I found a website, mapofplay.kaboom.org, which lists neighborhood parks, their addresses, and sometimes pictures of these locations. I did a little research in the Salt Lake area and found three playgrounds that I thought were going to be pretty solid. At the very least, the pictures showed them not to be the Oahu Special. We visited all three. Two of them were dilapidated and the third was encircled by fencing as the larger area was under construction. It was the biggest disappointment in the history of the playground tour.
I don’t know if the pictures were small or old, or I simply didn’t take a good enough look at them, but, um, so not what I was expecting. We went to that sprawling park near Honolulu Country Club. The playground was a ways from the parking lot and obscured by a few buildings (where it looked like something like Summer Fun was happening), so it took us a while to come upon the playground and realize that the reason none of the kids were playing on it was that it was unplayable.
We drove to Salt Lake District Park and saw a really awesome pool behind what looked to be a once-great play structure. Instead, portions of it were boarded up, and stations that looked like they were connected once upon a time were missing the pieces between them. Madison played for about 5 minutes before asking to look for something else.
We did manage to find a playground in the former military area across from Kaiser. Madison didn’t say anything specific, but I think she was happy we were able to find something playable before having to head back home. She spent 25 minutes running around, up, and down the structure. Her favorite part was a set of gears that could be wound quickly. They’re common to other structures, but they’re generally broken on other structures.
My favorite part of the day was Madison’s slow but steady conquering of her playground reluctance. As you probably recall, Madison Mick Foley‘d off of the monkey bars during our last Playground Tour stop. She was somewhat tentative on the set in places like the fireman’s pole where she’d have to leave her feet. “Look, Mad!” I said. “Ghostbusters!” She crept to the opening slowly and reached out with her right arm. She stretched her right leg, but pulled it back. For a few seconds, I wasn’t sure she’d actually go through with it. But she did it. Sara Bareilles would have been proud.
We had lunch at Genki Sushi before Madison helped me select gifts for Lynnette (it’s our anniversary tomorrow). Madison, like every other kid, loves the new tablet interface at Genki, and I can’t complain because service is quicker. She demolished her lunch, then ordered a Hello Kitty popsicle. The following is her review:
I think it’s strawberry and cherry and Kitty’s head is strawberry and the bow is cherry. Let me see (takes a bite). It is cherry! It tastes like the bathroom soap!
When I asked her if she had eaten soap before, she said no. “Well, if you did, at least your mouth would be clean,” I said. She laughed. She loved that one. But I think my favorite part of the day came when we returned home. We simply brought the bags of gifts up the stairs. Here were Madison’s two plans for getting them past Lynnette:
1. Tell Lynnette that the bags were empty.
2. She would give Lynnette a massage to distract her while I hid the gifts in her dresser.
“But isn’t that where mom hides my gifts?” I asked Mad. “Oh, yeah!” So we just gave Lynnette her gifts a day early. When everything settled down, Lynnette asked us where we had eaten lunch. Madison and I looked at each other. “We didn’t eat today!” Madison said. “What?” Lynnette said. “Yeah, yeah, no lunch!” she said. “Don’t lie!” Lynnette said. “Yeah, Mad, you don’t have to lie,” I said. “We ate Genki,” she said. I have to admit it, though. I was more than a little happy that she tried to protect me. It’s good to know that she might be amenable to “Don’t tell mom!” down the line.