"What about the prizes?"... Four words that often slip from my lips to my husband's ears, when I'm bored, stressed, or need to smile.
The exact translation: "Time to buy my next toy."
Not a grown-up toy like a giant screen TV, luxury car, or digital gadget, but a toy-toy, a kid's toy, something small, made of plastic, cheap and often found in places like: vending machines, dollar stores, Five Below, and Toys "R" Us. Objects that can easily be held and displayed, provide levity to gravity, and are capable of waking the child within who has long been asleep.
Unfortunately, today I woke up early, 4 AM early, due to 'mind chatter': the constant bombardment of thoughts and the inability to turn them off. Thoughts about our government: the deception, nepotism, fabrications, leaks, ties with Russia, power for personal gain, the eroding of our Democracy and human decency, and sheer incompetence, to name a few, compounded by...
Thoughts of having to relocate, after learning that our lease which expires next year will not be renewed. Instead, the house we've rented for 10 years will be sold, forcing us to find another transitional home, who knows where, until we eventually move into the building we bought years ago... a building that's still being gutted and sure to be angst for some other morning.
But for now, I'm in Target, ambling the toy aisles... as a distraction, to feel kid-like unburdened and carefree, to smile, and buy my next toy!
I pick up these Li'l Woodzeez... small bobblehead animals nestled in cute plastic-shaped acorns. And... they're on sale! But the containers appeal to me more than the fuzzy composite critters inside.
So, I pass on the Woodzeez, and gravitate toward these...
12 little, hard plastic characters pressed into one package! Not cheap, but HEY!... I've had a difficult morning AND... it's almost MY BIRTHDAY!... SOLD!
Once home, I give my new friends time to settle into their new temporary digs, while I....
settle down in front of the computer and track this story...
"BOY GETS TRAPPED IN ARCADE MACHINE!"
APPARENTLY... Jamie, a clever 3-year-old boy who loves toys, managed to get inside a giant claw machine and retrieve the prizes of his choice, but wasn't quite clever enough to find his way out! Ya gotta love this kid!
Here's a better look at the "Great Toy Machine Caper" with 5-year-old brother Shane checking out the situation.
And here's Jamie, safe and happy at home with his nabbed toys... 2 green dragons: one for him and one for his brother. Sweet!
I'm not sure the last time I belly-laughed so hard, but between my new Peppa Pig toys and this story, I'm in a much happier place.
Watch a snippet of the arcade video here. And read the complete story, much of it told by Jamie's dad here.
And just when I couldn't imagine my day getting any lighter and brighter, I discover this odd little video by 'Disney Car Toys'. To some it might seem as interesting as watching paint peel off a ceiling, but to those like me, who love little plastic toys and vending machine prizes, it might just put a smile on your face, too. Watch Sandra & Spidey make a roll of quarters disappear here.
Here's hoping our next and hopefully last transitional dwelling
"TAKES THE PRIZE!"
My wish when I blow out my candles.
Update: The day after publishing this post, I came across this short video: "Chen Zhitong Wins 15,000 Stuffed Animals from Claw Machines." It's worth a look here.