Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Change your life in the soft play centre #TightwadDad 001

Last week I changed my life and my foot in the corner of the soft play centre.

I don't know if I should be sharing any of this.
But I'm going to try and get to the end of the story.

Like all parents, I hate the soft play centre.

But we still want to go there.
Because it's half an hour where you get to scroll down your phone and duck out of keeping your kids in line.

My kids are old enough now to never be in line.
And this could be our last visit ever.

So I kicked off my shoes and dived into the corner cage with my two beautiful independent spirits.
For a lovely game of murder death killer basket football.

No rules.
No time outs.
Booting the ball into goals, hoops, and each others faces.

It was bliss.

This place is completely padded.
With nets (padded), goals (padded) and a fake grass springy floor (super-soft padded).

We had to end the match on a nailbiting 28-26-23.
Our friends were heading off and we were late getting to Reception, so we all gave the ball one last kick.

Except me.

It's a funny thing, Adrenaline.

A happy drug to get a gazelle injured by a lion attack, back to the safety of a nearby cave.
And now it's getting me to the cafe by the exit.

It's even getting me to take a sneaky peek under my sock to make sure that everything's okay.

It's not okay.
"Dad. Why's your toe pointing the wrong way?"
My toe is pointing the wrong way.

The rest is a blur.

I don't want to cause a scene, so I roll onto the floor.

Under this table I can totally disguise my fainting, plus hide till the Leisure Centre staff go away.

A tannoy call distracts them:
"All available staff to the Soft-Play Cafe."
More teenagers in yellow polo shirts gather round.

Their medical care is excellent, but I need to get out of here.
They break the prognosis to my Long-Suffering Wife (LSW).
"You'd probably best get to hospital."

"Great. Let’s go!"
"But first, can we just fill in these forms please?"

Turns out Adrenaline's also the thing for 8 pages of datamining from a insurance company .

But then it ran out.
Right in the middle of my barefoot Walk Of Shame past the toddlers.
It's not even a walk.
More a shuffle.
Using my 7 year old like a zimmer frame.

My LSW dumps the kids somewhere and gets me to A&E.

There's old people in wheelchairs and a mud biker with an entire arm pointing completely the wrong way.
But they still want my pathetic bruised toe in next.

And this is where everything changes.

I am about to get the finest healthcare on the South Coast.
Instantly and for free.

But this really wrong thought went through my head.

"Quick, if you get the car now, it’ll only count as a drop off!”

I'm trying to get my Long-Suffering Wife out of here.

That's right.
I am kicking out my Life Partner, so we don't clock up £1.80 per hour on parking fees.

And I don't know if what happens next is a mid-life epiphany, or my sisters painkillers.

But in this moment, I know for sure that I am living my life all wrong.

Yes, I am a Tightwad Dad.

One of the best.

But I am fed up of freaking out about money.

This is my signal.

This is my sign from the Universe that I can make things right.

Putting my health and family first, instead of constantly worrying about cash.

But it's too late.
She's gone.

Which is good, because we did still have 2 minutes left on the ticket.

Her path crosses a mysterious woman with her teenage son.
Forgive me it’s the pain, I can't tell if she is of Gypsy heritage or drunk.

"Ha! Did yer brake yer toe?!"
"Yeah. Soft play centre."
"Ha! Not as bad as this one! Are you gonna tell him?”

Before he can answer, she carries on.
“His girlfriend got him angry. So he went and punched the wall!"
The teenage son holds up his wrist.
The wrist that's pointing completely the wrong way.
“Hahahaaha!” she laughed louder.

I knew right then that if I can just get through the next 2 hours, I will totally devote myself to my new journey in Life.

Past the Navigation Nurse:
"Hello, are you the soft play centre man..."
The Trauma Nurse:
"You must be the soft play centre man..."
X-Ray Radiographers:
"So, the soft play centre man..."
And Discharge:
"Ah, the soft play centre man..."

Things are already looking up.
For a start, I'm not with my Mum telling complete strangers I got angry at my girlfriend and I punched the wall.

But how can I get to the next step?

What is the next step?

How can I feel joy for all the money we're spending?

How can I become a Happy Tightwad Dad?

Today we spent...

£9.50 In 50ps on table football.
£7.50 Water zorbs session for two.
£32.90 Traditional Full English Breakfasts, scrambled eggs and poached eggs.
£5.50 Coffee and a cold hot chocolate.
£13 On chips (our contribution to a big family meal).


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