Friday, July 03, 2009

It's Not Fair! (Except It Is)

Thursday, we went to the San Diego Fair with Mary, Paul and Joy, which has become an annual tradition. This year, I had grand aspirations to go twice--once with my theater friends--but with my show and all the tsuris I got derailed as social chair.

The afternoon was gray and overcast, which was some kind of miracle. No sweating for us--in fact, we were rather chilly. We started at the monster truck stadium, because Jarrah loves monster trucks. She was all "Let's sit down!" even though they were just bulldozing the track and playing "Sweet Child O' Mine." I love that she loves monster trucks even more than rubber princesses.

In the livestock area, we admired some very clean pigs that still "had stinks," according to Jarrah, and some very cute goats with slightly less stinks, and then some really, really cute cows marked "Veal" which was sobering for us all. One cow enjoyed being scratched on the nose, and would express its appreciation with a "Mooooooo!" that sounded recorded. This inspired Jarrah and Joy to "moo" at said cow, or not so much "moo" as scream "Moo! Moo! Moo! Moo!" until the people around us had to flee. Of the extremely cute bunnies, David remarked "Well, these won't have a sad demise planned" (do you just love that man and his diction the way I do?) until I pointed at their cages: "Rabbit Meat Farm." Given my druthers, this is not a place I would take my child for hayrides.

After some copious hand-washing, we were on to Kiddieland, which is where the J girls do some real damage. This year, they were tall enough for the Incredibles Coaster, and they definitely got their money's worth--it was long and they were in the front car. We ran out of tickets all too soon, and went on a dinner expedition. The girls ate pizza and the adults had kebabs, corn on the cob with lemon pepper (lemon pepper is my new drug of choice), falafel, and a plate of fried zucchini fritters with ranch. (The first bite of the fried stuff is crazy-good, with rapidly diminishing returns thereafter.) Oh, and David discovered a kind of flayed potato on a stick that is like a "chip kebab." That was another opportunity for lemon pepper, and a unanimous hit.

I was extremely curious about Chicken Charlies, the stand that has become famous for frying everything (don't get too close--fried wallet or socks might be next.) Some of the stuff is terrifying to me, like the Kooky Cookie: "Cookies. Cream Cheese. Strawberries. Chicken." but I wouldn't kick a Fried S'Mores out of bed. Or even a fried Twinkie, if we're playing "I Never" here. Still, I managed to resist for one more year.

After our repast, we headed upstairs to the exhibition halls, where some undersea photos might have captivated the adults for a good while if certain 4-year-olds hadn't been hell-bent on bringing the whole display down on our heads. Time for collections! This year, I asked the girls to figure out the "theme" of each one: could it possibly be "Porcelain Dogs with Ginormous Eyes?" Or maybe "Crapcake of the Midwest?" Perhaps "Tchotchkes of the Great Barrier Reef?" Seriously, we did like "Staplers Made in USA." I really dig those obsessive collections, where someone had to grimly look past cuteness and really focus on the unifying element.

Now we could hear "The Music of ABBA" tribute band from Sweden floating through the double doors, and since this was a free concert, we decided to check it out. I headed out first, and hence encountered the phalanx of uniformed personnel with their arms folded across their chests. One said "Where are you going? This is reserved only" and--I swear--all I did was say "We're just looking for somewhere to sit." Suddenly, the dude was saying "Come with me" and the rest of my party followed. He led us to a private box with an amazing view, at which point I could see that he had some power, so I said thank you. Mary informed me that the rest of them had been stopped, until they saw I was with the BOSS. Paul asked if I had played a Jedi mind-trick on the guy, and I really can't discuss that, Readers. But I do plan to try my skillz--while I've still got them--at Butter and Avenue and other places mentioned in US Weekly.

It was pretty fun to listen to "SOS" and "Does Your Mother Know" and dance around while the evening lights began to twinkle. At one point, I imagined I saw someone ride by on an elephant, and I shook my head but the image did not go away. Turns out someone was riding by on an elephant. That's the fair for you. At this point, a certain person whose name starts with "J" became fixated on cotton candy, and needed to tell me about its charms pretty much constantly. I told Paul: "She's got Power Point. I'm about to hear the mission statement." It went kind of like this:

"Mommy, I want cotton candy. I thought maybe you could listen to four or five songs. Now I know that was wrong. You can listen to two songs. But this song is very long. So only one song. Then we get cotton candy. Did I mention I want cotton candy?"

Trying to fulfill this wish presented problems. Alone, I roamed the seething crowd on the midway, neon lights zinging my peripheral vision, in a wild-eyed quest for the puffy stuff. Then a guy pushing a garbage schooner clocked my hip in a moment of inattention at the wheel. I saw my garbage-strewn life pass before my eyes, but I stayed on my feet and staggered away. Just before I lost all hope, I glimpsed a wooden pink puff sign like a mirage on the horizon. Here was the pitch:

"Would you like a small cotton candy for a million dollars, or a cotton candy as big as your car for a million and one dollars?"

I chose the latter. And Jarrah was determined to inhale ever last pink and blue thread. The rest of us dug our forks into a frosting-covered cinnamon roll while enjoying the amplified screams of people being flung into the air in the bungee ball. And Jarrah did not have a sense of humor about my suggestion that she "go climb in that car over there and I'll take your picture" (it was a display for Scream Fest.) I'll be hearing about that one.

Now it was late and the little ones had lost it. Both of them wailed "Moooommmmmy!" over and over as we inched out of the parking lot, which was kind of annoying and kind of hilarious. Jarrah doesn't usually get "mommy-mommy" like that, so you can tell she'd had a long day. But she stayed awake long enough for me to scrub the goat off her feet, and then the fair was only in her dreams.


Stephanie said...

Haha sounds like all in all it was a good day :)

LunaMoonbeam said...

That sounds MARVELOUS...and it sounds like the carnie food bled you dry! ouch...

Myrnie said...

Wow- what a bunch of TROOPERS! I can't believe how well she behaved :) Sounds like a blast!

Mary said...

Fantastic post and photos!

It was really fun!!!



Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

Best. Fair. Post. Ever!