When we arrived in Minneapolis, America’s largest indoor water park didn’t open for four more days, so naturally, we had to stick around a few extra days until it opened. To pass the time, we checked out a few of the 15,000 lakes that dot the Minnesota landscape. Our night at Minnetonka State Park was completely delightful, and I went away loving Minnesota purely for the happy memories with my boys that night. We skipped rocks for a while, then Nathan wandered off and Christian and I just laid on the dock looking up at the sky and talked. I loved it!
When Thursday FINALLY arrived, my kids were thrilled! The pool didn’t open until 3 pm, and we were there at 2:30 ready for the action to begin.
Water parks are NOT my thing. At all. They rank right up there with a root canal on my list of enjoyable activities. I don’t like the free flailing feeling of shooting down a water tube. It is more terrifying than enjoyable. BUT, as I changed into my swimsuit and entered the water, I promised myself to have a fun day with Nathan and Christian and keep my chicken heart self tucked away for the afternoon.
We were the first ones in the park, and it took Nathan 7 seconds to get from the door to the Surf Simulator. He was in the water in no time! He was a natural and moved from his tummy to his knees to his feet like a born surfer.
It wasn’t long after we arrived that it was time to take on the ten story high slide. Ten stories is a long way up…a long way to consider the awful nature of what is about to occur. I found myself saying a prayer that went something like this:
I am not especially good at things like this. You mixed a little too much chicken heart in the pot when I was created, but I am the only parent these kids have at the moment. I need you to give me courage to go up these stairs, get on that tube and have a fun time with these boys! If not courage, could you just take away the catatonic fear for the afternoon?
Thanks in advance.
I made it to the top and put on a happy face about going down, but inside I was feeling terrified. I stepped in the big tube and instantly I sunk to the floor of the tube and my body went limp. I closed my eyes and didn’t open them again until I got to the bottom. Amazingly, it wouldn’t have been terrible if my kids wouldn’t have screamed all the way down. With every scream, I knew I had a drop coming in .2 seconds. We made it to the bottom, and I burst into laughter! It wasn’t as horrible as I had imagined, and hearing my kids scream with fright and delight all the way down was somehow incredibly bonding for us! I didn’t feel any need to do that slide again, but I did the sixth floor slide with them throughout the afternoon.
Nathan took right to surfing and everyone that gathered around was impressed as he learned how to do twists and turns. Christian gave the boogie board a go and had a great time. I tried the boogie board, and it WAS pretty fun!
We spent the afternoon sliding, tubing, floating, boogie boarding and having a fabulous time! I loved watching all the surfers try out the simulator. As I sat there, I had a distinct conversation…with the little voice in my head. It went like this:
Can you surf? Oh, that’s right, you don’t know…you’ve never tried…
Hey, wait a minute, I’ve never had the opportunity. I used to skateboard a bit…maybe that transfers to surfing…and Nathan is a natural…it is quite feasible he gets it from me.
Well, sit in your chair watching and walk away tonight not knowing if you are a brilliant surfer or not…walk away and you’ll never know…walk away and you’ll never know…walk away and you’ll never know.
Ok fine…I’ll give it a go…
So I got up from my chair and decided to go for it. I’d just watched a hundred people do it. I was sure I could do it, too…after all, I did skate board a bit in high school! 😉
I got up and took my place in line. There were six people ahead of me. The girl in front of me went, and before I knew it, it was my turn. The lifeguard put me on the board and said, “Have you done this before?” I joked that I hadn’t but that my sons had been doing it all afternoon and…I used to skateboard. 😉 She said that the most important thing to remember is to keep all my weight on my back leg. She took hold of my hands and helped ease me out into the surf. I didn’t let go. Soon she said, “I am now going to let go.” And she did, and this is where the story gets a little fuzzy.
Apparently, I didn’t keep my weight on my back leg, because, in what seemed like the very moment she let go, the surfboard flipped up sending my legs over my head. At this point, everything went black…and extremely quiet. In fact, the quiet was so intense that I could hear with clarity each of the four cracks in my neck as I landed on my head.
I stood up from the water holding my neck only to find the lifeguard rushing over to me asking me if I had popped my neck. In my best jovial voice I replied, “Wow, that was like a trip to the chiropractor.” This was precisely the wrong thing to say to the dutiful lifeguard. Within two seconds, she sounded the alarm, shut down the water, and had my head braced in her hands. In another few seconds, I was sitting down and the First Aid Squad was headed my way…with a gurney. I said, “You’re not putting me on that are you? I’m fine!” She said, “Hold still please, we need to keep you braced until the ambulance arrives.”
“What? Ambulance? I don’t need an ambulance…I don’t want an ambulance…I’m fine.”
By this time, I had a half a dozen lifeguards gathered around and a new lifeguard had taken over the head hold. He asked, “How are you feeling?” I replied, “Embarrassed.” Another girl came up to get my information.
She asked for my name and contact information. At this point I became cantankerous and said, “I don’t want to give you my contact information, I don’t want an ambulance…I don’t have any insurance to cover ambulances.” They explained how they needed me to cooperate with them, and this was their protocol.
That was when the police arrived. The police? I couldn’t believe this. He wanted to know how I was feeling. I replied that I was feeling nervous about a $3000 ambulance bill when I didn’t need an ambulance. He just smiled and like everyone else told me to hold still.
Then the ambulance arrived. The two EMTs came in and checked me over and wanted my address. I told them I didn’t have one and that I currently lived in a camper. Of course, they didn’t believe me given the cranky part of my personality that had blossomed. I had to sign off that I didn’t want treatment, and then they left.
This was the first time I could actually move my neck on my own since the fall. It was sore, but I wasn’t about to go to the hospital for x-rays like they suggested. I would simply wait until the next day to see how I felt.
At this point, we changed out of our swimsuits and left. As I left, I felt incredibly grateful that I still had a neck attached, and I told that voice in my head, “Brilliant surfer or not? Well…now I know.”
With America’s largest indoor water park experienced, I was ready to get out of Minnesota and far away from that surf simulator. We set out for North Dakota that very night and the last leg of our 48 state adventure.