Friday, April 28, 2017

Sometimes? I'm Judgmental. Also, Seattle!

I broke down and cleaned Rachel's room myself this morning, because the electrician was coming to install a new ceiling fan and it was too embarrassing to leave it as it was. Her high school's big show is this weekend and next, and there have been a zillion rehearsals, and she's been keeping up with her schoolwork (I think), and overall managing pretty well. So I don't blame her (much) for the mess, but there will still be a housekeeping charge deducted from her allowance this month. I need the money, anyway, after blowing the bank on that train trip I took with Susie.

No granola bars here!
Ah, yes, the train trip. After our tourist-y day in San Francisco, we took the train to Seattle. Unfortunately, we missed seeing the redwoods, because we rode through northern California during the night. Other than that, it was a spectacular trip through the Cascade Mountains, and we saw Mt. Rainier, from a distance. In fact, it would have been thoroughly pleasant, what with the excellent provisions we had laid in for this leg of the trip, if it hadn't been for the parents from hell, right in front of us.

Now, as you can tell by glancing at my profile in the sidebar over there, I have 6 kids, and they have done their share of making us look really bad in public. REALLY BAD. So I didn't think I had it in me to judge other parents. And for the first, oh, 12 hours of the trip I didn't. It's rough, taking a 3-year-old and a 6-year-old on a train. I felt for those people, I really did. Even when the older child woke ME up in the middle of the night, looking for his parents, who for some reason were both asleep in the seats across the aisle, instead of each sitting/sleeping with one kid apiece.

Really, I should have known right there.

And then along came hour 13, when the older one was whining and the younger one was crying, and the older one started hitting the younger one and the younger one started yelling and hitting back, and NO ONE DID ANYTHING. The dad was somehow managing to snooze through all this, and the mom was ignoring them until it got really bad, and THEN she would intervene. Halfheartedly. This happened repeatedly over the next 9 hours or so.


You know, they could have headed this behavior off at the pass, before those poor kids (who really weren't bad) were fighting and crying. They could have taken the kids to the Sightseer Lounge and let them look out the big windows and maybe eat a fun snack. They could have walked around the train with them. They could have NOT BEEN SNOOZING while the rest of us suffered. I swear, by the time we arrived in Seattle, I hated these people more than I have ever hated anyone in my life.

This is yet another example of how train travel can turn you into a person who contemplates murder. I'm not proud of that fact, but there you are...

We stayed in a hostel in Seattle. I'll admit, I had second thoughts about this adventure when we arrived around 9 PM on a Saturday night (via Uber, because I wasn't stupid anymore) and the common areas were full of drinking 20-somethings. LOUD drinking 20-somethings. But Susie had a look on her face that all but shouted, "We're NOT going to pull our bags all over Seattle looking for a real hotel, are we?" The poor girl was traumatized by our California experience, that's for sure.

Our hip room in the hostel
So we stayed, and it turned out that this place (shout out to City Hostel Seattle!) was excellent. We had a private room (with a wall mural by a local artist), and the shared bathrooms weren't communal, and everything was clean, clean, clean. Also, unlike a hotel, it had a few washers and dryers (and free laundry soap!), so we were able to wash our clothes the next morning while we ate the continental breakfast they set out for the guests.

Of course, I did feel like Grandma Moses, sitting there surrounded by fresh-faced young adults, people who you could tell just bounded out of bed in the morning, ready for whatever adventure the day had in store for them. People who no doubt could sleep comfortably even on coach cars in trains and rise refreshed. People who traveled with only a backpack, rather than with 4 pieces of luggage and an 11-year-old in tow.

We went here TWICE.

Carefree, is what I'm trying to say. They all looked so carefree. It made me feel old. Old and careworn. So, yeah, that was the only downside to staying in a hostel. Feeling a hundred years old.

The hostel held our bags for us while Susie and I spent a good 5 hours wandering through Pike's Market. Luckily, Seattle is pagan enough that almost everything was open, even though this was Easter Day. We pretty much ate our way down the street, what with the Russian piroshky place and the Thai place and I can't even remember what all. We saw the original Starbucks. The yarn shop was open, too, and the independent bookstores. There was also the neatest maps store that I couldn't believe was still in business. I mean, who uses maps anymore?

One of the Seven Wonders, I guess

At some point, we decided to look for a grocery store to stock up on food for the train (again), as we were leaving that afternoon. We found an IGA a few blocks away that was notable in that it was actually underground. "This is such a neat city!" Susie said, happily full of pyroshkies as she went down the stairs and into the store. "What'll they think of next?"

And that's the beauty of traveling with an 11-year-old, folks; I'm sure one of my world-weary teens would not have derived nearly that much enjoyment out of Russian pastries and oddly placed supermarkets.

Not to mention that they wouldn't have been caught dead staying with Grandma Moses at a youth hostel...


  1. For 5 years of my life, that was my city and I didn't know it had a hostel. Nor did I know there was an underground IGA (although that is probably something new-ish) and yes, it *is* sufficiently pagan enough! (You made me smile there.)
    Glad you enjoyed exploring Pike Place Market. Did you snap a picture of Susie at the gum wall?

  2. You didn't miss any redwoods--the northern California ones are along the coast, and the train goes straight up the center of the state. Just as well you slept through it. Sorry about the gruesome little family in your car! Kids have remarkable stamina, especially when they're awful, don't they?

  3. Seattle sounds like it was fun. Such a beautiful city. I am tired of being old. I am ready to go back to young now please.

  4. It sounds like it was wonderful - minus those two people who refused to parent their own children. And yes, those jaded teenagers would have definitely not found joy in finding an underground grocery store.

  5. My daughter stays in hostels all the time. Maybe you saw her - dreads, tattoos, carries a hula hoop? Wait...I probably just described 90% of the occupants, didn't I? Seattle sounds like a hip place to visit. Your whole trip just sounds amazing, despite the inattentive parents.

  6. "some people don't know how to act around children" - said a neglectful parent about me telling her intrusive child on an airplane before I had children - "none of your business". And I thought "you're right. sometimes parents have no idea about how to act around their own children."

  7. OMG, I've been to that piroshky place and it was AWESOME. We visited Seattle a few years ago with the whole family, and yes, Pike Place Market had something for everyone.

  8. The fanily on the train, oy. Every day these days I am reminded that Sartre said that hell is other people. But Seattle sounds great!

  9. My friend's daughter goes to school in Seattle and loves it. She goes into a depression every time she has to come home on break.