Well, it's just about over now. Heavy sigh.
Relax. I'm not worried about any misinterpreted Mayan calendar silliness. I'll see you on the 22nd.
I speak, my friends, of the ever-coveted and cherished family fun time. I know the path encircling Patty Logic doesn't always follow a very conventional trajectory, now does it? Please try to hang in there with me.
The way I see it, summer is the pinnacle of family time. Everyone is in relaxation / vacation mode for pretty much three months, even if you never step foot outside of the city of Warren. Sun equals fun, just across the board during June, July and August. It is the zenith of contentment for those of us who are traditional, kin-lovin', sitting-down-together-at-the-picnic table folks. Yep, sweet summertime - it's da bomb.
Except, of course, for right now the time for which most of us yearn the whole year long: the holiday season. It is arguably the most family-oriented time of the year, and some might say, the "funnest."
Hard to dispute that the holidays - no matter which ones you celebrate - are about anything but sharing love and joy with family and friends. The food, the fellowship, the mad-dashes back home from remote locales, the twinkling lights, the parties on Tuesday nights - did I already mention the food? - and the goodwill toward men. Well, heck, it very well could just be the apex of good old fashioned get-togetherness.
Which isn't to say that autumn, even with its slaying of the summer solstice, doesn't also claim some very family-centered commotion of its own including but not limited to: football games, bonfires, trick-or-treating and leaf-raking / jumping endeavors.
But January through April in northeast Ohio? Blah.
As in, the blahs of winter. The crushing cold, the rush of the daily grind, the schlepping back-and-forth to practices in parkas, the 14 minutes of daylight per day. Sort of shoots a spear right through family fun-ability. Everyone's so frigid and grumpy and ready for bed by 6:45 p.m. that no one is motivated to hook up the slip-n-slide in the bathroom and pretend it's a warm summer's day, you know?
Post-Christmas winter time is, as they say, a bummer. Except for those families who know the secret. Luckily, we discovered it just recently. Want in on it? OK, all right, put the icicle down, dude, I'll tell you already Kalahari.
Kalahari is an indoor waterpark in Sandusky (heck, there's one in Wisconsin, too, if you want to drive to someplace even colder than here). But the secret is this: it's more than a mere waterpark - it's a time machine. Because as soon as you step into the self-proclaimed biggest indoor waterpark in the country (and I believe them), it's like you are transported back to July.
To begin with, there's a huge transparent roof that permits sunshine to permeate the entire 12,000 square feet with natural light and warmth - even when it's four below outside.
To summer-lovers like moi, that's worth the price of admission right there. I'm not kidding - it is sweltering in that place even on Groundhog Day. I have the photos of my frizzed-out hair to prove it. My mane tends to puff out like a parachute whenever there's the slightest moisture in the air. Seriously, I accidentally knocked a little boy over who was in line a football field away from me just by turning sideways in the humidity.
Whether it's the Zip Coaster, the Swahili Swirl, the Ripping Rhino or Victoria Hill raft rides - it's a thrill seeker's paradise. For those of us who do not prefer water rides, there is the nice, slow Lazy River ride plus a couple of indoor / outdoor Jacuzzi spas.
But the real point is this: Kerry and Kyle had a ball on said crazy rides and I basked in the sun - just like we would if it were summer. Not to mention that I sat huddled in a corner saying the rosary while Kyle tried his hand at surfing on the Flowrider - just like I would in the summer. Or any other time. More digression.
Whether we were grabbing coffee and snacks at the Candy Hut, checking out Madagascar Mini Golf or being led by Kyle kicking and screaming into the arcade - we were having a blast, just the three of us. Laughing and playing and enjoying a day.
So, see? No need to worry that cold, gray days mean no more fun times with your family. Sunshine's just a car ride away this winter. Surf's up, dude!
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist and fun-in-the-sun-seeker. Contact via sunbeam or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.