Thursday, July 21, 2011

Steel City Vacation

I’m baaaaaaack! That’s right, folks, I survived what had to be the Busiest. Vacation. Ever. The drive out to Pittsburgh was uneventful, but I wish I could say the same for the return trip. But I’ll come back to that later. After settling into our room, HF and I took the kids to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 2. I was quite pleased to see that the series was finished off as well as it had begun. My mother-in-law chose to go to the casino, but was already in her room when we returned.

The next day began bright and early, so we could get to Kennywood (amusement park) as they were opening. Poor Princess Gingersnap was just an inch shy of the tallest height restriction, and therefore had to miss out on the Thunderbolt, one of the best wooden roller coasters ever, and the Sky Rocket, their newest coaster. She did, however, get to ride the Racer, the Phantom’s Revenge, and the Exterminator for the first time. As is our custom, we stayed until closing.

The following day we took the tour of Heinz Field, which not only took us through the team museum, but we got to see the press box, locker rooms, and the sidelines. GO STEELERS!! Afterward, we enjoyed a tasty (and reasonably priced) lunch at Grille 36, Jerome Bettis’ restaurant. Then we walked back to the hotel and napped until it was time to go to the Pirates game.

The game was delayed for about forty minutes due to the rain, but since we had the “All you can eat” seats, the kids were kept entertained until the game resumed. Before the second inning, there were rumbles of thunder, and flashes of lightning, and the players left the field. It poured for another forty minutes or so before the game started again. The Pirates beat the Reds 2-0 and held on to their first place spot in the division. That made for a fun night, and a lovely walk home.

Our last full day was spent at the zoo and the Pittsburgh museum (a local branch of the Smithsonian, which happened to be across from our hotel). I got lots of cute pictures, but my favorite was one of the tigers, lying by a waterfall. I don’t usually have such good luck with photos, so this was especially impressive. The museum was pretty cool too, as they had a sports exhibit with displays from all the local professional and school teams.

As for our trip home . . . For some reason, my MIL seemed hell bent on pushing all my buttons, and I had to exercise remarkable restraint by not cursing her out and/or slugging her. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to pull into her parking lot (so I could be rid of her).

Unfortunately, I was unable to relax at all, because we had to go to the doctor’s office for HF. And wouldn’t you know it, they screwed up the appointment. The gorgon at the desk insisted there was nothing she could do, and that he should come back tomorrow, but I pointed out that we had just driven five hours to make it back for the appointment time that they gave him only the day before. She shook her head at us, and I walked out before my temper got the best of me.
Apparently, that nudged the old battleaxe into gear, because somehow, she magically found out a way to work him in . . . And to think, I actually wanted to do medical office work once upon a time. Yep, it’s back to reality, all right.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sweet Summertime

Normally, our summers are fully booked well ahead of time. But this year, due to some scheduling snafus, we’ve found ourselves making up our plans as we go along. Despite my Type-A tendencies, I’m having a wonderful time. For once, we were home to spend the Fourth of July holiday celebrating with good friends (whereas we’re normally at the beach, but with my step-mother-in-law’s elderly neighbors). And last weekend, we went down to the Jersey shore (yes, that Jersey shore) with some dear friends. The riptides were brutal and the life guards wouldn't let anyone in more than knee-deep water, and we all had sand in places we'd rather not mention, but we all had a marvelous time.

This weekend is our one and only pre-planned trip. We’re heading to Pittsburgh with my mother-in-law. I cannot stand traveling with her, but it's her hometown. So there's no way we could go without her. Besides, the only non-smoking room they had was a king, so the kids will have to stay in her room. Oh darn.

We will, of course, spend a day at Kennywood, and another day touring Heinz Field and enjoying Pirates game. They’re playing the Cincinnati Reds, which should be entertaining—especially since we got the “All you can eat” seats. Another possibility is a visit the Pittsburgh Zoo, to which we haven’t been since I was pregnant with Princess Gingersnap. We’re all excited, and even tie dyed tee shirts in black and gold to wear on the trip. Best of all, we’re using Husband Fixture's Hilton Points for the trip.