COTA trip

Bus fare has risen to $2 a trip. Am I showing my age when I complain that it used to be 50 cents? The kids and I decided to take the COTA bus downtown to visit Columbus Commons last Friday. I had one more day of vacation left so I wanted to do something different. I’ve always wondered what their Fun Fridays were like (I had read that they had inflatables and carousel rides).  

We walked (without much complaining for once!) up to the bus stop a few blocks away and waited for the No. 5. We timed it pretty good with only a 10 minute wait in the 90 degree heat. The kids said hi to the driver and deposited their cash. They chose where they always have chosen – the back of the bus. While we rode, we guessed the years on the pennies in my purse and created different faces for each other on some crazy app Maria had on her phone. 

The kids pulled the cord to signal our stop on Town and High. We hurried across the street to the Commons only to find scores of young kids waiting in line for the inflatables. I sighed on behalf of Ri and Mario but they were good sports. We walked over to the carousel since it didn’t have a long line. Ri and Mario chose their horses and asked me to stand with them (that was unexpected). After the carousel, we walked over to the police and fire stations. The kids shook the two policemens’ hands and walked towards the fire trailer. The one policeman stopped me and asked if Mario was my kid. I said yes. He shook his head and laughed. 

“That kid is gonna be famous some day; mark my words. He came towards me and I stepped back like whoa, he’s strong and good-lookin’ as heck!”  

I chuckled and told him to keep his voice down – Mario doesn’t need a bigger head…. I then winked and told him Mario’s got good genes….

The fireman gave us a demonstration on fire safety and then had us crawl through a small smokey room. Ri and Mario had done it at school, and were strangely excited. We left the trailer and visited the football station where you throw a football through the hole in the placard. Mario impressed the young volunteer manning the station and threw it in the hole. Meanwhile, Ri helped a little girl hit a baseball. Her mom commented on how sweet Ri was. All sorts of compliments about the kids that morning!

We hit up Subway for Mario and went to Zoup for Ri. We had to head back to Subway to get Mario a second sandwich and Ri a cookie. We sat there awhile and people watched. 

After lunch, the kids decided the lines at the Commons were too long and they would rather head home and clean with me. Yea, right. They just wanted to get back to the AC. I didn’t mind though – this 90 degree weather is nasty. 

On our bus ride home, we chatted it up with a tall African American kid. He talked about visiting Senegal where some of his family lives. He described how hot it was, and the huge snakes he saw there. Mario was enthralled while Ri asked question after question. 

We pulled up to our stop and descended back into the heat. The kids forgot we’d have to walk back from the bus stop. Mario got a piggy back ride while Ri hoofed it out with me. We chilled the rest of the afternoon, cleaned some (very little) and played some, and I enjoyed one last day of vacation with my munchos before it was back to work. 

Pot-bellied pigs and marshmallows

Maria and I traveled downtown on Sunday afternoon.  There were actually people and cars all over the place!  What a promising sight to behold!  The Columbus Commons is a new development in the heart of downtown.  It is a large grassy area with a carousel.  Yoga classes are held there, kickball games, music fests.  On Sunday, they had a holiday festival for kids.  I had wanted to take Maria and Mario to it on Saturday afternoon but it rained/snowed all afternoon (the kids were so excited to see tiny snowflakes!). 

We took Maria’s friend Anna since Mario spent the day with dad at “Big Mario’s” house in Dover, Ohio engaging in “manly” activities like wrestling, play fighting and hunting deer. They chatted the whole way downtown about games on their moms’ I phones and how they wanted their own for Christmas (keep dreamin’ sista!).  When we arrived, the place was booming with people.  It was an awesome sight compared to the emptiness the downtown usually contains.  The first stop was the petting zoo.  For a mere $5.00, the kids could feed baby bottles of milk to the goats, llamas and pot-bellied pigs!  Yes, pot-bellied pigs – my absolute favorite animal on Earth!  I could have sat in that pen all day holding those little munchball swine.  Maria was even more excited for me.  “Mom! Mom! They have your pigs!”  We must have spent 45 minutes in that giant pen, feeding the pigs and goats and petting the llamas and camel.  They loved watching the pigs guzzle the milk and hugging on the llama. 


Next, we moved onto s’mores.  They had a giant fire pit in the middle of the Commons for people to get warm and make s’mores.  They provided each kid with a stick, two graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows (what about the adults?!).  Maria likes her marshmallows barely melted (I think she actually simply has no patience to let them cook!). and Anna likes her marshmallows burnt to the crisp (the way I like them, too).  We warmed ourselves up (I even scored a tiny bite of a s’more from Ri) and hit the carousel.  Maria rode the elephant.  Two years ago she would have waved at me every time she passed me, but this year, she chatted with Anna nearly the entire time never even taking a glance at me!  However, towards the end, I did see her glance over at me to see if I was still around so I secretly know she still needs her mama! 

After the carousel, we hit the bouncey house.  This bouncey house was brutal – they allowed 7 kids in at one time.  Luckily, Maria and Anna were the oldest so they did not get trampled.  They even were sweet enough to watch out for the little tykes in the bouncey with them (let’s see 6  year old boys do that!).  After the bouncey house, we moved onto the train ride.  By this time, my hands felt like ice.  I had thin gloves on and any more my hands turn purple if out in the cold for longer than 15 minutes.  Fortunately, Maria lost her ride ticket after the train ride so I was able to convince the two of them to head to Target with me for icees (no, not hot cocoa because that makes too much sense!) and pretzels.  The girls read Teen magazine while I found cookbooks for my girlfriends.  That night I dreamt of m little pot-bellied friends with the hopes that Santa may bring me one for Christmas (hint, hint, Jon!).