My goodness, you people were so talky today! I go away for six hours and I’m five pages behind on reading my friends’ entries!
That reminds me, I want some way to just go to the earliest entry since I last read the friends’ page and start reading from there. I don’t really want to go back and back and back to find it. Yep, spoiled.
We went to the zoo today with the Girl Scouts. I really wasn’t looking forward to this, because my left hip, knee, and ankle have been giving me hell for almost a week now—one of those arthritis things that set off a fibromyalgia flare for yet more fun. And to make things even better, when the left knee buckled on me last night, I twisted my right ankle and managed to get a carpet burn on the top of that foot. Lovely. But Sam immediately forced me (really!) to keep an ice pack on the ankle for so long I was in pain from the cold, and that seems to have mostly taken care of the right ankle.
There’s no way I could not go today. You have to have at least two leaders for a trip (plus more chaperones as determined by arcane formulas related to the Scout level of each child), and I’m one of the leaders. Last I’d heard, the second leader wasn’t going to be there. As it turns out, she was, but I’m sorta glad I didn’t know that she would be or I wouldn’t have forced myself out the door and our girls would have missed the trip. And all the girls’ permission slips showed me as the designated first aider for the trip, so me not being there would have required new slips. Which wouldn’t have been available, since most of the girls were there without parents, having ridden down in one leader and another parent’s vans. (We met everyone there, closer for us.)
So our girls and I packed our lunches and headed out the door. I don’t drive down I‑20 into town frequently. Today I learned that it’s all under construction. The sign that said “Road Work Next 21 Miles” freaked me out a bit, since I didn’t allow time for the equivalent of stop-n-go rush hour traffic. Despite one wrong turn from bad directions, though, we managed to get there maybe ten minutes late at the most (I wanted to be early).
So, we get there, and leader #1 is in a foul mood. Okay, well, fine. We’ll deal. Happily, we ended up with three leaders plus (eventually) three parents, and eleven girls (one of those a tagalong in a stroller, not a Scout). Our troop is much bigger than that, but many of the girls are out of town right now.
One mother who was going to meet us there with her two girls hasn’t arrived yet. Just as we got to the ticketing counter, she called. She misunderstood I‑85 to be I‑285 and she was driving around the perimeter hopelessly seeking the zoo, in tears because she was so lost. So we got her over to I‑20 and gave her directions from there (without the bad turn I was told to take). Leader #1 went ahead and got our tickets and we took the girls in. We’d barely been there any time at all (just past where the bongo would have been if he, the rhinos, or the zebras had been in their areas—they weren’t due to some kind of forklift placing downed trees in their fields) and leader #1 declares that it’s time for the girls to sit down and have a snack. Okay, puzzling to me—it’s just 10:30!—but hey, she’s #1. And she was starting to let go of her pissiness, so I definitely wanted to help that along.
While we were there #1’s phone rang. Lost mother and kids were awaiting her at the entrance, so she went back to give them their tickets. They all arrived and then we waited longer for the newly arrived kids to eat their snacks. The happy thing was that this delay got us fairly well separated from a huge, rowdy group of church daycare kids who had been bumping into us and generally mobbing everything and being obnoxious, screaming, out-of-control little beasties. I’d say they had about 80 kids and twelve adults who couldn’t keep the kids in line. Or maybe they thought that was in line—after all, nobody lost a limb (not while we were watching, anyway).
So we continued on. We didn’t see anything mating this time (last time the rhinos were mating). The girls thought it was very funny to see a tiger cub take a squat, though. They actually watched the cubs longer than anything else in the whole place, which made sense as there were two of them and they were playing just like the enormous kittens they are (3 1/2 months old).
We stopped to eat lunch at the tables in front of the McDonalds, near the pandas. And we were exposed to yet more kids running wild as their adult companions did nothing. One family (I assume—three adults, four kids) sat in the shade on the porch of the restaurant while their children exploded everywhere. Their four-year-old’s name was Omar. I know this because we heard his name screamed over and over and over again as he ran by and tormented other patrons, the birds, his siblings/cousins/whoever, threw trays that had been neatly stacked on trash cans all over the courtyard, etc. But not one of those adults ever actually got up and moved their lazy butts over to pick that child up and do anything—no, they just kept making even more noise than their brats.
While we were at the panda exhibit, a kid who looked to be about three informed his mother that he had to go RIGHT NOW. The mother told the teenage boy with them (big brother, I guess—looked to be about 17), to take the younger boy to the bathroom. We left the area shortly afterward and found the two boys on a side path with the teenager trying to convince the little boy to whip it out and just piss in the plants because it would be quicker. The little boy looked at him in shock and said, “That’s not the bathroom!” I couldn’t help it—I looked at the teenager and said, “No, that isn’t the bathroom, is it?” as the herd of Girl Scouts rounded the corner behind me. He blushed flame red and jerked little brother’s arm so hard the shoulder might be dislocated, towing him off to the nearest bathroom.
And then there was the woman who kept complaining that she doesn’t LIKE what they’ve done to the zoo because everything was MUCH closer together when they just had the cages and you could always see the animals and this is STUPID.
Finally, the girls all had to go to the bathroom again before we left, so we went back to the bathrooms near the entrance. (We had to stop at EVERY women’s room in the place that is open to the public—we just saw this one twice. I sometimes think kids need a plumbing tour of places.)
After we went into the bathroom with our girls, who were standing in line waiting for stalls, the place was invaded by a horde. Or it seemed like one, although there were really only about six of them, all in t‑shirts from the Boys & Girls Club of America. These girls proceeded to physically push our girls out of the way and try to get into the obviously occupied stalls. After trying every door, a couple of them started crawling along the floor, looking up under the doors at people. That was enough—I told them to STOP that right now, that it was extremely rude and that peeping toms can be arrested. They were 5–7 years old, I’d estimate—certainly old enough to know that’s way out of line. They looked shocked, as if nobody had ever told them to stop anything before. Leader #1 started in on telling them that there was a line and they needed to get in it. When one of the stall doors opened one just shoved one of our girls out of the way, #1 grabbed the little brat’s shirt and pulled her right back while our girl (who was doing the potty dance in a BIG way) went in. She told the girl again, “You WILL get in the line.” And stayed there to make sure that all of our girls actually got their turns.
I went outside and spotted more kids and adults in matching shirts. About 40 kids and a total of two adults. Period. If this is up to par for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, they suck and I’d never trust a child of mine to them. I went over and told them that they had a conduct problem in the ladies’ room. One of the women shoved her bulk off the bench where she was sitting and went off, yelling all the way that she was gonna whup some tails and yadda yadda yadda.
I’d be much happier with some of the animals running about loose than some people, but I guess the cages exist for the protection of the animals as much as anything else.
And sambear wonders why I don’t much like to leave the house if I can avoid it.
Our girls (other than leader #1’s) were really great. Well-behaved, no problems, pretty polite the whole time, very little squabbling. I was really proud of them. Especially in comparison to the other people (kids and adults) we saw there!
Yes, I’m in much more pain tonight. I know it’ll be far worse tomorrow. I have a fever now, but I expected that. Part of the whole carnival ride that is fibromyalgia.