Overpriced Father-Daughter Bonding or “We Built This City (Heart Pool)”

Lynnette was out of the house for most of Saturday, leaving Madison and I alone to take care of some laundry and also to pick up some dog food. I labored through the first of the chores while Madison dutifully watched Police Academy with me. She was tired so she didn’t say anything – except when Hightower threw someone. “Whoa,” she said. Eventually she watched three episodes of Ninjago (a show she watched for the first time in our hotel room in California) and was enthralled by the kids’ cover versions of popular music as featured in the Kids Bop commercial. “We’re not getting that!” I said as her eyes were glued to the screen. “I know!” she answered back.

The playground gets a huge score upgrade because of the swings.

The playground gets a huge score upgrade because of the swings.

I guess this rock wall was low enough to conquer.

I guess this rock wall was low enough to conquer.

We added to the Playground Tour 2013 by returning to the Waipahu YMCA playground near the Filcom Center (where we would be for a party later that night). Madison requested the playground by name, mentioning the swings as the main draw. As you know, swing sets have become all but extinct on Oahu. Other than this one, I couldn’t even tell you where another one existed. The playground is clean, isn’t a clone of the CORP model, and the entire area is covered with that rubber wire stuff that Quiksilver used to make slippers out of. The kind where sand would get all up in it and you’d really have to work to shake it out. I had an orange pair.

My enjoyment was somewhat ruined by a group of young men near the play area speaking moke and drinking forties – not in paper bags. At 1:30 in the afternoon. They used some coarse language. Eventually, they moved away, shouting epithets about some guy who didn’t bother to show up. Then, what I thought was leaf hit my back, but it wasn’t a leaf, it was bird shit. When I got into the car and started to drive off, Madison calmly said. “You have bird poop on your shirt, dad.” I pulled into the Golden Coin parking lot, took my shirt off (I apologize to anyone who had just eaten and had to see that) and wiped the bird crap off my shirt. “Maybe it’ll be good luck,” I thought to myself. But as my thoughts continued, I couldn’t think of anything I might need that luck for.

She's so much better at Lego building than she was the last time we tried to build a set.

She’s so much better at Lego building than she was the last time we tried to build a set.

That's a food stand, by the way.

That’s a food stand, by the way.

Since Madison put together her trio of mermaids on the 4th, she’s been anxious to pick up a Lego set which they could live in. Obviously, it had to be a set which featured a water play area. As we learned from yesterday’s entry, keeping moist is essential to a mermaid’s survival, even if they don’t want it. After picking up Abby’s food, we went to Walmart in hopes of finding a set.

I wanted to buy one of those massive tubs of random Lego that can be used to build a few things, but mostly to increase the depth of one’s Lego collection. I showed Mad the tub and she was less than enthused. “Where is the Mermaid’s going to be?” she asked. I didn’t really have an answer because it seemed to me the best I could do was build a car and the facade of a house. “How about this one?” she said, pointing to a $57 beach house. It was sweet-looking, though. “Umm… let me check,” I said. I scanned the bar code with my Amazon phone app and found the same set for $35. “We can’t get that today,” I said. “But I’ll order it for you when we get home.” “Nevermind,” she said, her need for immediacy speaking.

We left the Lego aisle and went looking for the pink aisle. Sure enough, that’s where the Friends line of Lego was. We did a little looking around before we spotted Heartlake City Pool. “I think the Mermaids might like to sit in the pool,” I said. “Yeah, yeah,” Madison said. “And they can go down the slide and play basketball!” It was settled, then.

When Madison and I got home, we ripped open the box and sent all of its contents spilling out onto the table. “We’re going to follow the directions,” I said. “Okay,” shes said, scooping the water slide up and clutching it. To my great surprise and happiness, Madison actually stuck with the program. I know that she’s got an attention span the size of an atom, so I wasn’t sure how she’d take to it. She also gets frustrated if things don’t work out quickly, something I’m currently trying to weed out of her. So the two of us sat there, instruction booklet open, piecing together her City Pool. She did a pretty good job. She has trouble with some of the very small pieces, but other than that, she’s got the hang of it, and we’ve even started talking the same Lego language.

I name the pieces by how many circles are on the top of each piece, then by the height. We also go by shape and color, and all the other distinct features. The first time I said “You need a four-tall,” Madison looked at me with a puzzled face. Then I showed her the booklet. “Oh, yeah!” she said. Eventually it got to the point where she said to me “Can you pass me that white three-short?” That was the happiest Lego moment of my life that didn’t involve the X-Wing fighter and Slave-1.


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