I really need to sing the praises of grandparents, here. As we are in our fourth week visiting grandparents in Iowa, the challenge has been to keep the kids occupied. Vivian and Nora are active girls who bore easily, and when they get bored, they can be hard to live with.
Fortunately, we’ve invested in a membership with the local science centre, and grandma Rosemarie has spent a fair amount of time taking the kids out shopping. And yesterday, we went to the opening day of Iowa’s world famous State Fair.
I’m starting to get how these fairs work, now. I never realized when I was a kid how much they must have cost my parents, and how much of a rip-off they represented. You can’t pay for the rides directly. Oh, no. You have to go up to a cubicle and purchase tickets, $1 for singles or $20 for 20, apparently. And the rides don’t accept just one ticket. Some accept three, some four and some five, which you notice turns to a combination that equals something other than twenty very easily. So, what do you do with a single ticket that ends up left over? You either look around for a ride that will accept it (which, trust me, is likely to be lame), or you swallow it, realizing that you’ve just donated $1 to the midway organizers.
But I decided I’d try to outsmart the system. There were also armbands offering unlimited rides for $25. Per kid. Yes, I spent $50 on rides for my children, but we were planning to be there for the long haul. And, on balance, I think the kids got their money’s worth. There were some glitches: one or two rides wouldn’t accept armbands and, most frustratingly, the armbands expired after 5 p.m. Wish that could have been more prominently displayed.
So, in total, I do feel like a carny has upended me and snatched all the change that fell out of my pockets, but I also feel, strangely enough, that it has been worth it. Because the kids were completely and utterly delighted. You need no further proof than this Flickr set. And that’s worth occasional splurges like this.
Is that how my parents felt?