Mar 17, 2012

Spring Break's a Comin'

A bald eagle rides the thermals, circling flapless loops above the river-timber behind my house.  He's looking for prey, waiting for the right moment to dip and stick talons into a field mouse or walleye.  Like an A-10 Warthog about to unload Avenger anti-tank shells on the enemy.  

80 degrees today:  Mother Nature punched winter in the mouth, snubbed spring and gifted us when an early summer.  I'll take it.   

There's not much need to escape for spring break this year with the mild weather.  But there's something nice about getting away from the grind for a couple days to recharge the batteries.  We like the slides, below is our recap from last year.  I'll attempt to get some wet videos this year.  Do you suppose a plastic sandwich baggy and camera will do the trick?  We'll find out.


Most normal people flock down the map towards warmth, not hundreds of miles north to tundra.  But tundra is less expensive than sand, and I'm a cheapskate.  So we rumbled up to the Wisconsin Dells to splash a couple days at an elephantine indoor water park.  If you reserve in January, the rate is $99 a night with free water passes.  A good deal in my book.

Wisconsin countryside is rolling, curvaceous and tidy, the farmsteads were immaculate.  The drive was easy on the eyes and gave zee whistlin' turbo a workout.

Pigtails was suspiciously quiet in the backseat, so I tipped down the rear-view to investigate.  Laughed while shuttering the Nikon, I think she was a little excited to hit the slides:

100,000 square feet of aqua awesomeness, with the bigger slides spaghettiing down four stories from the ceiling.  Sheets of glass the size of Jumbotrons pumped in sunlight to the wave pool and deck, got a taste of warmth while bobbing along the lazy river in that Euro-cut Speedo.    

Pigtails wanted me to run the speed slide first to prove it wasn't scary and to give it my safety stamp of approval.  I mounted a foam mat and squirted down a slimy fiberglass tube fast enough to scream like a little girl.  It looped and fishtailed outside the building and back inside before cutting down for a steep finish.  Four tubes side-by-side let you race three others.  On that first ride down, my right knee left the mat at the bottom and sort of instinctively braced the side of the slide to slow down.  You finish fast with a short run-out, sorta like a fighter jet trying to land on an aircraft carrier with a tail-hook and a prayer.  The leg brake was enough friction to peel skin off the knee and bleed a little.  Jumped off the slide, smiled at Pigtails and said,  

"See, that was a blast and not scary at all.  I think you should give it a try, it's very safe." 

She looked down at my leg, "Um dad, why is your knee bleeding?" 

"Oh, that's just a little owie.  Yeah, just ignore the blood, keep your sticks on the mat and you'll be fine."

She did eventually give it a try.  I gave her a 5 second head start at the top to allow her 42 pounds time to gather steam. 

What's the deal with the tattoos?  They were everywhere.  Seemed like a requirement to have one to be allowed into the park.  Tough dudes, scrawny pale-skinned ones, young moms, wrinkly grandmas.  Hardly a person without one, only me and the newborns in poopy swim diapers.  With that kind of peer pressure, I was tempted to run up to the room and quick Sharpie MOM on my shoulder.  And the subject matter of said tattoos cracked me up.  I saw a middle aged lady with a smurf tat' on her ankle.  Really?  What series of events led her to adoring papa smurf to the point of saying, heck yes, I think it a good idea to permanently ink my skin with a make believe blue elf that lives in a mushroom village? 

Lunch and dinner, we gnawed mostly on soggy sandwiches from the cooler.  Pigtails was lickin' her chops, hoping to round her belly on these.  Apples underneath all that goo, they must be healthy.  My response to her: "no, eat your spit."
I'm a stubborn tightwad, my conversation with Pigtails down at the arcade went like this:

"Daddy, may I play one game?"


"Pretty please?"


"Just one game, pleaaassseee??!!"

"No, those games are a waste of money.  Press the buttons and pretend you are playing."

"But I..."



"No.  No no no no no no no no no no no.  No."


"I tell you what.  You pick out one game that you'd like to play, and I'll let you tomorrow."

I caved, she beamed.

Most of the games spit out tickets you could turn in for junky plastic toys or candy.  I explained that even if she did win, it would only be a few tickets, which wouldn't buy more than a glitter pencil or plastic yo-yo.  She thought that was a great deal.

I'm glad I held off, as my miserly tendencies paid off.  We found a glitch with the squirty clown water game where it would occasionally give us a free play and spit out 8 tickets at a time.  We also found a chain of tixNetflix stock I picked up last year on the cheap.  And Pigtails is now convinced those games are a clear bargain.  Put in a buck, get back yards of tickets worth handfuls of cruddy toys.   

It was a fun trip, maybe we'll give it a go again sometime.  Would be even better if we could bring a group next time.  The more the merrier. 


  1. You've taken me back to my childhood! We used to drive up to the Dells in the summer. Back then the water parks were mostly outdoors, so winter trips were out. I can't wait until my kids are old enough to go.

    1. Something tells there's a lot more tat's and butt crack than when you went as a kid.

  2. Replies
    1. Too soon, back and wish for more.

  3. Those caramel apples look delish! My dad would never give me quarters to play the games either. I wonder if that has been passed on to me? Hope you had fun!

  4. Ha. Love that you said "Eat your spit." I have a very distinct memory of my mom saying something very similar when I was little and complaining of thirst in the grocery store parking lot: "drink your saliva." Which made it sound all the more disgusting. But she got the point across! Never to complain of being thirsty again. ; ) Great blog!

  5. I found your blog via Young House Love, and just wanted to say that you look remarkably like Matt Chandler. I don't know if you know who Matt Chandler is, but he's great and it's probably a good thing to look like him.

  6. That picture of Pigtails smiling in the rearview mirror with the goggles on is hysterical. Such a cutie!


Thanks for the note, check back for my response!