Thursday, June 14, 2012

In West Philadelphia, Born and Raised

I'll admit it. I'm an anxious traveler. I don't get airsick or worry that the plane is going to crash into the Pacific or anything like that. Mostly, I worry about being late for my flight and I ALWAYS worry about getting lost in a new city. The latter concern seems valid, given that I have absolutely no sense of direction.

I went to Philadelphia a couple of weeks ago for a work conference. I was excited about the chance to visit a new city, especially on the company's dime. However, I was a little concerned when I found out I was going by myself.

But I figured I'd be okay. I'd arrive at the airport, take a taxi the hotel, go to the conference at the hotel, and possibly venture out to the nearby touristy attractions. Easy.

Well, the hotel was sold out, so I was assigned a rental car. Great. Armed with my printed Google maps, my car GPS, and the MapQuest app on my phone, I reasoned I could competently navigate from the airport to the hotel.

Sitting in the terminal in Salt Lake, waiting on my 6:00 a.m. flight to Philadelphia (which meant I left my house around 4 a.m. Seriously.), I saw another dude from my work. It turns out he was speaking at the same conference. He booked early, so he had a room at the hotel where the conference was being held. I told him that since I had a car, I could easily drop him off at his hotel before heading to mine, which was about a mile away.

Once we got the rental car, I glanced at the printed Google map. The route seemed easy enough. A couple of rights before getting on the freeway, then a few more turns and we'd be at the hotel. I turned on the phone navigator and we got on our way.

The phone app didn't have me get on the freeway at all. It took me straight through the city. As in, right through the city. As in, when I stopped at red lights every 30 feet, I noticed the women's skirts were more zebra-printed and more sparkly and generally more prostitute-y than in Salt Lake.

I was happy to have a traveling partner. If I hadn't I may still be waiting to turn left right now.

"In 2-40 yards, turn left," said the navigator.

I obediently moved into the left lane behind a line of cars.

The light turned green, and then yellow, and then red. I was still in the same spot.

"Uh," said my copilot. "Are there people in the cars a head of us?"

Who would have thought that people in Philadelphia use the middle lane of the road for parking and not for turning left?

Yes, I am not good at finding my way. But we made it safely to the hotel. Eventually. 


It was a good trip. Traci not-so-secretly hates when I go out of town for work, not just because she's forced to be a single parent (something I feel quite bad about), but mostly because she thinks I'm getting to have a family-free vacation. I, of course, ensure that it's a work trip.

That said, I had a great work time getting my American history on, visiting the Liberty Bell (yep, it's a bell with a crack in it) and the Betsy Ross house (well, the gift shop. I didn't want to pay $12 to go in). I ate some Cuban food and a Philly cheese steak  (not in the same meal). I sat in the hotel hot tub and watched some NBA playoff games. Oh, and I made it to a Phillies game, which was the highlight of the trip.

My dear friend RB now lives in Pennsylvania. He drove two-and-a-half hours to Philadelphia, and then another hour in traffic from the freeway exit to my hotel, just to hang out and watch the game with me. (I bought him a sandwich at the stadium, so that's probably a fair trade.)

I met RB in my MTC dorm room. It's reassuring to know that 13 years and seven kids later, RB and I both just as unsure about what we want to be when grow up as we were in the MTC. (Shhh, don't tell our wives.) It was great to see him.
The drive back to the airport (at 5 a.m. on a Saturday morning), was beautifully uneventful (we decided to take the freeway). With the two hour time difference, I was back in time for the kids' soccer games. It was like I had never left.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sick Day

Paige has the stomach bug. No fun for a little girl and no fun for the parents who are trying to avoid having a house full of sick kids. Hence, Paige is quarantined in our bedroom.

Paige is very concerned that despite her condition, Curtis will still want to play with her. She's devising plans to prevent this from happening.

"I know," she says at the start of a brilliant idea. "Let's tell Curtis that there's a fire in mom's room."

"He'll say, 'Oh, no! A fire!'" she says excitedly, imitating his voice. "'I don't want to get burned up and die!'"

Seems like a failproof plan. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

It Was Bound to Happy Sooner or Later

The dynamic duo

When you give a six-year-old her own camera, you have to know that this is going to happen eventually:

Traci walked into the family room to find Paige holding the camera and Curtis standing in front of her, bare bum cheeks in the air.

A new house rule was then introduced. No taking pictures of naked bums.

Tough, but fair.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Who Gets My Vote? Mitt Romney or Aziz Ansari?

Today, Facebook recommended that I like two pages (apparently because of the things I write about on Facebook): Mitt Romney and Aziz Ansari. I like to imagine only being able to choose one.

What should I do? What should I do?

Choose the guy with the great hair?

Or the guy who's on my favorite show (Parks & Rec) and who did this incredibly funny (and completely swear-filled) stand up routine about his cousin Harris.

Sorry, Mitt.

P.S. The drinking fountain episode of Parks & Rec is my absolute favorite.

Friday, June 01, 2012

A Kindergartner No More

Paige needed to wear her fanciest dress for the last day of school
 We were scared to death to watch Paige get on the bus and head off to all-day kindergarten. But it didn't seem to faze her at all.

I'm pretty sure that Paige has loved every minute of kindergarten, from having THREE RECESSES! to getting to read her favorite book, Junie B. Jones, in front of the class, to playing Mario and Luigi at recess with the boys (she was always Princess Peach--she loves getting rescued).

We were happy when we found out that she had tested into the Advanced Reader program for first grade. The only drawback is that it's at another school in the district. (I'm sure Traci will be ecstatic to drive her to and from school every day next year.) So as far as friends and lunch lines and surroundings go, she'll be starting over.

We were worried that she would be upset when we told her the news, but she didn't seem to mind.

"Will I still get to go on the bus?" was her first question.

"No, sweetie. But we've met your new teacher and she's really excited to meet you and you'll get to make a lot of new friends!"

"Okay. I won't miss Oquirrh Hills," she added frankly.

So that was that.

And summer begins.