Thursday, November 15, 2007

Veruka and the Hunt

I have to take a few minutes to talk about Veruka. Yes, it's true, as unbelievable as it seems, she is 14 and in HIGH SCHOOL! I know, I can't believe it either!! How can that be? It seems like just yesterday, and also at the same time eons ago, that she was born. I can clearly remember so much about her first two years. (That was way back, when I still had all of my brain cells functioning! Funny, how I can remember something from 14 years ago, but can't remember what I am supposed to be buying at the grocery store once I get there!)

A few weekends ago, Brian and I took Veruka and 4 of her friends on our church youth group's scavenger hunt. It was called, "The Hunt." Think "Amazing Race", scaled down to our little county in Maryland. Each car would be given one clue to a location that our kids would have to figure out. Once we got to the location, we would have to flash our headlights, so the person would know we were with the Hunt. They'd come to the car and the girls would have to say some spy code, ie. "It looks like rain." Then the person at the location would respond with their code, "Yes, it's going to rain cats & dogs." (Or some other crazy thing.) Then the girls would be given a task to do, solve a puzzle, sing a song, bring back a certain type of candy bar etc. Once the task was completed, they'd be given their next clue which would take them to the next location. There would be 10 clues all around our county. We would end back at the church for a big pizza party. Woven into all of this was a cool story line where the kids were all secret agents, who were trying to capture an evil villian named Dr Z.

So, the Hunt was supposed to cost $5 per kid. You'd think it would've cost us $5 since Veruka was our only kid going right? Wrong.
The day of the Hunt, Veruka tells me that she forgot to tell everyone to wear black, and she called them and 3 of the girls don't even have a black shirt. Plus they really want to all wear the same shirt.

So, I head to Walmart to buy shirts.

5 Black shirts at $6 each = $30 (Yea, Walmart)
Snacks for all of us = $40

Drinks and ice = $30

1 bottle of Advil for Bri & I = $5 (We did learn something last year when we drove!)

Then, I get home and the girls have arrived. Oops some of them forgot to bring their $5.

I tell them I'll pay for everyone. $5 x 5 = $25

We pile into the car, but need to get gas....$50.

So, before we even started we were out $180!!

When we got to the church, our Youth Pastor told the drivers, a couple of things:

1. Try to let the kids figure out the clues...don't help them too much. (We figured since our girls were all in High School, they should be able to do pretty well without help from Bri & I.)

2. There was a "help line" that we could call if we were stuck. He said we could ask for help or a more detailed clue, or even if it came to it say, "We give up, where the heck is the next location??" (Thank you, Thank you!)

3. This wasn't a race. He just wanted everyone to have fun. (That was just to make the losers feel better....of course it was a race!)

The Hunt took place on a Sunday afternoon. Everyone was dressed in black....(because they were secret agents, of course.)

Sounds like fun doesn't it??? Well, the entire Hunt took about 5 hours to complete from start to finish. So think about that.....

5 hours in the van.

5 hours in the van with 5 screaming, squealing, singing teenage girls. ("Oh my gosh, I love that song! ..... Turn it up!.... Ooops, I dropped the clues! .... Ooooh, take my picture.....How do I look?...I have to go to the bathroom" .....etc)

We get the first clue and it says, "If a your house had a train station in front of it, why then this is what it'd be called."

We were told that our clue was in Eldersburg/Sykesville. Well, there is a little restaurant here called Baldwin's Station. The building that it is in is an old train station and the train tracks literally run right up to it. One of our Pastor's last name is Baldwin. The girls immdiately think this is the place. We drive to it, Brian flashes our lights....and nothing. So he says, "Maybe I need to aim the car into the restaurant and flash the lights." He manuevers the car around and aims into the restaurant and flashes his lights. Again, nothing. By now, the people outside the restaurant and in the parking lot, are looking at us like we're crazy. The girls want me to call the help line to see if we're in the right place, so I do. They tell me no we aren't, and to think of another name for a train station. "Depot" somebody shouts out. That's right ...Home Depot. (Duh? You think, it seems easy in retrospect, but when you're in it, it was just as easy to come up with the wrong answer.)

This was basically how the afternoon unfolded as we worked our way through the 10 clues.

Last year we finished the "not a" race in 7th place out of 30 cars.

This year, we wanted to finish in the top 3.

Five hours after the Hunt began, we arrived back at the church and ended up coming in 21st place out of 40. (By the time we got there, we were just happy to have finished!)

It was actually a lot of fun and really cool for the kids. It was neat to be able to spend the day with Veruka and her friends. Next year Charlie will be able to participate since it includes kid's aged 7th grade -12th grade.

Brian and I are already fighting over who will get to drive the boys! :) Just kidding of course!

Here are some pictures: