LARSON: Vacation gets me gassed up for getting back home

Susan Larson

Susan Larson

As you read this, I could be catching up on news with my friend Kathy in Gulfport, Miss., having coffee with friends in Baton Rouge, La., or visiting my brother Bob and his wife in Galveston, Texas. With the price of gas, it sure is nice to have friends to free load off of along the way.

Actually, I did the math and figured that if the county hadn't cut substitutes' pay nine percent back to $80 per day, that whole $87 I used to make might have paid for a full tank of gas. And my car runs on the cheap stuff.

Yes, this is a fun splurge The only downside is that I'll get back just in time for Spring Break when there won't be any subbing jobs to help defray the cost of the gas. But while I wait for school to start back, I can take advantage of some freebies -- or at least "cheapies" -- right here at home.

What better time than Spring Break to get out in the sunshine and check out those free passes the Gwinnett Library's Key to the Arts Program offers for local attractions. Or just take advantage of walking, swimming or playing bocce in one of our 44 beautiful parks. However, if the weather is bad, the Hudgens Center has something we all can do at home.

The deadline for their Altered Book Contest is April 9, so you can just sit at your kitchen table and transform an old book into something cute and clever. Just think, all those guys who used to hollow out books to use as squirt gun holders in grade school could now win a prize for their creativity.

It looks like a lot of the things going on that week would be a lot more fun if you took a little kid along with you, like the puppet shows at various libraries. For kids of all ages, Fun on the Farm on Wednesday offers lots of 1930s farm activities at McDaniel Farm Park. For kids ages 9-13, a three-day Tracking History Scavenger Hunt will allow them to dig into the county's past.

And for kids who really want to travel into the past, Medieval Times is offering free Knight Training in the Grand Ceremonial Arena at select shows from April 2-10.

Kids between the ages of 4-12 can watch a weapons demonstration, learn about the standards and training necessary to become a knight, and engage in hands-on sword-fighting sequences under the guidance of the Medieval Times team. Upon completion, kids will be knighted into the realm. And this is not a boys only event. Joan of Arc wannabes are welcome, too. (For more info, call 1-888-WE-JOUST.)

Yes, it will be a nice Spring Break for me. A time to relax, regroup and refresh before I have to start hustling up some subbing jobs to help pay off all the gasoline we put on the credit card.

Susan Larson is a freelance writer who lives in Lilburn. E-mail her at susanlarson4@yahoo.com.