Tuesday, May 31, 2011

When "having an adventure" is overrated and should be put out of its misery

We went to Maryland over Memorial Day to catch up with good friends and celebrate a very special first birthday party. On Sunday, we decided to hit the Metro and take our boys to the National Zoo. We decided beforehand that we were going to treat the Metro train ride as part of the adventure. Good thing we did.

We got onto the train at New Carrollton as early as we could on Sunday. It was supposed to be hot. Luke enjoyed the elevator up to the raised platform. When we boarded, we learned that four stops on the Orange line were closed for scheduled maintenance. On the holiday weekend?! So at Minnesota Avenue, we took two elevators up to the street level and boarded a bus. Thankfully the bus was well-equipped for riders in wheelchairs. We tried to make the most of the ride to Federal Center SW. At every red light, Luke would ask why we were stopped and Will would whine.

Grin and bear it! This is a blip in the road.

At Federal Center SW, we took the elevator back down into the station. We got onto the next train for 4 stops, before getting off at Metro Center to change to the Red line. We went up the wrong elevator. We had to go back down to the Orange line platform, walk further, and take the correct elevator up.

Elevators are fun, right?! This is an adventure! Who cares if the Metro elevators are small, slow and smell like pee.

The next Red line train to Cleveland Park station was delayed by nearly 14 minutes. We attempted to appease annoyed boys by shoving food into their mouths. You aren't supposed to eat on the train system. Like I cared at this point. Three boys on the verge of emotional collapse. It was nearly 2 hours since we started our Metro adventure.

If just ONE MORE thing goes wrong, we're going to call it a valiant effort and turn around and go home.

We eventually made it onto the train, and walked a good clip to the zoo. We had grand visions of getting to the zoo early when all our similar-minded parents would still be sleeping. Unfortunately by the time we got there, things were getting crowded and it was getting hot. We stopped at the panda eating place and shelled out $22 bucks for a couple of drinks and pizzas. Luke and Matt happily ate. Will refused to eat or drink anything and proceeded to cry. Loudly.

Joy of joys.

We put Will in the backpack, and Matt and Luke in the double stroller and started off to see some animals. We saw an elephant. Luke was unimpressed. We saw a panda. No one seemed to care but me.

Within 20 minutes of starting our walk through the zoo, all three boys were asleep. ASLEEP.

Nate and I could do nothing but laugh. All our best efforts had been dashed. Most parents would have turned around at the idea of riding the bus. But not us! We were determined to get to that darn zoo. Nothing was going to stand in our way! We've had larger hurdles than this in our day! (insert valiant superhero theme music here)

Eventually we decided to treat our trip to the zoo like a date. With three sleeping, sack of potato chaparones.

After a couple of hours, many photos of beautiful jungle cats, and a large lemonade later, we headed towards the park exit. Everyone woke up as we were walking to the Metro. They were in fabulous moods. Nate and I were tired and sweaty from carrying/pushing 120 lb of sleeping boys and gear up and down the hills of the zoo.

We had to take the same number of elevators, trains, and busses to get back to the van. Because we knew what to expect, it didn't seem so bad. The boys all loved the train rides and the bus. To them, the adventure WAS the Metro, with a couple of hours of sweaty napping in between.

It was a valiant effort. We are stubborn. We want our kids to have good memories. We can already laugh about our trip, our bullheaded attempt to get to the zoo despite all odds being stacked against us. Sweaty clothes have been washed. Sore muscles have almost eased.

But I totally could have done without the parking ticket on my windshield when we returned to the Metro parking lot. Can't laugh about that one yet.

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