Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Fair Folk

"Ok, I've got my tuxedo on. Let's go destroy some funnel cake."

Afternoon Readers,

By now, you probably think the only thing the Kellermans are good at is taking an entire year to get a house ready to put on the market, but you'd be slightly off because...

a.) It's only been eleven months.


b.) We do surprisingly well at street fairs.

Ahh, festivals, the sticky, cotton candy-covered spice of life. I love them, truly. Town fairs aren't everyone's cup of tea, but when ours sets up camp every September, I look forward to wandering through rows of street vendors and alleyways made entirely of funnel cake and regret.

"Well, I don't usually eat three pounds of grease and syrup, but when's the next time I'll be able to find sugar in America?"

The smell alone is enough to lure me out of my house and to the first person selling an eight dollar plate of nachos, the heat of the plastic container swirling and dancing delicately through air with the sounds of people accusing other people of stealing their spot on the grass.

Last Saturday had been yet another long day of painting, cleaning and trying to figure out how we managed to spill all our food under the drawers in the refrigerator. (Turns out, we live like absolute animals.) The kids have put up with my neurotic house preparations enough, the minute I remembered the fair was coming to town, the thought of making it up to them had instant appeal.

"Who wants to go make memories with mommy and daddy so you don't hold weeks of neglect against them later on in life?"

"We do! We do!" the children chorused.

And so, I threw on my fanciest sweatshirt and jean shorts and Husband and I hauled our offspring in the direction of music and no parking. Ok, I take that back, the parking miraculously sorted itself out.

"Are you sure we can park here?"

"I guess we'll know if our car's gone when we get back."

"You're a true testament to optimism and the indomitable human spirit."

The first thing we did was feed the children. Leaving the house to do anything is completely pointless if you have hungry children who ladle on the guilt they're two steps away from starving to death. The next thing we did was process the astronomical price of corn dogs and sausage.

"Here's the food!"

"Awesome. Smells lovely. Where's the change?"

"There was none. Oh, and I had to take a second mortgage on the house to get you those extra fries, so bon appetit."

The great thing about eating overpriced food at a fair or carnival is the unique opportunity to truly people watch. The teenagers, hipper than everyone else, are wearing things you don't recognize, bringing on a sudden, uncomfortable bout of mid, quarter, or end-of-life crisis to go along with your nachos. The people who dress only in leather goods have made an appearance to testify for the Hell's Angels, the moms from the 10am beauty contest are still chasing their children, trying to Aqua Net their curls into place, and then there's you being verbally abused by your own children. They just noticed every other kid in the place has a balloon and they want one too.

"Where do you think they're giving out the balloons?"

"I don't know. I'm still finishing my twenty dollar fries."

I'm a sucker for buying frivolous items out of tents. If I had a dollar for every time I'd talked myself into a scented candle or a bracelet woven out of premium yak hair, I'd have a lot more money and no items made out of yak hair. Still, we couldn't resist the urge to pay the three dollars to let Sundance have her hair spray painted pink and doused liberally with glitter.

Still on the balloon search, the other two children were a little put out they'd received nothing except a thirty dollar soda, so we made our last stop.

"How much?"

There's highway robbery, and then there's the price of rides at a fair. Why people don't use that as a metaphor more often, I'll never know.

There are three stages of ride guilt:

1.) Seeing the price of tickets and deciding not to buy them.
2.) Looking at your children's dashed hopes and devastated faces.
3.) Buying them anyway.

"Ok, I got tickets."

"How much did you spend?"

"Don't ask questions you don't want the answer to."

I ended up taking Sundance and Doc on the merry-go-round, while Husband took Butch on the Ferris wheel. No baby merry-go-round for my oldest boy. He craves the thrill of adventure and an unsettling rocking feeling of a structure that looks like it was last maintenanced in 1930.

And if you're wondering, yes, I enjoyed the ride very much. I just wish Doc had let me ride the giant moose and he had stood guard, instead of the other way around.

The fair won't be back for another year, but that's ok. I now have three-hundred-sixty-five days to digest those fries, and pay off this second mortgage.

Who knows, maybe we'll even have the house on the market by then.

Until Next Time, Readers!


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