9/08/2011

The End of Our Trip As We Know It

Apparently I am not all that creative with titles these days as this is strikingly similar to the title from the end of our cruise...but honestly, when is REM a bad idea? (Answer: never).

Today was our last day on vacation. Tomorrow we'll hit the airport bright and early and, if all goes as planned, be home by 5 pm. (This is banking on the airport not being flooded out, a real concern given the weather there right now, but we're hopeful.) We did manage to sleep in until 7:30 (lazybones!), then loll around in the room for another hour or so before heading off for our free breakfast. Between that and the kiddo having an issue that required a return trip to the room, shower, and change of clothes, we headed out for the Seattle Center right around 9:45, arriving just as things opened at 10.

Our first stop was the Science Fiction Museum and Experience Music Project. I thought they were two separate entities, but in fact they are not, and the sci fi exhibits are right next to the music exhibits, giving you the rather odd juxtapositions of Jimmy Hendrix and Battlestar Galactica followed by Nirvana and Avatar. What is incredibly neat about the museum though is how interactive everything is. There are multitouch surfaces with coaster type things that you set on them to then get various choices of info to view/interact with. There are computers where you can design your own flora and fauna based on Avatar, and so on and so forth. There is one whole music exhibit consisting of kiosks where you can play drums, keyboards, guitars, or do mixing with interactive displays walking you from novice skills like how to hold the drum sticks to just jamming along with recorded tracks. They also have booths where you can record your own music (free to share online or buy a CD for a fairly reasonable charge.) All in all, it's very neat and kid friendly.

The only major downside of the museum is the rather snotty attitude of their security folks. The entrance we used had no signs indicating that there was to be no flash photography. That said, I don't mind being told not to use a flash, provided it's done nicely. I'm all about following the rules - you just have to tell me what they are. What I do mind is the nasty attitude that this particular person had when saying it. In the gift shop, Tim hiked the kiddo up on his shoulders to keep him from touching every last blooming thing (and potentially breaking it), only to have a guard come running to tell him that wasn't allowed. Now, again, I don't mind following your rules, but this one I kind of question the purpose of. The ceilings are all incredibly high, what exactly is the issue? But  hey, if you want my 3 year old to wreck your gift shop, fine. Don't expect me to pay for it.

When we had finished every exhibit there, we decided to head across the street to McDonald's for lunch because hey, cheap food is a novelty on this trip. (Honestly, the food court yesterday was about $40 for the 3 of us - spending under $15 sounded like a really  nice thing.) Sitting next to us was a man who had a big fish on his shirt, which the kiddo remarked on. This struck up a little conversation about how they were headed to Alaska this week and hopefully he'd be catching something similar. We mentioned we'd just come from there and then come to find out that they're from Harrisburg, VA. At this point we just need to sing "It's a Small World" and be done with it. Honestly, what are the chances of sitting down at a McD's in Seattle and finding people from your home state? (Only weirder would have been if they lived closer.)

After lunch we headed back to the Center to hit up the Children's Museum. I was thinking this would certainly be a fun experience for the kiddo. Except that when we got there we found it was closed for renovations and would be reopening on Saturday. To say that he was disappointed does not even come close. (I did finally find a sign though that sort of explained why everything looks as run down as it does - they're approaching the 50th anniversary of the World's Fair and are in the process of renovating/revamping everything in honor of that.) Since that was no longer an option, we headed instead for the Space Needle.

The elevator ride to the top is very fast and very fun. We walked around the observation deck both outside and in. Dealt with several major meltdowns (it was approaching 1:30 at this point). Shopped briefly at the bottom, and then, upon the start of another epic meltdown (have I mentioned that the kiddo is overtired and ready to be back home?), we headed back to the hotel. He screamed the entire way. Five blocks of letting Seattle know that he was a sad, miserable 3 year old who did not get his way. I think the term is humiliating.

So. Naptime. Sweet, glorious naptime. Tim napped as well. I attended a faculty meeting I'd thought I would have to miss.

Rested and refreshed, a much happier kiddo and his parents set out for the monorail downtown. It's a fun 3 minute ride. From there we walked down to the Pike Place Market (because honestly, can you go to Seattle and not go there?) and wandered about a bit (it smelled of fish and flowers - a not completely terrible smell, though I much preferred the flowers to the fish. Tim was simply glad that he'd taken his Allegra.) On our wander back toward the monorail, mom called to let me know that Tim's mom's house had flooded. So we called them, they have upwards of 8" of water in their basement and their entire neighborhood has been blocked off, leaving them unable to get out. His sister is stranded at work (though they finally found someone who could go pick her up) and freaking out no small amount.

We continued our wander, hit up a Starbucks (again, it's Seattle) and then decided to eat dinner at the Hard Rock (because the child was starting to whine ever so slightly and we figured he'd think it was fun. He did.) Then we wandered back to the monorail, this time managing to snag the seat next to the driver, who was incredibly awesome and let the kiddo push the horn button as we left the station. I took a little video of the ride, which I'll upload to somewhere and post here once we're home, cause it's pretty cool.

When we got off, we contemplated using our 2nd set of free Space Needle tickets (we got 2 tickets per night as part of our hotel stay), but the kiddo started to melt down again, so we caught another couple on their way to purchase tickets and gave them ours. They were rather incredulous, but grateful. It was nice to be able to make someone's day a little brighter.

Short walk back to the hotel, kiddo to bed, and now it's time to repack everything and get all set for our 4:30 wake up. I really think the whole transporter beam is a better way to travel, could someone get on that, please?

2 comments:

Gwynne said...

I've gotta say I am MOST impressed with your ability to get so vacationing/sightseeing/etc. done, 100% public transit and all(!), with the doodle, being 3 and all!! I am also impressed with his maturity, temper tantrums included. He sounds like a trooper! We've yet to venture up into the Space Needle, or to the Music Project. Kudos to you. I've enjoyed the updates, like traveling vacariously through you. I hope your arrival back home today is welcoming (rain, rain, go away!). :-)

beth said...

He is definitely a trooper and, tantrums and all, a very good traveler. We'll take him with us again :) The Space Needle I definitely recommend, but I might hold off a little longer on the museum with the kiddo (though ours did fine, so maybe yours would enjoy it - it's just not a restful experience :) )

I was pretty impressed with our ability to do this sans rental car as well. It definitely could have been easier with our own wheels, but then you've got to deal with parking, etc etc.