Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tales of Makutu's Island and a "Homeless" Girl...

Living in Phoenix with bored kids in the summer can be very interesting.  Here's a story from the archives...

We went to pick up Zane's best friend Shanon today who is down from up north for a few days with his familia. I met the gang at "Makutu's Island" which is this big crazy indoor playground in bumf*ck Chandler (and of course located in a strip mall). Arizona is a lot like Minnesota - only opposite. In MN they keep you in to keep your fingers from freezing and falling off - and in AZ they keep you in to keep you from spontaneously combusting because of the frickin' oven heat.

Anyway... I was pleasantly surprised to see that the kids’ tickets were $8.25 and mine was only $3.25. I had to buy socks for Zoe and I ($3.50/pair) but that's okay too because they're purple and yellow and have the weird Makutu rat/marmoset mascot thing. (Which we by the way got to do the cha cha slide with!) So we go in and I notice the majority of parents are just sitting around reading books and talking on their cell phones. I wondered why they weren't climbing and playing. (I would find out...)

So there are giant tree house'ish contraptions with tubes and netting and caves and ladders. 
The boys were gone in a flash so I let Zoe take the lead. I suddenly found myself contorted like a pretzel in very small, dark, cramped places with other small and smelly children that did not belong to me. I then also realized that all of the other parents were not "playing" because A. they were smart, and B. there is no way in hell that they would have ever crammed their fat asses into those tubes and crevices with all those other kids! Zoe and I found a bespeckled 7 yr. old to be our tour guide to lead us to the curly cue slide. We eventually had to ditch him because he quickly became a Makutu's Island know-it-all and was really starting to annoy me. "Beat it kid. We're striking off on our own adventure!"

Somewhere in between the net wall and the 50 ft. high plexiglas tube that nearly gave me an anxiety attack as I hadn't seen a worker over the age of 16 the entire time (who is checking this shit for safety?!) I smelled a horrible smell. Horrible. Like death.

I asked Zoe "Did you poop?" She said no. I grabbed the back of her shorts and pulled my hand away in disgust. She was right, she didn't poop. She EXPLODED. "Oh shit" I said. We worked our way out of the molded plastic maze listening to all the kids say "Ewww what's that smell?" as we passed. Pull-up change, scrub of the waistband of her shorts and bottom of her t-shirt - we were good to rock and roll again.

We found the big boys who led us to the Banana Slide. "It's really fast mom" Zane warned me. "Oh jeez Zane it's a slide. Zoe can just sit on my lap." "No really mom. It drops straight down. It's fast." My concerned boy... Outta my way kid! I stuck Zoe in my lap and screamed as we suddenly felt as if we were falling through Alice's rabbit hole. We came SHOOTING out of the slide, Zoe's eyes as big as plates, where we landed about 4 feet away on a wrestling mat. Okay, so Zane was right on that one.

We were just in the deepest trenches of an awkward spot again, when I smelled the smell again. "Oh Zoe..." We went for the 2nd change, where after, Zoe became obsessed with the electric hand dryer and stood underneath of it for 6 pushes until I was finally able to lure her away.

We found the boys. "Time to go guys - I only had 2 pull-ups with me and can't handle a car ride home smelling that smell again in case she explodes." I coerced with slushies. Gentle persuasion...

We came home. Legos, Little Bear, 10 minutes of work.

I thought it would be a good idea to take them to the park downtown since it was dusk and "cooling off" to a balmy 105 degrees. "Let's get Subway and go to the park!" This park also has a cool water pad that lights up and is on until 9 p.m. so it's one of our favorite spots to picnic. I grabbed some towels and a blanket and we were on our way.

The kids played and splashed in between bites of sandwich. I was chillin' on the grass.

This park is notorious for security and police as it is in the heart of Downtown Phoenix and they are hell bent on keeping out homeless people, skateboarders, bike riders, and basically anyone else they want to (which is another long rant as I have actually seen the police yell at 1 kid on a skateboard then DRIVE their SUV through the park- and we know how much I hate injustice...)

So we're having a swell time, the kids dry off, and a woman goes up on the stage and begins to practice opera. Very cool! All 3 kids are intrigued and go sit at a table to watch her. Her name was Loretta and she was an older South American woman dressed all in black. I loved her, the kids loved her, and she loved them! She is writing a children's book called "Dinosaur" which is about a cat she grew up with. She asked if the boys would be her critic so they hung on her every lovely accented word as she read them her story.

Meanwhile I was chasing Zoe around and taking photos. One security guard had been lurking around more than the others and by this time it was around 9 o'clock. He approached me and said “So where do you go after here?" I said "Home." He looked at me like I was lying. "It's okay" he said. Suddenly it clicked with me. "No no no! We live in a house" I said. He looked at me like I was lying.

I didn't even smell bad. I even showered today. Perhaps because we were at the park "past dark" it didn't make sense to him.
A little later, I kid you not, he came up to me and gave me some hostess cupcakes and tried to give me $2!!! Seriously. Did I mention that I had even shaved my legs today and was wearing mascara? "Oh my gosh - I AM NOT HOMELESS" I told him. "My car is parked right over there and I promise I don't live in that either!" He just looked at me. I probably make more money in a day than this guy makes all week... WTF?!

I took the cupcakes, the boys took $1 each, and we left.

I tried to find a real homeless person to give the cupcakes to but couldn't find one anywhere.

I think all the security guards and cops ran them off...

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