Rants, rambles, news and notes from another geek

A Day at the Annual Company Picnic

For some strange reason, I remember with fondness those state-fair-kind-of-things that I went to as a child. You know what I’m talking about, rides, fair food, drinks, kids everywhere, sun, water, sun, kids everywhere, more rides, etc.

But now I’m well into my 30-somethings and I’ve decided that I don’t really like them anymore.

Today was Day 1 (of 2) of the Annual Microsoft Company Picnic. Thirty five thousand people (or so) attend this gala, each person picking one of the two days. And as far as I can tell, everyone picked today.

Emily is in Kansas City with her friends, so I packed up Finn and Hadley and headed over to Scott Densmore’s house. Finn was napping right up till the last minute, so I didn’t really get a chance to feed him (more on that later). At the Densmores’ we met up with Jeff Sandquist (of Channel 9 fame) and his family, loaded the girls into Scott’s new car (they have a DVD player and three rows of seats) and headed up to Mountain Meadows Farm in North Bend.

The drive up was uneventful with the exception that I had a hungry one year old in the back seat hollering for food. While rocking out to the tunes in my iPod Shuffle, I was handing raisins and crackers back to him every couple of minutes and occasionally digging his milk cup off the floor behind me. For the most part, it worked. But then we got outside North Bend and saw the line of cars to get in. This line took an hour to get through, and Finn wasn’t getting any happier. I finally found a pack of Smarties in the center console and started feeding those to him. The first one caused a funny look on his face, followed shortly thereafter by a series of grunts–him asking for more.

Eventually we made it through the line, with me yelling at all the jackasses who were shooting up the right lane and cutting in at the front. Come on people, you think we’re in this line for fun? It is always people like that who make the line slow for the rest of us. It drives me nuts.

We got in to the farm and joined the other 20,000 attendees who were milling around. There was lots to do… food, drinks, beer, kids everywhere, sun, water, kids everywhere… sound familiar?

Once we’d fed ourselves and the children it was time to take them to “do the rides”. Rides in this case means those inflatable slides and trampolines that seem to have replaced the steel contraptions of yore. But the lines were terrible, the sun was hot, and the parents were starting to get cranky.

At some point, Laurie (Jeff’s wife) said, “We should just go back to our house and let the kids loose in the kiddie pool.”

Sheer genius!

So we bribed the kids with promises of swimming and ice cream and happily vacated the premises. Loaded the girls back in the Densmore’s Family Truckster and headed back to good ol’ Sammamish. (No traffic this time.)

On the way home Finn passed out as expected, so I went ahead and took him home for a nap. Once he got up, I fed him dinner and headed over to the Sandquists. The girls were going between the pool and the playroom upstairs and Finn was just being his cute self. Compared to the farm, it was heaven. It was a pleasure for me to get to know Jeff better and I always enjoy hanging out with Scott and Lisa. Jeff has been at Microsoft for a while (going on 9 years) and had a lot of history and wisdom to share.

All in all it was a good day, but I think we have decided that next year we will have a private “mini Microsoft Picnic” next year at one of our houses. That sounds like it would be even better.