Kent Family Summer of Fun: Earl Haig Family Fun Park

Monday, August 24, 2009

We used to live in Brantford, and a short drive down the road from us was the Earl Haig Family Fun Park. It's a nice little water park, not too flashy, not too expensive soooo, when I wanted to include one fun water park activity, I thought of Earl Haig. We were supposed to do Earl Haig on the last Friday of July, as you can see from our calendar, but we were up at Fair Havens instead. So when this past Friday looked like nice weather, and we had freed up a Friday from doubling up the week before, off we went to Brantford.

After spending a frustrating morning trying to apply for our passports however. A quick side story here. We're thinking about taking a cross-border trip on the Labour Day weekend, but suddenly realized that would require passports. So last week I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off to get my photos taken, find a guarantor, get all the paperwork filled out and find a place to drop it all off. Thought I could do it at a Canada Post outlet. Turns out that would take 4 weeks. Eeek...not enough time. So on Friday morning we went downtown to the actual government passport office.
We parked at a lot kiddy-corner from the building we needed to get into. James went to get a parking reciept to leave in the dash, but found that both the machines had OUT OF ORDER signs on them. So we shrugged and left. Mistake #1.
Up we went and got a number with an advised wait of about 1/2 an hour. We of course had all four kids and it took Afton about 7.5 seconds to insist on getting out of her stroller. It was a large room with many chairs, lots of people--maybe 30-40 waiting. All the Passport personel were behind partitions that went around two walls of the room. I followed Afton around as she toddled about. Soon my other three were hot on our trail.
They found a short ramped hallway in the back corner that led to some windows, a fire exit door and, with a quick turn to the left, ended with a steel door leading to the office area. I warned them all profusely about not touching the door and they were all very good about staying away and keeping Afton away too. I stood at the bottom of the gentle ramp and kept an eye on them all. Amazing what can keep kids occupied when there's absolutely nothing else to do.
Well after about 15-20 minutes, the security guard who had been so nice when we walked in and didn't know where to go first, comes over and asks me to keep the kids out of this hallway because "people were trying to work back there and the noise would bother them". Hhyeah.
Those steel doors are so darn flimsy, eh?
I rounded them all up and out, but Afton's attention was caught by a couple chrome posts standing in a nearby corner. You know, those kind that they string chains or belts inbetween to create a line, like at the bank? So she stops to investigate. Now, these things are heavy, weighted at the bottom and Afton was merely touching them.
The security guard was apparently not satisfied that he had rid the room of excess noise, so he heads toward her, speaking to her like you might a 10 year old, about how she shouldn't touch those and they might fall on her, etcetera.
I was so annoyed at that point that I scooped her up and said in a rather testy tone, "She's one. She doesn't understand you".

Shortly after our number came up and we had our paperwork processed.

Back down we went, having spent about 45 minutes at this task. And what should be awaiting us at our van? Of course...a ticket. A $19 parking ticket.

We were pretty much beyond frustrated at this point and I examined the ticket thoroughly as we got in the van. James tried to go back to the machines and get a picture, but of course, the signs were gone now. I noticed that the office for disputing tickets was not far, so even though it was lunchtime, we headed over to the address.

I went in, since the van is registered to me, and after filling out a form and waiting about 20-25 minutes, a woman called me into her office. I had stated on the form what the problem had been and so after clarifying it verbally, she called the manager for that lot. He told her in no uncertain terms that the machines were working fine. She gets off the phone and tells me this like she expected me to break down and admit we were totally trying to scam her. I just sat there and shook my head, suggesting that perhaps someone was playing some grand trick? I went over the story again, filling in as many details as I could. She called the manager back and tried again. Nope. Still nothing wrong. I could tell she was feeling the squeeze of the rock and the hard place. I wasn't giving anything though. Finally she scrawls a line across the ticket and says, "Ok, well, he's sending someone over to look (pointless, as I had told her the signs were gone), but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt".
I had thought I would feel triumphant and relieved, but instead I just a delinquent. I live in a world where people don't question my honesty and integrity. It's a real slap in the face when I encounter someone who is accustomed to assuming the worst about people.

All that washed away however, in the gentle current of the lazy's the pics of our enjoyable afternoon at Earl Haig.

For a mere 7 dollars more, we got the Splash and Putt pass, so the kids all had their first experience with mini-golf. (I had to convince Honour that the mini-putt at Fair Havens DOESN'T COUNT).


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