Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Z enrolled our family in the 'Kids Bowl Free' summer program....the idea being, that kids bowl free...just in case you couldn't follow. For an added $25, 4 adults can bowl "free" too. Of course it wasn't until after we signed up and paid on-line that we realized shoe rental wasn't included and with 4 kids this quickly turned into our most expensive free summer program to date.
He found a bowling alley in a neighboring town nearby. (And by 'nearby' I mean 25 minutes because we can't get anywhere in under 25 minutes and we're getting used to that fact.) Yesterday the kids and I headed out for some bowling bonding time on a rainy afternoon. Z drove and with the help of our handy GPS, we found it pretty easily. We pulled up to a tiny windowless building and sat there staring in confusion as to how a bowling alley fit in there. And if this neighboring town has a 'bad part', this bowling alley was in it. Just as I was about to voice my concern Z mentioned that the building reminded him of something out of the holocaust. (He makes occasional holocaust references thanks entirely to the obsession of his screwed up 8th grade Language Arts teacher, but that's another story. We're getting used to it by now.)
We nervously headed inside to find what is probably the cutest bowling alley ever. I think it had 10 lanes, one of which was being used by a group of 4 kids, another by a small family, and an elderly woman working behind the counter. There was even a 'sports bar' in the far corner which consisted of a tiny bar with about 3 stools, complete with a television. Along the far wall was a series of racks full of balls that were organized by color. Nice.
We approached the friendly looking Grandma behind the counter and in an effort to save 2 bucks I gave her my sweetest face and asked if C could just bowl in her socks. She shot me down. When I pointed out that her feet are so little, she magically produced a tiny pair of size 7 that fit C perfectly. (Sigh.) Then she said, "Let me see which lane is open." Confused, I turned to look behind me and it was very obvious to me that 8 of the 10 were 'open' but what do I know? She hooked us up on Lane 7 and we started to bowl. When the family next to us noticed C struggling with the weight of her ball, and the tantrums that would accompany our attempts to help her, the mom tipped me off that 'Grandma behind the counter' has a toddler ball. When I asked about it, 'Grandma' shot me down again and said she doesn't like to get that out. So much for the 'friendly' Grandma. I informed 'Grandma' that C's heavy ball is going to bang pretty hard when she throws it and she recommended that I help her bowl.....hmmm.....maybe if she were allowed to bowl in her socks, that would be an option, but I paid for shoes, damn it. Clearly, Grandma and I were about to butt heads.
We spent the next 3 hours bowling 2 games.....that's right, 3 hours to bowl 2 games. Mainly thanks to C's balls rolling a whopping point 9 miles an hour. (I didn't know a speed under one could even register.) Sometimes her ball would stop part way down and slowly roll back to her, causing her to squeel with delight that she got 'another turn.' Sometimes the ball would stop dead in it's tracks right in the middle of the lane and as it turns out, when I stepped out onto the greased lane to get it, I received more un-wanted one on one attention from Grandma. But occasionally her ball would actually make it to the pins and in one rare moment, she bowled herself a spare. And we loudly cheered in the dead quiet of the tiny bowling alley, causing the one man sitting at the 'sports bar' to turn and glare. No apology, dude, we paid for her shoes. (I can't seem to get past that.....)
But at the end of the day, the kids and I had a blast together and tons of memories were made, and as an added bonus, they got to see the inner workings of a small town bowling alley. In the 3 hours we spent there observing, we realized that Grandma was the Jack of all trades. She not only signed people in and forced their shoes on them, but she was also the cook, (microwaved fries, anyone?), the waitress, (fries were accompanied by a high five from Grandma, for a small fee, I'm sure), she was the DJ and kept the juke box hopping, and she was even the bar maid. (Her creepiest job by far.) Surprisingly, the lanes were automatic and we didn't see Grandma setting the pins back up or rolling our balls back to us. Unfortunately, the little blower to dry my bowling fingers didn't work.....maybe that was Grandma's job too.....um, never mind.