Ahhhhhh, the sweet silence of sleeping in. Actually, that’s not true. Mrs. Hay and I (for no valid reason) kept our 5 am wake up call so that we could spring into our day! Mrs Amell wasn’t far behind either! So, with being ready so early and the students not having to wake up until 7am, we enjoyed a few moments of quiet before “the awakening”.
After a quick breakfast, we were off to Fort Edmonton. This is one of Jim’s and my favorite spots and typically a student favorite as well. We started off with a quick class pic ( and 1 452 489 friend shots) and then we were on to the steam engine to head into the park. The train ride along was a hit, much less what was to come! Students disembarked at the fort where they entered the 1800s! Fort employees are in era-costumes so it is all very authentic. The students saw someone bag piping, a young couple who had just settled in Edmonton (circa 1885) and a theatre owner who could dance (1940ish?!?). Some of the highlights were seeing Phil attempt to dance with the theatre owner! As well, watching Beth bond with a chicken (bite your tongue, Michelle. Bite your tongue, Michelle), and seeing the students hover in excitement over the various horses, goats, pigs, cows and chickens (have none of these kids EVER been to a farm, before?!?! Seriously…..).
One of the more concerning issues of the Fort Edmonton excursion involved none-other-than our resident NICE GIRL…..Alexia!
I know! I know! Typically she’s sweet to the core, but this trip can mess with people’s heads, take your crazy place, steal your senses…..(ahemmm, not that that has EVER happened to me, and I’m offended by any of you who thought that – even for a second!).
So, anyway as we exited the fort, heading toward the bus, I suddenly saw Alexia and Jocelyn peel pass me, heading back to the souvenir store. They were like a blur, for the speed they had on. I quickly hauled them back and said, “whoa, whoa, whoa, what’s the deal?”. WELL, if the ground could have opened and swallowed Alexia whole she would have been happier than saying her next five words!
(long pause, feet shifting left, right, left, eyes downcast, soft whisper)…….”Mrs. Parrish, I accidentally stole.”.
Ohhhhh, poor Alexia! I looked at her upheld hand and she had a tiny keychain on one of her fingers that she had been looking at while shopping. In the chaperone-induced frenzy to get going, she had quickly left the store without realizing! So, off they went to return it to the store….. and upon returning to the parking lot they were all smiles. So good to see yet another example of the awesome amazing kids that we are travelling with.
(I wonder, though, as I type this if it was Jocelyn’s negative peer influence…..she’s quite the troublemaker in case you all hadn’t noticed!)
From Fort Edmonton we were soon on our way to the mall and of course The world famous Water Park! I feel like I should point out that Mr. Reid DID remember his bathing suit this year (apparently, it’s true that you’re never too old to learn!). Only one missing bathing suit but he wasn’t from my group so I didn’t have to own that one! Good thing for Jamie, though, as he had on a pair of shorts. We just talked him into swimming in them (no small task, I assure you!) and we had 35 kids into the pool!
One of the coolest things that they now have at the water park is a tubular waterside with a full loop (called the cyclone if you want to look it up). To get on to this slide you first have to WEIGH IN! Kids must weigh 90 pounds to get on and frankly, I’m just going to say that I saw a few shoulders sigh with RELIEF when they were under the mandated 90 pounds! Once you weigh in, you enter a chamber which they CLOSE WITH A KEY! (…and people do this voluntarily!!!). Then there’s a countdown…. 3. 2. 1.
And the floor drops out from under you. THE. FLOOR. DROPS. OUT FROM. UNDER. YOU!!!! The looks of terror on the kids faces were…….magnificent for my continuous shooting high speed burst mode! I got some great shots of the terrified, panic-stricken eyes that begged me to get them out of there.
But I was all, “click, click, click!”. (and really, they’ll thank me for it……eventually!).
I also saw some big kids (ahemm, chaperones) on there. One pretty calm big kid who took it all in stride and then that other one who gave a high giggle upon entering and then kissed the cement once he got down!
Oh, I almost forgot the funniest moment of that waterslide….as Collin got in, he looked pretty calm. He had total game face on. I was thinking to myself, this kid has got it going on. He is laughing in the face of his fear. THEN, the countdown started and he quickly did the ‘sign of the cross’ and looked upward (possibly begging for his life to be spared!). Last sight of Collin was a anguished look of regret (I think he may have been seeing scenes of his life flash before his eyes, and possibly that scene of him wearing 3 layers of pants during his first Canadian winter (it was actually still fall, but who’s keeping track!).
Once the kids were done at the Waterpark, (and once two unnamed chaperones had finished their beach chair nap) they set upon that mall with a vengeance! Some shopped for dresses (Katie), some for ball caps (Cody, Jamie, Garrette, Josh, Matthew), some bought books (me, Mrs. Hay, Madison of course), one or two for headphones (Garrette), and one shopped for a SUIT! Yes, you read that correctly! Jarod bought a handsome grey suit that was all the talk. He put BOTH the boys and girls to shame with his purchase!
Just a quick side note that although they did do some damage, I don’t think they’ve broken the bank like Ashley, Rylie, Amanda, Paige, Melanie and Kaarina. They were the ones who restarted the Canadian Economy in 2010.
Some abandoned their shopping (I actually, STILL, can’t believe I even saw this happen!) and ended up going skating. Rebecca, Madison and Chelsea we’re staring intently at the ice rink when I walked up and asked what they were up to. Madison said to me, “we want to go skating but we didn’t remember to pack out skates….” (was she insinuating that it should have been on the packing list? I’m pretty sure I was fairly thorough, but yes, MAYBE, I could have included figure skates!). I told them about the rentals and I swear their grins were ear to ear. With under a half hour to skate, we motored! They had their skates rented and had them pulled on like nobody’s business! And I will say, that West Edmonton Mall has never seen a more beautiful and happy trio of skaters. All dolled up in their theatre clothes, they made quite a presentation! Soooooo, Madison, Chelsea, and Rebecca have joined only two other GLC students (Brittney and Sawyer) to have skated at West Ed on the school trip! But based on the reactions of the other students, I really think we need to make this an option for future trips!
When we started to meet as a group, stories began to emerge about the well-defined shopping expertise that you have instilled in your children. Jim and I, after years of coddling and hand-holding have made the big step to let kids shop in small groups so that they can optimize their time (and spending!). With the understanding that you have given your child all of the lessons they need in managing their money, we released (regretfully and reluctantly) and set them free. It was no small pleasure to see some of our more savvy shoppers fall like a ton of bricks!! Apparently, when Phil went to purchase his Hollister outfit, he was one-wallet-short! Lucky for him, Stef marched him 1/2 way down the mall to Abercrombie & Fitch to relocate his wallet (which he had oh-so-small-town-kindly left for anyone who wanted to find a crime-of-opportunity)!. And then as well, Doug had to come to the rescue when Teresa couldn’t find her wallet in American Eagle. Lucky for Teresa, eagle-eye-Amell dug through her previous purchases-bags and found her wallet! Good thing he’s had experience with scavenging – I’ve heard that in a house of four kids the likelihood of finding two matching socks is slim to none!
After some shopping (and skating!) (and lessons in wallet management), we met at Jubilations theatre. It was much, MUCH HILARIOUS (and so wonderfully small town of us!) to see a fair number of students head into the washrooms with a recently purchased bag of clothes and come out attired head-to-toe in a brand new outfit! So cute….Troy had on a new pair of khakis that Hughie helped him buy, Phil put on new button-up shirt, new jeans, new belt AND new shoes! (Seriously!). Chasity had a new top on, and Cody put on a new shirt on as well (which incidentally I have already texted Viv to put me on her Cody’s-hand-me-downs waiting list!)! They looked like a million bucks, which they should because they are well on their way to having spent that!
The theatre excursion was absolutely 100% awesome. When I was visiting with my group later that night, Doug said, “it was my favorite thing all day because I’ve been to great watersides before but I’ve never seen anything like that, and we were laughing the whole entire time!”. And that is true, they WERE LAUGHING the entire evening! The waiters were dressed I character to match the play and they entertained our students all night. It was typical to hear spontaneous laughter erupt from any of our four tables at any given time. They handed over their wigs (imagine Sydney in a pirate hat, Josh had on a female Viking wig!) and joked with the students whenever they went by. Later they sang happy birthday to audience members as well. The play was very funny and included enough risqué jokes to convince the students that we had no idea what we were getting into when we booked it! (I love how their heads swing to their chaperones when they laugh at a joke that they shouldnt really even understand yet!). All in all, it was very, very funny and I would not be able to say enough about Jubilations Theatre (which incidentally has a sister location in Winnipeg which is called Celebrations).
From the theatre, we headed out through the mall to find the bus. I was a bit hyper-sensitive at this point as I didn’t want to lose any of our kids and be held up from my upcoming much-MUCH needed bedtime! Intent on counting kids, keeping them focused on following Mr. Reid’s lead and putting one tired foot in front of another, I was suddenly terrifyingly startled by some yahoo jumping out of a photo booth and directly into my path!
It won’t take you two guesses to figure out which of the male chaperones wasnt watching his kids and was instead terrorizing the female chaperones. (Seriously…..how do you deal with this Michelle?).
Once we were back at the hotel the kids settled into bed, some with journals in their laps, some with their new purchases cradled into their arms! Contented smiles combined with tired eyes lifted my heart and with renewed energy I returned to my room to plan for the next few days.
No quotes from today, it was just such a busy day.
Only one bylaw for today’s trip….
Trip Bylaw Appendix C
1. Always, always do the work, raise the money and give up the time to ensure that the students of our school do this trip. Always.