bowling, and brush up your shakespeare…

November 6, 2011 Comments Off on bowling, and brush up your shakespeare…

A bit of a schedule kerfuffle this weekend, but all for a good cause.  I had tickets to the student production of Love’s Labour’s Lost, and K ended up on duty to stock bookshelves at her new bookstore gig.  I had suggested extending the afternoon to include a celebratory round of bowling, and K agreed.

The kids had stellar report cards this last quarter, which was cheering.  I’ve been obsessively reading about the effects of divorce on kids, and quietly panicking after seeing new data that shows that, no matter how friendly things are, kids’ grades tend to suffer after a split.  So to see O bounce back with her best grades ever, and for C to continue his pretty much unbeaten streak of acing all non-art classes (long story), was pretty cheering.

“Perfect Games!” they decided.  No worries, I told them, invite a friend each and we’ll bowl until our fingers bleed.  Which isn’t very long if you don’t bowl that often.  PG is the “new” bowling alley out on the edge of town, attached to a lazer tag and video arcade place.  It’s main claim to fame is that it has a bar, so parents have a refuge from birthday parties, etc.  Not me.  I’m all in.

The kids bowl pretty much in line with their personalities.  C methodically walks up to the foul line, assesses the geometric possibilities, and lets fly with a slow roller.  O needs more of a windup, and it seems impossible that she only has two arms and two legs given the windmilling action that ensues.  Neither of them can bowl particularly straight, and O tends to bounce the ball six or seven times on its way to the pins.  One of them–I’m not saying which–bowled six straight gutter balls.

Their friends bowled well, I bowled miserably, but no one really cared.  There was some boy versus girl trash talk, and afterwards we got snacks and the kids played video games for half an hour or so.  PG is not cheap, but for three hours of entertainment it served its purpose pretty well.

We did a quick fajita dinner at home, and then it was off to the Shakespeare.  ISU Theatre has a decent reputation for a university that’s mostly engineering and ag, and I got season tickets this year, figuring it would be a good excuse to buff the kids’ cultural minds a bit.  They hadn’t seen Shakespeare yet, and Love’s Labour’s Lost is a good first one–full of snarky commentary and slapstick action.  ISU’s production had modern costumes (that’s the gentlemen’s component, left), and played the slapstick element to the hilt–goofy props, a Don Armando that was world-class, and a brilliant red herring that O figured out early on, but that fooled the rest of us.  The kids were completely into it–at one of the key moments, when in that Shakespeare sort of way a letter has accidentally found its way into the wrong hands, he couldn’t help saying (mostly under his breath) “BUSTED!”  I let that lapse in theatre etiquette go, since the rest of the audience was saying exactly the same thing.  Throw in some nice organic chocolates from the concession stand at intermission and the kids were completely hooked.


perfect games, perfect day

February 26, 2011 Comments Off on perfect games, perfect day

When the going gets weird, the weird get bowling.  We had just enough snow on the ground today to make a trip down to the big city risky in the VW, but not enough to make a trip to one of the sledding hills truly worthwhile.  The boy, however had some ideas.  Or, really, one idea.  Perfect Games.

Perfect Games has taken over from the flooded-out Happy Joe’s as the amusement parlor of choice among the middle school/fifth grade set.  It’s a giant warehouse of bowling alleys, laser tag, and arcade games, tailor-made to turn dollars of parents’ money into cents worth of plastic toys.  But today I relented, and I have to say it was a pretty awesome time.  Coulter offered to pay for a couple frames of bowling, and as you can see from the O’s reaction above, it went pretty well.

O, it has to be said, is something to see bowling.  She’s all arms and legs to begin with, and with two parents who can barely walk and chew gum at the same time, the result looks pretty much like a tumbleweed attached to, well, a bowling ball.  About half the time she’d wind up, start flailing down the alley, and then stop short.  I was worried she was going to break her wrist.  Coulter gave her some tips, and the next ball she rolled hit the right gutter so hard it bounced and ended up in the left gutter.  Two gutter balls in one roll.  Stellar.  But she also managed a handful of strikes, so go figure.  Her brother, on the other hand, was just getting mopey and frustrated when he bowled two strikes in a row, which improved his mood considerably.

The best part of Perfect Games is that they have a grown up section, also known as a bar.  Coulter and I shared a pint there while the kids did their arcade thing, which was quite nice after a hard afternoon of bowling.

To top the day off, we hit the last regular season hockey game, which was fantastic.  ISU played Northern Iowa, which is a bit of a mismatch in any sport, and tonight was no exception.  A goal in the first three minutes.  A short-handed goal six minutes in.  Two penalties on Northern for having too many men on the ice (when have you ever seen that in a hockey game even once?)  But only one good fight.  For the price, there probably isn’t any better entertainment in town on a Saturday night, or certainly any that you can take your two kids to.  It capped off a reasonably perfect day.  Great to have the uncle in town, and to have the excuse to kick back and do some fun stuff.

And hey, what could possibly be better than a hockey blowout?  Nacho cheese pretzels and root beer.  That’s what.

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