Monday, September 24, 2007

Philadelphia Story

Today we decided to be spontaneous and do a little day trip to Philadelphia (which is, frankly, a little more than day-trip distance from where we live). We had to arrive there before noon, as the Seaport Museum offers free admission until noon on Sundays, and we needed the admission money to pay for the gas to get up there. So that entailed an early morning start, which meant that we had to leave the house in a not-very-tidy state, which I hate. I worry that we'll get killed on the road and relatives or neighbors will have to go into our house to figure out what to do with our possessions and will see what a mess we lived in. I'd die of embarrassment (that is, if I weren't already dead).
A long drive could be pleasant if we were allowed to listen to the radio. But Susie (otherwise known around here as She Who Must Be Obeyed) has decreed that only certain music may be played on our new CD player in the car. It has to have words, and it can't have too much "Daddy voices," for starters. This really bothers Larry, who erroneously assumed that as a grown-up he'd be allowed to listen to whatever he wanted to. We tricked her with a little Broadway show music for a bit, but then we had to bite the bullet and put in Raffi. Unlike Larry, I don't mind listening to Raffi, but his songs all have the distinctive quality of being able to burrow into your brain and stay there for a very, very long time. This is a bad thing.

Theo was away on a canoe trip and for some reason our teenage daughter Anna had absolutely no desire whatsoever to spend the day with us, so we only took 4 kids; that meant that I was able to be a passenger instead of driving the second car, which meant that I finally had time to finish crocheting a hobo-style bag that I started last year. Yes, it took me a whole year to find a big enough chunk of time to figure out what mistake I had made so that I could fix it and get on with the project. In fact, I didn't care about seeing Philly at all. I just wanted a car trip long enough for me to get the bag done. Philadelphia was just a nice bonus.

We saw the Seaport Museum (for free!), which was filled with just enough kid-friendly activities to enable us to stay there a whole hour; then we visited the Tall Ship Gisela (and if anyone can explain to me the "Tall Ships" concept, I'd really appreciate it), where I was able to show off to the tour guide all the stuff I learned about ships during our year in Newport, RI (forgive me, but I so rarely get to show off about anything...); and then we visited a submarine and the USS Olympia, which I believe was Commodore Dewey's flagship during the Spanish-American War (learned all about that yesterday); and then, being thirsty and hot and tourists, we spent a large portion of the children's college money on what the Philadelphians call Irish water ices, which were sort of thick, dye-ridden Italian ices, only not as good.

Since we wanted to tire out the kids before putting them back in the car, we dragged them on a couple-of-miles walk into the city to see the Liberty Bell, which is cordoned off behind a security shed and not exactly, um, free, if you get my meaning. There must be better things for Philadelphia to spend its security dollars on - evacuation plans, say, and maybe some terrorism-proof communication systems. Besides, the Bell already has a crack in it. What else is someone going to do to it?

So that sort of bugged me. Because the last time I saw the Liberty Bell was 20 years ago and it was out in this sort of open brick pavilion in the middle of a grassy lawn, and that seemed a little more fitting, somehow, than housing it in the museum equivalent of a bunker.

Anyway, we traipsed back to the car, getting a little lost on the way, and settled in for the ride home, after spending the rest of the kids' college money on bottles of water that weren't heated to 90 degrees by sitting in the car in the sun. We arrived home exactly at bedtime, with Rachel and Susie both well-rested from their naps in the car. So I sat at the computer and told Larry I had to finish an article for Home Education Magazine (I lied - instead, I goofed off in the blogosphere) and he was in charge of somehow stuffing them in their beds against their will. If this seems unfair, let me point out that he left me (again) this morning for a 4-day management retreat. So don't talk to me about unfair.


  1. I would say that was punishment for not having a good excuse for being so late to Pizza Hut!

  2. LOL! I won't tell Larry if you don't tell Joe that I do the same thing! Shhhh.
    I'm glad you had a nice family outing yesterday!

  3. The bell thing cracked me up! Well, it all did really, as usual!

  4. I can only assume the pun was intended, MadMad.

  5. Chortling here about the joys of being able to crochet on a long trip.

  6. Isn't it great? I'm already planning on where to go this weekend. Has to be at least an hour away....especially since I found certain colors of Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn on sale for a dollar at our local Michael's....

  7. Hmmm. I share the same strange phobia about not leaving the house clean. WTF? I'll be DEAD! Never the less, like a crazy lady with the cleaning.

  8. Plymouth Rock - already unimpressive enough on its own - is in a ditch about twenty feet down. Like someone'll try and steal it.

    BTW, try All You Need Is Love - it's a CD of Beatles songs sung by kids. They like it and if you get it stuck in your head, you don't mind so much.

  9. Good idea - and, yes, we've done the Plymouth Rock pilgrimage also. I was so disappointed! A big boulder in a cage, from what I remember.

  10. I loved this post and then I thought seriously about the fact that you took FOUR KIDS on a day trip and honestly, I wanted to send you a bottle of wine. I think you rule. SUBURBANCORRESPONDENT FOR PRESIDENT! Then you can do something about setting the Liberty Bell free an all.


  11. No,no - our great accomplishment was taking 4 kids (8 and under) to IKEA to buy a kitchen table and chairs. Parenting should have badges, like scouting. There would be the IKEA badge, and the camping-with-scouts badge, and the toilet-training badge and....well, the possibilities are endless.



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