Thursday, July 24, 2008

Vacation - Part II

It was pure, blissful, undisturbed silence for the almost 4 hour trip from Hershey to Williamsburg...ahh! Again, technology comes to our rescue. The first leg of the journey Alexa was more than occupied with her Nintendo DS and the Guitar Hero game. Ear plugs are a wonderful thing! She could jam away and we didn't have to hear it! Then from Hershey to Williamsburg, a portable DVD player and '27 Dresses' was our salvation.

We arrived in Williamsburg and the tradition of the cheking out the hotel continued along with the evaluation of the other swimmers - how many adults, how many children, how many kids Alexa's own age. You get the idea.

Next morning we dived into Williamsburg. Now, to say that Alexa wasn't totally on-board with this portion of the vacation would be an understatement. History - blah! pilgrims* - blah! Watching the re-enactments - blah! The village is a little different from when we were there last about 15 years ago. Today they have actors recreating scenes from Williamsburg 's history and they have townspeople talking about their lives. We got to 'listen-in' to two slaves talking about how to help a slave child whose mother had been sold. That evolved into a scene between a young man and woman on the brink of an engagement - being interrupted by his family leaving for England as his father was a loyalist. The son, a young man, was a patriot and refused to go back with his family. He was leaving for Massachusetts and was signing up to join General Washington. The young woman, the daughter of a patriot family was torn over her suitor leaving. Alexa was bored...

*My incredibly intelligent daughter was a little mixed up with the historic time line - colonists not pilgrims, dear...

We had to cajole, fight, demand, insist Alexa take this picture of us! The obligatory trapped in the stocks photo! Could we get her in the stocks - NO WAY! (she just wanted to get to the shopping at the end of the street!)

We traveled down the street and heard the governor, speaking from the balcony of the capitol building announcing he was suspending the Virginia House of Burgesses due to the people's sympathic response to the Boston Tea Party. We walked down the street some more and came across a public tar and feathering! A man had been accused of spouting loyalist sympathies and putting down the patriots and was subjected to a 'court' of his peers (toursits) right there on the street.

He was saved at the last minute from the man you see on the far left. 'Jack' managed to convince the men to let the 'prisoner' go if he apologized and praised the patriot cause. As the prisoner hurried away he was heard to say he was boarding the next boat back to England.

We moved from store to craftsman working our way down the Duke of Glouster Street. Alexa did seem interested in the tradesmen as they talked about what they did and how they did it. The photo below is from the wig makers store. Oh, those folks had some serious fashion issues!

I've got some more pictures for another day. My color-artsy-fartsy photos that I'll post another time. Tomorrow we're off to Louisville and Indianapolis for the Brickyard 400. Norman's boss has yearly tickets and he sold them to us. So we're going to fly into Louisville, do some sightseeing there and then drive up to Indy on race day. Alexa is staying with Laurie and Ryann which is a very good thing because she and her grandmother have not been getting along (what's new!) So hopefully, the MIL will have some peace from her wicked granddaughter and Alexa will behave at Ryann's. Us, we'll have a blast at the race! Gentelmen, START YOUR ENGINES!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Vacation - Part I

We're back from vacation. What a trip. Seven days in a car and a hotel room with an 11 yr. old! Thank heavens for hotel pools! It's the first thing Alexa does when we go anywhere - check out the pool. Heck, she checks out the whole hotel! She has her standards of excellence, so far the pinnacle is the Cleveland City Center Marriott. We stay there each fall when we attend a Browns game. It's within walking distance to the stadium and the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame and most everything downtown.

Anyway, we left for Hershey in a downpour and it stayed that way almost all the way there. The hotel was mobbed! I think there was some kind of cheerleader or dance competition in town because besides all the families there was an inordinate number of young pre and teen girls. Some were even dancing in one of the meeting rooms. Very crowded - glad we stayed only one night! But the chocolate, the CHOCOLATE!!!!

We went straight to Chocolate World. Hershey's combination retail center, tour center and activity center. They take you on a simulated factory tour to show you how chocolate is made and have a movie you can watch and what Alexa wanted to do more than anything - make chocolate 'stuff''! So, needless to say, we bought a lot of chocolate, shipped some home, because idiot that I am I did not connect Chocolate + July + Virginia + 90 degree heat!! I also went out the first night a bought a little cooler and we refilled freezer bags with ice cubes from our hotels the whole trip so that the chocolate we didn't ship would survive our trip.

The next day was Hershey Park! Alexa is a roller coaster freak of nature! She is totally and completely fearless. She never hesitates, questions or even considers if a coaster might be too much. Scare doesn't enter her vocabulary - just "Hurry Up!!" and "It's not THAT bad Mom, really!" I used to love roller coasters when I was her age. I just never had the opportunity to go on many and they simply didn't have the amusement parks they have today. But all I have to do is look at some of these monsters and nope, not happening, not today, NOT EVER!!

The biggie at Hershey Park was something called "Fahrenheit", 90 degrees straight up and 97 degrees straight back down...No way Jose! Alexa, however, was determined to go on it, and she did - alone! Norm couldn't go on the rides because of his kidney stone situation so it fell to me to go on as many as I could handle, just not this one!

I did manage a few other ones and to be honest I could have handled this ride if not for the top photo. The rest seemed pretty harmless as shown directly above. But that straight up and straight down, FUGETABOUTIT!!!

Part II of Vacation 2008 to come soon - along with my new BFF!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Planned Obsolecence...a.k.a. getting older...

We're going on vacation next week and I stopped in at AAA to check our arrangements and make some changes. Was I adding a fun new stop to our itinerary? Checking on different and new attractions where we were going? Looking into some nice romantic getaway?

No, I was checking for when I had to give cancellation notice for our destination in case my husband's kidney stones started REALLY acting up. Now I know what the American couple has in common with the American auto - we both go for only so long then we start to break down, one part at a time!

This week alone we've dealt with kidney stones, follow-up laser zapping for previous cataract surgery and renewing a handicap parking tag for my 75+ yr. old mother-in-law! All the while wondering how we're going to handle the highlights of our vacation, not restricted to, but including...(the)Battering Ram, Escape from Pompeii, Alpengeist, Roller Soaker, Wildcat, Griffon, SOOPERDOOPERLOOPER and last but not least, Loch Ness Monster.

I need to make sure I pack Tylenol, Extra Strength Tylenol, Tylenol PM, Back and Body Ache Bayer Aspirin, Claritin, my thyroid pills, Preparation H, support shoes, a portable fan for me, oh, and sun block and bug spray for Alexa. (They say to be prepared when traveling with children).

I'm why I won't buy and American car - I know it's going to break down just the way I am! Our last three cars have been Japanese or Korean and they were and still are great! Going stronger than we could have hoped for (considering we ran two of the three into the ground, well past what an American car could have tolerated)!

Now to solve the problem of how two over-the-hill, past the warranty date, 50+ American model parents are going to keep up with our super-charged, shiny, mint condition 11 year old Chinese daughter!

Wish us luck!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Moving On...

I can't bear to open my blog and see that picture of my wedding one more time! Time to move on! It's been a busy week. Alexa finished school (I'm crying and wondering how I'll survive the summer). I can't tell you how many times I've already reminded her that I'm not her personal chauffeur or slave!

We decided that as she is a growing girl, she needs a new bike that fits her. Her current one makes her look like one of those clowns in the circus riding a ridiculously small bike. So we took her over to Bert's Bikes to do a little look-see at what they had.

Now keep in mind this is Alexa we're talking about so you should be able to guess what the primary consideration would be when picking out a bike, check one:

____ road bike or mountain bike

____ auto shifting w/pedal brakes vs. manual shifting and hand brakes

____ color

____ size - youth vs. adult

Now, if you chose the first or second option, what were you thinking??? She's pretty clueless about all of that. The third option, kiddie bikes are definitely out, but the color, it's ALL about the color. Pink bikes YES, silver, black, red, green*, blue*, purple*, beige, white all NO!

Now I have to explain the (*)'s. If it is the right shade of green (limey, but not too), blue (with flowers and not too dark or too light), and purple (again, not too dark or light or with an icky brown seat and handle bars) -- then maybe. Oh, and did I mention the accessories? You know how some people won't buy car if it doesn't have enough cup holders? Well, Alexa wanted the bike that had a hidden compartment under the seat. The rest of the entire bike didn't matter, it was all about the seat!

So, we ended up traveling to two Bert's, one on the Boulevard and then over to Transit as they had the bike she liked the most, in the right size for her to test drive. She picked out.., wait for it, a BLUE bike (but it has little flowers on it that sealed the deal). It was available in her size with room to grow (because trust me, I'm not doing this again!)BUT and a biggie here - the coup de grace was that we would not buy it....until her report card came and her grades DESERVED such a big ticket item. (We have principles, we're not the pushovers she's made us into - we have standards!!)

Well, she's smart, what can I say. So with a year ending 95.9 average we went back and got the bike. I still need to take a picture of her on it, but not tonight. Tonight her father and I went bike riding - 6 miles. Pretty good for an old broad who hasn't ridden regularly in 2 years and gained 30+ pounds. Maybe that would be the better picture. No, not happening! I figured I could at least show you her new bike (from the catalog).

Tomorrow I think she has me going somewhere to paint pottery. Wish me luck!