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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Mama on a Budget: Surviving Summer

The five day forecast calls for temperatures above 90 except on Saturday which will be a brisk, temperate, and down-right fall-like 88 degrees.  Oh, summer in greater Cincinnati!

Summer has finally arrived and it literally feels like a sauna outside.  To survive the heat and, more importantly, to help your kids survive the heat you need to get creative to stay cool but still have fun.  Here are a few suggestions to get you through at least one week this summer:

Twisty Grill- Have you heard of this? The Highland Methodist Church at 314 N. Fort Thomas Ave in Fort Thomas has FREE LUNCH EVERY DAY BUT SUNDAY, 11am-2p for all kids age 18 and under. Hamburgers, chicken strips, hot dogs, grilled cheese, and much, much more! Adults can purchase food (so you don’t have to stare at your children whilst they eat a delicious burger).  The Frozen Yogurt Soft Serve is up and running as well- floats, Arctic Chill, Splits, Sundaes, with dips and sprinkles.

Additionally, you can eat there knowing you’re supporting a good cause as the majority of their employee time goes toward making 400-1,000 meals for kids as part of the Free Summer Meals Program, a government program, which ensures that children on reduced and/or free lunch at schools are able to continue to get nutrition during the summer months when school is out.

Swim Club-  Do you belong to the swim club? If you answered “Yes”, skip this section and proceed to the next paragraph.  If you answered “No”, then are you on the membership list?  If so, what number are you and can I entice you with a nice fruit basket to let me “line-jump”?

Wait, you’re not yet on the list?  Wow, you need to follow the below steps:
1)    Build a time machine
2)    Set the date to May 1, 2005 and strap in.
3)    Add your name to the bottom of the list
4)    Come back to today’s date, go to the swim club, and enjoy!

That’s right, the wait list is now eight to nine years and counting! 

However, if you don’t belong to the swim club and your name is somewhere on that list, here is what you can do in the meantime. Find a member, any member will do really.  Then you need that member to go with you to the Swim Club.  I suggest tracking down one of the many empty-nesters who never, ever go to the Swim Club (ever) but insist on maintaining their membership so the list stays forever long, begging him/her to go with you, and then secretly drowning them so you can get in.   Too dark?  OK, just go as their guest then.  To be a guest, it will cost you five dollars per person ($2.50/person after 5PM) to walk through the door.

But when you enter this magical oasis referred to as the “Swim Club of Fort Thomas”, you will be blown away! So much so, in fact, that a dear friend of mine who moved to Fort Thomas, after hearing so much about this swim club, expected to see speedo-clad men hand-delivering Mai-Thai’s and Martini’s pool-side whilst another one fanned you with the feather plucked from the world’s largest ostrich.  Needless to say, she was quite surprised to see her nine-year wait would only get her one pool, two diving boards, and two concrete communion tables Ping-Pong tables. Yes. That’s correct. You read that right. You just waited on the wait list for 9 years for one large pool, two diving boards, and two concrete table tennis tables. 

Of course, I’m just envious because we’re still on the waiting list.  (Side story, I told my future husband back when we graduated from high school to put our name on the list.  Shockingly, he didn’t listen to me, waited four years until after college, and now here we are- non-members.  All you attorneys out there, is this sufficient for an annulment?).

If you’re one of those who already does belong to the Swim Club, then you know the true appeal is the wonderful people, fellowship, delicious (and incredibly cheap) snack shack, and the fact that while the YMCA has 17,000 unwatched kids running around, you practically have the pool to yourself.  And that, my friends, is well worth a nine-year wait.

Which brings me to the YMCA.  Sure, it is a wonderful place and I am there almost every day. Through the summer, they’re running a $299 special deal for membership which gets you full access, including the pool.  However, with these extreme heats, they have had a waiting list to gain access to the pool (for full-year members and summer-only members), so if that trend continues, it may not be worth your money.  (Editor’s note: per the YMCA, the waiting list is a result of national safety requirements which dictate ratios of lifeguards to pool participants and given the current lifeguard shortage, the YMCA is having a tough time addressing this).  Blah, blah editor’s note; I just want to go to the pool! 

On a positive note, they have childcare while you work out and you can leave your children with them for up to two hours. Oh, and the waiting list to join?  It currently sits at 0-days.  In fact, it always sits at 0-days! Anyone can join.  Just make sure to arrive to swim at 11 am, set up your chair, and stay put so you don’t get wait-listed.  They will update their Facebook when they are at max capacity so you know it is on a wait list.  Be sure to check their Facebook page before you put swim suits, floaties, flippers, and goggles on both kids and drive all the way to the YMCA unless you really, really enjoy the sounds of silent crying emanating from a blazing hot car as you drive back home from your failed YMCA trip, head down in a manner befitting only the most failing of parents.  Not that I would know, of course! 

Recreation Park Department – This really isn’t how to stay cool but more of how to entertain your kids.  The Park Departments have had some awesome Concert Series so far, they also have concessions set up and they typically happen on a Tuesday or Thursday. If you check their website you can see when all the Concerts will be happening.  We drive up after dinner and make sure they are all danced out before tossing them into the car and straight to bed.  Also coming up is the Fourth of July Celebration make sure you mark your calendars for that.  Blessid Union of Souls is the headlining act so all you babies of the eighties who came of age in the nineties, come jam out to “I Believe” and “Nora” with me! 

Fort Thomas Coffee – This is a no brainer.  Typically, when I feel like I am about to die of heat I will jump into FTC and let my kids play in the back toy area while I sip on some sort of iced something to cool off. They can also make your kids smoothies and they have Fro-yo (Frozen Yogurt).

Those are just some way to entertain and keep cool while running around Fort Thomas this summer. Make sure you go and check out some of these awesome places.   Leave your best suggestions for in-town entertainment in the comments section below!  And remember, stay cool and be cool (like me)!

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