Mimi and I took the kids to WonderWorld Caverns, which you should immediately add to your Kitschy Roadside Attractions list for your roadtrip down I-35 down to Monterrey. (Stop and say hi to us, too, why dontcha.)
We bought tickets and then were told that our tour wouldn't begin for twenty minutes, so why don't we hang out in the gift shop?
The gift shop itself was anachronistic - a wall of Davy Crockett faux-coonskin caps, pop guns, polished rocks with tiny bags to fill, mechanical games like the paddle with four chickens facing inward, whose necks are connected to a dangling ball, such that when you swirl the paddle in the air, the chickens all start pecking erratically at the paddle. Not so much as Authentic 1950s kitsch as truly
authentic 1980s nostalgia for 1950s kitsch.
Why are all those raccoons desperately trying to scramble over that wall? They're trying to get away before you wear their butts.
Or this wooden nickel:
"Hold pill between lips until weight is attained." Thanks, asshole.
Or this paddle:
"Grip here firmly in case of frustration for the cute little deer with the bear behind." HAHA. The important thing is that someone is getting paddled.
Eventually our train arrived, and took us across the street, through a man-made waterfall (splashed, squealed), and into the zoo area, a free-range plot for peacocks and deer, mostly. The deer ate the food pellets out of our hands. A couple turkeys, llamas, and emus.
"I got licked!"
After the train-ride came the tour into the cave.
The cave descended in an S-shape, back and forth down a crevice. They gave us all the lurid details - originally the cave was used as a gambler's den, whiskey and cards and no women or religion. The wife called the cops, and the cops stormed the cave and joined the party. Then
the wife called the judge, who shut it down.
The next owner charged ten cents for you to explore, by yourself, holding a candle. "This room we're in now," the guide said, ten minutes into the tour, "would have taken you four to six hours to get to." Jesus christ. People obliged in order to hunt for gold and precious stones, and also to get fresh water from the aquifer which bubbles to the surface at the lowest part of the cave.
At one point they turned out the lights to demonstrate True Dark, like the olden folks would have experienced if they snuffed their candles out, accidentally, six hours below the light of the sun.
Hawaii was frightened in the cave, and to be honest I had a touch of the willies, as well. A couple times she said that she didn't want to go any further. She sounded more conversational than panicked, though, and so (gracefully, like a loving mom) I forced her to keep going. (That sounds crueler than it was - mostly I chatted with her about we'll tell Daddy about this short, scary part, and he'll be excited to hear about this next room so let's go check it out, and bravery is about feeling scared and still doing the things that are scary. The problem was that I discreetly asked the tour guide how we might exit the tour, and he basically said that the whole group would have to return to the top.) Hokey Pokey was serious in the cave, but not particularly scared.
After the darkest depths, you then get into an elevator, which takes you back up - and up, surprise! and up - until you're in a lookout tower which was not that fascinating.
Finally, on your way out, you stop here:
which makes your inner ear spin.
It's built on a 30 degree angle, and is chock full of visual cues that the offset angle is the true up-and-down, and so you crash against the far wall without understanding viscerally why you can't move freely. Except Pokey, who was quickly able to run around.
Finally: here's the pen where we keep the albino peacocks, although at this point I was weary of photographing dumb shlock. This concludes your tour of your WonderWorld Trip Through Time.
I'm not sure you needed a 3000 word photo essay of WonderWorld but now it's burned in your brain....Please come back and see us again!...
Mimi left on Thursday, and thus spake summer-vacation-athustra. Summer vacation begins when I have continuous hours in total isolation. All I want in life is an isolation chamber deep underground where I can freeze time and hide without being negligent on my endless responsibilities.Utter silence unto hallucinations, please.
We've got one hell of a fly problem. It comes and goes in cycles. At the peak, the window sill looks like this:
after I spend ten minutes killing flies that are desperate to get outside. Count them, there are 16 dead flies.
On the plus side, I'm a wizard with a fly-swatter now. We've tried hanging flypaper, setting out apple vinegar in jars with holes, neither of which work as well as our deft fly-swatter skills, which itself pales in comparison to the "they'll die naturally in two days" method of fly control. And then the cycle begins again.Like life itself.
Ace has started to walk. She's so cute: Scene: Jammies is explaining to his family what we'll be doing to the kitchen and front rooms.
Jammies: Wallpaper here, wood panelling there.
Jammies' sister: Wood panelling
? [barely concealed disgust, but the sibling variety, not actually offensive]
Me: Like wainscotting.
Sis: [visibly relaxes] OH. Jammies, wood panelling sounds totally different than wainscotting. It makes it sound like you're doing some weird ugly 70s thing.
Me: Keep that mental image of the weird ugly 70s thing. It's closer to that than wainscotting.
It will be panelling in the kind that makes people shudder and cringe, but when my vision is properly executed, you shall not shudder nor cringe. You'll smile and feel warm. Trust in Heebie.
Anyway, we're packing up the front half of the house. In the course of packing up, we got rid of this vanity:
which I bought in college. I failed to photograph it before we dropped it off at Goodwill, so I returned and pled my case. They said that customers aren't allowed in the inventory area, but they'd be happy to photograph it for me. Which is why the Goodwill employee is featured in the photo. He was very sweet about the whole thing.
I sort of miss the vanity. But we've got no place for it.Then this happened:
I went up into the attic to fetch a pail of kid clothes, and stepped off the edge of the plywood and plunged through the ceiling.
Fortunately the 2x4s are close enough together that I didn't fall through. It did scare the crap out of me, though.
Also I've got a monstrous bruise on my ass from landing on the 2x4. (That's not true; I don't bruise. It feels monstrous but looks like a bitty varicose vein. I feel cheated.)