Well, I saw about 699 fewer balloons than I had hoped to see when I woke up at 5:15 this morning. In fact, it seems as though the Springville Hot Air Balloon Festival, with it's 15 balloons, which I so flippantly dismissed when someone mentioned that I didn't have to drive 10+ hours to see some great balloons, is about 15 times more impressive than today's display.
Brad and I, intrepid vacationers, braved the cold and the fatigue and the ridicule of certain family members for whom the Balloon Fiesta was a serious waste of sleep. And for our reward we saw, drum roll please! One balloon! One magnificent hot air balloon!
It was sponsored by Allstate. It didn't get off the ground. My guess is there's a few people reveling in the fact that theirs is the only balloon featured on today's newscast. Stinking capitalists.
So, in other words, Brad and I get to be unspoiled when we go to the Springville Hot Air Balloon Festival next year. We will be spared the embarrassment of saying something stupid, like, "You've been planning this all year and all you could come up with was 15 lousy balloons? Back when we when to The Fiesta (you know which one I mean, obviously there's only ONE Fiesta, everything else is just a Fiesta-wannabe, sorry to be the ones to tell you that!)" No, Brad and I won't say anything stupid like that, instead we'll be saying, "Wow, I had no idea that Springville was so impressive!"
There's not much to tell, other than it was dark and cold and early and I'm not a big fan of any of those things. The news reports at 5:15 were saying that the wind had died down from yesterday and that it looked like the mass ascension was a go. At 6:30, they announced over the loudspeakers that they were going to have a pilot's briefing to decide if the launch would take place. At 7:00ish, they said that once the sun came up, the wind should die down and the launch would happen. But it stayed windy (and cold and early) even when it was no longer dark, but we didn't hear the announcement saying "Don't bother sitting there freezing to death, go home!" In their defense, Brad and I could have just missed the announcement because we were huddled on a picnic bench watching last week's Amazing Race on my ipod.
Poor Brad got his hopes all up when a couple of people rolled out their balloons, but when they were half full and so hard to control that they threatened to wipe out bystanders, they deflated it, along with our Fiesta dreams. We boarded a shuttle bus and headed back to our car, totally defeated.
But I count it as a win that I got to do this with my kid. That if we had to be let down, at least it was experienced together, and maybe it can be a slightly painful bonding moment. I love Brad, and doing this with him makes it much less disappointing. Plus, my fallback reply to anything negative nowadays, at least I got a blog entry out of it, right? And a bonus, we got back to the hotel at 9:00 a.m., so we had a whole day to turn this ship around!
As part of Ryan's Flash conference that he's attending this week, they had a screening of a movie called "Romeo and Juliet: Sealed With A Kiss" that one guy spent 4 years solid making by himself in Flash. He did everything, over 100,000 drawings, all by himself. That is amazing! What an accomplishment! I'm not a huge fan of animated movies (oh, the irony of being married to an animator) but I enjoy the occasional Disney movie, and figured that this would make another nice Princess-type movie that one day Darcey's going to want to dress up as. Imagine my surprise when, during the first two lines of the movie, I realize that the main characters are SEALS!! Not that I have anything against seals, but it was so completely not what I was picturing that I had to stop myself from laughing out loud! And then I had to spend the next twenty minutes trying to take it seriously, but I had ruined it with my human expectations. No one else in the theater was a bit surprised - there were signs and posters and the dvd for sale in the lobby, but somehow I missed all of that completely. Which I find hysterical, myself.
The boys got to participate in a drawing class taught by the lone animator (wait, that's a great title: The Lone Animator) after the movie. I had left the movie early with a fussy Darcey, so Ryan took this shift walking the halls while I sat in the back of the class and tried not to fall asleep. Not the Lone Animator's fault - I was just tired from getting up so early and sitting still wasn't helping. The boys enjoyed the class and ended up drawing some pretty good characters from the film.
My family found it amusing when the Lone Animator was introduced by a woman who asked, "Who here has ever met a Disney animator before?" Like he was some kind of rare, exotic species of animator, only found in the deepest, darkest recesses of Burbank.
The highlight of my day came when we were driving around searching for something to eat for lunch (which had to be take-out, because of the state of our children at 1 p.m.) and I drove right past a WAFFLE HOUSE!!! I haven't eaten at a Waffle-House since the summer before my senior year, which would make it 1993. Waffle Houses are ubiquitous in the Southeast and we'd hit them on our yearly vacations. Holy cow, if I had driven by a monument to Mudgett sentimentality, I wouldn't have been more surprised! It took every ounce of self-control not to pull into the parking lot, singing the Waffle-House Family Theme Song at the top of my lungs! In case you didn't grow up in my family, the song goes like this, to the tune of "Popeye The Sailor Man."
We're a Waffle House Family!
We live in a frying pan!
Okay, that's all the theme song we wrote. We only wrote a theme song at all because one time we went to a Waffle House and there was a jukebox, which listed the Waffle House Family theme song as one of the options, but the jukebox didn't work and left us to our own devices. Oh, my gosh, what if this Waffle House has a jukebox?? It might have made this entire trip worth it, balloons or no.
I stayed home for Darcey's nap today, which I really needed, while Ryan took the boys to a dinosaur Imax movie at the Museum of Natural History. It is right near Old Town, where yesterday we wanted to stop at a shop called Candy Lady, but it was closed when we got there. I told Ryan to take the kids there, which turned out to be bad on me when it turned out that the Candy Lady was a combination candy/adult novelty shop! Again, not something I generally encounter in Orem. Is this the way the rest of the world is? Am I luckier to live in Orem than I realize? Tomorrow am I going to find myself in a Native American pottery/lingerie store? Or take the kids into a combination smoothie place/adult video rental? What kind of sickos lure kids and families into a candy store with a not-even-curtained area labeled 18 and older? All I know is those pervs make some pretty good chocolate covered pretzels.
We polished off the day by going swimming. No, make that just the kids who have only one brain cell left and decided to freeze it for posterity. It was in the mid-to-low 60's with a decent breeze, but the kids figured that since the outdoor pool was heated, it was fine. I wouldn't let them get in the hot tub at first because a couple was in there. We lasted about 30 minutes or so - it would have been longer but Zack wouldn't go into the hot tub (later) because it was too hot, and so he stayed colder longer. I, naturally, value my brain cells and decided to sit fully clothed on the deck, shivering in my sweatshirt. When we first got there, Noah did a big cannonball into the pool and accidentally splashed a woman in the hot tub. As soon as he resurfaced, I told him not to jump in anymore because he was splashing other people (they were the only other people around) but the woman had to chime in and deliver a minor lecture about getting her hair wet. I had to refrain from pointing out that sitting in a hot tub was not the safest place for her special hairdo.
The nice thing is that the day's biggest disappointment happened so early, that the rest of the day totally redeemed it. I got a nap, which is close to a miracle, and everyone seemed to have an overall good day. Plus they visited their first adult novelty shop/candy store, so when they end up in therapy, we can at least pinpoint the day their lives started going downhill. Now that's what I call a family vacation!