Friday, January 27, 2012

The Best Parking Spot at the Mall

Sometimes you wonder if it wouldn't be easier to just stay home.

Last weekend we decided to take the kids to the movie. Now, taking a one year old and a three year old to the movies is no knee-jerk, spur of the moment decision. A lot of planning goes into successfully pulling it off. First, the movie has to be appropriate for the kids. This in itself eliminates more than 95% of all movies. (And the other 5% have their moments. Last spring we took the kids to see the Easter Bunny movie "Hop." Roni spent the next two months talking about pooping "jella beans" like the rabbit in the movie.)

Along with being appropriate, it has to be a movie that we think will actually hold the attention of the kids (and hopefully the adults) for two hours.

Of course, the diaper bag must be packed. This includes changes of clothes in case of possible accidents or poop-throughs. Also, snacks, because food can be a great distractor for fidgety fingers.

Another big help: inviting other adults. With Grammy and PopPop along, the adult to kid ratio was pushed to a more manageable 4 to 2.

The movie we chose to see was the re-release of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast." Of course, the reason for the re-release was the movie has been re-tooled to be shown in 3D. Some people were excited to see a talking candlestick in 3D (the flames come right at you!). We were not those people. We purposely sought out one of the few non-3D showings. Why? Because we are cheap. (3D movies cost more.) And, we couldn't picture Roni and Buzz keeping the glasses on for the whole show.

So, we packed up all our things (and the kids, too) and headed off to see the movie at the Provo Towne Centre. I still think it is preposterous and pretentious that the Provo mall calls itself the "Towne Centre." First of all, there is no "e" at the end of the word "town." (Unless you are a student of the Dan Quayle School of Spelling.) And, they spelled "Centre" wrong, too. (I'm surprised they haven't added a superfluous "e" to the end of "Provo.") I usually mockingly pronounce it as the "Provo Town-ee Cen-tray."

It was a stormy day, and the prospect of rushing the kids into the building in the rain was not enticing. Most of the mall parking is open air, but there is a small section of three or four rows of covered parking directly below the theater. (Or is that "theatre?") (Pronounced "thee-uh-tray.") So, I decided to take a chance getting a spot in the covered parking.

It was then that the sun shone (shined?) on us. (Figuratively, not literally.) As we approached, a car was backing out of THE BEST PARKING SPOT AT THE MALL! We didn't even have to wait at all. They backed out, pulled away, and we pulled right in. It was as if the heavens parted, a beam of sunshine shone (shined?) down on the parking spot, and a choir of angels sang, "Right there!"

It was right next to two empty parking spots reserved for the Police. (Side note: Do Sting, Andy Summers, or Stewart Copeland ever park in the Police parking spots? And if so, would they have any legal argument if they were ticketed?) As I pulled into it, I double and triple checked to make sure it was a legal parking spot. Not only was it legal, it was THE BEST PARKING SPOT AT THE MALL!

I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. We unloaded and went to the movie. Everyone enjoyed it. Roni was mesmerized. (I often tell Roni she is just like Belle: she's beautiful, she's smart, she likes books, and people think her dad is crazy.) Meanwhile, Buzz was entertained by the movie, the snacks, Grammy, PopPop, and the window at the back of the theater where the projector is. There were no accidents, poop-throughs, tears, or inappropriate noise. The movie was a success.

And then we went to leave. As we walked toward our van, a car entered the covered parking area. Seeing us (and our parking spot) they stopped in their tracks and put their blinker on. They wanted our parking spot. (Did I mention it was THE BEST PARKING SPOT AT THE MALL?)

Mind you, we hadn't even gotten to our van yet. I had opened the side doors with the remote. And the car waited with its blinker on. The kids were still saying their goodbyes to Grammy and PopPop, who were heading to their car three or four rows over. And the car waited with its blinker on. We loaded the diaper bag into the van. And the car waited with its blinker on. We started to get the kids into the van. And the car waited with its blinker on. On her way to her car seat in the back, Roni took the opportunity to swing between the two middle seats. And the car waited with its blinker on. We then attempted to secure two kids into their car seats. (The Wife compares this process to "wrangling a rabid dog into an apple crate.") (And that's on an easy day.) And the car waited with its blinker on. While one of us was attempting to secure the kids into their seats, the other was trying to find flung sippy cups and get some snacks ready for the kids. And the car waited with its blinker on. Then, the wife and I, exhausted from the kiddie wrangling, flopped ourselves into our own seats and put our seat belts on. And the car waited with its blinker on. (But, hey, at least they knew how to use their blinkers!)

The waiting car was blocking the entire entrance to the covered parking area, so if anyone else had tried to enter while they were waiting, they would have been unable to do so. (I should mention that yes, there were other parking spots available that would easily be classified as VERY GOOD PARKING SPOTS AT THE MALL. But, they weren't the BEST one.)

I thought about waiting in our parking spot until they gave up and moved on, but then another player entered the field. It was Grammy and PopPop in their vehicle. While we were wrangling our rabid dogs into their apple crates, Grammy and PopPop had managed to walk all the way to their car, loaded into it, and were trying to leave. We found out later that as they tried to back out, they were forced to go the direction they weren't planning on going because another car was waiting for THEIR parking spot, too.

So, they pulled around to our exit of the covered parking, except they couldn't leave because Waity McWaiterson was blocking the entrance/exit. Finally, I backed out of THE BEST PARKING SPOT AT THE MALL, (which wasn't quite feeling like the best parking spot anymore.) McWaiterson had left just enough room for me to back out in front of them. I wished that Grammy would have taken that opportunity to zoom into my vacated spot (she could have, because I had McWaiterson blocked), but Grammy a) didn't need the spot, and 2) is a very nice person, so instead she got over as far as she could so that I could drive past her, Waity McWaiterson could zoom into our parking spot, and the exit would be unblocked.

Looking back, I guess it was worth it to pack up the kids and get out of the house. We all enjoyed the movie. And, from now on every time I drive past THE BEST PARKING SPOT AT THE MALL, I can proudly say that I parked there once. Disney is going to re-release "Finding Nemo" in 3D later this year. Maybe we can find a nice 2D showing of it, and do this all over again. Hopefully I can find a good parking spot. (If not, maybe I'll just wait for it to open up.)

Now, please choose the best title for this story. Use only a Number 2 pencil, and fill in the circle completely or the computer may not recognize your answer:

O A. Waity McWaiterson Waits Away
O B. Rabid Dogs and Apple Crates
O C. The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 2
O D. Mesmerized at the Movies
O E. The Beste Parkinge Spotte at the Towne Centre

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