Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hey, that's not Mickey!

No, this is not Disneyland, but the grinning rodent was vaguely familiar and at least reassured single and double digits alike that today's walk in Europa-Park would be amusing. 

Amusing actually started sooner than expected. We had just made our way past the front gates where, in addition to letting us pay, Eisi had refused to take a map so that we would not spend the whole time trying to figure out where things were. He and Angie then wasted five minutes debating which direction would be the most amusing.

David gets his lack of patience from his mother, so he ignored the huddled map-less and tackled an oversized locust, demanding to know where the biggest most scariest ride ever could be found.

Apparently, bugs that have been torpedo-tackled in the thorax do not do a lot of chit-chat. Instead, they briefly pose with their pint-size assaulter and point their antennas in the general direction. Got it, let's move!

I took one look at the biggest most scariest ride ever and scoffed.

'Baby stuff - let's do it!'

Peter was too busy studying the safety sign that detailed the height and age restrictions to realize that Tom and David had already giggled their way past the Viking version of a bouncer and were buckling up for THE ride of their short lives. Yo, Safety Boy! Let's Go!

Safety Boy impressed me with the fact that he got on the ride at all, but his death grip on the handles coupled with Eyes Wide Shut led me to give 1st prize to El Davido, who did not lower his victory wave during the entire ride. Tommy pretty much froze and did not move an inch, which was also pretty impressive if you know how wiggly he normally is.

Not so impressive was the woman that at one point in my life married me. Shortly after the first arc, Angie turned to me looking paler than Ale.

'I don't like this ride.'

I'm a realist, but I bit my tongue on the witty comment going through my head. Instead I tried to go  metrosexual. 

'I am SO sorry to hear that. But it'll be over soon and...'

'I don't like this ride.'

'Um, despite the loud screams, I did hear you the first time. What I tried to say is that the ride will be...' 

'I don't like this ride.'

Luckily, David's shouts of pure glee drowned out my witty comment and the ride ended before Angie could continue her chant.

As Murphy would have it, the next ride damn near made me puke. 

Mother had taken only a brief look at the tea cups spinning around in endless circles before volunteering me. I tried to complain, but she muttered something that sounded vaguely like my witty comment before shoving me into the line with Tommy. My, Mama, what big ears you have.

Shortly after taking my lunch for a spin, Eisi tried to convince me to commit suicide.

'Hey Steve, do you want to go on the Wodan Timbur Coaster with me?'

'Ah, do you mean the wooden death trap that reaches 3.5 G'S? Um, no thanks.'

Angie could not resist tuning in. 

'Ah, come on, Jelly Belly. You should go on that with Eisi!'

'Thanks, Butter Buns, but I will only get on that ride when the kids come with me.'

In addition to patience, David gets his inability to resist temptation from his mother.

'I'll go! Papa - I'll go! Can we please go now?'

I ignored Angie cackling in the background and frantically scrambled for a respectable response. Shortly before giving up, I remembered a trick my father taught me when he finally returned my sword.   

'I said kids.'

I then held my breath as David begged Peter and Tommy to go with him. Peter was the first to put me at ease.

'You want me to go on THAT thing? Um, no thanks.'

'Okay guys, sorry about that. How about we all go on a nice relaxing boat tour?'

For a change, Angie actually agreed with me. Eisi joined, too, but only after briefly disappearing to ride a wooden roller coaster. Solo. 

He only looks happy. I'm sure somewhere deep down he was still traumatized by THE DEATH TRAP. As everyone knows, the best way to overcome trauma is to buy an ice-pop and give it away to children with tiny hands and a bowl cut.  

As we rode around on the 'Sky Train', Tommy noticed a patch of blue that his lungs absolutely had to explore. Right! On to to the Blue Lagoon!

This was Tommy, patiently waiting in line to ride the super cool Turbo Speed boats. Shortly before his turn, though, Murphy caught up with us and broke his boat. But hey, no problem. Unlike normal daily life, Tommy continued waiting. Okay, not so patiently, but eventually it was his turn. Get your motor running...

Each kid is allowed to ride for six minutes and because it took about five minutes and thirty seconds to fix his boat, Tommy set sail as the other kids were being called to shore. In case you ever find yourself in a similar situation, I can tell you - playing bumper boat without any other kids to bump is simply pathetic.

At one point, Tommy decided to visualize his boredom and my brain meandered...

'Base to Cleanup - we got a dead kid on boat eleven.'

After 'The Wolf' took care of boat eleven, Peter decided to test both my manhood and my patience by demanding that I win him a Minion.

To win a Minion, you had to first accomplish some absurd task, like making a basketball go through a hoop that was obviously smaller than the said ball. I called bullshit on the whole thing and even resorted to bribes to avoid the whole 'win me a prize or you're a horrible father' racket.

'Peter! The park is closing in an hour. We can kill the time trying to rack up enough points to buy one of these Minions or we can go watch a 4D movie.'

'Wow! 4D! Um, what is that?'

'You know what a 3D movie is, right?'


'Well, this is with one more D.'


As we waited in line for the next showing, I saw Tommy swinging on a metal chain between two poles. Normally I would not worry, but:
  1. The chain was rather high up
  2. The ground underneath the chain was the non-spongy type of concrete
  3. Peter broke his cheek bone on the way out of the last amusement park we visited
  4. Tommy tends to be overly competitive with ANYTHING that his older brothers have done
Yep, you guessed it. As I walked over to warn him, Tommy's slightly oversized head lost its balance and came crashing down on the pavement. This was bad enough, but he did not roll like you see in some of those cool Ninja-Parkour videos; no, his neck folded like a pancake, adding whiplash to an already loud concussion. Check, please.

I scooped up my crumpled pancake and cradled him until my ears drew the line and tried demanding that I ditch the LOUD ONE and simply walk away. Luckily, I spent five years in the Navy flying on jets, so loud noises don't faze me. I've also been married to Angie for 11 years, so I am totally accustomed to ignoring instructions coming to or from my ears.

I kept checking that Tommy's eyes could focus on my finger as I waved it in front of his face. I'm not really sure why, but I saw this in a movie once and it seemed to make sense.

Peter and David were SUPER MEGA WORRIED, which was awesome. Not that Tommy had drop-kicked himself in the head, of course, but that they were concerned for him without Angie and I screaming at them to be concerned for him.

After fifteen minutes, we all got the sign we were hoping for - Tommy demanded a piece of cake. I didn't quite get it the first time around because he was still sobbing more than Meryl Streep.

'A piece of what?'

'Cake. Cheesecake, please, but no whip-cream.'

After his second helping, we decided to leave the park before David felt compelled to join the painful competition that Peter and Tommy had going on. To be on the safe side, Angie hand-carried the merchandise out of the store. Um, does anyone have any bubble-wrap?

On the way out, I forced Eisi to make me a new Facebook cover to you know, really capture the moment. Amuse me.


On a more serious note, I try to write blogs that capture a moment, a feeling, a memory where I would hit pause if only I could. I will never forget today and I hope that my boys can one day look back and share the emotion that I have when I look at this picture. Thank you, Eisi, for making this happen!
Ladder Talk: [After the long drive home, the boys were too tuckered out for Ladder Talk]
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: zzzzzzzzz.......
David: zzzzzzzzz.......
Tom: zzzzzzzzz.......

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: zzzzzzzzz.......
David: zzzzzzzzz.......
Tom: zzzzzzzzz.......

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: zzzzzzzzz.......
David: zzzzzzzzz.......
Tom: zzzzzzzzz.......

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