My son’s co-op preschool pulled off an amazing fundraiser this past weekend.
There was a petting zoo. There were balloon animals and face painting. There was a silent auction with well over 100 items. There was a toy store where you could spend your valuable tickets (50 cents each) on items like sunglasses and stickers. There were lots of cool games too, like fishing, golf and my favorite, Angry Birds. As soon as I saw the Angry Birds game I wanted to be four years old so I could play it. Unfortunately, I think hopping up on the wooden platform to take my turn behind the slingshot would have been frowned upon.
Our family had a great time. I was signed up to work the second half of the carnival so when it came time for me to work, the rest of my family went home.
Earlier last week, in a moment of obliviousness or absent mindedness or something like that, I signed up to work the bounce house station at the carnival. Talk about a bad idea. The bounce house was one of the miniature ones where only about four kids could get in at a time. So for two hours I was constantly dragging kids out of the bounce house as they would try to make a full speed run into it from across the stage. I also had to look out for the two year olds as they unknowingly climbed into the Thunderdome with kids twice their age (and size), not knowing that could be the last thing they ever did. There was also the issue of how long to let kids stay in the bounce house. Once I was letting some kids bounce while another was waiting and the parent of the waiting kid said to me, “You know those kids are never gonna tire out. When is his turn?” I wanted to say, “Look pal, you get what you pay for. I’m not some professional, full-time Carneie with no teeth and a drug problem. If you feel you are highly qualified for this line of work and would like to take over the thankless job of being in charge of the bounce house, then go right ahead.” But in reality, I just ignored him.
Then there was the other end of the spectrum, the absent parent. When I signed up to work the bounce house I was also unaware that bounce house was code for,”Send your children to the bounce house and leave them unattended to wreak havoc for as long as possible while you go talk to your friends.” There were a couple of kids that I’m not even sure their parents stayed at the carnival. It seemed like they were given a baggie of tickets and free run of the place. Fine with me if your kids are old enough to handle it, but if they still wears diapers, have tantrums and suck their thumbs, you should probably keep an eye on them.
The icing on the cake had to be the placement of the bounce house. The bounce house was located DIRECTLY next to the musical entertainment of the carnival, which meant that the music man’s amp was right next to me. Along with his amp there were dozens of musical instruments that kids could “play” like drums, cymbals, washboards, and more drums. The longer I sat there the louder the music became. I’d never been more excited for a music set to end that I was that day, well maybe the time I saw Natalie Merchant in concert, but that’s another story for another day.
Next time before I sign up for something like this, I’ll ask a few questions before I sign my John Hancock on the bounce house dotted line.
Now I think I’m going to try to track down the owner of that Angry Birds game.