Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Spring Break! (On a Budget)

Spring Break. Don't those words just conjure up fond memories of Mexico, all-night drinking binges, orgies, and copius amounts of illegal substances? No? Ok, maybe that's just me.

Actually, what it conjures up for me now is the fact that for the next two weeks, I don't have to get up at the crack of dawn (6:45am) and take people to school. Some of you might not think this is all that early, but when you don't get home from work until 11:30pm and to sleep until about an hour after that...trust me, it's early. But for the next two weeks, I can actually sleep in a little bit! My body, however, didn't get the memo. My eyes popped open at about 6:35am this morning, and informed me that I had had my 6 hours of sleep, and I was done.

I tried to argue. My brain told my body,

"Don't you get it? We don't have to be up this early! We can sleep a little more! Don't you realize that we go through life perpetually tired? We can catch up, just a little bit, these next two weeks."

My body said, "Forget it, you're awake." My body sucks.

In case any of you are sitting there thinking, "A two-week spring break?" Yes, our school district is on what they call a modified year-round schedule. We have a two-week break after each quarter, and then 8 weeks for summer. So we get two-week breaks in October, December and March. Summer break starts at the end of May, and school starts again at the end of July.


So the challenge becomes, what do I do with these kids for two weeks, without breaking the bank, which doesn't have much in it to break in the first place?

Yesterday, we went to the new recreation center that our city just opened. It's HUGE. It has a fitness center with all the weight machines, treadmills and a walking/running track, a kids' play area, teen lounge (not open yet), classrooms, gymnasium, ceramics studio, dance studio, and some other things I'm sure I'm forgetting about. They're going to charge $60 a month for a family pass, which I will probably pay for June and July, the two months the kids are out of school. In the summer here, our activities have to be either indoors or in the water, so I think this would totally be worth it.

For now though, since the center just opened, we can go there fee-free until April 20th, which is the actual "grand opening." Which seems a little dumb, since it's already open. But hey, it's free and we'll take advantage. The girls and I went there on Monday and tried to sign in at the front desk. After asking the ages of the two older girls, the lady informed us that they couldn't use the fitness center until they took the "Fitness Orientation" class, which was required for ages 13-17. They both rolled their eyes, which I kind of understood, but I guess you gotta follow the rules. The first class that fit into our schedule was Wednesday from 11am to noon, so that's what we'll be doing tomorrow.

I left there on Monday to a chorus of,

"Omg, that's so dumb! Do they think we don't know how to walk/run around a track? I can't believe that's so stupid!"

On one hand, I totally agree with them, but I'm sure it's because of liability, insurance, blah blah. The nice part is that after they take the orientation, they can use the fitness center on their own, without me there. Took them out for a fast food lunch instead, (because that's totally better than exercising, right?) then went home so I could get ready for work.

Today, Danielle had a softball game in Northern Nogales Tuscum Tucson, (Sorry Kirsten...I can't help it) so she was going to be gone all day. After dropping her off at school at about 10:30am for a team lunch before they got on the bus, Kylie and I headed out to...Bass Pro Shop. Field trip! Jen and her kids (three of the four, anyway) and Kirsten and her kids (all 5 of them!) had invited us to join them at Bass Pro Shop. I have to admit, at first I thought this was a little silly. We're going to a fishing store? But then Jen said they had these big aquariums with big fish, and Kylie likes that sort of thing, and it's FREE, so I said what the heck?

Did I call this place a "fishing store?" Oh my, how wrong I was. I had never been there before, but what I thought was some little fishing store was actually a ginormous Hunting/Fishing Lollapalooza Extravaganza. I mean, this place is its own self-contained mall. The Mall For Men. Hunting and Fishing Men.

Being a city girl and never really into hunting or fishing, this place was a totally new experience for me. Not only did Kylie like the fish, but the coolest part for her, I think, were all the previously live animals that were now dead...and stuffed. They were everywhere! Everything from ducks to prairie dogs, elks to mountain lions and bears. They were ex-animals! They had ceased being! Hee. They were very real-looking, probably because they were, you know, real. Just not breathing. I was trying to get Kylie to touch one of the bears and feel the fur, but she wasn't having any of that. She was fine with touching a wolf, a coyote, a skunk and an elk, however.

I took some pictures, of course.

I wrote some stuff on this picture, pointing out different things. I just realized that the writing is too small to read. I think if you click on the picture, you can see it bigger.

Really, you could live in this place. There's even a restaurant.

Here are Kylie and Gabe trying out one of the two-man tents. Luckily, they're a little too young to know what those things are really good for.

No hunting extravapalooza would be complete without an arcade game where you can pay quarters to shoot things with rifles. This is awesome entertainment for 5 year-olds. Hee. We didn't even give them any quarters, and they still had fun.

Ok, really, we weren't at the zoo. That's an ex, um...moose? Actually, I have no idea what that is, but it sure looks real, doesn't it? Jen pointed out to me that this is actually a female cow elk. Thanks Jen...because I definitely would not have known that. :)

And here I thought there wouldn't be anything in this vast empire of a store that I would ever want to buy. However, I was sold when Jen pointed out this party-sized margarita machine to me. If you can see Kylie's little arms over there on the left side, you can get an appreciation for how big this thing is. I forgot to look at the price, but really, I don't care. I want it. You can all chip in. My birthday is in May.

So, tomorrow we will go back to the rec center. Not sure what we're doing on Thursday. Friday, we're thinking of going swimming. That's right, swimming. During this spring break, they open up one of the bigger public pools in the city, one with a couple of waterslides and kids play area. They even heat the water, because really, even though it's supposed to be in the low 80s the next couple of days, the water is still really cold. It is! We are not wimps just because we need our swimming water heated to 87 degrees. We're just used to that because the sun heats our swimming pools to 90 degrees in the summer all by itself. Thankfully, by Sunday we're supposed to have a little cold front move through, and our high will be back down to 69 degrees, or what I refer to as "acceptable." I got into the elevator at work today, and some random old dude getting out said,

"Isn't it a beautiful day outside?"

Being the friendly, optimist that I am, I replied,

"It's hot."

Beautiful is about 55 degrees, windy and cloudy. Fat chance we'll see that again before December. Now 'tis the end of Comfort, and the beginning of Summer. Booooooooooooo!!


Anniepants927 said...

So funny! My husband and I went on a field trip to Bass Pro Shop last night! We had never been there either and were equally impressed! One of the things that we thought was really cool was that exact margarita machine! lololol Great party minds think alike! Other than that, we dreamed of a boat...someday. We walked out with a hat for the hubby, some chipotle chili ketchup, and some wax lips (havent had those since childhood)from the candy area!!! I, too, was amazed at the size of that place! :-)

Anonymous said...

For a free field trip...it was fun!! And really, when you think of the age range of kids we managed to entertain (13 to 2)(ok, 40 to 2)without a tv we should get golden stars for parenting capabilities. Next time Cabellas!

Anonymous said...

Look at that picture of Gabe and Kylie....and she is older! I know he is big, but somehow it always shocks me in pictures.

Lish said...

Aidan would LOVE BPS...but alas, we don't have one near us....Cabella's....hmmmm...may have to venture there. ;)

We're supposed to hit upper 40's today and maybe even 50 tomorrow! Woo-hoo! Of course, then comes the rain and my sump pump going nutso...I'll trade you some weather?

Seriously...cheap vacation idea...ever hear of house swapping?

Jen said...

Being the good hunters wife that I am I need to point out that the animal you questioned was a moose is really a cow elk (female). I know you were skeptical, but I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

The inlaws treated the Bass Pro Shop in Springfield, MO as a tourist attraction. But, maybe for MO it is. :p

We usually hit the one in one the malls here for a few minutes for a rest and the kids hang out at the aquarium, and Megan has done the climbing wall once. We also occasionally check out the boats when we're dreaming. :)

Ours isn't as fancy as the one in MO though. The one in MO had a pretty nice, and tasty, restaurant in it.


Mary said...

Spring break! Yay! In this house, we attend 5 different schools. Guess what... we have 4 different spring breaks! I will spend mine NOT sleeping in too.

I take my kiddo to Fry's Electronics. Big aquariums! Filled with tropical fishies and they are so cool! We've been to Cabella's - it's like a taxidermy amusement park!