Many, many, many children are on Spring Break in our area.
This is good in that Claire and I could spend time with one of my friends and her two girls, and it’s bad in that the plans we had were disrupted by the shear numbers of people on Spring Break. It’s a Catch-22 of sorts.
One of my friends and her two girls (a six year old and a three year old) had invited us to the Zoo. Because the girls were on Spring Break, my friend had taken a week of vacation from work as well. We planned on meeting at the Zoo on Wednesday. She was leaving her house at Noon, and we were leaving our house at Noon, and we should both reach the Zoo by 12:30, with plenty of time to spare.
Claire was SO EXCITED. She could hardly contain herself. Polar Bears! Seals! Tigers! She’d clap every time she thought of it.
So, after confirming our plan of attack by phone that morning, my friend and I set off to the Zoo from different directions. I’ve never driven there by myself, but it was so simple, and I made it with no problems at all! I can see it! All we have to do is park. I see the sign that says “Buses” and because we’re not a bus, I keep driving. But, what’s this? Why are there orange pylons blocking the entrance? Why is there a flagger directing people to keep moving? What’s going on?
My phone rings.
Normally, I don’t answer my phone in the car, but I know it’s my friend, and this is one of those exceptions that is hard to avoid. I answer.
“Where are you?” she asks.
“Uh, I’m here…but they won’t let me in! All the entrances are blocked! So, I’m just following this long line of cars…” I said.
“Me too. I’m actually stopped. I’m going to ask what’s going on,” she said.
I could hear her talking to the crossing guard. No one is being let in. It’s full. Once a car leaves, one will be let in. That’s the best they can do.
She comes back on the line, and we discuss our options. By this time, I’ve turned left in hopes of getting back to where I came from…hoping for a place to turn around. There is none. I’m trapped in a stream of cars ahead and behind me. All the streets are jam-packed full of cars. There are no parking spots left. This is madness.
I think I’m in a park now? It’s full, too. There are no parking spots here either. And, the ones left are being snapped up left and right, and everyone is making their way to the Zoo on foot. That just doesn’t seem like a good plan. I mean, if there is no parking, do ya think it may be a little crowded? That sounds like a fabulous idea. Not.
We both decide to get off the phone. We’ll do Plan B. A park by your house or mine? She chooses mine. There is a cool park by our house, and we can both go to our house and walk there. She’s already on the main road and will head there now.
I hang up and try to figure out where I am and how to get back to where I need to be. None of this area is familiar. After making a few decisive turns, I realize I’m back behind the Zoo. I work my way out to the main road. As I’m waiting at the light, I’m thinking about the best way back to our house.
Then, I remember that of the three major exits to get to my house, all three streets are under construction…at least from this highway system.
I call my friend again.
“You’re taking this Interstate, right? Whatever you do, don’t take The Second Street,” I warn her. “Northbound was at a total standstill on the way here, which was 20-minutes ago. I doubt it’s cleared up. There’s construction and they have a flagger! And! Don’t take The First Option. I can’t vouch for it. Up until last week, it was all jacked, due to construction, so I’ve been avoiding it like the plague. But, The Third Way has construction, but it’s totally doable. I’m taking it. I would have taken that this morning, but I didn’t know about the construction on The Second Street.”
She thanked me for the warning. The light changed, and I ended my call.
As soon as we got back on the Interstate, Claire realized we were headed the wrong way. “I don’t wanna go home, Momma! I WANNA SEE POLAR BEARS!”
Poor thing. I explained that the Zoo was full and that we’d have to go another time. It was hard to curse Spring Break, because that was the reason we even had the option to see the Zoo today with my friend. *sigh*
The closer we got to the house, the more fervent her pleas became. She did NOT want to go home! I tried to explain to her that we weren’t really going home; we were just meeting our friends there, and then we were going to the park! The park by the lake! You like the park by the lake!
We see my friend waiting in front of our house, so Claire starts to realize that I’m not just tellin’ stories. I pull into the garage, and we get our things unloaded. The five of us head down the hill to the lake.
The sight that awaited us was unbelievable, and I’ve never seen so many kids at this park in my life. The times Claire and I go, there are maybe four or five kids there. There were TEN TIMES that amount!!
Spring Break…you’re really starting to chap my hide.
But, I remind myself that without Spring Break, we probably wouldn’t be able to see my friend and her girls…
But still! This is madness.
We leave the park before two of our little ones were trampled in the melee. The six year old was doing a good job holding her own against all the “big kids,” but it was getting to be ridiculous. Time for Plan C. We decide to go back to our place and play with Claire’s Toy Store and then play with the bubbles outside in the backyard. Afterwards, we watched three little exhausted girls eating ice cream and realized that although it was a Plan C, it was an Awesome Plan C.
And, we couldn’t have planned it any better.