The Warren Woods Spring Carnival

A Sure Sign of Spring

It arrives every year on the second weekend of May. Along with dandelions decorating the lawns along Schoenherr road, there is no surer sign of Spring than the Warren Woods Spring Carnival. Last year, as I was driving home from work one night, I spotted a multi-colored tower in the distance. It foretold the annual arrival of the fair and hopefully warmer weather. This carnival is not for the faint of heart. Mid-May temperatures in suburban Detroit can still be pretty brisk. This can result in rather severe wind chills on some of the faster rides. You might have some bright red ears for a few hours afterwards. However, there is something special about trying to spot your house from the top of the Ferris Wheel.

This sight caused me to instantly flash back on all of the good times our family had at the carnival when my boys were young. We used to spend ridiculous amounts of money on games, rides, and food whenever we went. Specifically, I remember one year, when my son Jeff had been begging to go to the fair all week. Unfortunately, I got stuck working that weekend. When I was finally able to drag myself home, after an emergency in the computer room, all I wanted to do was collapse into my recliner. Even my plan of cracking open a nice cold one was shot to hell. The screaming headache that accompanied me on the ride home from work was a literal buzzkill.

So after eating a rushed dinner, and downing a dangerous amount of Tylenol, Jeff and I headed over to the carnival. This was the first year they had instituted a wristband policy, so you didn’t have to keep buying extra tickets for the rides. Ride all you want, for a price that rivaled Cedar Point! After emptying my wallet, we made our rounds on the Midway. I was hanging in there until Jeff spotted the Gravitron. If you haven’t experienced this nightmare, picture being stuck to the wall of a clothes dryer. Just when you can’t take another second, the floor drops out! It felt like my brains were leaking out of my eyes and ears, and then being stomped on by a rather large elephant. I didn’t win The Father of the Year Award for surviving that ride, but hey, at least I didn’t wind up in the hospital with an aneurysm! The things we do for our kids. I think I’ll pass on the carnival this year, but I’ll remember it fondly as I drive past.

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The Universal Playlist Challenge

Life is Short! Don’t Forget to Have Some Fun!

While I was mowing the lawn last weekend, I had my bluetooth headphones on and I was listening to one of my favorite albums by Bowling For Soup. Then I decided to mix it up, literally. At last count, my phone had about 450 Albums and over 6000 Songs in my Music Library. I decided to put all of the songs on Shuffle and see what happened. I was able to finish mowing the backyard without listening to the same old stuff. It was quite refreshing actually. Then, something really funny happened.

Just to let you know, I have virtually ALL of my music on my cell phone. Some people like to separate different types of music, not me. Spooky Halloween Sounds, Christmas Music, Barry Manilow, it’s all on there. I was in the shower, with my phone connected to my bluetooth speaker, rockin’ out as usual. All of a sudden, the unmistakable voice of Bing Crosby filled the bathroom. He was belting out, “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”. Talk about Christmas in July!!! This was followed by a song by Billy Squier, so I thought we were back to your regularly scheduled summer program. Then it happened again! The Ronettes were happily singing, “Sleigh Ride” when my wife came into the bathroom and yelled, “What the heck are you listening to?”

Then an idea came to me. The Universal Playlist Challenge! The challenge is simple. Take your phone and a speaker to an open area like your backyard or a local park. Or, if you’re feeling really brave, do this in your car with the windows rolled down and the volume set to 11! I know what you’re thinking, “Where’s the challenge?” If you’re like me and have a good selection of Christmas Music on your phone, it can get very interesting. Start with a 10 Song Challenge. Set your music player to All Songs, and Shuffle, then play it LOUD! If you can play all 10 songs without recoiling in embarrassment when, “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas”, “Livin’ La Vida Loca”, or “Who Let The Dogs Out?” comes on, you win the challenge! Bonus Points are awarded to the challenger who sings along with a Christmas song all the way to the end! Try to get people around you to join in! Life is short, you gotta have some fun!!!

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