Monday, September 19, 2005

Bratwurst, a Cop, and a Marshmallow Gun

Lunch time post. Enjoy.

We went to Oktoberfest in Addison, TX on Saturday. Turns out we probably should have just skipped it… also, my first time in years to get pulled over by a cop…

The weekend started off well enough. We ate, in-laws’ treat, at an Italian restaurant in Plano called Paparazzi. The food was great, but with chef-prepared quality comes time in preparation. Ben got a little restless after he spooned all the delicious marinara sauce from around his tasty ravioli. We had run out of things to keep him busy, but we didn’t have a separate car to make our escape. Luckily, they had a kids’ table and a VCR in the back of the restaurant. I walked Ben over there, where two little girls had put in a tape for rewinding. Guessing their ages to be about four and about six or seven, I introduced them to Ben and asked if it was okay if he joined them. They acted excited to meet him and said that would be great. We easily could see them from our table, so I wasn’t too worried about him.

By the time we left, the older girl had lifted Ben into her lap twice and our waitress had taken Ben a milk refill. The little girls loved the way Ben said, “Yes,” when they asked him questions. I introduced myself to the little girls’ parents and let them know that the girls had been very nice to Ben.

Saturday, we took my car in (remember in that previous post when I mentioned an oil leak?), and then took Ben to something called Trade Days. It’s a huge gathering of merchants that can’t seem to decide whether it’s a craft fair or a flea market. As it was getting hot and we were finding few vendors worth a look, we packed it in and headed home, but not before I got my mini marshmallow launcher. Mine is mouth-powered, similar to this one. Later I discovered a more polished-looking model powered by pump-action. I’ll stick to my cheap version, which shoots the little white sugarpuffs about 40 feet and is easy to clean. I tested it strictly to make sure it would work well for the kids in the family. The kids old enough not to choke on mini marshmallows, that is.

Saturday night we went to Oktoberfest. It is huge, complete with carnival rides and live performances – much bigger than the Tulsa event we’ve attended in the past. There were lots of things for kids to do, but it was still about 93 degrees and unmercifully sunny when we got there at 4:30 p.m. We sat inside the air-conditioned main tent for a while, where it was obvious Ben hated the loud music, had no interest in dancing, and would not try our Bratwurst. Sitting still was not an option, either, so we took turns walking Ben around outside until it got cool enough for us to stay outside a while without baking.

There was a petting zoo, where I wondered for about two seconds why they always have farm animals in petting zoos. Because they’re domesticated and generally do not bite your face off, was the answer I gave myself. A tented area featured a clown who held Ben’s attention for about five minutes. Ben’s favorite activity was just walking around amongst all the people, and he fussed only when we tried to keep him in one spot.

Once when I had him outside by myself, I sat him on the edge of a local radio station’s inflatable advertisement and bounced him gently. He loved it. I asked one of the onsite DJ’s if it was okay, and he wasted no time telling me that, no, it was not, but my kid could have a sticker. Can he bounce on it? Didn’t think so.

By the time we decided Shannon’s uncle must be waiting at the car (he was), we left at about 9 p.m., an hour after Ben’s bedtime. He fell asleep in the minivan before we got home, despite that his belly was no doubt underwhelmed by the few bites of soft pretzel and lots of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish (they’re the snack that smiles back, you know).

Later, fading in and out of sleep, I watched the Razorbacks get trounced 70-17 by USC. I kept hoping it was just a dream, but then woke up enough to realize the nightmare was real and the defense was that bad. Anybody who knows me will tell you I generally don’t sacrifice other things for football, so I had skipped a watch party thrown by the Greater Dallas Razorback Club. Besides, it would have made me late for work…

I got to go to work at about 2 a.m. for a scheduled upgrade that took three hours. On the way there, though, I got pulled over for speeding. After watching me fish around in the glove compartment for the proof of insurance, the policeman let me off with a verbal warning. I got a ticket for exactly the same infraction – 46 in a 35 – back in the early 90’s. Maybe a minivan got me the benefit of the doubt more than my two-door Dodge Shadow of yore.

I slept 5:30 – 12:40, waking a couple times to hear Ben asking for me, and then his mommy telling him, “Daddy’s sleeping. Daddy had to work really late last night.” I spent lots of time with Ben the rest of Sunday, and we all just tried to enjoy the last fleeting moments of the weekend. Gotta love the IT field.


Jim said...

Man do I know that drill ...

people don't seem to realize sometimes that foing to a restaurant with a two year old is a completely different kind of event then it is for people who don't appreciate the simplicity of their lives. You've just got to be efficient... get them in there, feed 'em, eat if your lucky enough to manage to swallow your food down before he gets restless...
Sounds like you lucked out there having babysitters in the back room!

Your Oktoberfest description is also typical ... it's amazing what we put ourselves through as parents.

And finally ... speaking of late nights ... it's nearly 1 am here in Brazil. And I still haven't read the latest SoS installment!

Word Veri: oheiiq
someone without a very high IQ, trying to spell "high IQ"!

Mark said...

No doubt about the lack of simplicity. Funny thing is, though, I don't know what I would be doing with my time if I weren't a dad. Probably just reading more things online.

Don't ever wait that long again to read SoS!

wordver: tmxec