Got Mud?

I had a cup of Coffee Mate enhanced with actual coffee at 5:00 this evening.  I’m thinking that I may end up regretting that choice, because WIRED!

At the time, though, it seemed like a good idea.

Kind of like the polyester leisure suit seemed like a good idea in the ’70s.

So the sold-out magic show that Hubs and I just happened to snag tickets to last night was a smashing success, and I am not kidding you when I say the highlight of the entire evening was when our cute-neighbor-boy-turned-magician stepped out in a black wig.

I especially love how the faux hair fibers sparkle beneath the casino family room lights.

The two boys put on a fantastic show.  Hubs and I had lawn chairs in the front row, and we pretended that we had absolutely no idea how any of the magic props worked, even though we had used our own money to buy said props for the boy, and we had read all the boxes that the props actually came in.

A magician’s parents never give away his secrets.

The best picture of the night is the one in which the cute neighbor boy seems to be saying, “Please watch closely as my laser-eyed assistant burns a hole in your wall by staring at it.”

And then we had the box-on-the-head trick, in which the boy spun his head plum around in a full circle.

I kept reciting lines from the cartoon, Despicable Me, while the boys were preparing to do this trick.  “Mom, someday I’m going to go to the moon!” And, “I’m afraid you’re too late, son.  NASA isn’t sending the monkeys any more.”

The magicians shot me the stink eye for talking during the performance.

Hubs and I pretty much ripped our sides open with laughter, because someone’s head got stuck in that box, and the magic trick had to be quickly aborted so that a young magician could be rescued before his neck was broken in half.

Rest assured, no magicians were harmed during this show, thanks to the cute neighbor boy’s quick-thinking and his ability to yank a box off of a head in record time.

So that was late last night.

As in late, like past my real bedtime.

But BEFORE the magic show, Hubs and I took the boy and the cute neighbor boy to the carnival, which is in town.  It was at the carnival that I realized I actually have career choices that I can still make.  If I ever tire of teaching PE, I can simply get a couple of large-scale tattoos, knock three teeth out of my mouth, rehearse some profanity, pour a bottle of peroxide onto my hair, and march off for a job interview.

No matter.

Minutes before we arrived at the carnival, Small Town, USA had undergone a small rainstorm that turned out to be what we call a GULLEY WASHER in these parts.  For about twenty minutes, it rained exactly like it first rained on Noah, and then blam!  We had blue skies and obnoxious humidity that made my efforts in front of the bathroom mirror with the flatiron a complete waste of time.

I had brought our lawn-mowing sneakers to wear at the carnival, because I was smart enough to think, “Hmm.  There might be a touch of mud at the carnival, seeing as how it’s set up in…you know…a field of dirt.”

I have no words whatsoever to describe the level of mud we encountered.

Just!  No!  Words!

Our friend, Chris, summed it up best when he said, “You know, years from now, archaeologists will excavate this area and see all of these bones, and they’ll say, ‘Wow.  This civilization was stuck in a giant mud pit, just like the woolly mammoths.’

THAT, people, is what we spent the better part of the night walking through, because of THE THINGS PARENTS WILL DO FOR THEIR CHILDREN.

(Rest assured, I did a safety check to make sure that no power cords were laid out and plugged into major sources of electricity in that mess.  I had no desire to turn myself into a sizzling light show for the crowds.)

Hubs and I decided to make the best of it.  I rolled up my pantlegs, and I said to Hubs, “I am NOT here to make a fashion statement, as evidenced by the humidity’s work on my hair.”  And then we plunged in.

We met our friends, Chris and Becki, and Tiffany and Brandy, at the carnival, and we all trudged through the mud together.  We didn’t even flinch when we were peppered with mud that was flung like bird shot, while we stood beneath rides that spun children at break-the-sound-barrier speeds.  By the end of the evening, everyone at the carnival was basically unrecognizable, as we all had mud splattered on our faces, and our arms, and our clothes.

I even brought clumps of mud home in my hair.

Which made me very happy that I had labored over styling it before we left.

These are Brandy and Tiffany’s shoes.

These shoes belong to Becki and me and little Mallory.

And these shoes are the boy’s and the cute neighbor boy’s.

At one point last night, I leaned over and told Becki, “You know, this is exactly what carnivals will be like in hell.  They’ll have humidity like this, and mud like this, and people in hell will have to go to them every single day, FOR ALL OF ETERNITY!”

And Becki simply said, “Thank goodness we know Jesus!”

Preach it, Sister.

Regardless of the mud (and maybe BECAUSE OF the mud!), the kids had a fantastic time last night.

Chris and Becki’s girls, Kate and Mallory, had as much fun as the boy and the cute neighbor boy did.  Aren’t they darling?

We even ran into the boy’s cousin, Miss R, who said she was having a blast in the mud!

The boy rode the swings.

And so did the cute neighbor boy.

And so did Mallory.

I managed to pop THOSE snapshots off before I looked at Hubs and said, “I can’t even WATCH these rides without a Dramamine tablet running through my veins!”

Hubs mumbled something about how I make high maintenance look good.

There were other rides, too, and I collected a few snapshots before my motion sickness kicked it into the QUIT WATCHING THE RIDES gear.

When the kids all decided to take breaks from the KILL MAMA WITH THE MOTION SICKNESS AND THE DIZZIES rides, they opted to do the giant slide.

I don’t know if any of y’all have ever ridden a wet-with-the-recent-rainstorm gunny sack down a long slide, but here’s a little warning: 

They.  Do.  Not.  Slide.

The boys kept sticking, and they burned their arm muscles up trying to push themselves down the slide.  The cute neighbor boy’s facial expression pretty much sums up their opinion of the wet burlap bags.  I think it goes without saying that they did not do the big slide a second time.  They simply didn’t have any biceps left to push themselves with.

The kids all stood in line for the cheap rides like they were worthwhile Disneyland attractions.

And sometimes they took full advantage of nearby fencing material to rid themselves of eighteen pounds of mud.

At other times, they simply sat on the edges of the ring toss game to do some shoe scraping.

And then!

The boys saw the Aqua Balls, and they were drawn to them like white-tailed deer are drawn to my rosebushes.

They shelled out many American dollars for a chance to be zipped into a gigantic ball that was filled with air and then thrown into a pool of water.  I have to admit, Hubs and I howled with laughter over their attempts at walking in the balls.

Without a doubt, pretending to be young hamsters in exercise balls ON THE WATER was the highlight of the boys’ entire night.

And then they saw the bungee chords, and they were convinced that jumping on the bungees would be EVEN! BETTER! than the Aqua Balls.  So they shelled out still more American dollars for a four-minute stint in the harnesses.

Sadly, the bungee straps were a little restrictive, and they didn’t allow a great deal of movement.  When the boys finished jumping bobbing on them, they began howling their frustrations at wasting their money on the attraction.

Welcome to the Great American Carnival Rip-Off, boys!

Three hours later, we took our nineteen-pound sneakers home, where we used the garden hose and squirted enough mud off of them to build an adobe house that would easily accommodate a family of six.

Carnival 2011 will go down in the history books as One Fun Evening, in which we spent too many dollar bills and came home looking like swamp monsters.  It was also the evening in which we had fantastic leg workouts, as we drug our shoes around.  I know professional athletes would have jumped at the chance to burn the calories we did by mud-walking.

Happy Thursday evening, people.

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