Wednesday, March 25th 2009 sucked.
The plans weren't grandiose.
We were heading out to Hershey, PA (the sweetest place on Earth, or so they say) for a day of activities inside Chocolate World. The folks from the Zoo were scheduled to be there with baby animals. Hershey Garden(ers) would be on hand with botanical crafts for the kids. The day would be highlighted by a 45-minute puppet show. All that in addition to the faux-factory Choco-tour that is both free and fun - always a delightful combo.
After dinner in town somewhere, we were to head to the Hershey Bears game. Hockey is the Mouse's favorite sport to watch on TV. The game would mark her 1st live sporting event.
Sounds cool, no?
Well, I'm a big doofus and I screwed up the whole day, from the jump. I misread the Hershey website, for starters. All of that fun stuff comprised a one day only event, to mark the start of Spring. That day was not Wednesday March 25th 2009. Silly me thought it was daily stuff starting in Spring. Big difference.
The first thing we did upon entering the Hershey Attraction zone was to buy the hockey tickets. Dumb move. And I should've figured as much. The game wasn't going to sell out. There was no need to plunk down those dollars at midday. We never saw the game. After pulling into Chocolate World at 12:45pm, a cool 6 hours and 15 minutes before the puck would drop, we three discovered that there was ZERO chance of us merrily filling that time. Sure, we could have taken the free factory tour 65 times, but even that would get old after a couple dozen rides. Instead we went to the Hershey Gardens, using our reciprocal Winterthur membership to get in free. We were the only idiots out there in the Children's Gardens on a chilly, dark-ish, rather blustery March day. That was fun for about 30 minutes. After staring at 3:30 on the car's digital display for about 5 minutes and thinking about the next 3.5 hours until game time, we pulled out and headed for home.
Add a big dose of super-annoyed-at-himself-Dad, a dash of disgruntled kids and the looming 1 hour 15 minute ride home ahead of us and I had a recipe for disaster. The Mouse wasn't jolly, for much of the day, and wasn't getting happier strapped down in the backseat. The Bear did all she could to help, all day long, but it wasn't enough for her sister or, unfortunately, for me.
I screamed WAY too much.
No one wanted to be around me and I shared the sentiment.
The worst "Stay at Home Day" ever, hands down.
The only upside, and it was a minor one in the grand scheme of things? I stopped at the Skechers outlet store in Lancaster on the way home. Retail therapy. There I found, not my exact shoe, but a close replica that was comfy and affordable enough. Shit, I already wasted $20 on a hockey game we weren't going to see and $15 worth of gas. What's $55 ($15 cheaper than in stores but more expensive than on Amazon! It just keeps on getting better!!! Why did I even look) on a much needed pair of wheels for me. See, I only possess 1 pair of proper shoes (not counting my 1 pair of sandals and 1 pair of sneakers) at a time. I wear them out, until holes appear, and then reluctantly begin the search for new ones, knowing full well that they've since stopped making the style I've grown to adore. The models change, but they're always Skechers - that's the constant. At the outlet, they offered a buy 1 get the 2nd pair 1/2 off deal, so I got two of the same shoe - one black, one brown. This way, I won't need new shoes for 3-4 years!
We also saw a ton of cows, some hens, sheep and a smattering of equine on the ride back. I found an Amish free range chicken farm whilst driving around looking for even more animals than the ones visible from Rt. 30. There we bought a dozen brown eggs for $1.25 (that's cheap!)
Those were the "Happy Accidents" after a miserable afternoon. Such is the title of Billy Jonas' wonderfully uplifting new record. A few of the songs have really connected with The Bear and I, but it's the title track that has lead to the best conversations. In the song, Mr. Jonas discusses a few examples of greatness which originally stemmed from failure or mistakes, such as Penicillin (full Billy Jonas CD review tomorrow). There are always lessons in life, everyday something new happens to us or near us or is witnessed. Kids and adults both can glean something from words/actions/situations. Yesterday showed me a lot, much of it I already knew but often we need to see our flaws get SO bad before we act (think: dude who has heart attack before starting to eat better). Yesterday might have been my parenting triple bypass. I know I must change some things about myself in order for my kids to not hate me as they get older. That is the path I'm on right now and it's a very sobering image of life in later years, alone.
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