Wednesday, December 10, 2008

An Adventure Downtown

Yesterday our family went Downtown (yes, I prefer the capital letter. After all, it is a Big City) for our Christmas escapades.

Item 1: Children's Theatre play (the British-y spelling is the official name. I'm not just putting on airs here)

Item 2: Large train display (It's free and they give you a cookie. Can't beat that.).

Item 3: Eating at our usual Downtown spot, just across from the theater. (Theatre?)

Item 4: Lose Prince Charming.

Oh, wait, that wasn't on the agenda. But we managed to do it all the same.

After parking our distinguished mini-van in a lot not too very far from the theater theatre play location, Prince Charming got out to pay for the wonderful privilege of parking. Have you parked Downtown recently? I'm amazed they don't ask for your credit score first. But I digress.

As my Beloved paid for the parking (at a machine a few rows away), I got all the jumpy, bouncy, excited, and, I might add, noisy, children out of our vehicle. We began walking toward Prince Charming. Having spotted a bookstore (Promising 5 floors of books! Five!) just across the parking lot, I headed that way with the children in tow. We walked -this is important - right past their daddy. We said - this is also important - we're going this way.

As I reached the sidewalk I noticed that he was not following. So we walked back and called for him. I called. Polly called. Tigger called. Nothing. Not a glimpse of him. (And he's not a short guy.) We decided to follow through with our plan.

We walked our circuitous route to the play location. Polly would not let me go in the bookstore. "Mom, you will never come out of there. We don't have time", I believe were her exact words. I half-carried Sweet Pea and half-dragged Tigger. Fortunately it wasn't raining yet...much. The girls were cheerful thinking about all the fun things we were about to do. However they both lamented their daddy's absence.

"I feel farther away from home without Daddy," Polly confessed.
"Where did Daddy go? How will we find him? He might be lost!" Tigger worried.

"We'll meet up with him at the play," I assured them. "He's probably waiting for us now." This cheered them up. Until we got to the theater Daddy.

"Where did he go?" We all said at this point. We couldn't go in yet because we were early. I didn't want to walk to the train exhibit because Prince Charming hadn't known where it was so surely he wouldn't be there, right? We stood on the corner and waited. The girls fussed. It started to rain harder. I seriously considered walking back to the van and leaving.

Then he showed up, walking from the direction of the train exhibit. "Where have you guys been?" He actually said. Where had we been?

As we untangled what had happened I asked him why he went to the train exhibit when he said he didn't know where it was. "You pointed out what direction it was in," he said, in that reasonable tone of voice that I sometimes dislike very much tolerate poorly.

"So, a quick gesture you remember but an express, 'we're going this way', not so much?" What can I say, I felt a little testy at this point. He couldn't explain how he had missed us WALKING RIGHT BY HIM and ANNOUNCING OUT LOUD WHAT WE WERE DOING.

So we walked in the driving rain to the train exhibit. We rushed through, thanks to Polly's incessant, "I don't want to miss the play!" We sat in our seats waiting for the show for thirty-five minutes, also thanks to Polly's rushing us.

We did not eat Downtown. As soon as we were released from the play we hightailed it back to our van and went to eat somewhere else. Somewhere small, far away from the City. Polly lamented that it wasn't "tradition". But neither is losing a member of our group.

Oh, and he didn't even get the umbrella when he walked back to put the parking slip in the van. He thought I had it. And the stroller. So he was looking for a lady with a baby in a stroller, two little girls and a bright red umbrella. No wonder he couldn't find us. I guarantee he had no idea what we were wearing.

Next time I'm making them all wear those toddler tethers you see moms using at the mall. Couldn't hurt, right?

And I think I need to go back to that bookstore. Alone.


Philip said...

Now . . . the rest of the story.

We park the van in a sort-of-close-to-the-theatre and definitely over-priced parking spot. The sign indicates that anything over 81 minutes costs $10. Fine. I go to the little kiosk to pay.

This thing is from the Twilight Zone! It has one green button and a red cancel button. Instructions: Push the green button (as if there was another button I might choose to push instead) to start. I push--wait for it--the green button.

Step 2: Push the green button to select time. The first option looks like a hour (not enough time). I push the green button to get the option from the sign. Instead I get 1 hour for $8. Nope, that's not going to work. I push the red button to start over.

Back to the green button. This time I notice that the first option costs $10. Well, that must be the right one. By this time another guy is impatiently waiting behind me. Time to feed in my 10 bucks. It sucks up the money--slurp! Out comes a ticket which reads: Valid until 11:59. !!!

This is not good. The play starts at 12:00, so . . . Better ask Karen what she thinks. Hmmm . . . Karen . . . and the girls . . .

They are G O N E. Nowhere in sight. I head back to the van and put the ticket in the window. I guess they took off already. It occurs to me that every passing second takes them farther away. Just how long was I standing at that kiosk anyway?

I rush down the street towards the theater, confident I'll catch up. But I don't. Well, maybe they went on to the train exhibit--they was the original plan, after all. So, I head to the train exhibit. Unfortunately, I don't know where it is. But I remember Karen vaguely pointing to the right as we neared the theater. Worth a shot, I guess.

I arrive at the train exhibit (lines of school kids helped a lot in locating it. No Karen. No girls. Okay . . . I lost my whole family in approximately five minutes. That's got to be record or something. Maybe the police will be able to confirm that . . .

One last chance--they have to show up for the play at 12:00. I'll just have to wait there and hope they come. And they were there. We just decided to risk the parking situation, and we didn't get towed, so it all worked out--except we had to leave early.

But what about the part where Karen and the girls pass right by you at the kiosk? Yeah, that was news to me, too. I was in the zone--the Twilight Zone.

Lisa said...

Sound like quite the adventure!

Karabeth said...

Going Downtown to the Children's Theatre was never quite that much of an adventure when Bear and I used to go with you. :0

Sounds like a fun day! Ha!

Bear, Pastor Dad, and I will need to go on our own to see the train exhibit. (I'm the one that misses the traditions!)

ginellebaskin said...

You two crack me up! I love that Philip had to post his version. Glad you had a good time despite losing Philip for awhile.

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