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Here I will periodically post random thoughts and stories about what's going on in my life and the world around me. As if anyone cared. But seriously, you've found your way here, so hopefully you will enjoy at least some of what I have to say, even if you aren't entirely interested in it. At the least, it should be a good way to waste time.

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Monday, November 4, 2019

Party Sunday

Yesterday Connor had a birthday party thrown by his mother at Rebounderz, a new indoor play place with trampolines, play structures, a ninja warrior-style obstacle course, rock walls, and more. I'd never been to this particular place; it's housed in what used to be the Country Club Mall, which flourished in the 1980s before recessions started wiping out businesses. I actually had not been inside what is now left of that once great mall from my childhood, in many years. Throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s, the shops there started shuttering their doors, unable to compete any more, until the mall became a virtual wasteland. It's starting to come back now, apparently, with some new stores and restaurants popping up, including a movie theatre and a Winco (for some odd reason). And Rebounderz.

It was nice to see a new place, and it certainly is a monstrosity. You could get lost in there. The party rooms are actually upstairs, and they all overlook the play area much like a box suite at a sporting arena. Which, I gotta admit, is a really nice feature to be able to have a bird's eye view of the facility. There's even a dedicated parent viewing area up there, in case you happen to not be there for a party. What's different about how they run parties at this place, as compared to places such as Wacky Tacky, is that they don't have organized play areas cordoned off for party guests. Everyone is just free to roam around the entire facility to whichever attraction they choose, mixing with people from other parties and the general public. Which sounds nice, I suppose, but what ends up happening is that people in a group party get spread out quite a bit and ultimately spend little time hanging out with anyone except their closest one or two buddies. Many kids hung out by themselves. And this was a bit of a detriment for Connor, since at this age he doesn't have a lot of close friends, really. They are more of acquaintances at best, and he sees none of them on a weekly basis being that he's shuttled back and forth each week between two homes. If his classmates from school had been invited, perhaps it would have been different, since he sees and plays with them every day anyway. Oh well.

So what happened was this: about 20 minutes or so after I arrived, I was downstairs and Connor randomly found me. I had not seen him up to this point, as most everyone had already scattered out around the facility when I arrived, and they all blended in with everyone else there that day. But when Connor found me, he was alone and kind of sad because, in his words, "Everyone left me". So I hung out with him and directed him over to the rock wall area, where I knew the only one of his school friends in attendance was. But he didn't connect much with her there, as she was just exiting the rock wall attraction and he wanted to go try it. In any case, to make a long, rambling, play-by-play story short, I hung out near him and watched him play for the next half hour, through the rock walls and ninja course and trampoline basketball court. And he seemed better, comforted even. So that was nice. He does love to have an audience.

After quite a bit of running around, he was working up a bit of a sweat, and told me he was thirsty. So we went to the snack bar and I bought him an Icee. He does love his slushy drinks! He picked out cherry and watermelon (I thought for sure he'd pick blue raspberry to go with the cherry, as he usually likes the red and blue mix). But it was good, and he really liked it. Not much after that some kid whom I don't know came up to him and said that they had announced that it was time for his party upstairs. I guess that's how they wrangle people back together after they've scattered throughout the facility, they make some sort of announcement. Not that we heard it. Good thing that kid saw him and told us, or Connor might have missed out on pizza and cake. We would have never known. Well I imagine someone, hopefully, would have come looking for the guest of honor if the party dared to start without him.

After pizza and cake, the kids were all handed game cards for the arcade by the staff, and although there was a small mound of presents there, we never got to see them opened. They were eventually loaded on a cart and taken away, as they started to clear and clean the room for the next party. I actually went by the Winco after that, because a) I had never been in one before, and b) how often do you get to go to a grocery store. In a mall. Actually, it's a pretty cool store, and has really good prices on things. Even better than Walmart (which they proudly display in the form of price comparisons every chance they get). Who knew about this place? I'll have to find one closer to me, if one exists, and check it out some more. I couldn't stay long though as yesterday was also the opening day of the Festival of New American Music at Sac State, so I had to go check in and make sure things were off and running. And they were. And it was pretty low-key, so I got home early enough to still enjoy a movie before bedtime. In the form of Coco. Well, after all, I had to do something to celebrate the recent Día de los Muertos.

So that was my Sunday. Tra la la.

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