Monday, September 24, 2007

Five Fun Family Things to Do on a Week Night

I had a tough day at work. A really tough day. It started out with five threatening emails from Germany, the senders of which apparently did not realize that there's a huge time difference between their country and the U.S. They didn't have a leg to stand on, but nobody tries to work things out in a decent manner anymore. They just jump straight to the threats.

It was actually an easily solved problem, but it set a nasty day tone for the day, apparently, since everyone I dealt with afterwards had something hateful or snide to say.

Frankly, by the end of the day, I felt a bit beat up. So, Hubby and I agreed we'd all do something fun tonight. And since I work from the home, I desperately needed to get out of the house.

The question was: What to do?

Recently, our favorite weekday past time has been swimming at a local outdoor pool. It's awesome - the pool is huge and we can all sort of float around aimlessly watching the blue sky and white clouds.

Since it's 96 degrees here, that appealed to us, but alas, the pool closed weeks ago. We wanted to swim at the indoor pool, but it was only open for lane swimmers and classes tonight.

As it turned out, pretty much everything was closed: The amusement park, the zoo, the museums. There are tons of ways to spend your evenings in the summer. But when summer ends, so, for some reason, does the fun.

I understand there's not a lot of demand for weekday family fun during the school year. Children need to go to bed early. There's homework. And of course, there's not as much daylight.

But sometimes, you need to have some a good time and forget your day. You need to break out of your routine. You need a mini-vacation, preferably away from your house.

In the past, we'd probably went for ice cream. But I'm on Weight Watchers now, so I thought it'd be best if we avoided food as the main attraction.

We brainstormed our options and here's what we came up with:
  1. Go to Gattiland, or Chuck E. Cheese, or any restaurant with a fun zone where you and the kids can grab pizza and a few laughs. This is what we did. I had a nap while Little Bit and Hubby knocked out a level on Star Wars Legos, then we all headed for the pizza buffet at Gattiland's. Afterwards, we spent $5 and had an hour's worth of fun trying the arcade equivalent of Dance, Dance Revolution, throwing balls, playing air hockey, trying skee-ball and riding an indoor Merry-Go-Round. Hint: If you watch the inside, you actually get more dizzy than if you look outside the Merry-Go-Round.
  2. Live near a city? Go for a horse-drawn carriage. Hubby checked - they run all the time in our downtown. Alternatively, you can visit a park and swing or bring your bikes and go for a ride. If you're in the country, go fishing. I loved fishing in the evenings when I was a kid and nothing erases the day like throwing a few lines after dinner.
  3. Head outside after dark with some hot chocolate and check out the stars. You don't need a telescope - in fact, my daughter hates our telescope. Binoculars are actually a much more kid-friendly way to view stars and work just as well, if not better, than a telescope. There's also the old-fashioned star-gazing, where you just point out constellations with your finger.
  4. Go to a movie. Why not? Some theaters even have discounts during the week.
  5. Go bowling. For some reason, bowling alleys are open weeknights. I know it's impossible to get a lane on league night, but often you can grab a lane right after work and bowl a few games before the league players even show up. For children, bowling alleys will usually put up lane bumpers, so the game's not quite so frustrating.

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