Sunday, August 28, 2011

It's Not Fair!

No siree. It's not fair.

Well maybe it is. A little bit. It's the county fair anyway.

Our little armpit, as we lovingly call our town of 3,000, is the county seat, so we get to host the fair. Yahoo!  It's a time for rodeos, county fair queens and princesses, prize livestock on display, 4-H'ers running around frantically, and a mammoth parade. (It's not really huge, it's just called the Mammoth Parade because it's the second largest parade in our county, second only to the one on state holiday, Pioneer Day.)

The kids in our county look forward to the fair every year for one reason only--The Carnival. It's a big deal. Weston spent Friday, from 3:00-10:00 P.M., hanging out with friends at the carnival, watching while they went on ride after ride. He didn't get to participate in the whirling fun that day because bio-dad bought him an all-day pass for Saturday. [You know what's really not fair? When your dad graciously buys you an all day pass for the carnival on Saturday, but all your friends are going on Friday. Totally not fair. Believe me, I know because I heard about it over, and over, and over again.] But never fear, Weston got his share of nauseating fun from noon til 10:00 P.M. on Saturday. Whew. All is once again right with the world.

If it seems like I am mocking the carnival, it's because I am. Even when I was a kid in heaven Iowa, I hated carnivals. For one, I am the Dramamine poster child. I once threw up because I saw someone being spun in a torture chamber on TV.  For two, I sneeze at pictures of cigarettes. Imagine how it is to walk on carnival grounds and have to beat your way through the fog. For three, I once spent over $20 trying to win a stuffed animal before I finally realized, "Hey, this guy is tricking me! He's not ever going to let me win!"  Who me? Naive?  And finally, they always pick the hottest days of the year to have the carnival, so you get to inhale the fine aroma of Eau de Trash: a scintillating combination of sweat, alcohol, smoke and barbecued pig with a hint of vomit.

There was a bright spot to the fair this year. Drum roll....I WON SOME BLUE RIBBONS! BLUE RIBBONS THAT PAY $3 EACH! Oh yeah.

This is a photo of some flowers that daughter Kay sent for my B-Day

My friend's cats

 Soccer team that includes granddaughter Hoolie and my pal Ekanela's daughter, The Divine Miss Ya Ya
[Don't you hate when your blue ribbons cover up half of your work? Grrr...]

Daughter Em won some prizes too!

The Mischievous Chunk

Wanna win a prize? Take a picture of Chunk. He got a blue ribbon last year too.

This one also won a blue ribbon but my photo of her photo with the ribbon didn't do it justice, so you get the original right here. This was taken by Em at a Boy Scout meeting. Someone left a chair sitting there and the contrast was too beautiful to ignore.

Weston also won some prizes. He was so excited, not because he got some ribbons, but because those ribbons involve cold hard cash. He's a miser, that one.

This is his papier mache electric eel that got a second place red ribbon. I purposely left out the shot of the eel's frighteningly sharp toothpick teeth. This is a family site. The red eyes are spooky enough.

This is the emergency survival bracelet that Weston made.

Weston's art work titled, "Three Suns"

This was the first year that I've ever submitted anything to the fair. I was inspired by one of my students who raked in over $20 a couple of years ago. That was before they put a limit of three-only submissions per person. The most you can get now is $9, but hey! That $9 can buy a whole lot of free stuff at the grocery store after coupons!

So, back to my title. 

I was so excited when I went to the exhibition building after the judging to see if I won anything. I was on one side of the room and I heard Weston yell from the other side of the room, "Mom! You got three blue ribbons!"  My heart puffed up with pride as I thought to myself. "Your photography rocks! All three submissions got first place!"  I was even prouder when I saw that daughter Em and son Weston got prizes for all three of their submissions too. After I got over the initial excitement, I started looking around at all the other submissions. And that's when I noticed it.

Everyone who submits something gets either first or second place. 

I was not special. 

I felt like the five-year old at a T-ball tournament where they don't keep score and everyone goes home with a trophy. (My children however are very special because their blue and red ribbons beat everyone else's blue and red ribbons hands down. So there.) 

But hey, nine bucks, right?  That's what I say.

You know what else is not fair? When you're standing in the middle of two rows of prize-winning quilts, admiring the beauty, and a huge gust of wind rips through the building (it's a fair---it's like being in a huge garage with semi-truck sized doors at either end) knocking over the rows of quilts so that I am left standing exposed in the middle so the fair ladies can look over at me. 

And point. 

And say, "There's the woman who knocked over all those heavy handmade heirloom quilts that we painstakingly attached to those rods." While I meekly say, "It was the wind."  Yeah. Not fair.

So last night, Computer Geek and I are making some delicious vegan chocolate chip peanut butter cookies at 10:45 at night (because when you get the craving, you get the craving if you know what I mean) when we hear shots being fired outside. We looked at each other and I swear he was about ready to yell, "Duck and cover!" but decided instead to go look outside. 

It was fireworks, signaling the end of the week-long fair. While the cookies were baking we stepped outside to watch the spectacular show, with a stunning backdrop of cloud-to-cloud lightning. It was hard at times to distinguish between the natural and the man-made.  Daughter Em captured a beautiful shot from her house.

 I'm sure it will be a blue-ribbon winner next year. Mothers just know...


  1. That was so funny...a terrific read. you have such a keen sense of humour, Randi. I was already hooked way before the first laugh out loud you get to inhale the fine aroma of Eau de Trash: a scintillating combination of sweat, alcohol, smoke and barbecued pig with a hint of vomit.

    Great photographs...and titles...couldn't quite get the surname:)

  2. Ah, the fair; the Osceola County Fair, the Arlington County Fair. Many memories. I don't do rides either. Been sick one too many times.

    Congratulations on all ribbbons (and cash).

  3. Congrats on the ribbons!
    Last year, I got very very sick on the Heart Flip that G convinced me to ride. This year, I almost got sick watching her and her friend ride. THEN I got to ride the teacups with S, who wasn't tall enough to ride with the older girls and "it's not fair!" I made sure to only look at her and not the moving scenery, and to choose the teacup with the "broken" spinner wheel. I barely made it!

  4. I got sick on the teacup ride at Disneyland. Wheeeeeeee.

  5. Dont spend all you $9 at once. Good job

  6. I miss going to the fair. I haven't been to one in years.

    Auntie M - I get sick on the teacup ride too!;-)

  7. Ken: You are too kind! Thank you for the encouraging words. Carnivals always bring out the best in me. :)

    Auntie M: Thank you! You shall have to share some of your fairest memories with us. :)

    Jill: You are one brave mama! Question for you--do you think that having children has increased the nausea factor? I have always gotten sick, but some of my friends claim that they never got sick on rides until after they had children.

    kisatrtle: I know! I'll have to spread it among several trips to Walmart so I can feel richer longer. :)

    Sylvia: I miss going to the fair too---as often as I can. Bah ha ha! :) Thanks for stopping by! [Those who love to write: click on Sylvia's name to check out her site and get some valuable writing tips!]

  8. Randi - it could be. I rode the rides as a kid no problem. When we went to Cosmos Mystery Area (throws your balance and visual perceptions off) 13 years ago, I had fun but Mom got sick. This time Mom skipped it, my kids had fun, but I felt sick!

  9. Jill: Very interesting. I've always wanted to go to the Cosmos Mystery area but maybe I am better off having skipped it. My son loves to play a video game called Minecraft (i.e. advanced Lego building) but when he tries to show me what he's doing, I get dizzy and have to tell him that I can't watch until he reaches his virtual destination. While he's in motion, traveling from one site to another, I get sick. Strange.


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