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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Nice moms finish frustrated

Here was my agenda for last night:
  1. Laundry
  2. Blog
  3. Make my Christmas gift-giving spreadsheet
  4. Clean my bedroom.
I had from about 5pm until whenever free and clear to get all of these things at least started, if not finished. But Annie wanted to go to a haunted house with a group of her friends. It is on the other side of town and she and a few friends needed a ride.

I figured laundry could wait. This is her 8th grade year. She's got a great group of friends. It was something a little different than a movie. So I said that I would drive several of them down there. I picked the first friends up at 5:30pm. By the time we met up with another driver and group of kids, then picked up the final kid who was going, and arrived at the Hanna Haunted Acres, I'd been in the car for almost 2 hours.

This place is not like any haunted house I've been to. There is a haunted hayride, a scary corn maze and four other structures of spooky fun. There is a also a "no touching" policy, meaning that the scarers cannot touch the scarees. And it is not cheap. $27 to go through all the attractions. I gave Annie $30, with the agreement that she would work it off around the house.

The other mother and I gathered the kids before turning them loose, giving them the "stay together and don't do anything you would be embarrassed for your grandmother or your priest to find out about" speech. Then we sent them off to buy their tickets for two hours of fright.


The few parents who were with us gathered in the field that stood in the center of all the scary attractions. We walked around a little, checking things out and listening to people getting their scream on. (I'd brought my laptop in the car, hoping to get a little blogging finished, but the nearest free WIFI was over 6 miles away.) After about 45 minutes, my cell phone rang. It was Annie, panicked and frantic. She got chased by some guy with a chainsaw and then a clown (which she hates) popped out of the corn maze and she WAS NOT GOING BACK IN.

What?! I gave up my whole night -- and $30 -- and you're not going back in? Oh, no way. Soon, two of her friends appeared and told me that Annie didn't want to come back in and they would sit in the car with her. One girl had lost her ticket in the corn maze and couldn't go into any of the other attractions without it. The other one was just being nice enough to stay with her friends. I told them to wait a minute and I'd go talk to Annie.

I found her standing at the entrance alone. Um, hello? Did you forget about staying together?! She had wound herself into quite a tizzy. They had gotten chased by the chainsaw guy in the field on the way in -- I saw him chasing other people. He was just an ordinary guy with a de-chained chainsaw. She screamed and ran. Then when she thought she was safe, he chased her again and "Mom, I thought he was going to cut my head off!"

"Annie, they can't touch you. It's all for show. Touching is against the rules."

"But Mom, robbing a bank is against the rules and people still do it!"

Then she told me that her friends got her to go into the corn maze, but about 1/4 of the way in, a scary clown jumped out in front of them, again with a chainsaw, and she ran back out of the maze, across the field and back to the entrance and she WAS NOT GOING BACK IN!

I tried the sympathetic approach."I know you were scared, but it's all pretend. Let's go in and find your friends so you can have fun with them."

She wasn't having any of it. So I tried the peer pressure approach, "Annie, I said you could come to this because I thought it would be a great way for you to spend some time with your friends and standing out here at the entrance is definitely not spending time with your friends."

No luck. Then I tried the guilt trip approach. "Annie, I had plenty of things planned to do tonight. But I put that all aside to drive you and your friends down here. I gave you $30. And you have spent not even 5 minutes trying it out? Are you kidding me?! And I can't even just cut my losses and take you home because I'm responsible for getting three other kids home -- kids who are in there having a good time."

In the end, we gave Annie's ticket to her friend Jordan, who had lost her ticket, and Annie and I sat in the car. I called Mike to share my frustration. He had some good insight and was more sympathetic to Annie than I had been. (Easy for him to do, he wasn't the one who spent time driving all over hell's half acre with a crop of teenagers.)

By the time we got back home, I'd spent 6 hours and $41 on this little excursion (the extra $$ was from the stop at Steak-n-Shake on the way home for some emotional eating). I know I can't be mad at Annie for the way she felt -- I'm a big chicken and would never do that stuff. Now we know she is too, so we can avoid this scenario in the future. Lesson learned.

The whole night wasn't a loss. I had fun talking with Annie's friends and maybe scored a few points as a cool mom. Still, in the end, this cool mom finished frustrated.


kimybeee said...

Oh Amy!!! My daughter just got home from Indy last night (FFA National Convention) and I am sure this is probably the same thing they went to the other evening. My daughter would normally be a chicken too - but our friends have a corn maze here in our town and they have been haunting it since she was five years old so she is desensitized from the whole thing!!! But her teacher was scared and used some really funny language and held onto the kids and cried! The kids had fun just because of the teacher, the scary stuff was just funny to them!

So sorry that Annie didn't enjoy it, but you have to remember that she must have really been freaked to look like a chicken in front of her friends! My husband hates clowns of all kinds and if the chain saw clown came out after him he would have probably beat him to death!!!

A christmas spreadsheet? you are such a nerd!!!! lol

Momza said...

we have a haunted mine by our house.
only one of my kids will go to it.
the rest of us are all chickens, and we're comfortable in our chicken-skins.
bet annie learned her lesson!

Erin said...

No matter what, if you scored some points being the cool are all set!

varangianguard said...

I went to a haunted house this year (first time in xxxxx years). It was pretty cool until the "guy with the chainsaw" popped out near the end.

Half my mind knows that the guy can't touch me, and that the chain was removed and the chain bar disengaged...BUT...

the other half of my mind heard the sound of the motor, could smell the gasoline fumes, and was watching the scary-looking dude waving it around menacingly...and told my adrenaline gland to - UNLOAD! - IT'S A FREAKING CRAZY MAN WITH A RUNNING CHAINSAW!!!!!!

Got my heart pumping there, I can tell you.

So Amy, don't feel bad, and tell your chicken Mom to try it next time before she knocks it.

As for the other, Mom, it was a CLOWN. Nuff said.

varangianguard said...

Oops! I mean, Annie.

Annie, Amy, Annie. Oh well. ;)

Anonymous said...

Poor you and Annie. :( Too bad she didn't get to enjoy it as much as she had anticipated.

Scoring "cool mom" points is always a bonus. :)

kimybeee said...

varangianguard, the first year we haunted our maze - the guy with the chainsaw accidentally hit another guy in the head with it! it didn't do too much damage, but he did have a nice knot on his head and he was very angry!!! those are public relation nightmares right there - lol

as for the clown, my husband really would have beat the beans out of it. my kid's have never been to the circus and we avoid clowns like the plague. even pictures of clowns freak him out. i am like a clown look-out - i can spot them a mile away!

varangianguard said...

kimybeee, lol!

As an addition, my brother said that he's seen a chainsaw feature where they have wired a chain-link fence with some low voltage electricity, and when the metal bar of the chain saw touches the fence - it showers sparks. That would have really been effective at any haunted house.

I hope your daughter enjoyed the FFA convention. It's always great to have them here every year.

Joy For Your Journey said...

You are a good mom to change your plans for the night and spend it with your daughter. I can understand her feelings though. I don't think I would have gone back in there either. I hate scary things.

kimybeee said...

v - my daughter had a great time at the convention. she got to go last year too. she is a junior now and my son is a freshman and he almost got to go too! they are both really involved in ffa and 4h and they enjoy all the opportunities that those organizations allow them to be involved with. i was really tickled to hear about amy's experience and i just knew that is where caitlin and her crew had been!

Beth said...

You are still a good mom for trying.