After 143 days with no measurable precipitation, the skies opened upon us late Friday night. The rain was unrelenting all day yesterday. The Ostrich Festival was battered, and had to close by 2:30PM because the conditions were so bad. All day yesterday I thought, If it's still raining tomorrow, we won't be going!
This morning, the sky was clear and the air was very cool. An unfamiliar snowcap rests on many of the mountains ringing our valley. All during the day today, I heard people remarking on how weird the mountains look with all that snow on them.
We decided to head out early to the festival, figuring it would be crowded because of the weather yesterday. We knew there would be mud. It was a good day for a fair, at least as far as today's weather. We hadn't counted on the extent of the flooding at the fairgrounds.
We lined up to get in about 11:30, with the gates opening at noon. The kids handled the wait well, especially after all the waiting-on-line practice they had at Disneyland. When we finally got in, the entire kids' ride section was closed, still under inches of water, in spite of the pumps they had going to move out all the water. We saw the main fairway was already churned up, but workers were spreading hay to absorb some of the water and make the walking less treacherous. It helped, but there wasn't enough of it, and we all ended up mud-caked.
We ate lunch, and then went off to explore what rides there were -- the older kids are big enough to go on nearly everything, but DS2 doesn't like fast rides, even the ones he is big enough to ride. As the day went on, we found that they had moved the kids' truck ride over to the main area, and DS2 rode that twice while DH took the older 2 on the bigger rides. I had to carry the little guy everywhere; his shoes are slip-ons, and he would've lost them in the mud for sure. (There's nothing quite like the sucking-pull of mud that has a hold of your shoe -- even though I was wearing my old Reeboks, tied on snug, I felt as if I was about to lose a shoe, more than once.)
At a certain point DS1 had had enough, so I took the boys to watch the Purina Incredible Dog challenge, which was a lot of fun. (We had missed the early ostrich races, and the later ones didn't start till 5PM. One of these years we'll see 'em.) The dogs run an obstacle course, quite challenging. They had several different breeds and even one little mixed breed, Mesa, who had the best runs of the day. Even DS1, who is not at all fond of animals, enjoyed watching the dogs.
By the time we were tired of that, they had opened up several other rides in the kids' area, so DS2 got to ride some of them. DH and DD joined us, and all 3 kids rode some more rides, and ate cotton candy. At that point I was exhausted, and we were all muddy, so we came home. I took off my shoes in the garage, and sent everyone else around the back way to take off socks, shoes, and pants, then DH hosed the mud off everything. Here's hoping the boys' shoes are dry by tomorrow, or they'll be stuck wearing their old (too small) shoes... they're around here somewhere.
I didn't go on any rides, leading me to realize it's stupid for me to get an all-day ride ticket, especially since DS2 is big enough to go on all the kid rides himself. That will save us some money next year! I did get an ostrich burger for lunch, and it was quite good, as were the spun potato and spun apple (both deep fried, the apple dipped in a sweet batter first) that we all shared. The food was ruinously expensive but it always is, so we knew what to expect -- but we still shot down the kids' pleas for takeout, and made do with what we had on hand for dinner.
We made it clear beforehand we weren't going to buy any toys, and we weren't going to play any games. (I am horribly bad at carnival games, and I'd rather not throw my money away. I also won't permit my kids to throw my money away that way, either -- they don't need any more garish stuffed toys even if they did win!) DS2 asked a few times for something, anyway, but I shut that down, and he gave up asking. When he saw a little boy his age with a plastic samurai sword (he's gone through two of them already), I reminded him that he already has 4 (much better) swords at home. (He loves them, too, practicing with them every day.) He gave up, making it nearly a whine-free day.