Monday, August 8 2022

mini-golf, karaoke, and the zoo

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Did you look outside your window today? It's raining. Dark and drizzly with the occasional exciting flash of white lightning across the sky. This is the kind of weather you take a nap in - how cruel that this is how we have to begin our Monday morning.

No naps for the weary. Grab your coffee and let's roll, reader.

Sip. I sat down to write about a half hour ago. But from the corner of my eye I saw a stranger pace up my driveway and politely ring the doorbell. The dogs went ape-shit, and as I used my leg like a shepherd's crook to herd them back into the bedroom, I quietly decided to not only refuse what this lady was selling, but also give her a piece of my mind for trying it at 8:30 in the morning.

"I'm with the village, I'm here to speak with Marissa about the permits for a dry well."

Oh - well nevermind. So instead of writing, I joined the inspector outside in the backyard. Un-phased by the rain drops splashing our faces, she schooled me on village codes, soil composition, and water flow. But we'll have to catch up on all of that later. We had a busy weekend - possibly the world's busiest weekend - and I have a lot to tell you about.

"You know we only have two more weekends before Rodney starts school," said Marissa to me. It feels like we just got here, and our summer is already slipping away. So either intentionally or subconsciously, our family has been packing as many summer activities as possible into our few remaining weekends.

On Friday, Marissa and I hired Anthony and Julia to hang out with the boys while we hit the town. We shared margaritas at our favorite restaurant and we hit eighteen holes of mini golf.


I took it very seriously.

By pure coincidence, we ran into our twin neighbors Matt and Ryan, who are home from college for the summer. "You found the hangout spot," laughed Ryan.

"If mini-golf is their hang-out spot, they must be pretty good kids," laughed Marissa quietly.

We spent the rest of the evening at a tiny karaoke bar on the north side of town. I assured Marissa we would have just as much fun sitting in the back and listening to people sing, but then she signed the two of us up for a duet. Before I even had a chance to finish my beer, we were ushered to the stage to sing our rendition of Taylor Swift's You Belong with Me.

Does the thought of singing karaoke in front of strangers make you nervous? Well, it's really not that big of a deal. Once you start singing, everyone immediately stops paying attention to you. If anything, I felt bad for everyone else in the bar that had to sit through three and a half minutes of my high-C falsetto back-up vocals.



On Saturday we took the boys to Atcher Island water park. Marissa and I took turns watching Rodney and Miles in the crowded pool, and each shift had its perks. Miles sticks to the same three or four kids area activities on a loop and he doesn't demand as much mental energy from you. Rodney keeps you busier, but you get to ride some water slides.

We set aside Sunday for our family zoo day. But just before we bought our own tickets, we saw our neighbor Pam approach our front door. She and Marissa had a pleasant chat around the corner, and when Marissa returned her eyes were bulging with excitement.

"She just gave us zoo tickets - how weird is that?" she laughed. "She said they got invited to an after-hours thing at Brookfield and they can't make it."

We got to the zoo just in time for the last dolphin show of the day. We haughtily sat in the dead center of the "splash zone". At most dolphin shows, you can expect to catch a light misting or a playful squirt of water, but when Brookfield Zoo says you're going to get splashed, they mean business. They explained that the dolphins taught themselves a fun new game where they target specific members of the audience. Thanks to this "before-after" picture, you can see how well that worked out for us.


We spent the whole day at the zoo, taking in everything. We wandered the murky blue depths of the ocean exhibit. We braved chattering monkeys. We made kissing noises to draw the attention of a pack of African Painted dogs. Rodney challenged the personal space bubble of an aloof peacock.


Miles fell in love with our five dollar bag of popcorn, and he grew tired of sharing with us. We gave in to his demands, so for most of the afternoon Miles tottled behind us clutching his prize. He left a zig-zagging path of kernels and crumbs behind him.


It was getting dark out, and our tired family stood at a crossroads. Would be stay for one carousel ride, or head straight to the parking lot? The vote wasn't even close.


"This is for the kids, they want this," I thought. "I know I'm hungry, but I can get through one carousel ride."

"You were making your this is my personal hell face," teased Marissa.


The wait was worth it. Shortly after, we'd me scarfing down burgers at a pub in downtown Brookfield.


That's what I got today. Here's to the last few weekends of the summer. Have a great Monday, everyone.