Wednesday, October 01, 2003

My weekend without Tamara

Since Tamara is in Denver this weekend at a friend's wedding (second marriage for both of them), I guess I should get off my butt long enough to blog about my weekend with the kids.

Tamara left for Denver about 5 a.m. on Friday. So she wasn't there to take care of Calvin while I got ready for work. Luckily Tamara's Mom, Ellen, came over to watch Calvin for the day. He got to go to the Mall while I had to go to work. Ellen also picked up Duncan after school and took him to his Tae Kwon Do class. After work I picked up Duncan from Karate and went with him, Ellen, Calvin and my Mom, Gayle, to Taste of China. This was a good time to get Chinese Buffet because Tamara was out of town (she's not all that fond of Chinese Buffets). After that we did our nightly ritual of TV, baths, reading and bed.

Saturday I decided to take Duncan to the Oklahoma State Fair. This was the second-to-last day of the fair and we hadn't taken Duncan yet. At 13 months old, Calvin can take or leave the fair. My Mom volunteered to watch the baby so we could go on some rides if we wanted to. Calvin, of course, had a grand old time with his Nana Gayle, MaMaw (Ellen) and G.G. (my grandmother and Duncan's and Calvin's Great Grandmother - That's where G.G. comes from). They played at the house and went to IHOP for lunch where Calvin ate a whole pancake. After lunch Ellen drove to Texas to visit with relatives that drove in from Tennessee to see other relatives already in Texas.

Duncan and I had to renew the tag on Tamara's car before hitting the fair so we didn't get there until about 10:45. We took a lap around 14 flags plaza to get a feel for the place and noticed that the space tower rides were free this year. The space tower goes up a couple of hundred feet and with Oklahoma City being pretty flat, you could see quite a lot of the city. After that we went to the "Made In Oklahoma" building. This year they had converted most of the building into a kid-friendly farm-based exhibit called Agtropolis. They had several areas where you could watch baby chickens hatch from eggs as well as full grown chickens wandering around doing chicken things (eating, pooping, and not thinking about their eventual fate of being dismembered and eaten). There were also several types of rabbits and goats, two cows and a calf and some pigs. The highlight of the show was an exhibit about bugs with many varieties of large spiders and hissing cockroaches. Duncan also liked watching the cows pull hay off of a bale and eat it. He petted a sleeping pig but didn't hang around there too long because of the smell. I was wondering about why they didn't have any information about the eventual fate of these cows, pigs, and chickens. Wouldn't it be interesting for kids to know how a chicken becomes a nugget or a cow becomes a hamburger - with full-color photos from real processing facilities.

After Agtropolis we went to the International Trade Center building. This is one of the more interesting buildings at the fair since its roof is held up by air pressure, it's basically a large inflatable building with airlock-type doors to keep the air pressure higher on the inside. The building mainly had lots of stuff for sale. Tracey, Tamara's friend that was driving up to Denver with her, requested that I buy her a "wooden necktie" from one of the vendors in this building. It was only five dollars and she regretted not buying it when she was at the fair a few days before. From here we got lunch (Duncan had a corn dog and I had a gyro) and then went to the Centennial Building where Duncan bought a copy of Metroid Prime from the Game X Change booth. This pretty much made the day worthwhile for Duncan. After this we dropped by the booth for 105.3 KSYY (the alternative station in Oklahoma City). It was unmanned on a Saturday at the State Fair of Oklahoma - good way to promote that station.

And now it was mule time. We walked down to the State Fair Arena where the World Mule show was going to happen - but not until 7 p.m. When we got there, about 1 p.m., they were grading the dirt to make it smoother for the mules. We went to the far end of the arena where the stables are located and found a co-worker of mine, Bruce, who raises mules with his wife Chris. The most interesting thing we saw was all of the people in equestrian riding gear sitting on mules. Being of a certain age my primary impression of mules has someone like the Gunsmoke character Festus riding on one.

The arena was right next to the Midway. Duncan wanted to go on lots of rides and I was willing to accommodate him, except for one thing. The armbands you could buy and ride all of the rides were only sold Monday through Friday - and this was Saturday. After looking at a few of the rides and seeing how much the tickets were, I figured that it would cost us about $7.50 per ride. Since many of the rides were duplicates of rides at Frontier City, where Duncan already has a season pass, I convinced him to find one ride and we'd get the others the next time we went to the amusement park. Well he picked The Twister. As the name suggests this ride whips you around in circles for several minutes and then it's over. Since we had just eaten lunch I didn't think my stomach was quite ready for that ride. So we went over to the Modern Living Building. Right next to this building is the KSYY booth that was still unmanned. Tamara asked me if I would get her a bumper sticker for the radio station. But with the lack of anyone at the booth, this request was becoming harder to fill.

In the Modern Living Building we saw tons of stuff we could live without and got some free rulers from the AFL-CIO. After this we went back to the Midway and rode The Twister. Duncan had fun on the ride but admitted that it was a rip-off for $7.50 ($3.75 each). We decided it was time for a snack and Duncan got Cotton Candy and I got a funnel cake. Since there really wasn't anything else we wanted to do at the fair we went to the O'Brien's karaoke restaurant, next to the KSYY booth to wait and see if anyone ever showed up to represent the radio station. We stayed about 35 minutes eating our snacks and listening to some very bad singers. Some of them even had the event videotaped - possibly so it could be used against them in court. Duncan got pretty excited by one song though. As we were leaving what looked like a fifth grader got up on stage and started belting out "The Girl All The Bad Guys Want" by Bowling For Soup. This is one of Duncan's favorite songs so we had to go back and listen as this boy butchered his way through it.

And still no one was at the KSYY booth. Well, we gave up and went home, where we had leftovers for dinner and the usual TV, baths, reading and bed.

On Sunday I let Duncan sleep late - Calvin did not let me sleep late. I was up and around by 6:30. The only benefit was that I could read the Sunday Paper before the day got going. My mom came over about 11:30 and took Calvin to lunch again and I took Duncan to a Birthday party at 66 Bowl. I did a little bowling but couldn't quite get the strikes or spares needed to break 100. Duncan bowled ok but all of the kids had the gutters converted to bumpers to increase the amount of pins knocked down. When I bowled as a kid I don't think they had that as an option. It's been a long time since I went bowling and the entire place was set up more like an interactive video game than what I remember as "bowling." The lane had automatic conversion from adult (with gutters) to kids (without gutters), Video score keeping that automatically told you how many pins you knocked over and also auto-scored things like spares and strikes (spares and strikes get bonus points based on the next ball, for spares, or frame, for strikes). They even had extra video stuff that would play if you knocked 8 or more pins down or if you got a split. It was pretty interesting and the kids had a great time.

After the bowling party Duncan's friend Ryan came over and they played for several hours. Calvin was ready for a nap and so was I. We both slept for about an hour and a half while the boys whacked at each other with plastic swords in the yard, played Soul Calibur II or Metroid Prime or danced around to music in Duncan's room. Eventually we took Ryan to Little Caesar's Pizza - Ryan's a picky eater and Pizza is one of only three things I know that he'll eat. We ended up at Ryan's house where he and Duncan played the Playstation 2 version of Soul Calibur II (each platform has one character that is special to that version; GameCube has Link, Xbox has Spawn and Playstation 2 has Heihechi from the game Tekken). So now Duncan has played all of the special characters for Soul Calibur II and is a happy camper. When we got home we went through the bath, reading, bed ritual but didn't do any TV since we got home so late from Ryan's house.

Monday was a normal school day for Duncan and I took off work to watch Calvin. My mom also took off work so I took advantage of the extra person to get stuff like dishes and laundry done around the house. That way Tamara wouldn't have to return to a house in shambles. My mom even made us baked chicken with new potatoes and baked beans for dinner (aren't moms great). Tamara finally got home about 10 pm and our lives could get back to normal - or as normal as they can get with us living in it.


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