Alethea & Athena (double_dear) wrote,
Alethea & Athena

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Visiting family

Well, we have some time, so let's write about what we did last weekend. ...What did we do again? Oh yeah, we went to visit family. And I already wrote about Friday night, so let's skip to Saturday.

After going out for breakfast, we had the very exciting experience of going grocery shopping. Steve still needed some things to prepare for the big Memorial Day Bash, so we got to help pick out the candy for the pinata. I'm not sure why anyone would let us do this, since our tastes are so vastly different from most people, but that's what we did. Athena says it's probably best to let us and Steve do it, because Athena was getting some Bit O' Honey, and Steve was like, "Ugh, why would you get that?" as if everybody hates it, and Athena was thinking, "Obviously everyone doesn't hate it, because I got it because I like it." Steve said he would always trade it, and that's when it occurred to us that it's good to have some things you like and some things you're willing to trade away, because then everyone gets more of the stuff that they like. And it's also important to remember that not everyone likes all the same things, or else the things you don't like wouldn't exist for very long. For example, I can't for the life of me comprehend why anyone would like Twizzlers, and yet the market hasn't spoken against them.

Anyway, next we got to join Mom and Steve on a trip to Costco, which was something we were very much in favor of, because! we were hoping we could buy our favorite dark chocolate peanut butter in bulk. Unfortunately, Costco has a very small selection of peanut butter options, and dark chocolate peanut butter was not one of them. (We just paused on this entry to go check their website. We could be in trouble.) But the trip was not fruitless, because we noticed that they had some pajamas that were exactly the kind we had been hoping for! So we each bought a set. They're super cute three-piece pajamas with pants, a short-sleeves top, and a long-sleeved jacket-type thing, which should be great for nights when we're not sure if it's cold enough for winter pajamas but are not hot enough for summer pajamas.

After that, Celeste had been calling to say, "Hey! I thought we were supposed to have a sisters day! What are you doing monopolizing my sisters!?" So instead of having Mom and Steve take us to Payless to get church shoes (we were going to be there over the weekend and we refused to pack shoes), we went to Celeste's house. When Sarah arrived, we all went to Payless together where we were confronted again with the difficulty of finding shoes for size ten-and-a-half feet. Fortunately, we're not super picky, and our sisters assured us that we're not too old to have bows on our shoes, so we were able to end the adventure before it became a nightmare. Shopping for things to wear always sounds like a fun idea until you get started and then it very quickly turns into, "Yeah, I hate all of this. Let's go." ...Or at least, that's our experience with clothes shopping.

And then we had the really fun part! We went to an escape room! We'd never done one before, but we've known about them for a long time, even before every single sitcom in the universe had an episode where the characters went to an escape room. In fact, the first time we found out about it was when some people from our ward back up north opened their own, so I think they kind of got in on the ground floor. But we didn't go to their escape room, because it wasn't a knockoff of Harry Potter. In general, we're not major fans of non-licensed things like this, but we do have moonshiner ancestors, so I guess bootlegging is in the blood. And there aren't any official Harry Potter escape rooms (although that would be a super cool thing, if it was made to the standards I like to imagine (by which I mean old Disneyland)), and it was somebody else's idea, so we went along with it. And it was a lot of fun, and despite being a bootlegger, the lady who ran the place was super sweet and awesome.

This particular escape room place has about four different rooms that they change out periodically so you can keep going back without doing the same room over and over. (I don't know if that's a regular thing with escape rooms; it seems like it would be.) And this is the second Harry Potter one, I think. Celeste and Sarah had done their first once (Transfiguration Class) with their husbands and Mom and Steve, so I was a liiiittle bit worried that we would be behind the learning curve. We'd also been warned that apparently Celeste and Sarah were very bossy when they did the last one, so we were a little bit worried about that, but we told ourselves that we just wouldn't stress over it, and we'd have a good time whatever happened.

So for anyone who might not be familiar with the idea of an escape room, basically they put you in a room, and you have to answer clues and solve puzzles in order to unlock the door to get out. It's a pretty simple concept, so the success is all in the execution. Most of these rooms (as far as I'm aware) have an imaginary scenario that they put you in. This particular room was the Potions Class, heavily inspired by Harry Potter, where we needed to get out before somebody opened the Chamber Pot of Secrets.

They start you off with one clue, but there are so many different things to do, that you ultimately end up with everybody in the group working on something else, and there's pretty much no continuity. What I can say is that they really did have us make a potion in Potions Class. We let Celeste take care of most of that; she was excited about the idea, and Athena and I hate cooking, so we were more than happy to let her mix and stir. Sarah was too busy looking for other clues.

In fact, we all worked together pretty well, and nobody felt like anybody was being bossy. Usually if there was a puzzle that somebody got to, maybe one other person would try to help them and everybody else would be like, "Okay, she's working on that, so I'll go look for something else." So nobody needed to be bossy, because we were all pretty good at taking initiative. If anything, by the time it was all over, we all felt like we spent a lot of time standing around looking for something to do.

Anyway, we made a potion (if I had one critique, I would say the ingredient that was whatever-it-was spit should have been whatever-it-was saliva, because saliva is more scientific), we unlocked all the wands, we hatched a dragon egg, we activated the Pensieve... That was one that gave us trouble, because there was this clue that was just a drawing of a pot with legs, and nobody could figure out what it was until the lady in charge slipped us a hint that said, "Maybe the Pensieve could help?" And that's when we finally looked at the antique end table with all the mirrors around it and thought, "Hey, maybe that's supposed to be the Pensieve!" She was a little hurt that we didn't figure that our sooner. We just didn't know the Pensieve was a thing in this room! If we had, we probably would have figured it out.

There was also a really fun part where Sarah discovered the cloak hanging on the wall and put in on with a bit of a flourish. Then Celeste patted her down to make sure there wasn't a key or a clue in the cloak's pockets. (Athena's like 80% sure that cloak was used for a Belle costume.)

I think the most fun, for me anyway, was the directional lock. It's a really neat lock with a circle in the middle, and you have to push it up, down, left, and right in the correct combination to get it to unlock. It's about the coolest kind of lock I've ever seen, and I think I want one. Not that I really have anything worth locking up.

Oh! And in the corner, there was something that was boarded up as if it was Extremely Dangerous. It was the Chamber Pot of Secrets with a very small Fluffy on top of it. And to get the last key to get out, we had to reach into the toilet. I figured it wasn't a big deal, because the toilet obviously wasn't being used as a toilet, so I reached in and grabbed the key as Celeste was saying, "OH! Can I reach in the toilet!?" I felt a little bit bad about that. But she got to make the potion, and she was more interested in getting out of the room anyway, so she didn't seem too bothered by it.

When we escaped, the lady in charge congratulated us and said that we weren't the fastest group, but we worked together better than any other group she'd seen, and her cheeks hurt from all the smiling she did as she watched. That was when I really realized that you're being watched the whole time you do those things. I mean, it had occurred to me vaguely that she would need to be watching us in order to give pertinent hints (which she did whenever we got really stuck), but I was too distracted at the time to pay that thought any mind.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun, and I think the things that really had us stuck are things we wouldn't get so stuck on if we'd had more experience with escape rooms. And we all did a great job, and it was just a really cool thing.

After that, we went to dinner at a casual Italian place, where Athena and I tried spaghetti pizza. We figured we love pizza, we like spaghetti well enough, so why not put the two together? (Since it was on the menu and all.) For dessert, we all tried the dolce cannella, which were basically donut holes rolled in cinnamon-sugar, and drizzled with Hershey's syrup. And we're pretty sure there was cinnamon or something in the dough, too, because they were the spiciest donut holes I've ever had in my life.

Then we just chatted until the young mothers decided they needed to go home and take care of their children, at which point it was finally time to accomplish Steve's long-awaited dream of watching Jumanji. He'd seen it before, but he seemed very eager to watch it again. It had been decided before we left home that one of the things we'd do on our visit was watch the new Jumanji movie. We liked the premise and heard it was pretty good, so we wanted to see it despite not really caring for the first Jumanji movie. And we did enjoy this one, but as people who played video games in the '90s, there were a lot of things that had us going, "That's not really how this kind of video game works..." We were kind of confused about the genre. Like, is this an RPG, is it a side-scroller? Were there side-scrollers with co-op play back then? Maybe Ninja Turtles? But it couldn't have been a five-player game, because then consoles had four controllers at the most, and only if you got the fancy thing... But it was 1996, so it could have been N64...but then those games were all 3D, so it wouldn't have had the pixellated menu. And I get that it was important to the plot and the personal growth of the players, but video games always show you a picture of the character before you choose it.

But aside from all those misgivings, which of course, we weren't the most hardcore gamers...which is part of why it was so frustrating that it took Spencer so long to figure out how the game worked, Mr. we have to allow for the possibility that we're just wrong on all of them (but, like, if you lose all your lives, doesn't that just mean you have to start all over, or from farther back and without all the power-ups you got?)...

Anyway, the point is, those things didn't frustrate us enough to not enjoy the movie. The characters were fun and it was a romp. (Still, though, that villain. He steals a gem and gets cursed...with infinite power? How does that work? Is this from the "video game plots usually make no sense" archive? because we're 98% sure you can always blame that on the translation.)

Then we went to bed. Then we went to church, we read Harry Potter, we had refried beans and chips for dinner, which weirded Steve out immensely, because it's just refried beans mixed with browned hamburger, and you dip Doritos in them. Apparently this is intensely bizarre, but it's what we grew up on. He could have gotten some plain Tostitos if he wanted... (He fixed himself something different.)

And the next day was the Memorial Day Bash. But I think this entry is long enough, so I will end here. Today I'm thankful for getting to go to an escape room, escaping the escape room (we were sure we would just be so lost and disoriented that we would fail miserably, but we got out with sixteen minutes to spare!), having a lovely sisters day, getting to see Jumanji, and getting to eat some comfort food from our childhood.
Tags: escape room, family stuff, harry potter, jumanji, memorial day

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