The Tovsky Tribe

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

King Pin

We've spent this summer living in Margate. It has been as wonderful as living at the beach sounds. Despite the location, I don't actually put my feet in the sand daily because it is no easy schlep with three kids, four blocks, and lots of crap. And, I am often manning this chaos alone. The downside to the situation is that Todd is only with us 3 or 4 days a week. We go about our busy week days and manage without him, but of course I miss him. The boys miss him. I miss my teammate in this game of life, I miss my best friend for daily chats, I miss my husband. Then, with the way time passes, we are together again for three or four days!

Last week I made a deal with Todd. If he came down the shore on Wednesday night so that we could hang out I would take all three boys out of the house most of the day on Thursday so he could work. This was a fair exchange and he agreed.

As promised he came Wednesday, the babysitter came over, and we enjoyed a summer rare mid-week date night.

On Thursday it was rainy and overcast. There was not much to do outside and all summer long we have slowly tackled a lot of the indoor activity places nearby this beach town. My one idea, Bounce U, backfired when I learned they did not offer Thursday open bounce! So, I asked the boys what they wanted to do. As if they had been thinking about it for days, and as if I often give them free range of every choice in the universe, they looked at me doe-eyed and said "we want to go to the bowling alley!"

We took them bowling once, they were 22 months old. For Emma's fifth birthday they had a bowling party. So we went and laughed our way through ten frames. They could barely lift the balls and even though there were bumpers in the gutters the ball kept getting lost on its way to the pins. Mid-way through the alley manager offered us a ramp! This helped. They would push the ball down the ramp and it would go straight down the alley! The boys laughed every time they gave the ball a push down the sliding board. At game's end we made the mental note that bowling was not for two year olds.

So, when they asked to go to the "bowling alley" I wondered what 14 months had done for their game. Doubtful, but in need of an activity we headed to King Pin Lanes.

For beach bums who rarely want to wear shoes at all they were pretty excited about the bowling shoes they had to wear. And, they were thrilled that the 6 pound ball was a bright orange color that, though it was not tested, may have glowed in the dark. They did some sort of excited dance that made them look like bouncing robots when they saw the computerized screen and they started pushing all of the buttons before I even had Turner and his stroller down the one step to our lane. I let them each type in their own name, trying to use the opportunity to teach them letters. After that I spent the rest of the time caught in Roy Munson type humor trying to referee whose turn it was, trying to prevent them from sticking their little fingers into the ball return, and stopping them from rolling their balls at the same time, down the same alley.
They did knock some pins down, occasionally. We weren't keeping score but since it is all computerized I think I noticed the high score lingering around the mid-thirties. Of course, the score would have been higher had it not been for the innumerable foot fouls which scores you a zero for that frame. Yea, we had a lot of them. And, though no points were accumulated nor deducted, the timing of our game was directly related to the amount of time it took for the ball to get down the alley after being pushed from a straddled position. I am not sure how they did it but they rolled the ball so slowly that other lanes were finishing their games before our balls reached the pins. I mean really slow. Like, watching snails cross the street. Sometimes, actually many times, they had such little spin on the ball that it would stop, just STOP, dead center of the lane. And that was it. Nothing, no movement at all. The technician would have to come to our rescue very often and after a while he just hung around our lane, waiting.

We bowled eight frames in no apparent order and even though I was considered a player in this incomplete game my turns were usually far and few between and used for the sole purpose of speeding things along. At the fourth frame we paused our playing for a potty and snack break. French fries and lemonade had the boys sitting in their seats for nearly 20 minutes, which may be their personal bests. After the eighth frame, when we called it quits, we inserted some dollars into the dancing video game. After all, no trip to the bowling alley is complete with out shaking your booty to an electronica version of "Centerfold!" Chase and Ryder did not get the concept of following the commanded steps, but they did jump around pretending to follow the lights thrilled that their day ended with a dance off!

Overall it was a moderately successful outing, though I am not yet ready to invest in a monogrammed fluorescent orange ball just yet.

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