Monday, September 7, 2009

"Chainsaw fight!"

We had such a great weekend. Not to brag or anything, but it was fantastic. We roadtripped down to Palmer to the state fair with Shane's family. The ride down was great and fairly uneventful. We were in the motor home, so I got to learn how to play cribbage on the way down. It's actually a pretty fun game. Out of five matches, after I picked up the game, I whooped Shane twice. Once I beat him before he'd even made the turn, which made me feel pretty good.
We also got to see Denali on the way down. Not only was the mountain out in all of its glory, it was a gorgeous day. We're getting a bit of an Indian summer here, so the weather has been warm and the skies have been clear while the trees turn golden and orange. Which they do in about two days around here. So naturally I got plenty of pictures of the mountain. This is the first time since moving up here that I've really been able to see it like that. And who doesn't want to say they've seen the highest peak in North America?
When we got to Palmer that night, we were all quite tired. I don't know what it is about sitting all day that takes it out of you, but it really does. And since we'd had ready access to food all day, I wasn't particularly hungry. (Not that I ate too much, but at that point I was just done eating. Saving up for the fair.) After Shane and Steve ate (I still cannot believe how much they ate, and Shane had been eating pretty much all day) we got out the motorcycles and cruised around looking for a video store. We finally had to stop at Safeway to look in the phone book. There was a cork board right next to the pay phone with a bunch of ads and stuff, and one was for black and white cocker spaniel puppies. Shane and I stared at those pictures for so long, joking about going to get one. We both kind of wished to, but it just wasn't going to happen. So we finally found a video store and everyone agreed on a movie. "Duplicity".
When we took it back to the motor home we made up the beds. Shane and I grabbed the one Spencer had claimed for him and Hannah (it's about eight inches wider) because it had better sight of the TV. Spencer and Hannah had driven all the way to Anchorage to see the Lion King, so when they got back we told them we'd give them the big bed the next night.
After the movie turned off, the guys each took about three seconds to fall asleep. (Give or take a few.) I took only slightly longer, but poor Hannah couldn't sleep because of Shane's snoring. The next morning she told me, "I don't know how you can sleep through that!" She ended up going back to the motor home in the middle of the day to take a nap.
But we got up pretty early and, considering that there were six people, we didn't take too long to get to the fair. Sally, Steve, Shane and I rode the motorcycles while Spencer and Hannah walked. (They could have taken her car, but decided they'd rather walk.) The first order of business was to get coffee and tea for those who wished it. I was confused by the "spiced chai" they had at the coffee stand (isn't that the point of chai? to be spicy?) but it was really good. Several times during the day I said that I wanted to get more, but there was so much other good fair food that I never did. I did try rhubarb lemonade, though, at the Alaska Grown stand. That was quite delicious. Spencer said he wanted a 10,000 calorie day and just might have succeeded. (He's a skinny 21-year-old, don't worry. Eating like that won't kill him yet.) I don't think I was ever really not full all day, but it was so good! And not all of it was bad. I had two veggie gyros, not deep-fried.
We only went on a few rides, but they were fun. Except the Gravitron. Four of us went on that (Shane, Spencer, Tony, and me) and when we got off we all felt dizzy and nauseous. Shane and I came to the same conclusion: not as fun as it had been when we were younger.
We spent most of the day just walking around. The guys went to play mini golf so we girls went to go look at the livestock. Before we left Hannah said, "Whoever wins between Spencer and Shane gets the big bed." Shane took the bet, even though Spencer golfs all the time, because what did he have to lose? Poor Hannah thought she was betting on a sure thing and it turns out Shane kicked Spencer's butt. It was hilarious. And of course, Shane rubbed it in that night. "Hey Spencer, how does that small bed feel again? What? You don't get to stretch out like this?"
The livestock was neat. There was a pregnant cow, who was absolutely enormous and looked incredibly uncomfortable lying there with her stomach moving as the calf did. We all made some sort of comment to her, about how she had our respect. I mean, even if/when I have a kid someday, it's not going to come out with hooves and it won't be as proportionately as large as a calf is.
There was also a 950 pound pig who had given birth to ten piglets during the fair. They were so cute! I love watching litters of things, the way they all sleep tangled up and when they wake up to eat they stomp all over each other. So funny.
We went to a woodsman show, which was corny but entertaining. The jokes were scripted, but the skills were real and that was the fun part. That and when they wanted to settle a supposed argument about one guy stealing another's girlfriend the announcer said, "Oh we'll have to settle this the good old-fashioned way." The "wronged" guy said, "All right. Chainsaw fight!" The idea of that was thoroughly amusing. When they did the climb up the two posts, one of the guys got a 2/3 lead, and the other guy still won. Some guy in front of us said, "Holy crap, he's like a spider monkey!"
Finally, in the evening, we went to the Sluice Box (the beer tent) to see Hobo Jim playing. He's the Alaska State Bard, and he's incredible to watch. Really funny and fun. I love seeing him perform.
The perfect ending to the perfect day, however, was our romantic ferris wheel ride. I dragged Shane (with much protesting) away from Hobo Jim to go get on the ferris wheel before the fair closed. We ran to the bathrooms first, and while we were in there Shane watched some four-year-old kid pull the fire alarm. (His dad had been washing his hands and saying, "Don't you do that. Don't you touch that. Dammit!") Great start to our romantic ride, right? It gets better. We waited in line for two full rides, and finally got on. Now, I'm terrified of ferris wheels simply because they don't feel that stable to me. So Shane was making fun of me for this, a lot. And rocking the car, and just generally being a pain in the butt so I was wondering why I had ever thought it would be a good idea. But I wanted a picture of the fair all lit up at night, and I got it. Beautiful. And the moon was up, making it even prettier.
The real fun was when we were about to get off. Somebody threw up, and then threw up on the operator when he was getting off. So the operator ran off to the bathroom and the guy who replaced him obviously had no clue what to do. So we went around, and stopped, and went around some more, and waited more.... It took about half an hour to get off the ride. And we were freezing! Now matter how pretty the day is, it's still autumn in Alaska and the temperature was probably only in the forties. So it was so cold, and Shane's parents were waiting for us (not only did they have my helmet for the motorcycle, but Shane only has a permit so he has to be within a certain distance of a licensed motorcycle driver), and we really just wanted to get off. We were laughing so hard at our horrible luck, because it was so awful.
On the ride home today, there was one moment that did seem like the perfect ending to the weekend that I'd been looking for. I was tired on the ride, but not sleepy, so I laid down in the back seat with my head on Shane's thigh. We had good music playing, and I could feel the sunshine on my face, and Shane was running his fingers through my hair, and it just felt like everything was right. It was a great weekend.

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