No firearms in the bouncy house.

Over the weekend I went to Fairbanks with my friend Linda B., who had a play in the annual 8 x 10 Festival. It’s a very cool concept: The Fairbanks Drama Association puts out a call for 10-minute plays and, after blind judging, selects the best eight to be performed as an evening of staged readings.

As usual, it was a great evening. Linda’s play, “Here There Be Dragons,” was a delightful mashup of satire, swords ’n’ sorcery, and Pokemon Go. The other seven shorts were pretty entertaining as well, especially one called “Smartphone” – imagine asking the GPS on your phone for directions to a date, only to have the device direct you somewhere else instead and try to get you back together with your former partner. (Not to give too much away, but the phone had a personal reason to rebel.)

We saw swans and moose on the way up and back, had pie at Rose’s Café (although, alas, the sauerkraut pie is no more), bumped into a former co-worker who’s now teaching school in Fairbanks, and ate the sourest sourdough pancakes I’d ever tasted. It all would have been a lovely weekend had that stupid virus not still been kicking my keister.

But that’s not what this story is about.


I felt so weary after lunch on Saturday that I went back to the hotel and spent the rest of the afternoon – and most of the evening – lying down. Slept a little, read a little, edited the upcoming “Playbook” sequel a little, and waved Linda goodbye as she went to the second 8 x 10 presentation. (Authors go to both to get optimum feedback from audiences.)

At about 9 p.m. or so I started craving an apple. Fred Meyer being only about one long block away, I figured it was a do-able walk (especially since it’s light pretty late at this time of year). The route took me right past the Romper Room of Fairbanks, whose sign I’d seen and puzzled over as we originally drove to the hotel. Day care center? Local version of the old TV show?

Nope: Bouncy house, as I learned after walking up to the front door to peek at the sign. Then I saw the other sign, the one that said that no firearms were permitted.


Bounce, bounce…bang?

This makes the Golden Heart City sound like a pretty rough town. What kind of burg has to outright prohibit kiddies from smuggling in their gats? But you can certainly understand – human safety issues aside, what would happen if someone’s pistol went off and the bouncy castles lost all their air?

Sadness, that’s what.

But seriously: Alaska is a state where you don’t need a concealed carry permit. In fact, you can openly carry a firearm. Thus I guess the operators of a house of childhood exuberance might very well need to make sure that no one is packing.

That’s just one of the numerous house rules, though. My other favorite admonition is Rule No. 19: “Users that are bleeding…must not use inflatables.”

It all made me laugh, and laughter is the best medicine. So thanks, Romper Room of Fairbanks, for nudging me further along the road to health.

Speaking of health: When I returned, DF had washed and air-dried the sheets, started some more seeds (snap peas, cucumber, quinoa, green beans), run the Roomba around the bedroom, and put away the humidifier in favor of a hypoallergenic air purifier. Can’t help lovin’ that man, especially since we’re surrounded by birch trees that any day will starting pumping poison pollen into the atmosphere. It’s a jungle out there, especially for us asthmatics.

Full disclosure: Although I’d gone to Fred Meyer for an apple I actually left with a little bag of popcorn and a small container (what we used to call a “dixie cup”) of Dreyer’s slow-churned chocolate ice cream. The popcorn cost me nothing, thanks to Fred’s “Free Friday Download” program. If you shop at Kroger stores, see if there’s a similar program where you live. Some of the downloads are for treats, but I’ve also scored items like Annie’s Mac and Cheese, Campbell’s Well Yes! soup and a jar of salsa.

The chocolate ice cream I cannot defend, except to say that when it comes to eating one’s feelings it’s more fun to eat ice cream than an apple. For me, anyway.


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  1. We are no longer allowed to put up such signs except in churches and at the state capitol building. And the former is up for a vote in the legislature. It is really creepy seeing the tape over the “No firearms” rule on the list of rules for using playground equipment.

  2. Hahaha! Sounds like Alaska is pretty rough ‘n’ tumble. I guess the kiddos wanted to feel protected while having fun lol. 😉 So are concealed carry licenses not a thing in Alaska at all? Or is open carry just for rifles? Texas requires concealed permits for handguns, but open carry of rifles is now allowed. Hmm.

    • Donna Freedman

      You don’t need a license to carry a firearm, either openly or concealed. But you can get a permit, which I guess is for when you travel to other places.

  3. Catseye

    You must have the same virus that brought Funny about Money so low. I hope you are over it very soon.
    As for DF and his domestic skills, I am SO envious right now! ;o) Seriously, I’ve got to invest in a Roomba as soon as I can afford one. I have always HATED vacuuming and age has only deepened my animosity.

    • Donna Freedman

      It’s odd how easy it now feels to mop the living room, kitchen, entryway and hall. This is a chore that I generally put off until the floor looked so dirty I felt embarrassed. Now DF and I put up all the chairs and such and set Roomba free; once she’s done two revolutions of the area or once her battery runs out, it’s such a simple thing to fill a bucket and mop.

      In part that’s because I didn’t first have to move everything, then sweep everywhere and then mop. The thing about the ease of the chore now is that because I do it every week, two buckets are enough for the entire living area. If I put it off, it would be a lot harder.

      I really appreciate the Roomba — and a partner who doesn’t shirk his share of the chores. #jackpot

  4. I’ve been fighting off, and failing, that same darn virus and I’ll attest 100% that ice cream has medicinal value. No regrets!

  5. Lake Livin'

    I see similar signs in TX. You must’ve needed your calcium!

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