Wednesday, September 04, 2013

the excellent adventure (part 1)

To the north and to the south of us, school begins in mid or late August.  But here in northern Virginia, school begins the day after Labor Day. What that means for us is that vacations that occur in mid or late August are awesome because whenever we travel to the north or south of our homestead - we're usually the only people there and as such, there are no lines, no traffic, absolutely no waiting for anything and the world seems to revolve around us as it rightly should.


This year, we headed to South Carolina for a few days to visit with my mom and Jim ... and my sister, Beth, and her husband, Michael, and their son, Michael, who were visiting from Massachusetts before Michael started school last week. My sister and her family had been at my mother and Jim's house for a few days before we arrived, so they were well rested and ready for the "energy surge" that our family tends to bring every where we go.  Along with our big appetites for adventure. 


Our first stop was the go-kart race course.  It was standing alongside this track that I realized my youngest son, Henry, might one day have a solid future as a stock car driver. 


I've known my brother-in-law, Michael, for nearly 30 years - and I've never seen him laugh like he laughed watching Henry race his little go-kart on this closed course.  


Now, as some background - Michael was a taxi driver in downtown Boston for several years, and can turn any passenger's nerves of steel to jelly as he navigates the streets of beantown. For example, whenever I ride with him, I carry Rosary beads and pray the whole time.  


So as Henry lapped every other racer on that course no less than four times (including his older siblings, because he obviously had some turbo charged go-kart), and would punch the gas and ram his way through traffic jams, Michael would whoop, "That's how you do it, Henry! THAT'S HOW YOU DO IT!!" Then he'd howl with laughter and wipe tears from his eyes. Which, in turn, made the rest of us whoop with laughter and wipe tears from our eyes, because people that laugh that hysterically are more contagious than those who exhaustedly yawn. 


Following go-karts, there was laser tag and I'll just state for the record that laser tag is one of my all-time favorite activities. My obsession started innocently enough, when I took our children to a birthday party and was invited to play a game. Now I sometimes find myself thinking how we could use our kitchen-fund money to construct our own multi-level indoor course in the backyard so we can play every day! 


There were bumper boats and more go-karts and more laser tag ... 


And more go-karts. 


Michael in the lead!


Charlie in the lead!


And here's some random fun park employee (back right) who jumped in a go-kart and wound up beating them both.


Then there was a slide. 


And this contraption which the children really wanted for me to ride with them, but I took a pass because I can't see spending $5.00 to throw-up.  


Heck, it was hard for me to even watch this.


You know you're getting old when the mere sight of a ride makes you nauseous.