Monday, July 14, 2008

12 hours away from home requires 7 bags of stuff

Shhhh... you didn't see me type this, because I don't want to jinx it, but assuming nothing dire happens at the office in the next 36 hours, DH is taking Wednesday off. We're headed to the metropolis 2 hours away. We're going to take the boys to the Natural History Museum so they can see actual dinosaur bones. Just getting there should be quite an adventure for them. We're rural folks & to get to the metropolis we have to drive through the bedroom communities, the exurbs, the suburbs and then get on the Metro and take it into the mysterious 'downtown'.  Our county's main 'town' has a half mile long street, with no cross streets as it's downtown. The larger town in the next county over has a cross street but we tend to stick to things on the edge of that town because the traffic is so bad at that stoplight.  So you can imagine what a thrill the boys are in for - bumper to bumper traffic on 8 lane highways! (ok, I admit they have sat in honest to God traffic before on I75 when we visit my folks, but not 8 lane traffic). Not to mention the vast number of city dwellers and tourists alike that we will encounter on the Metro and at the museum.

The plan is to leave at 8am, thereby catching the tail end of commuter traffic shortly before we reach the start of the Metro (ensuring that we will find no parking at the first 3 stations), park the car, hike the enormous distance to the station, keep the boys from falling onto the track, board the train, change trains, arrive at the nearest to the museum, walk in sweltering heat & humidity to the museum and then spend the next 3-5 hours exploring in air conditioned joy. Repeat the process backwards on the trip home, hopefully catching the beginning of the evening rush until we reach the end of the exurbs, then pull into whatever shopping complex we can find featuring big box electronic & book stores (for the novelty of browsing in them), shop, have dinner & then join the tail end of the commuter traffic and go home.

I have been making lists of things to take with us, so far we have a bag with the portable DVD player & some DVDs for the kids to watch, a bag with my latest crochet project to keep me occupied, one backpack/purse each to hold food, drink, camera, video, maps, phones, wallets, ipod, notebook, crayons, coloring books and a change of clothes for the boys. Last we have the 'miscellaneous' bag that has wipes, paper towels, reuseable grocery bags, umbrellas, flashlight and a clean towel (because I have to know where my towel is). Only the backpacks come with us to the Metro but still.... I'm only missing a couple suitcases to be ready for a 10 day trip.

This is a milestone trip for us. It is the first time we have ever taken the boys anywhere that involves a lot of walking without a stroller. They outgrew the stroller the summer before last and we just didn't go anywhere last summer because we knew they weren't up to walking all over the aquarium or Ren Fest (and we certainly didn't want to carry them).  I'll be interested to see how it goes. It's a short walk to the museum from the train so most of their walking will be in the museum, which has plenty of places to sit.

They are excited to see the museum and to be having a picnic there. They will be carrying their own food in their backpacks & they feel very grown up because of that. They want to bring a bunch of food but I suspect once they put on their packs they will change their minds.  With any luck they will exhaust themselves and nap nicely through the worst of the traffic on the way home. I'm excited to see them seeing the museum & I'm looking forward to it myself.  I must admit though my second thought on planning this trip was "add stopping at a bookstore on the way home to itinerary".  I haven't been in a bookstore in months! 

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