Remember the old tootsie pop commercial, where the boy goes up to an owl to ask how many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop? After three licks, the owl bites the pop and says, “Three,” then an announcer repeats the boy’s question and concludes, “The world may never know.”
That may be my conclusion this weekend as to how many times I can walk around the same school yard in a three day period.
Yes, it’s that time of year; our daughters’ Catholic school’s annual fair and carnival. The biggest and most elaborate fund raiser of the year (considering that it helps keep tuition costs down, I’m a big fan, at least in the fund raising part, not in having to attend).
However, it’s not like I have much of a choice. Not only am I financially staked by having to buy the wrist bands for unlimited access to all the carnival rides, but the girls love the fair and are looking forward to it since the beginning of the school year. They plan what rides they are going to have the courage to ride on and make plans to get together with friends.
For them, it’s all good. They get to run around and, although we are usually close by, they get a false sense of freedom, as they socialize in a nighttime setting, outside of the usual birthday parties and school activities.
Meanwhile, my wife volunteers in the Kindergarten and Fourth Grade food booths (in different shifts throughout the weekend), and I get to chase down my son, who is too little to ride with the girls, but wants to anyway, and keep a watch on the girls (who are in different age groups of friends and want to do different things). It becomes a bit of a challenge. Fortunately, we know many of the parents, who help watching each other's kids, but still.
Adding to the fatigue of having to walk around the same area all night (and all day, and all night, and all day), is having to avoid the carnival workers, who try to entice me and the kids to spend money on games, where we can win huge stuff animals (if we win many many smaller ones first), or buy their carnival food, which is not offered by the school, you know; cotton candy, popcorn, candy apples, pretzels, corn dogs and soft served ice cream.
My only reprieve is when I get to volunteer in the kitchen with my friends. Believe it or not, we work hard cooking, taking food out to the school booths, scrubbing pots and pans (which are a nightmare to clean, not to mention, play havoc on the manicure), and throwing out garbage (and there is lots and lots of garbage to throw out). But, we have a good time doing it.
However, my time with my friends has been limited in recent years since my wife is volunteering more often and I have to be chasing the kids around.
This will be our sixth year attending the event. With our 3-year-old son set to start at the school next year, I can look forward to, at least, ten more years, if I can’t convince my wife to have another child, which she usually concedes we would do if we win the lottery (“Hey, you never know”).
So, let the good times roll.