It was a cold, rainy Sunday. My wife was wrapping up a weekend work marathon. My kids were driving me a bit crazy. I got online desperate to find something, anything, I could take my kids to that day, just so we could get out of the house.
Lucky for me there was a Health and Fitness Expo at the State Fairgrounds. It was put on by a local TV station (WTHR 13) and if we downloaded the tickets from their website (and filled out a questionnaire that wanted every detail of our personal lives) we could get free tickets. I filled out the form, looked through the schedule and noticed we’d missed Andrew Luck the day before, but Gabby Douglas, the Olympic gymnast was the special guest that day. Pretty cool. I asked First Born if she wanted to go see Gabby Douglas, she replied, “Is that the Native American Olympic gymnast?” I said, she’s the African American Olympic gymnast, close enough.
First Born was excited. All I have to do when I want my kids to get excited about going somewhere is get her on my side first. She’s a great recruiter and an excellent motivator, when she wants to do something, it’s great to have her on your side. The flip side of that is, it’s almost impossible to get my kids to do something if she’s against me.
So, with the blessing of First Born, we made it to the Expo, without incident. After entering, we took our entrance ticket to a bank of computers to punch in our number to see if we won the big raffle, a ride in the news helicopter. After, once again, answering question after question about my personal life, news reading habits, and taking a safety quiz, I punched in our ticket number only to find out we didn’t win the helicopter ride. It was one of those prizes I was secretly hoping we wouldn’t win. I wasn’t sure how I was going to tell my wife, that while she was at work, I put all three of our kids on a helicopter without her knowledge. Like I said, luckily we lost.
We tossed our losing ticket aside and headed to the kid zone. There was plenty of cool stuff to do, including a bounce house, an indoor batting cage, and a couple of booths handing out candy.
We still had approximately an hour before Gabby Douglas was going to take the stage and give her talk, so we walked around the rest of the Expo. There was some neat stuff in the grown up part of the Expo too. There were cooking demos, kids teaching people how to play lacrosse, First Born even did a mock weather report reading off a teleprompter in front of a green screen. At one booth, they had a Plinko (think The Price is Right) board set up and First Born won the grand prize! It was a glass coffee mug with a glass spoon. Such a practical gift for an eight-year-old. She was super excited, I overheard her tell her siblings, the mug had, “an estimated value of approximately $100.”
Of course, there were more booths giving out more candy. The irony of the amount of candy being handed out at the health fair was not lost on me.
As Gabby Douglas was about to take the stage to speak, my kids found the obstacle course area. There were two separate courses that involved jumping through hoops, throwing footballs, walking balance beams, and several other cool obstacles. The only downside was we basically missed the entire interview with the Olympian. I guess, I could look at it like my kids were testing their own Olympic instead.
Our our way to the exit, we passed one more booth with a large bowl full of brightly wrapped items sitting out on the table. I was ready to leave and about 20 feet ahead of my kids, trying to get them out the door. As I turned around to tell them to catch up with me, my kids were just about to grab fistfuls of the multicolored mystery items, that’s when I noticed what was in the bowl, “Kids!” I shouted, “That’s not candy, those are condoms!”
Just another day in the life of this stay-at-home dad.