Where will I throw the kids when they have been indoors too long and get that claustrophobia-induced whiny voice? (Well, the real pool I guess. Don’t feel too sorry for me yet.)
What will I talk about in the grocery line at Woolworths when I run into friends now that Jumpy Castle Watch is no longer our obvious and immediate source of conversation?
What will function as the natural centerpiece of every barbecue, birthday party, and Sunday afternoon get-together going forward? Now we have only the giant leopard tortoise as a special feature, and there are whispers from the kids that Herkimer is played out.
And why oh why did I not schedule that nighttime Jumpy Castle party for adults that so many of my friends were begging for while I still had the chance? (Okay, just one friend. You know who you are.)
We will survive of course.
A shadow of its former self.
For the next family birthday party, I will have to rent a Jumpy Castle for just one day like the common folk, but I will not complain. My daughter wants to know why there is now a UFO-shaped landing pad pressed into the yard where grass used to be: I will shrug and wait for rain to fill it in. The neighborhood kids who thought that the Jumpy Castle was a permanent fixture of our yard now look at me with unveiled disappointment, but I will try to hold my head high.
I’m sorry to let them all down, but I’m glad that for a few, shining weeks our house was not just a house, but a beacon of bouncy house fun where anything was possible for the grand price of $1.23 per day. And also that the smell of hot vinyl has become an important part of my kids’ childhood memories. Sayonara, Castle!