went running past me, yelling her kid's name.  I pointed toward the lifeguard, and she ran and grabbed up her son.  I was so glad I got to see the resolution, because the whole incident had taken a lot out of me.

7:00 p.m.--caught the shuttle back to the hotel and got a pizza at Coasters, the hotel restaurant.  We're all completely exhausted and looking forward to bed.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Take the meat!

Anyone remember the "Take the pen!" scene from Seinfeld?  If not, here it is:
This happened to me at Kroger today.  We were browsing the marked-down meat section, and I asked the kids what they wanted for dinner. They said tacos, and I was happy to see that there was one package of ground beef marked down.  I went to get a produce bag to put it in, because I hate it when the package leaks and meat juice drips on me.  When I got back two seconds later, the meat was gone.  I looked around in shock, and there was a lady putting it in her cart.  I said to the kids, "Oh, she got the ground beef!" She heard me, took it out of her cart, and then this happened:
Lady: Here, you can have it.
Me: No, no.  Thank you, but you got it first.
L: You have a family.  Take it.
M: No really, it's fine.  Finders keepers! Thanks anyway.
L: Please. Take the meat!
M: I can't take your meat.
L: I don't even want it!  I'm putting it back.
She puts it back and walks away. I stand there looking at it and finally put it in my cart.  Then I chase her down and invite her to come over for tacos.  After all, it's a big package of ground beef.  She refuses, and I feel like a jerk.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The dill soldier and my blind wafer eye

I walked out of Kroger, unwrapping this wafer bar. As I bit into it in the parking lot like a hungry T-rex, a flake of wafer flew directly into my eye.  Just as I was clawing at my eye, the oldest man on earth pulled his ark-sized Buick up next to me and beckoned me over.  I was carrying all my grocery bags in one hand so I could swipe at my watering wafer eye with the other.  I stumbled blindly over to the old man, and he asked me a weird question.

"Do you know where I could find dill?"

I said, "Yes, Kroger has dill. It's in the spice aisle."

He said, "No, not that kind of dill.  I need the kind you use to make pickles."

By then my eye was really bothering me, and my arm was getting sore from all the grocery bags hanging off it.  My patience was ebbing away as I explained that I'd never made pickles and didn't know what he needed.  He started describing it as "a green plant that grows to about three feet tall with feathery little leaves," and I said, "Oh, you mean fresh dill?"  He said yes, and I said, "Kroger has fresh dill. It's in the produce section."  He smiled huge, thanked me, and parked farther down the row from me. I loaded my groceries, got in my car, and tried to pry the wafer out of my eye.  When I backed out of my parking spot, the old guy was standing there saluting me like a soldier.