Last Saturday

Last Saturday we had a family get-together at a waterpark just down the road a little ways.  The event was something of an extended birthday celebration for niece Bea (Stevie’s daughter, for those who’ve been keeping track of my wife’s chaotic family), who turned seven last month and got an outing with family and friends at a waterpark once school ended and summer vacation started.

And here in Arkansas, summer starts quick.  Immediately after Memorial Day, the temperatures wasted no time getting to the nineties (with the dreaded humidity accompanying) and it’s already spiking above 95 at this time.

Not helping is that the A/C in both our cars is barely functioning.  The house A/C is working, but to keep the temps tolerable it’s running virtually 24/7.  I’m not looking forward to the summertime electric bills.

But anyway, back to the waterpark.  One of the most enjoyable days we’ve had as a family in quite a while, with none of the hassles or drama that normally tends to take place with Yes Dear’s family.

Apart from us (myself, Yes Dear, PBJ, and AJ) and Stevie’s family (hubby and two kids) and their friends attending, we also had my SIL who brought JJ and twins ThingOne and ThingTwo.  And unexpectedly, nephew Mark and Big J (his dad) showed up as well.

(If you haven’t noticed, there are too many J’s floating around the family in my blog.  I try to keep their blog names close to their real names without revealing too much that can be googled, but I’m ending up with a plethora of alphabet soup starting with the letter J.  Bear with me, I’ll try not to add any more J’s if I can help it.)

AJ, not quite two, enjoyed himself paddling around in his little rubber thingy.  The waterpark had a small shaded pool where the very young and their caretakers could paddle around in relatively cool (though heavily chlorinated) waters, with water jets coming out from various directions.  I found myself ducking in there several times just to cool off from the main pool, which had the approximate temperature of bath water.  Makes me wonder how many kids have peed in it.  Eww.

The twins, usually brats, were pretty well behaved for a change and actually enjoyable to splash around with.  ThingOne impressed us all with his willingness to go down one of the medium-sized slides, of course accompanied by an adult at the top and another waiting down in the pool for him.  He thoroughly enjoyed himself and went back several times for more.  Not bad for a four-year-old’s first time at a waterpark.

JJ had a blast, though his inexperience on water slides showed (sad that he’s almost ten years old and this is one of the few real family outings he’s experienced).  He actually got stuck in one of the big ones a couple times until we convinced him he had to lean all the way back to gain any speed.  He wanted to go down the so-called “toilet bowl” slide (the one where you come out sliding in a large funnel, with a drop into the water at the bottom), but due to the seven-foot depth of the pool at the end and inability to tread water (something I’m going to work on with him this summer as much as I can) we wouldn’t allow him.  Still, he was ecstatic about the fun he had and I’m considering taking him to one of the other waterparks for his birthday.

But the one I was most impressed with and proud of was seven-year-old nephew Mark.  I didn’t think he’d make it past the four-foot wading pool, but his dad managed to convince him to go down the tallest slide in the park, half of which was enclosed and completely dark.  The height alone was enough to bother me, and given his history and skittishness, I figured if he got past his fear of heights and made it up to the top at all, the dark tube he’d have to come down the first half of the slide would be enough to freak him out.  I went first and waited at the bottom, expecting a lengthy delay while his dad tried to convince him to go down and not chicken out.

But there was no delay at all.  And I found myself in the pool at the bottom catching a beaming, excited little boy grinning from ear to ear, wanting to go down it AGAIN.  And AGAIN, and AGAIN, and AGAIN.

I’ve still got a set of sore, cramping calves, courtesy of following Mark up all those steps so many times.  But seeing how much he enjoyed himself was worth it.

We even were treated to SIL going down the toilet-bowl slide (after copious goading from Big J and Yes Dear), giving all the kids a treat as they watched their mee-maw prove she wasn’t so old she couldn’t enjoy herself like someone much younger.

All in all, a great and memorable time.  Wish it was like this more often with this family.

Sadly, the post title of “Last Saturday” has another meaning as well.

Starting this week, I go to my regularly scheduled shift at work.  Graveyard.  Four nights a week.

Including Friday and Saturday nights.

So it basically means that weekends, particularly Saturdays, won’t be available for much of anything, excepting holidays and vacation time, for likely at least a year.  The vast majority of my Saturdays will be spent sleeping all afternoon and getting up just in time to get to work that evening.  11pm to11am.

I already knew that I would be working these hours coming in.  That there would have to be sacrifices made, once my initial training was complete.

Luckily this is turning out to be one of the easiest jobs I’ve worked in a long, long time.  And when things stay busy, time goes by pretty quickly.  And I know you’re tired of me crowing about my five minute commute, but it’s hard to overstate the benefits of that.

But I’m going to miss my weekends for a while.  Have to pretend they come on Monday and Tuesday.

And retrain my body to sleep during the day and stay up all night.

But one other advantage?  Great blogging hours, especially while the whole house is asleep.

Now if only I can get my desktop system set up somewhere…