Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Teradactyls Over D.C.

We just got back from Washington, D.C. and Williamsburg, Virginia. I really think the colonists had it easy compared to traveling in a mid size car with three kids in the middle of an August heat wave.

After a few hours of arguing, I began pointing out, “Look, see those nice families in the car next to us? They’re talking together and playing games with license plates and state capitals. Why can't we be normal like that?"

Philip interpreted this observation as a request to teach his younger sister the sound a teradactyl makes. Teradactyls used to be Philip’s favorite animal, back when he was seriously interested in dinosaurs. Emma, being a girl, missed that phase and was bored enough to make the screeching sounds along with her brother. (Christopher, amazingly, slept through this, though he was listening to his Ipod)

I forgot new batteries for the camera, so I handed Philip my phone and asked him to take pictures -- but he had to stop the teradactyl noises. We got some great shots this way:

That's the road we were on, or it might be The Baltimore Tunnel, and here's a bridge:

But at least the prehistoric screeching slowed down and we stopped arguing long enough to reach the hotel. They had a rooftop pool which the kids and I loved. Most of the people around us were speaking French or German and the kids were amazed that we were the only English speakers.

After the pool, while everyone was getting dressed, I decided to go down to the lobby to get some restaurant menus. I had on new clothes (no stains! no cat claw holes!) and I had just come from swimming, so I was feeling pretty cool in that elevator. I was thinking how we could pass for a normal, maybe even a civilized family. Elegant folks all dressed for dinner got on at each floor.

That’s when my phone rang. Except it didn’t ring: it screeched like a teradactyl. Right there, with all the international people in their evening wear, in a small, urban elevator, I heard Philip and Emma going ARRRRRRHCCCCCCCCARRRAGHHHGARRR or something like that. The sound came right from my new black purse that I had bought to go with the new clothes. I had forgotten how he liked to change his ring tone every ten minutes. I fumbled for the phone. No one said a word. They just got off the elevator and walked away. Actually, they walked a little fast…

Human Teradactyls:

Williamsburg was better. We had a bigger space which is always good for family harmony, and there was enough history and canons and things along those lines to interest everyone.

I did escape a demonstration on colonial weaving by sneaking off to this bookstore. Christopher got this shot as I broke free:

I really did want to buy some books and a lamp as souvenirs. I explained to Christopher the style I wanted to get, how it would look colonial, and we would have a reminder of the trip.

Christopher looked at me for a long minute. "Mom," he reminded me, "the colonists did not have lamps."

He thinks he's so smart.


Elizabeth Bradley said...

~~"the colonists did not have lamps." He makes a good point. Kids.

Anne Spollen said...

Right? I would have been perfectly happy with my new lamp feeling all colonial and historic. I ended up buying tea towels with "colonial" insignias -- when I got them home, the tag said they were made in Sri Lanka.

K.C. Shaw said...

Lol! That may be the coolest ringtone ever! I'm sure the people hurrying away from you were just forced back from the waves of pure awesome emanating from your phone.

The bridge picture gave me a little moment of vertigo.

Anne Spollen said...

Yes, that's right, K.C. Either that or they think Americans are really, really into Jurrasic Park.

Kids seem immune to vertigo - that's one of their favorite pix.

You know, the rich vacation without their kids...

Nora MacFarlane said...

HIlarious! Love the ringtone.

adrienne said...

Your kids are too funny. Love the point about the lamps.

So was it Philip and Emma on the phone? My guess is they couldn't wait for you to experience your new ring tone.

Carrie Harris said...

I think I might want to hang out with your family. Something tells me I'd fit right in.

Mary Witzl said...

Your family and mine: I always see other people in their cars with their kids and imagine how nice and civilized they are.

My kids love taking pictures with their mobiles too. My youngest has some great ones of me yawning and napping, plus a truly worrying shot she took of me when I was climbing the stairs ahead of her.

Anne Spollen said...

Yep, Nora, it was quite a ring tone. One I eon't forget too soon.

Ah, see, Adrienne? You are getting to know the creatures in this zoo very well. They were taking turns calling me, first the she devil, then the he devil.

Ok, Carrie, you can come next time. We're going to Gettysburg. No state capital games and no nice singing. Arguing, then dinosaurs.

Mary, you have officially redefined my definition of "candid" with your description of that shot!