Friday, March 7, 2008

Ultimate Loading Zone

"So I am getting ready for the ultimate loading zone experience. Chaperoning tweens to an amusement park. Tonight is Scholarship night. The park is closed to the general public and invaded by local middle and high school students, along with their family and friends. So while the group I'm bringing giggles and talks waiting in long lines for a 45 second thrill, I'll be walking the short distance from the "line begins here" sign to the "exit only gate" a few feet away. I made sure to put cuticle cream and a nail buffer in my bag, along with a notebook for those random thoughts, and my Ipod."

Well that was last night, and yes I remembered the nail buffer and Ipod, along with an extra shirt for layering and a few other things. What I forgot was my wallet, driver's license, credit card, cash... you know the real reason the girls didn't mind me tagging along as a chaperon, the prospect of "churros" all around. I realized it once we were in the park. Usually this would have been caught earlier... driving through to get a coffee close to the house...but I was meeting a friend there and we agreed to catch up over coffee while the girls went on rides.

The tickets were pre-paid and in an envelope from the school and parking was free. So the first time I noticed my wallet missing was after I ordered the most expensive latte' in the place and had a panic attack that my wallet was stolen. Then I remembered my wonderful teen-son had paid me back some cash, placing it in my wallet. I called the house and discovered he put my wallet in the matching purse, not realizing I would switch bags to carry more things that evening. I love Brighton but sometimes you need a bigger bag.

Luckily the mom I was meeting owed me money for Girl Scout Cookies and paid for the coffee.

The tweens had a great time and no one got sick by eating a bunch of junk food. I went on a few rides and managed to accomplish a few things in the Loading Zone... Spent some time talking with friends, and most important spent time with my daughter and her friends. Watching the dynamics of personalities, letting them wonder off a little further then I would have last year, while always keeping them in sight or a confined area.

So what are some things that can be done while waiting for kids to go on a ride, or waiting to go on a ride yourself:

My favorite thing is waiting in line with my husband, being folded up in his arms, laying against his chest and walking together step by step, almost as if we are slow dancing, but he wasn't there. My second favorite thing is brushing my daughter's hair between the rides, it's not going to be long before that is socially unacceptable, thinking about it I didn't brush her hair once last night.

So what did I do during my down time?

1. Exercised: hand-rail push-ups, squats (wish I could remember how to spell those in ballet-terms, so much classier), hand-rail dips, purse & daughter curls... Power walked a bit, ran a little, walked a lot. Thinking about it I got a lot of my major muscle groups.

2. Gave myself a quick manicure.

3. Took some pictures for our family and the school's yearbook.

4. Wrote, ideas and topics for this blog.

5. Spent a lot of time smiling at my daughter...

6. Oh-yeah started the list of activities for this coming summer.

All in all, I was pretty productive waiting in the Loading Zone. (They were getting in and out of "cars" on the rides, and I was waiting for them.)

I spent a lot of time thinking how do I fit this experience into my definition of Loading Zone, I think that works.

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