April 26, 2011

Adventure–for the Cost of Recycling an Old Phone

This weekend I took my big boys on an adventure . . . by myself. I’m not sure why it’s taken me until they were 3 and 5 to decide we were going to tackle a big event alone, but it was momentous when I came to the conclusion that we were going just the three of us.

We were excited to go over to the Museum of Science and Nature to see an Imax movie on their Omni screen. (If you’ve never been, it’s been my favorite way to see a movie since I was a kid. You actually feel like you are in the movie.) But gas being as expensive as it is, I couldn’t bring myself to drive our van all the way to Ft. Worth. My solution – public transportation.

I like public transportation – the subway in New York, the Metro in DC – I love the maps and the adventure. However, having never taken the TRE from Dallas to Ft. Worth, I did my best to research it and we struck off. We caught the DART and took it to Union Station in downtown Dallas. The TRE to Ft. Worth was waiting as if it had been perfectly timed. We hopped on and were in Ft. Worth before we knew it. With the help of a stranger, we caught the right bus and made our stop, walking a block to the museum and the theater.

So far, so good. The boys LOVED the trains, had never ridden a public bus and were still super excited about our adventure.

We arrived around 3 p.m. and I went to the IMAX movie counter to get the tickets that were supposed to be waiting on us. Not there. After a few minutes they sent us to the front admissions desk for the museum. They can’t find the tickets either. Finally, they give us tickets to the movie . . . only the movie, not the museum. But by this time, we have missed the 3:10 showing and the next showing? Not until 5:20.

What am I going to do with two little boys for over 2 hours in a museum with no tickets? Well, we snuck into every exhibit. I’m not sure about the ethical ramifications of that, but this momma was desperate to keep these boys occupied. (I might have forgotten to mention that I took some cash for food, but forgot my driver’s license and credit card so I couldn’t have paid for tickets if I had wanted to.)

Five o’clock rolls around and it is time to get in line for the movie. My boys have been going since 12 o’clock noon with no nap and they are still doing a great job. We get a small snack, take it into the movie and get our seats. Halfway through the movie, Colt falls asleep.

wild_ocean_dvd_loc_{55DE6335-FB1B-49C6-A152-F53D72693CBC}But Riley and I LOVED the movie – the Wild Ocean. It is about the fishing off the coast of South Africa. It touches on the culture of South Africa and the fact that they have done the best job of anyone in the world at preserving the natural ecosystem in their waters off the coast. They showed fishermen, took us swimming with the dolphins, and Riley’s favorite part – the sharks.

The best thing about this event is that for a limited time you can get in FREE when you bring an old wireless phone to recycle. You can trade your worthless phone for a ticket! You can’t beat that.

When the movie was over, we began walking back to the bus stop. At this point, I realized that I can’t go back to the bus stop we got off at because it’s going the wrong direction. So we head back down the road in the direction of the TRE station, assuming we will find another bus stop. And we do, about a block down. No sooner do we sit then a bus shows up headed in the right direction. I’m feeling good. We get on the bus and I begin to strategize about what to do next.

Missing the movie at 3 meant we didn’t get out of our movie in time to catch the 6:15 TRE and there isn’t another one until 8:15. So I decide we will get off at the next bus stop and get some food. We have about half an hour and I thought that would be easily doable.

My boys are doing great. We are having fun. They are obeying. Life is good.

We eat dinner and then make a potty stop . . . which was more difficult than it should have been because we can’t get the door handle open. Come to find out it goes up instead of down?!?!? That’s a new one for me. By the time we get out to the street and over to the bus stop, it is 7:04. We missed our bus by 5 minutes. And there isn’t another one until 8 p.m. which would mean we wouldn’t make the 8:15 train. ERGH!

Plan B – let’s start walking and maybe we’ll come across another bus stop or bus that will get us there more quickly. So we walk . . . and walk . . . and walk . . . and walk. Bus stops – but no busses ever.

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Lightning begins to streak across the sky. Riley is frightened and wants to know if it’s going to get us wet. I told him to pray and he asks God if He “doesn’t mind” could He keep the rain from starting until we get to the bus station.

After walking over a mile, we stopped at a gas station to ask for directions. A policeman gives us directions but warns us that there is a bad storm coming. I assure him I am aware – hello, which one of us is walking around outside??? – and that we are doing our best to beat it.

And we are back to walking. About a block down the street, a man in a pickup pulls over to the side of the road and says he heard us asking for directions at the gas station. He explains that the bus station is still on the other side of downtown and he doesn’t want us to get caught in the storm so he would be glad for us to climb in the back of his pickup – which was full with a bed he was moving – and he will drop us off. And . . . I considered it. Really considered it. Even put the boys up on the bed, trying to figure out if there was some way to perch safely on there where we could jump off together if he started going the wrong direction or trying to speed off with us. Then I just couldn’t. I told him my husband would kill me if I accepted, we would just have to walk.

When we got off, Riley started bawling . . . “Why didn’t let you us go with that man? He said he’d drop us off at the station??” I tried to explain that even though he said that, he could be a bad man who took us away and didn’t let us go home. To which Riley said, “But he would NOT do that!” Oh, the innocence of a five year old.

We are all very tired at this point. Colt’s poor 3 year old legs are dying and he’s making sounds like he just can’t bear to take another step, so I put him up on my back and we start singing. All through downtown Ft. Worth, we serenaded the streets with Jesus Loves Me, Jesus Loves the Little Children, O-B-E-D-I-E-N-C-E, etc. I’m sure those people thought we were crazy. But we were making it.

My boys and I walked almost THREE MILES to that bus station. We got there in plenty of time to make the 8:15 TRE. Riley was thrilled that God “didn’t mind” holding off the rain!

After all of that, the boys were so proud and so excited, they couldn’t sleep at all on the train. But they passed out on the DART. They were sleeping so hard, I couldn’t get them to wake up at first to get off the train and into our van.

This trip was truly an adventure in every sense of the word, but Riley summed it up best. As we were walking and had been walking for awhile, Riley said, “Mom, I sure am tired of walking…but this is the BEST day of my life!”