Every child had water ( a big deal in our family) and our audio book, Winn Dixie, was working mighty fine in my cd player and added to our themed day. I've never read this book before but it is a very good read/ listen! Anyways, we head into Phoenix- driving along, singing a song and score, I find the location!
I see hoards and hoards of people piling out of their cars and parking in the main parking lot and many in the off shoot parking lots to save a couple of bucks. I decide to pay more and park closer because I"m by myself, downtown and would prefer to make things as easy on myself as possible. As I am driving up I notice that the signs on all the booths say " cash only". When do I ever have cash on me, I mutter in my brain. I text Ben to see if he knows of any good locations to stop at as my choices are slim in this part of the hood. He does not sooo, I ask the friendly man at the "off shoot" booth and he gives me a couple of choices. Ok..... heading off deeper into the ghetto now.
Never fear, within two minutes I landed and secured my ATM withdrawal of $20 and headed back to the Pet Expo. I pull up, pay, and park in amazing first available spot only to realize I have not parked someone in and now need to back up and maneuver my way around this wild group of "mean" looking trucks. Ok,
There was an excitement in the air that I had never felt before. People were pumped so I became more pumped. Jay asked me, " Where do we go?" I said, " If you don't ever know, just follow the people in front of you" So...that is what we did. As we got closer I see men walking around everywhere. Many of them looked quite burly and I kept thinking, " wow, this pet expo is bringing them out from all corners of the world".
I stood in line and when I reached the front a man gave me a $1 off coupon to a gun show. "Ok," I thought sarcastically. "Why do I need this?" I verified that 12 and under were free and the lady at the booth stated , "yes". Then, she stated my ticket price would be $15. Umm, excuse me? I tried to explain to her that I just looked online today and it stated $6 but she said that I would need a ticket to enter and then I could talk to the promoters about the price difference...sooo, I had to go back to the ATM machine, thankfully this one was located next to the booth and withdrawal another $20 because now I only had $13 in cash. The man standing next to me was a little scary and he had a huge gun on his belt. Seriously dude, this is a pet show.
I get back in line, with the four children, and pay, receive my ticket and then make it down the ramp with my double stroller, four children and a very cute outfit on, mind you. As we are being herded into this area to give up our tickets, the energy in the room is heavy with testosterone. Men everywhere toting rifles and guns, huge signs stating " NO LOADED GUNS ALLOWED" . I could not believe how much police presence was at the pet expo and it was almost time for the reptile show. I hoped we would have enough time to talk to the promoters and then see the reptiles.
A large woman is yelling, " open up your gun cases, I need to see your guns fully unloaded before you leave!". Man after man after man unloading their cases and doing whatever they do with their rifles and shot guns to show that they were empty. This is insane, why is the NRA sponsoring the pet show. I was very hot at this point, and finally, after moving from a huge group funneled into a single line, I gave the workers my ticket and asked where the promoter was located. They directed me and I wheeled the five of us over there. " Umm, excuse me, is this the pet expo?" - the woman just looked at me, the kids, and the stroller and said, " oh honey, you are at the Gun Show"- What!?!? How did I end up here???! Then it dawned on me, I was seriously the only one with a baby in this place, let alone a stroller, almost the only estrogen and the only one without a gun on my waist or a rifle across my shoulders. This is insane!!!Get us out of here!!!
The lady was so friendly, brought us to someone who refunded our money and directed us to a little building on the south side of the parking lot that was, indeed, the pet expo. We just walked out of there, saying goodbye to our pro-gun fans and pushed the stroller across a huge asphalt, 110 degree parking lot.
Finally, towards the end we found our reptile show. Jay was able to hold a python and then Austen held a slink with a blue tongue and Jay held a bearded dragon. The Bearded Dragon then peed boatloads all over Jayden as well as the floor, drenching him with dragon urine. He received a free reptile shirt and now I need to wash his shirt that apparently has nature's worst urine smell on it. Overall, we had a great day and I laughed the entire time thinking of how insane it truly was.
PS. NEVER FOLLOW THE CROWD