Monday, August 25, 2008

Slip 'n Slidin' Away

When the central A/C decided to take a dive on the hottest weekend of the summer, leaving the Uncool household uncooler than usual, we did what countless thousands, nah, millions of other families did before us. We went to Flaw-Mart and bought a Slip 'n Slide.

Not your average Slip 'n Slide, mind you. The Double Auto Racer version with side-by-side slides. Yes, that means no waiting for the two Things. Unless, of course, their Dad has decided to go smack down the center, more out of need for his ever-expanding waistline as opposed to his sheer lust for all 148 syringe-like jets of garden hose love to caress his flabby self in the heat of the afternoon.

But I'm jumping the gun. First, the SnS needed to be properly installed. This required reading the instructions. Instructions that start with warnings printed in letters the size of the Costco Super Klutzy family-size of pack of adhesive bandages.

Warnings printed in the color of the blood that could be spurting out of your child's headless neck if you fail to heed them.

Warnings that all begin with words like NEVER, AVOID and AMPUTATION.

Warnings the genius folks at Wham-O are so serious about that they print them on all six sides of the box, on both sides of the instruction sheet, on a separate warning insert card, and on both sides and ends of the product.

Do people receive this kind of heads-up before they buy firearms? Vote Republican? Download Ashlee Simpson songs? I think not. This is just a flippin' sheet of plastic with holes punched in it, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission!

After putting the local ambulance service, National Guard unit and funeral home on speed dial, I wrenched the faucet open. The cool promise of summer refreshment spurted forth … and it was good.

At least, that what I keep telling the Things as they stood there silently watching little fountains of municipal hydration water the weeds where Kentucky Blue should have been.

"What the hey, spawn. You two nagged and guilted me into buying this while we were stuck in the checkout line. Start slippin' and a-slidin'."

"What do we do?" asked Thing 2.

"Take a couple of running steps, dive and slide. Whoo-hoo."

The Things looks at each other. You'd think I had just told them to perfect cold-water fusion. Or eat cauliflower.

Thing 1 ventured forth and offered a toe. "It's cold!" she declared.

"It's hot outside, hence you counteract the heat with cold. Slide 'n' Slide and have fun now, or I start singing 'Fat Bottomed Girls' in an extremely high register."

Thing 1 took a few tentative steps back. She ran like the girl she is, which means on her tiptoes with arms flopping every which way, and fell forward. She skidded about two feet.

"Lift your arms. You're stopping yourself with your hands."

She tried again. This time she went three feet.

Next came Thing 2. I held high hopes for him, not because he is my boy, but because he has seen enough Discovery Channel specials and animated films about penguins that he must have learned something.

"Come on, boy. Flop on down there! Surf's up, Happy Feet!"

He backed up about 35 feet. He jumped out of the blocks like the albino, suburban love child of Usain Bolt and Tirunesh Dibaba. He reached the bright yellow sheet of glistening, watery frivolity, leaped and landed smack on his scabby knees. And then his face.

"Crap in a wrap! Wait here," I said, uttering the most devastating threat I could think of. "I'm getting my suit on."

I returned, ready for action. Unfortunately, it took my more than a few minutes to find where the cleaning people had hidden my suit, and in my absence, our backyard had turned into the 2008 version of the muddy flats of Yasgur's Farm. Minus the free love, brown acid and Country Joe and the Fish, of course.

"Watch me. Slide on your belly and lower chest. Lift your head and arms up," I said. "And scream. I don't care if it's from the cold water, the pain of your body hitting a stray acorn or from actually having fun. Scream 'til it hurts. It'll help."

I took two deliberate steps back from the edge of the slide. I bent my knees and leaned forward. I started ahead. Then I remembered.

I hadn't done this in about 25 years. And 30 pounds.




  1. Summer camp: 1987. My senior counsellor decided to create a DOWNHILL slip & slide on a hill denuded of grass and (mostly) tree stumps. She lined a chute with black trash bags, pinned them down on the sides, squirted the works with laundry detergent, flung herself downhill, and got a concussion.

    I was in charge for two weeks.

  2. My stepfather likes to do this with the girls. He is at least 35 years older, 40 lbs. heavier and 10 shades whiter than you. Reminds me of what we saw jump out of the water during last week's whale watch.

  3. SO which part of the body is hurting the most? Your manhood is a given on that one but what else is?
    I did that this past winter with sledding and not only lost my sunglasses but also my breath and a part of a boob. My sister thought it was funny as hell.

  4. I did the old slip 'n slide with my nephews last summer and the only way I was able to avoid injury was to go in sort of on my side. Kind of like Superman turning in mid-air. My belly and my privates thanked me muchly afterwards.

  5. Our slip n slide has a "splash pool" at the end of it. My Tweedles don't slip and don't slide. The sit in the splash pool and drink the water. Yum! Our water is so full of radium when you buy a house here they put a warning on the paperwork and warnings with tax statements. The slip n slide is now used by the adults at our parties after one too many.

  6. Kids these days.
    You should have puchased Squirt Guns and Lawn Darts instead.

  7. At the FADKOG house, we rock it old school with a Teenage Mutant Ninja slip and slide, picked up for the succulent clearance price of $3 at the great Target. It always looks like a good idea until you actually give it a go, and even as light as my progeny are, they never get the good air like that kid demonstrating it on the box, so they're whining about the lump of crab grass that snagged their rib or whatever. That's when I bust out the old "In my day, we didn't have no new fangled Slip n' Slides. We had a sprinkler, dag nabbit, and if you slipped on the wet grass on a fairy leap over it and sliced your foot open like a damn dead Tauntaun on the planet Hoth, well God help ya if yer Grandma was sober enough to drive ya to the emergency room."

    By the time I've gone through that, they're usually inside, dressed, and watching Disney Channel before I realize it.

  8. You do have a way with words sir-- maybe not so much slip and slides:) The ending is priceless!

  9. The winter version of this is showing your kids how to ride a saucer sled and get it to spin. Gravity is not kind over the years.

  10. How's your hip old man? :)

    I played kickball with the kids the other day and I think I about broke both of my feet...and all 10 toes.
    Damn I'm getting brittle. This sucks!

  11. Which hospital shall we send our flowers and cards to?

  12. Slip and slide my ass.

    More like skid and destroy the dignity. And lawn.

    Not like I speak from experience or anything.

  13. I like to spread Dawn dishwashing liquid on ours, need for bathtime!!

  14. We've got the I'm Batman version at the House of WingDangDoo. It has an inflatable end, meant to cushion the blow before slippin' and slidin' into the old and splintery fence. We used it as a downhill slip n slide this summer. In its defense, the I'm Batman plastic held up through a good three or four turns.

  15. Hmm, perhaps a nice trip to the local water park is in order instead?

  16. time, photos, m'kay?

  17. You're a good man, taking one for the team like that. I am in psychic sympathy pain after reading this post.

  18. Recently been there and recently done that.

    Still recovering.

    Slip-n-slid...for children only. Take that to your grave.

  19. As a *legitimate* 40-yr-old balding doughboy, I am annoyed with your recurring self-effacing humor about your appearance - because I KNOW what you look like.


  20. You know, when I first started reading this I thought, "I NEED THAT!" And then I got to the end of the post and realized ... I don't need that at all.

  21. We never had a SnS growing up, as I lived out in the woods and we didn't have a yard. When we got one for my kids, I wanted to go barreling down it myself, like I was never able to as a youngster. I tried it, but it pulled out the stakes and got all f-ed up. It was a disappointing attempt. Now I just watch the kids have fun with it!

  22. I seriously have to know how this turned out. There's a reason I make My Little Girl have friends of her own age to teach her these kind of things.

  23. shield - The detergent is the killer.

    ctmom - know we know why some whales are endangered.

    maryo - each individual rib could use a Band-aid. and the boys, well, they may never be the same.

    b.e. - god save your privates.

    collette - splash pool = misnomer

    ciii - i miss lawn darts. my toes don't.

    FADKOG - b/c of the Disney Channel, every time we are in a hotel the boy wants to ride the luggage cart like zac and cody.

    paper - thanks. not priceless, but painful.

    MAW - Gravity sucks.

    Tent - I think kickball is due for a dodgeball-like revival.

    annisa - in lieu of flowers, send beer to my place.

    ms p - amen

    dana - now that is efficiency

    patty - we definitely need to party

    dennis - i'm thinking of just opening a hydrant next time

    mamadawg - the video camera battery, as usual, was dead

    ManagerMILF - can you give me a psychic back massage?

    marcy - dang old age

    stationstops - we'll have a belly off next time at the bar

    dorky - SnS is one of the great deceivers of life

  24. The slip n slide was a horrible sight at my house too. Did I ever think that was fun?

  25. i didn't know they still sold slip n' slides.

    please don't tell my children.

  26. I love it. You gave me many flashbacks from earlier this summer when my hubby tried the same thing. What he wasn't aware of before sliding is that that rather large belly he's grown(thanks to my killer cooking, thankyouverymuch) launches him a lot farther than he's ever gone in the past.
    If Only I'd been recording it as he plowed into our 2 year old that was standing at the end of the slide(that he hadn't seen prior to flopping his belly down). Ah, America's Funniest Home Video's, how I'll miss that 10K that we would've been a shoe-in for.

  27. Bless you all the way to heaven for commenting on my blog, otherwise I would never have found yours! Also, damn you all the way to hell for commenting on my blog, otherwise I would be spending time with my kids instead of reading through your archives. It's going to be a love-hate relationship, just so you know...

  28. LOL... thanks for stopping by today.. do the it you know you do...

    I bought Spiderman Slip and Slide..the 9 year old said "I'll get grass all over me".. Uggg.
    I tried and realized that you can't WALK on them..big ole bruise on my bhind

  29. Oh I so want to get a SnS for my boys now - too bad I live in the near Arctic (aka Edmonton!!) and it's way too cold for that today!

    Thanks for the laugh.

  30. God I loved our Slip and Slide until the ravages of middle age kicked in and I bruised my tailbone (yeah the butt bone) and couldn't sit down from flopping around on the slip and slide. Read those precautions AH&U household, don't be acting up on the slide or you'll be sittin sorry.

  31. Dude, the company isn't called WHAM-O for nothing. You can't say they didn't warn you.

  32. First of all, FLAW MART, seriously that is the funniest shit I've heard in a long time. That place makes me nuts.
    I need a slip n' slide. I've forgotten how fun they are.

  33. I think I hurt myself on one of those and that's why I haven't done it since. Either that or I don't want to be seen in a bathing suit!

  34. OMFG! Too funny! I was always terrified of the slip n slide. It *hurts* when you land. I never could get past that. Does it still hurt?

  35. You can't have fun without risking severed limbs! I mean, come on!

  36. and there's those velcro strips on the side that, when a novice sets up the double SnS, will sheer off the top layer of your skin in a New York minute.

    we've got a drought here so it's a mighty bug waste of water... so i turned to beer just like the good ol' days of rugby-playin' naked beer slides!!!


  37. Am I the only one who took a while to notice the picture? ROFL

    I like setting it up near the cactus. Makes overshoots that much more entertaining as they panic to try and stop themselves.

  38. I haven't used one of those things since '98 when the mat dried out and I nearly lost my nipple.

    The box doesn't warn you about that.

  39. those damned things hurt even when i was a single digit age and a double digit weight. what are you thinking?


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