12.12.2010

And Now For Something Completely Different



We own Saturday mornings. By lunch, you'll often see a trail of places visited, tweeting all the way. It's been our M.O. every weekend since Thanksgiving.

But yesterday we decided to switch it up. We laid low in the morning - Amy went grocery shopping, I took a nap and read a book, and the kids alternated between TV and drawing - and headed out after lunch instead of before. Here's what transpired:

12:30p - For once, the kids have their jackets, hats, gloves, scarves, and shoes on before I do. I think they enjoyed bumming around the house in the morning for once, but I think they're ready to go.

1:00p - We walk a block to the bus stop and the bus arrives within seconds. Unlike the morning, when cars slice through downtown, we get caught in bumper-to-bumper. We're all thrown off by this. Little do we know it'll be ten times worse heading home.

1:30p - We finally get off at Broad Street, walk two blocks south, and enter the Kimmel Center for the second time in two weeks. It's a free tuba concert, and the acoustics are so good we decide to roam around the place instead of staying still. We make a beeline for the rooftop garden, which affords spectacular views all around and puts us right on top of the instruments. That was a ton of fun.

2:00p - We have to make a pit stop in Borders at Broad and Chestnut because Aaron needs to pee. It's a quick pit stop, because a homeless guy is splayed out on the sinks, so we forgo washing hands and I give the kids a squirt of hand sanitizer instead. We arrive at Macy's just as the holiday light show is starting. It's the third time in three weeks they've seen this, but it never seems to get old for them.

2:30p - I've been hearing grumblings about hunger since the Kimmel Center, so we head to Reading Terminal Market and I get them soft pretzels to munch on while they look at the model train set display. The place is noticeably more crowded mid-afternoon than early in the morning when we are usually there.

3:00p - It's not far from there to Chinatown, where we first hit a grocery store and then a pastry shop. Both are, again, more crowded than we're used to, but that doesn't deter us from getting what we usually get: hot dog bun for Amy, cream bun for Jada, and greasy sesame bun for Aaron. I've spent a grand total of three dollars and forty cents on our outing.

3:30p - One last stop: Kmart in the Gallery Mall. I had ordered ski masks for Aaron and me and they are now ready for pick-up. There's a line ten deep at multiple registers, but all we have to do is walk up to the service desk and our order is waiting for us in a little baggie, all ready to go. Good thing, too: Aaron's starting to get rammy.

4:00p - We walk two blocks to the bus stop, just missing one bus as we arrive. The next one takes awhile to appear in the distance, and then takes even longer to go the last block or so to our stop. This is not a good sign.

4:30p - The three miles home takes over a half-hour, due to heavy traffic. Aaron falls into a happy sleep, and Jada is energized when she spies a classmate of hers sitting two rows in front of us. When we disbark, I am left to contemplate which is heavier: my bulging shopping bag or the sack of potatoes that an asleep Aaron has become in my arms.

The moral of the story is that the change of pace was fun, but I could do without all the crowds and traffic that come with going out later in the day. Kids, I think we had it right all along: go out in the morning, and lay low in the afternoon. Still, doing it different yesterday wasn't so bad.

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