Saturday, September 17, 2011

There are Height Requirements for Roller Coasters

So, we went to Williamsburg last weekend.  Bill went because he was in a triathlon on Sunday morning and the kids and I went because the deal included spending Saturday at Busch Gardens (large, coiffed amusement park:

Let me just clarify here that I am not an opportunist …exclusively.  In other words, I did, in fact, adopt Ruslan and Will because I plan to love them and provide a better life for them.  It is NOT MY FAULT that America has decided to shower us with a few perks along the way (like handicapped parking) and you must agree it would be absurd to miss out on such obvious blessings.  Right?

Therefore, we deliberately planned to take the kids to Busch Gardens as soon as reasonably possible because they have a killer handicapped policy.  Get your hands on a purple "H" bracelet and you can walk right up to any ride through a side door and onto a seat just waiting for you and your friends.  A whole day at an amusement park without waiting in ANY LINES?  Who can resist?

My time had come.  We were lucky enough to have TWO handicapped kids with us and each child was good for four companions per ride.  I was so convinced we’d hit the Amusement Park Jackpot, I tried to talk Bill into hanging a “HANDICAPPED CHILD FOR RENT”  sign on the back of Ruslan’s wheelchair (we’re capitalists).  What I sort of forgot was that there are height restrictions.  My boys weren’t tall enough for the roller coasters.   In fact, every ride that was worth the price of Dramamine was only for people over 45 inches.

We had to switch out while one of us stayed behind with the little kids.  Ruslan clued in eventually and whenever we found a shady spot he would say, "time for another throw up ride mom?"  On the plus side, my older kids got to ride the roller coasters twice (once with me, once with Bill) and it really wasn’t crowded at all.  I don’t think we waited more than ten minutes for any one ride even without the handicapped bracelets (HINT:  Always, ALWAYS wait until after Labor Day to hit the parks because this is when the seasons passes end). 

As my luck would have it, every ride Ruslan and Will qualified for either involved massive amounts of water (the Log Run, the River Cruise, the Roman Rapids) or some sort of Sesame Street character (Elmo’s Castle, Oscar’s Whirly Worms—I am not making this up) or both.   Of course, the only rides we could do altogether as a family were the water rides.  We spent the day soaking wet.   I ditched my plans for that wheelchair sign and I’m now thinking I might make more money with a push cart, selling dry underwear. 

The highlight of the trip was watching the kids interact with Will.  When he first came, he learned two words right away; “car” and “green.”  He said these words all through December, January and February.  Then one day in March, I bumped into him in the kitchen.  I looked down at him and said (rhetorically), “where did you come from?”  and he said, “I was adopted, from Ukraine.”  After I picked myself up off the floor, I tried to get him talking some more but nothing else came out.  We were back to “green” and “car.”  Anyway, all that is to say, Will’s speech seems to come in spurts.  Every once in a while, he just comes out with full sentences, proper grammar and a healthy vocabulary. 

At the amusement park, the kids started calling him “Speckled Bob,” because he loves a song called “Speckled Frogs.”   At one point he turned to Reilly and said, “Hey Reilly, they call me Speckled Bob.  It’s hilarious!”  Well, what do you do with that?  If you’re my kids, you exploit it.  They spent the rest of the weekend trying to get Will to say things on command.  The most popular was, “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for,” with a nice wave of the hand.

Bill’s race was Sunday morning.  He exceeded his expectations and did so well that he was on cloud nine for about five hours after the race—until he viewed the overall results and realized that everyone else exceeded his expectations as well.  He only came in something like 34 out of 600 racers and was not part of the top three in his age group.  This means he didn’t get the celebratory mug/wineglass that we so desperately need and had to settle for the complimentary T-shirt/racers tote.  Pitiful.  How can I be expected to manage with such a provider?  He spent the next five hours shaking his head in silence.  As you might guess, I’m mortified to be married to someone so slow.  I told him he’d better shape up or I’m going to start wearing a paper bag over my head.  My only consolation: now that we realize what pitiful shape he’s in, we can take him to Busch Gardens, get him a handicapped bracelet and ride on something better than the Log Run without waiting in line. 

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