Sunday, October 16, 2011

FTT Off Topic: The Big Dad Moment

As always with FTT O-T, it's a big wide Internet and this isn't sports. Bail at will.

Today, I could have done a wide number of mundane tasks that needed doing. These include laundry (there is always laundry), cleaning (same), packing for my week-long trip to CA for the day job (and yes, posting might be erratic and sporadic next week), being home for a delivery that wound up getting pushed back, and waiting around for an electrician to do a meter reading. There are things to do, not an overly large amount of money due to various factors, the bloghole to fill and so on, and so on.

Instead, I played hooky with the kids. And OK, it doesn't seem like playing hooky on a Saturday is that big of a hooky moment, but with all of the stuff dropping at the day job, it kinda is.

Ya see, the Shooter Wife is out this weekend, doing her thing with her friends, which includes camping and knitting and crafting and while I may support these things with money and my whole heart and get out of childcare free cards, it's still not something that I'm going to go do with her. Same with her, me, and poker and fantasy sports and blogging; we are on the same team, but have very different roles. I have no beef with any of that. We've been married for 12 years and together for 15: we get to do different things with our whole hearts and no worries.

But with the next week of no kid interaction coming down the barrel, I was going to be damned if I made them stay home and clean. Time instead for The Big Dad Moment.

A small but telling point on me: I believe in Big Moments. It gets me a mid-stakes poker home game where the final event of the year will result in a four-figure payday. It gets me fantasy hoops, baseball and football leagues that keep their owners and get people to drive distances to participate in live drafts. It gets me vacations that resemble work-release projects. It doesn't always work out.

Today, it did. Despite a 2am near nausea moment the night before from the eldest, and a debilitating physical condition that's cost me sleep for days now, we would up driving nearly 400 miles for a day trip to Knoebels, the best amusement park value in America, for their Halloween event. (It was also pretty much the last day I was going to be able to pull this off in 2011, what with travel and other bookings.)

It's not as good, of course, as going there in the summer, where everything is open and the weather doesn't challenge you quite so much. And there's a reason why solo parent trips to amusement parks don't always work out, not the least of which is that 400 miles of driving in a day on top of six hours of kid wrangling isn't exactly easy. But when I got to...

1) Watch the eldest, now 11, and her boyfriend try to destroy each other on the American Gladiator sphere of death

2) Watch the youngest, now 6, continue to assert her total ownership of the Kiddie Turnpike go kart track

3) See just how much adrenalin can be crushed through your veins as you ride a spectacular wooden coaster in the dark, with strategic strobe lights for the parts of the ride where it looks like you are going to be impaled, in bone-chilling weather and high winds

4) Feel the pride as the youngest recovers from a Tilt-A-Whirl skull bounce and crying fit to laugh at how over the top harder the ride got *after* the injury, then tell her sister with utter ownership, "I smacked my head on the blue thing" like it was an accomplishment, and

5) Hear them tell me it was the best day ever when I put them to bed?

Yeah, sometimes the Big Dad Moment works out. Now, if I could only get past this post-event vertigo and caffeine overdose...

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