I took Julie and Maddie to the circus last night (Nikki and Daddy went on a date elsewhere – they’re too COOL for the circus). Here are my thoughts on it:

– I loved it! I felt like a kid again, watching in awe as the trapeze artist swung from the rafters, the animal trainers led their horses, dogs and elephants through their paces, the jugglers wowed us with their tricks, and that AWESOME act where the two men juggled women on their FEET! Oh, and let’s not forget the “globe of death” where 7 motorcyclists rode around the inside of a big globe. Yikes! I was on the edge of my seat!

– WHY do the Shriners insist on having a long, drawn-out official entry of all their dignitaries, their pipe band, their mini-cars and motorcycle cavalcades, etc. before the action starts? We came (and paid generously, I might add, despite the “free” tickets they gave us to suck us in) to see the CIRCUS, not a bunch of old men in tassled hats! It’s hard enough to get a three year old to sit still when there’s something INTERESTING to watch!

– Do they REALLY need to soak us for every single dollar we’ve got? And can they QUIT waving all those flashing wands, inflatable toys, cotton candy, popcorn, etc. in front of my kids’ eyes? Do they REALLY think I want to hear “Mommy, can I have that $12 piece-of-crap flashing wand or that frightfully overpriced cotton candy? Please, please!” for the umpteenth time?? (okay, so some of that was what I was hearing, not what they were saying)

– COME ON! Is a 2 minute elephant ride around the ring REALLY worth $10? Yeah, there are lots of pushover parents who’ve got cash to burn who are WILLING to pay that kind of money for junior to sit on a stinky elephant, but what about those of us on a budget? Can’t you have a little sympathy on us and understand how hard it is to say “no” over and over again to our kids who want some of the chances all those OTHER kids are getting?

– Okay, the ticket says the show is starting at 7:45, so can you please START AT SEVEN FORTY FIVE? Some of us have kids to put to bed and we don’t really appreciate you starting at 8:00, only to make us sit through twenty minutes of Shriners parading around the arena before the action starts.

– And speaking of time – yeah, I understand that you want to make as much money you can, and sucker as many parents as possible into paying for those $10 elephant rides and another ridiculous price to get their kids’ pictures taken with scary snakes, but is a forty five minute intermission REALLY necessary? Again, SOME of us want to get our kids to bed BEFORE 11:30 so we don’t have to put up with cranky kids in the morning.

– Next time Maddie says she has to pee only 15 minutes after the last time I took her to the washroom, somebody smack me if I say “Maybe you can wait a little longer. You just went pee a few minutes ago.” To all those people sitting around me last night, I sincerely apologize for stripping her naked right there in our seats, but it just seemed a whole lot easier than pushing past all those increasingly impatient people in my row.

– Ah, but despite all that other stuff, THANK YOU Shriners for giving me an enjoyable evening with my two youngest daughters. Thank you for that look of delight on Julie’s face when she watched that man hang upside-down on his motorcycle on a very high tight rope. Thank you for Maddie’s giggles when she watched the dogs go down the slide. Thank you for the look of delight on MY face when yet another suicidal motorcyclist entered the globe of death. And thank you for the appreciative little hug Julie gave me as we walked back to the van.

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