Hot and muggy.
Like, in the 90s.
I wilt like a delicate spring flower in weather like this.
Okay, not really, but I kind of want to.
Yesterday we and another family set out to see The Animal Planet Expo at Goddard State Park. We'd planned this about a week ago, before we knew the temperature would soar into the stratosphere as it has done these last few days. After (planning to spend) some time seeing the exhibits and letting the kids play on the slides and whatever else, then we'd go back to our friends' house for a cookout and play-in-the-pool time for the kids.
Well, we were valiant in our attempt.
But, like I said, it was hot. Humid, too. But mostly hot.
So we went – four adults, three kids, a cooler of water, two cameras, and plenty of sunscreen – oh, yeah, and hats for all – to this completely outdoor-and-no-shade-except-on-the-periphery event.
First up – this really cool looking slide – it had a big inflated crocodile on top (I said alligator, but Alex corrected me). Alex and his buddy J got in line, shoes off, and followed the winding trail of kids to the front line – where they were asked their age and told they had to be 6 to go on the ride.
Didn't see the sign way at the entrance. Drat.
Alex will be 6 TOMORROW. And J. will be 6 next month. They're so close. But no dice. So they got out of line, found their shoes, and Alex teared up a bit and told me it was the worst day of his life. I told him there was plenty more to see and to reserve judgement until the day was done.
So Bill showed the boys the Bug House, and next up was the get-three-tries-to-throw-a-ball-in-an-animal's-mouth booth. Alex and J and Julia stood in line (Julia later changed her mind about participating) and I stood by, camera ready, and watched some of the other kids throw. Some did okay, some didn't.
Then it was Alex's turn – FIRST THROW – right into the leopard's mouth (or whatever big cat that was). YAY!!!! A GOOD THING!!!!! Alex got to choose between a baseball or a little meercat finger puppet for his prize. He finally picked the puppet. Next up – his friend J – and again – FIRST THROW! So both boys had little meercat finger puppets. The day was looking up.
We found another line for the kids to stand in. This time for a smaller version of the huge croc slided.
Alex and J were in one line, and Bill stood in another line with Julia, who was on the shorter end of the height requirement and had to be in the shorter-kid line.
Before they even got halfway through the line, Julia opted out. She was miserable. Hot, sticky, and – occasionally – upset by the wind.
Not really wind, mind you – just the occasional breeze – during which, everyone BUT Julia would turn to greedily, spread their arms wide and attempt to catch more temporary coolness than anyone else sweating on the field.
Julia just cried.
So Bill took her to get a balloon, thinking a nice enormous balloon in the form of some animal would make up for the heat and the long lines and the wind. He tried. He really did. I hung out with the other Dad, and the other Mom found a chair to sit in under an umbrella. The Animal Expo people had thoughtfully set up umbrellas and chairs all over the field. They kept the sun off, but the heat was inescapapble. Still, they gave people a place to rest and unsquint their eyes a bit.
Bill returned with Julia and some balloons – a pink flamingo balloon was tied to Julia's wrist with a long purple ribbon, and there were two huge gecko balloons for the boys.
Well, just as the boys were getting their balloons (after their ride on the alligator slide), the wind decided to tease us all again – and Julia's flamingo was dragged away into the air – and it dragged Julia's wrist with it and freaked her RIGHT out. I explained her bad experience with the wind and the umbrella to the other mom and dad and took Julia to sit under an umbrella. Where she cried and cried and cried and wailed "I want to go HOME."
Everyone in our little band congregated under an umbrella, and then Julia decided she wanted to crawl through this little caterpillar-shaped plastic tunnel. So I went over there with her (we tied the flamingo to my backpack o' water bottles and sunscreen first) and she stood at the entrance and waited her turn. And waited. And let other kids shove their way in front of her. And then wailed to me that other kids kept going first. And on and on. It just didn't happen.
Bill came over to me while I stood there dripping with sweat and trying to encourage Julia in my tension-laden voice to just CRAWL IN! to the caterpillar and stop letting newcomers cut in front of her. He suggested we all just go back to the other house. The boys were sweaty and red-cheeked, the other mom wasn't enjoying walking around in all the heat, Julia was miserable, I was cranky, and it just wasn't worth it (to us) to stand in lines and reapply sunscreen every twenty seconds.
So that was it.
We gathered our stuff, I carried Julia (still crying) and her balloon and the backpack and my camera (they were all too tangled up by then to separate and share with Bill, though he did offer) and we went to our vehicles and headed back to the house. To the air conditioning, to the cold beverages, to the pool for the kids, and, eventually, to the burgers and dogs on the grill.
The kids had fun, the adults had fun, and nobody cried any more.
Oh, and Alex pretty much agreed that it was a really good day after all.