Tuesday, March 15, 2016

How to Kill an Hour at Skating Practice

With a five year-old boy, while his big sister practices figure skating at an ice rink.

Unplugged Ice Hockey Foosball (6:30-6:40): "Play" this weird, 1980's ice hockey foosball game between the "U.S." and "Canada" that looks like it came from your next door neighbor's basement rec room. It's unplugged, but even if it weren't, you don't need to spend the dollar required to activate the puck and lights. You can just do "battle" with the various players by violently slamming them up against one another and engaging their sticks in a manual face off while becoming increasingly impressed that you're not breaking the game.

Image result for hockey foosball game
Vending Machine Warfare (6:40-6:50): Once you get bored of unplugged ice hockey foosball, acquiesce to demands for snacks from the nearby vending machine, rejecting simultaneous requests for hockey tape and pucks, which no one needs to buy from a vending machine, least of all a five year old boy who barely knows how to skate. By process of elimination, refuse to buy Twizzlers, Sweet Tarts, Twix Bars, and Doritos. Settle instead on the lesser of three dozen evils: "Spicy lava" Kasava popped corn chips. Express dire warnings of spice level that go unheeded.

Water Fountain Spice-Remediation (6:50-7:00): Enjoy watching boy's stoic attempts to ignore spiciness and his refusal to give you the satisfaction of having been right. Follow with numerous trips to the water fountain interspersed with the dramatic licking of his coat sleeve to mitigate the "lava" factor.

Connect Four Travel Edition (7:00-7:10): Bust out your secret weapon, the travel edition of Connect Four encased in a gallon Ziploc. Play five rounds in as many minutes and lose the tiny pieces all over the rink as they scatter between the cracks in the wooden bench that's doubling as your playing surface. Collect the pieces and spend the last half of this activity sorting them by color and inserting them into their little hollow storage columns on the side of the plastic board.

Bathroom (7:10-7:20): By now the water fountain spice remediation from 6:50 has reached the bladder, but I know what you're thinking: How can it take ten minutes to use a bathroom? Amateur! Have you never seen a soap dispenser and a a hand drier? These two items are the source of endless (i.e. 8 minutes) of amusement, with the collateral benefit of reinforcing good bathroom hygiene.

Bleachers and Fence Misbehavior (7:20-7:30): Now you're running out of things to do, but don't worry, you've still got one ace left in the hole: Running up and down the bleachers and attempting to climb over the fence at the top. Not you, by the way. Him. Watch other parents stare in bemusement and mild disapproval as you attempt to corral your child into safe and acceptable behavior in the public spectator areas of the skating rink.

See? Before you know it, the hour is over! You're welcome.

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