Thursday, July 17, 2008

Adventures in day tripping

Adventure 1 - Getting Out of the Driveway - The day began much as I expected it would - with a late start due to numerous last minute things. The big one was refilling the car's air conditioner with freon or whatever comes in this can you hook up to a valve on the a/c unit.  My car a/c leaks and the repair was not part of the $2200 worth of work done last month.  This refill stuff costs $24 or so a can and lasts 4-5 months at a time, much cheaper than repair.

Adventure 2 - Parking the Car - Eventually we get the a/c filled, the DVD player hooked up, everyone visits the bathroom one last time - again and we take off. We did miss most of the traffic, as planned, despite parts of the minor highway being blocked off for repair.  There was the usual slow down just before the first metro station. There always is a big slow down, if not complete stop, there. It's almost as if people are driving along at their usual 65MPH when all of the sudden SSCCRREEECCHHH!!! Holy shit! When did they put that metro station there!! and pause while everyone slows down to look at it. That metro station has been there for 15 years. I'm not sure what the shocker is but we all crept by & looked at it slowly for almost 10 minutes.  Naturally that station's parking lot was full. But they didn't put a sign out to tell you so. We drove around the 5 story lot, along with a few other cars, up and down the rows, avoiding the rows the other cars were driving down. There was nothing, but it took us 15 minutes to be sure.  As we were leaving we saw them hauling out the 'lot full' signs. They did have some metered parking available but since we are the sort of people who never have cash, we certainly don't have quarters. We did drive around briefly looking for a bank or something but by the time we spotted one we were 2 more stations in and this one had open spaces in it's lot. The problem with this one was they only accept MetroSmart cards as payment. We'd never heard of such a thing.  We did ascertain that they could be purchased with out metro tickets, so we parked the car at last. Parking problems caused us a hour delay in our plans.

Adventure 3 - The Metro - Is it $3.35 a trip per person or is it $1.85 and the kids are free? Or is just Mayhem free? It's off peak according to the sign so why did that official tell those people it was $3.35? The SmartCards are $5, does that mean you have to put $5 on them or are they $5 just for the card and then you put money on them? Despite all the confusion about it, we only ended up with 90 cents leftover on our various cards & tickets but I still have no idea how much anything cost.

The boys loved the ride! I think they found it much more exciting than the ride with Thomas a couple months ago (and there was no urban blight in sight).  They counted down the stations and asked questions about the announcements and how fast we were going. They even stayed back from the edges when we were waiting for trains.

Adventure 4 - The Natural History Museum - Mayhem was overwhelmed! he kept saying "I so ess-eye-ted" and wanting to see the next thing. He was so eager to see everything, he couldn't stop and look at anything. We had to constantly ask him to slow down and to try and get him to focus on what we were looking at right then. naturalhist008

Havoc was enjoying himself as well, but was more restrained about it. He was willing to examine things and ask questions about them, but he was eager to see the cave people and the mammoths.  They both enjoyed the geology area.



We gave Havoc our old digital camera and let him take some photos. He liked the fossils best.




I am 99% sure I took more photos than were on my camera.  I know I took photos in the mammals area but there were none on my camera when I downloaded them.  Odd. 

We had a picnic lunch on the Mall and had a snack in the museum cafe.  The boys each bought a souvenir chomping dino head on a stick


Adventure 4 - The Journey Home - We beat the rush out of the city fairly well. It wasn't until Metro Station that we encountered crowded trains. There were few slow downs on the drive into the ends of the suburbs. We were able to take advantage of the HOV lanes and that helped.  We found a shopping plaza with a Borders, a sports store & an Olive Garden. I bought 3 books, the guys looked at camping stuff and we all had a nice dinner.  The boys watched Chased by Dinosaurs on the ride home.

Adventure 5 - Repairing the Toy - A mile from our house, Mayhem's dino head snapped off it's stick. I have no idea how it happened.  Mayhem could only shriek and wail and repeat "Sorry sorry sorry" and "I didn't mean to break it" over and over again.  Poor little kid. His heart was as broken as the toy. He sobbed and cried for over half an hour.  I felt so bad for him.  Little kids feel things so intently. We tried to fix it but naturally we had no glue for plastics in the house. We'd bought some back in December but it's disappeared. DH and I both thought the other had used it last so God only knows where it is.  Today I went to WM and bought some glue. The problem is it is a thin hollow plastic tube that snapped in 2.  There isn't enough surface area for the glue to adhere. It's right up by the head so taping it together isn't a lasting solution. I glued it, let the glue set for a half hour or so and then duct taped it together as much as possible. It's still wobbly but Mayhem can play with it - sort of.

All in all it was a good trip. We're going to repeat it in April and maybe include the Air & Space Museum as well.

This time we'll bring quarters.

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