Making a big splash

Remember those days when you’d give your toddler or preschool child a fairly nice birthday gift and he’d ignore the gift and instead have a grand time playing with the box?  I think I saw the adolescent version of that a couple days ago.

It was Andrew’s 11th birthday party.  Kyle (14) and John (13) were here, and they had already played on the trampoline, eaten pizza, gone swimming with Josiah (16) and Jessica (18), and – after following clues for twenty minutes – successfully located the treasure hidden in our hamper.  The treasure was water guns for Andrew, Kyle, John, and Josiah, so they all raced back outside to load them up.

I had bought three $1.50 buckets at Wal-Mart recently.   They would have been replacements for the three $1.00 Wal-Mart buckets (obviously purchased several years before the Recession of 2008 drove all prices everywhere through the roof) that we use for everything – filling the bird feeder, stashing the umbrellas, holding the trash bags, etc.  The older buckets had eventually been left outside, stepped on, run over, or eaten by varmints.  When the guys asked if they could use the new buckets to fill their water guns, I said, “Sure.”  (It’s a lot easier to fill a water gun by shoving it under water than by holding it under a hose; especially if there are four of you and only two hoses.)

Imagine my sheer joy when I looked out a few minutes later to see water guns on the ground and four boys jubilantly slinging full buckets of water everywhere:  over each others’ heads, onto the trampoline, down each others’ backs, and all over each other while bouncing on the trampoline!  They doused and soaked each other over and over and over, having such fun that when it was time for cake and ice cream, we had to drag their dripping selves into the house.  They sang, blew, inhaled chocolate cake and root beer floats, then begged to go back out with the buckets for the last few minutes till Kyle’s mom arrived.

If I had realized what a grand time $4.50 worth of buckets could provide, I would surely have skipped wrapping the water guns, writing 16 rhyming clues, carefully calculating locations for them, and racing around to hide them while the kids were swimming.  I would have just splurged and invested a full $6.00 so each boy could have his very own two-gallon weapon!

BTW, if you, too, want to buy cheap plastic buckets at Wal-Mart, do you know which department to visit?  It’s definitely not hardware, and it’s not housewares.  Of course, it’s also not electronics, grocery, or office supplies.  Jessica, The One Who is Able to Find Anything, proved that you must look in (drum roll, please). . .  automotive.

Sometimes Sam’s logic totally escapes me.


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