Wednesday, September 29, 2004

The fun just keeps on comin'

It's Wednesday and I'm finally getting around to writing about what I did with the kids on Sunday. Should I have written about it Sunday night? Yes, of course. But I was wiped out from trudging around an apple-less apple orchard.

Okay, maybe it wasn't completely without apples--we did get 17 pounds worth, as my weak arms and wallet can attest.

But I'm used to the orchard we've gone to for years. The orchard that gives you a hayride to the trees, which are loaded with apples that everyone can reach. You get back on the haywagon, pay and leave. It's virtually stressless.

This year, I decided the usual place was too "usual." Let's live on the edge, kids, and drive an hour to a place we've never been before. It didn't have a petting zoo or live music like some of the others that were listed in the paper, but it was set in the countryside, so we would kill "Football Sunday" time getting there.

But first, we had to get a new picture taken. Because mom felt like she looked like trailer park trash in the first photo that went up on the site. (Why the old picture is STILL on the site is beyond me. Mike, get ready to rumble!) Then, we stopped to get money, then stopped to get gas. At this point, it was 2 in the afternoon and Ryan announced, "My belly's grumbly." So--FINE--let's get lunch. God knows it's dangerous to be hungry in an apple orchard--you might pass out from lack of sustenance.

We ate at a place that was actually great--good food served on an outdoor patio on a beautiful day . Other than the tarantula-sized spider that had to be taken out with a stun gun, it was perfect. We killed an hour there.

We got in the car and I remembered the newspaper advised to call ahead to to the orchards to confirm when they're open and that they have apples. I call the orchard, and get a recording. It runs through a list of 26 different types of apples that it has--just ripe for the pickin'--and then states place will be closing at 4:30. We were about 45 minutes away. It was 3:15 at that point (it takes a long time to listen to 26 different apple names), so that meant we'd have about a half-hour to pick apples. Who says my outings are poorly planned? But, in my defense, we should have been able to get plenty of apples in half an hour. THERE WERE 26 TYPES LISTED!! And the recording didn't end with a speed talker advising me that, "All 26 varieties are subject to availability, zero financing available, not applicable by law," or something. But it SHOULD have said, "Just how badly do you really want these apples?"

Whatever, we get there, and join the other unpaid migrant suburbanites who were wandering aimlessly in the orchard, desperate to contrive a day in the country for our kids. One romantic, childless couple joined us in the Jonagold section, where there were about 10 pieces of fruit left on the very tops of the trees. The guy, camera around his neck, nearly strangled himself climbing the tree to procure the elusive treat for his love. This, despite the "NO TREE CLIMBING" sign bobbing in his face. Of course, my kids see this and tell ME to start climbing the trees. I'm like, "He's just showing off so she'll fall in love with him. You guys are stuck with me. I have no reason to engage in derring-do. So stop crabbin' and keep walkin'." See, that's REAL love.

In the end, we managed to find a few rows of "I don't know what kind these are" apples. They aren't MacIntosh, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious or Granny Smith, otherwise known as "regular" apples. These had names like "Bruce," I think. I was stuck carrying mine and Ryan's bags, plus my purse, which, by mom-law, weighs in at about 78 pounds. By the time we got back to the car, it was 5:30, and past my coffee time. My arms were tired, my brain was cranky. And all that was nearby was a lousy Dunkin' Donuts. And by that I mean, a Dunkin' Donuts. I got a coffee, they each got a donut. The orchard got its trees cleared and we paid for the privilege.

Next year, I want a petting zoo and live music for my trouble. And maybe some hard cider....