Monday, September 8, 2014

I'll Do a Lot for Some Free Parking

Earlier this summer, my friend, Amy, and I took our kids to a nearby tourist town for an "adventure hike."  I'd read that there was an area that had free parking.  The catch was that you had to pick up a free parking pass at the town hall.

I saw that the address for the town hall was on the main street with all of the cute shops.  I didn't think it would be hard to find.

Oh, was I wrong.

There were about a million signs for the million adorable little shops.  To say that there was a lot to look at would be a gross, gross understatement.  

We finally ended up in a residential area, so I used my stellar skills of deduction and realized we had missed the town hall.

We could see the police station from where we parked.  The police station's address was really close to the town hall.  I feel like the town hall had a "1/2" for the house number and the police station was the whole number. 

Seeing as I have literally no shame, I suggested to Amy that we lug our children into the police station to look for the town hall or get directions.  As I was unloading the girls, I noticed that one of my tires was a bit low.  I didn't think much of it, because I choose to ignore things like that until it's really bad.

I like to think that my kids and Amy's kids were excited to go into the police station.  It's certainly not something they do on a regular basis. 

I talked to the officer of information, and, come to find out, the town hall had moved, they just hadn't updated the website yet.  We actually found the right place...according to our bad information. 


Naturally, as we were leaving, Gracie thought she had to go to the bathroom when we were in the police station.  I drew the line there.  Granted, we were in a small town, and they probably would have had her use the same bathroom the officers use.  But, all I could think was how I didn't want my (then) 3 year old using a bathroom in jail.  This, my friends, is what happens when you watch too many cop shows on TV.

Because I have the following-directions-to-a-location skills of a small raccoon, Amy led the way.  

We found the actual town hall without a problem.  It was shine-y and lovely and still smelled new.

We walked in with my 3 kids and Amy's 4 kids.

An older lady sitting at the information desk greeted us with, "Well hello there!  Are you on a field trip?"

A field trip?  I will choose to take that as an enormous compliment!  Perhaps Amy and I look too young to have 8 year olds!  Maybe she thought we were nannies!  Or au pairs, if we're feeling fancy.

"No," I replied.  "We're just here with our kids."

She just stared at me...possibly confused as to why on earth someone would willingly bring their kids to city hall.  I pointed out which kids were mine and which kids belonged to Amy.

"Anyway," I said, "We're here to get the free parking passes."

"Oh, we changed it.  You don't need to pay for parking any more as long as you're in the correct area."

Are you kidding me?

"OK.  Well, thank you.  We'll park there then."  I paused as I was turning to leave, and said to the lady who probably doesn't know how to check her email, "You might want to change that on your website."

I managed to say that without gritting my teeth or shooting lasers out of my eyes which I count as a sign of maturity...seeing as we had just been on a wild goose chase with a kid who had to pee. 

We walked passed the public bathroom on the outside of the town hall, because there was a line of senior citizen women snaked to the outside.

We got to our free parking, and I made the mistake of speaking a thought.  That tire of mine was really, really low.  I pointed it out to Amy, but Leah heard and kind of started to freak out.  I talked her down, though, and we managed to find a bathroom in the really cool park!

We headed to playground area.

It was pretty basic, but the kids liked it!

They loved the merry-go-round!

We could have stayed there the whole time and they would have had a great time!

Amy stayed with the kids while I drove on a flattening tire to get some air.  I called Aaron on the way, and he started coming to meet me to rescue us from our sad tire.

When I got back, Amy, the kids, and I did some exploring!

We found this bubbler/drinking fountain/water fountain for people and dogs!

We got to walk under this beautiful trellis, too.

After exploring the park, we found Aaron in the midst of taking off our tire to bring to a tire store to be patched!

We then took a short hike along the river.

One of my daughters kept a running commentary going about how much her feet hurt, wondering when we'd be done, and noting how hot it was.


Aaron brought the tire back, put it back on, and headed back to work.  Amy and her kids had to head for home a little bit before me and the girls.

We went back to the charming downtown and found a cute, old time-y ice cream shop and enjoyed a treat!

The girls even wanted to walk around downtown to look at the stores.  We had an amazingly fun time!  

Interestingly enough, when we were driving home, I asked the girls what they thought of the day.  The aforementioned complain-y daughter was effusive with her praise of how great the day was..."hike" included.

This made me realize that she just says every thought that comes into her head, but she doesn't necessarily have the motive behind it that an adult would.  I heard complaining, but she was really just asking questions and making repeated observations.  It was a good reminder to me that I can't assume motives when they girls say or do something.

What a day!  Full of ridiculousness, but full of fun memories, too :)

And Babies Don't Keep

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