Saturday, July 5, 2008

Happy Birthday, America. Sorry your party was so lame...

I will know who is an Office fan by anyone who is laughing at the title! ;)

We started our celebration for America's Birthday by planning to go to an awesome parade. Something about marching bands, music, and festivities in the morning just seems like classic celebration. So we found a great one- 125 parade units, 3 different bands, and a festival at the end. Then the family called. We re-routed to a smaller, closer parade. And by smaller, I mean almost non-existent. You can read a really good description here. You know it is bad when the most entertaining thing is *me* singing 'You're a Grand Old Flag'. And if you have ever heard me sing, you probably just got a shudder. Scary, I know!

Some lowlights:
  • We were for sure the only people within 100 yards. Great for finding a spot to sit, not so great for the festive atmosphere.
  • Parade route was no more than 200 yards. And lasted less than 15 minutes.
  • The well prepared, excited family that we are, we got there an hour and a half early. And parked almost 2 miles away.
  • The main event was a gaggle of people in red, white and blue clothes pushing strollers and walking dogs. They gave me some strange looks for cheering for them, but my gosh, I had to cheer for something!

All right. So that is over, and we still have MORE! CELEBRATING! TO DO!! We load in the car and head to Callaway Gardens. I had the opportunity to go with the family, or stay home by myself. I of course chose to spend the holiday with my loved ones. A decision I re-thought many times throughout this day.

In the interest of conserving oh-so-expensive gas, we drove just over 60 the whole way there (about a 2 hour drive). Then we missed the exit and drove 40 minutes out of our way, negating all that annoying slow driving we had just done. Grrr.

Just as we pull in, with 3 kids who are so over being in the car, and about 2 hours past lunch time, we see that beautiful liquid sunshine. Dumping everywhere. Grrrr. But by the time we circled the entire place 4 times trying to find the exact right parking lot (Grrr), the rain had stopped.

The place was packed. It was wet. No where to go, no where to eat, no where to park. The few attractions they had for kids, were WAY overpriced (an inflatable slide, no more than 5 feet tall, that you could send your kid to for $5 for 15 min. Anyone surprised that we didn't want to pay $1 per minute? The kids were surprised. And VERY SAD). Then we had a member of our party pointing out all the fun things to do. Look- we can ride the train! Look- there are huge inflatables in the water! Look- a huge water slide! Except that we couldn't do any of these things (long lines, too much money, kids not old enough, shut down due to bad weather). And each disappointment was felt keenly met with screaming, crying, and your basic run-of the mill fit throwing by 3 kids who were up early, had a long drive, a little too much candy, and not nearly enough solid food. And no nap.

Ok, ok, there were a few good moments. The beach area was pretty fun. Splashing in the water, digging in the sand. We were cool, having fun. Then the diaper blow-out. In a swim diaper. And not the nice disposable one that you can throw away. It was the re-usable kind that fit REAL tight (even more so since we bought them 2 years ago for baby bums and are still using them), and that you have to take off via the legs and feet. Let's just say that our household now has one less towel, one less swimming suit, and one less re-usable swim diaper.

I think I must have been giving off some pretty heavy 'sick of the kids' vibes, because Dane, Laura, their friends and Granny took all 3 kids and went on the paddle boats. Now that was a nice break! We started grilling the food, and had a nice chance to eat before they all came back. Just as I was starting to get my mommy-fear/paranoia setting in, they came back, and everyone ate. We were debating staying for the firework festivities (starting at 9:30, and we still had a 2 hour drive home). And by debating, I mean that I wanted to leave and Kydon wanted to stay. Pretty typical of our usual preferences. :) Luckily for me, the liquid sunshine returned and helped me make my case. We threw everything in the car and headed out.

At the exact same time that 1/2 the people in the entire place decided the exact same thing.

So, for the Grand Finale, we sat in the car for an hour and a half. Or, one whole showing of 'The Bee Movie' and an entire bag of candy. During this time, we did not move. Not even an INCH. None at all. We heard several stories for the excuse:

  1. The storm had caused a tree to fall on a car. Abulances and Fire Trucks were on the scene, but we had to wait for them to clear it.
  2. Someone accidentally locked the main gate. The guy who locked it had gone home, and they were trying to call the only other person with a key.
  3. None of the traffic directors were on hand for the early exit, and it was just a huge, messy, nasty traffic jam.

Take your pick, but the bottom line is that IT SUCKED! BIG JAGGED ROCKS!! We finally roll in to home at 11:30. Good thing we left before 8 to get a head start!

As we were (finally) driving out of the park, we saw a flag, mounted on a tree that was a little worse for the wear. Broken stick, droopy flag, dripping wet. Kydon remarked that it was a pretty accurate picture of our celebration. :)


Sue @ My Party of 6 said...

Oh. My. Gosh. I am laughing and cringing at the same time. That is absolutely UN-BE-LIEVEABLE! You guys totally deserve a do-over. (And by do-over, I mean, a completely DIFFERENT day, not a re-do of the same one! *shudder*)

You did turn it into great blog material though! (bright side?)

Melinda & Matt said...

Sorry your 4th went downhill from the parade...didn't think that was possible :)

TheVillamorFamily said...

Hey we were at Callaway also...but left when the first liquid sunshine fell! We rode bikes earlier so didn't mind leaving!

I was a great post! I sure wish I could recreate my day like that!!

Fellars Family said...

you are a great writer....i could totally feel your pain! on the bright side, there is nowhere to go but up as far as 4th of July celebrations are concerned!

Fellars Family said...

this is erika by the way :)

Colleen said...

I thought the Stone Mountain 4th celebration fireworks were bad. You should have been here and you could have heard Caroline announce them and Alex growl.

Jen said...

Sorry you had a miserable 4th. Traffic is never fun especially with kids. Glad you survived. ;)

Lewis said...

Yea, Calloway was bringing back major memories of Stone Mountain. I think I am making a new vow to never be trapped inside a huge park with only one road and one gate on the 4th of July!

Shanna said...

Ok, that previous comment was me- I forgot to sign in!

Rebecca said...

Ack! What a rough day! I guess next year pretty much has to be better :)

Cecilee said...

Wow. Can't imagine a worse experience. "Live and learn," right? It's funny because I talked to my mom and she didn't say anything bad about the day. Talked to Dad and he told me what really happened. The view of the optimist and the realist. Funny, and not so funny.

Shanna said...

Cecilee- you have Kydon and I cracking up right now! :)

Kelly said...

Shanna, I was laughing so hard reading this post. I am sooooo glad it wasn't me...and I was mad about missing ONE exit in Boston and taking a 20 minute detour. AAAAHHH! You leading the kids in the Grand Ole Flag reminded me of our trip to the Smoky Mountains and you leading everyone in a rousing camp rendition of an Egyptian or something like that. What was the name of that darn song?

Shanna said...

Oh! The princess Pat!! I should do that for the kids sometime! ;)