Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Iowa State Fair

S and I hit the road Friday night to go to Des Moines to visit my friend from my old job. DH had Fantasy Football Draft Friday night AND Saturday night, so I didn't feel too guilty ditching him. I waited to leave til 7pm thinking she'd sleep most of the way there, but the little stinker stayed awake until 9:30! But she slept well that night, and late the next morning - til 8:30 - so she was ready for the big day at the fair.

My friend's husband had played in a church band performance and gotten a parking pass, so we decided to try our luck at using it even though it wasn't officially valid Saturday. I'm not normally in favor of cheating, but I feel like paying for parking is a complete ripoff. Particularly when the "lot" is a grass field, and I'm under a tree. And the cost to park was the same as the cost to get in! Ridiculous. Anyway, we made it through four parking attendants without a problem - woo hoo! We got in the gates and stopped to see the bunny rabbits first. I think S was a little overwhelmed by the rows of cages and sheer quantity of them. There were white ones, black ones, brown ones, spotted ones, big ones, little ones. It was bunny heaven! She also got to see geese, baby chicks and ducks, and pet horses and cows and a baby goat. There was a race car there that she was able to sit in. Unfortunately, we didn't realize there was water in the seat, so she had to spend about half the day in just her diaper. A plus to her not being potty trained yet! She rode her first midway ride - a little merry-go-round type thing where she sat in a car. The woman working it clearly does not have small children. She took about 15 minutes to load them. By then, S was done with the car she was in and was trying to get out. Luckily, she just wanted to move to the bus instead. Got her moved, and they got going. When she got off, I asked her if it was fun, and she smiled and said, "It spinned!" Then we grabbed a corn dog and some cheesy fries for lunch. I had thought we would need to head back for her to nap, but she actually fell asleep there. We walked around for awhile and then checked out a talent show. The clapping woke S up, but at least she'd slept for an hour. On our way to see the butter carving in the Ag hall, we passed a one-man band - The Bandaloni. He was amazing! S was enthralled with him. We got to the Ag Hall, and I couldn't believe the line. Having S with us, we didn't want to wait in line, so I took pictures but from several rows back, so they didn't turn out too well. The last thing we did was go through a Helping Hands Learning Center. The kids wore an apron and carried a basket. They got a coin type thing for a "seed" that they planted in the ground, then they "harvested" the crop they had planted farther along the line. They got wool from a sheep, milk from a goat, etc., then turned everything in at the "farmer's market" at the end. Then they got paid a fake dollar that they could spend in the store. S decided she wanted raisins. It was a very cute set up. She was ready to go by then so we headed to the car. Or at least, where we had left the car.

As I had mentioned, we were parked in a field under a tree. I'm not very good with directions when I'm in an unfamiliar area, but I would guess we were facing south. Admittedly, I'm sometimes a bit flaky about remembering where I park. However, because we were under the tree, we had remarked that was fortunate because it would keep the car shaded and cooler. So on our walk back to the car, I was telling my friend thanks for such a fun time, and we were talking about how much we had enjoyed the day. Suddenly we realized, my car was not parked where we had thought it was. We doubled checked that we were in the right "lot"; we double checked the tree. My friend's first thought was we'd been towed for parking there with an invalid pass. That never occurred to me. S pointed farther down the line and said, "Mama's car right there!" I said, "No, sweetie, that does look like Mommy's a bit, doesn't it, but that's not it. There are a bunch of silver cars, like that one," and I turned and pointed to one by a fence facing east, "and that one." Then I paused because it had a window shade on the rear passenger window and something pink in the back - just like my car. My friend and I were talking about how it couldn't be my car, but I thought it didn't hurt to check. I walked a little closer and saw that it had Kansas tags - with my plate number - it was my car! At first I was panicked. How did it get there? Did someone break in and move it to play a prank and they were watching and laughing? (An odd thought for me - I'm not usually paranoid.) My friend said maybe they needed to move it to get to someone else's car - we realized that we had been parked two deep there and there wasn't really a way for the person in front of me to get out. I thought, yeah, but how did they move it? The doors were locked, nothing was missing. I was feeling very disconcerted. As we left, my friend suggested we stop and ask the parking attendant about it. We got to her and I rolled down the window and said, "Excuse me, but my car wasn't in the same place I parked it when we came out? Do you know anything about that?" She said, "Oh, are you the one from Kansas? Yes, they had to move you to get someone else out." I asked her how they had moved it and she said they had towed it. Question answered, felt better, but still a little uneasy about the whole thing. What if we had stayed til dark, and I hadn't been able to find it, and a different attendant was working? So we headed out of the fairgrounds and when we passed the last gate, the attendant motioned for me to stop. She said, "That parking pass isn't valid for today. I'm going to have to charge you." Are you kidding me? Who charges people on their way out? If I had been thinking, I should have said, "Well, since my car wasn't where I left it, I'm not sure I should have to pay." But my guilty conscience at knowing I had just tried to get away with something got the better of me. What a bummer of an ending to an otherwise wonderful day! But it certainly made it interesting.

That night we had Jimmy John's for dinner, S went to bed pretty easily and on time, and my friend and her husband and I watched some tv and chatted. It was really nice. Sunday morning, we got up and tried to get on the road early. S slept the full night again! DH and I had tickets to the 1pm T-Bones game. S did fantastic in the car - she stayed awake the whole time, watched a couple of videos, played, chatted with me, and we sang along to her CDs. She only fussed about five minutes. I was so proud of her! There was a bridge out on the north side of KC, so traffic was stopped. It took forever to get through, so I ended up having to take her straight to my in-laws' house as they had agreed to watch her while we were at the game. I felt terrible about it - she wanted to go home first. But when I picked her up later, my MIL said she was fine, didn't protest her nap too much, and slept for two hours. Yea!! I was encouraged that after two good nights of sleeping and two decent naps, she'd be set for Sunday night at home. Uh, no. It was 10pm before she went down!! So Iowa was fun, but we are definitely back to reality...

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