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s an f Rancisco —2010

s an f Rancisco —2010

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Published by: api-24410941 on Mar 13, 2010
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“Get up!”“I don’t want to go, it’s too early!” she said.“It’s 4:30, it’s not early, now let’s go.”Ten minutes later, Andrew is dressed and ready, quietly reading. Max and Charlie are still in bed.Not until the car is packed, pre‐heated and halfway down the driveway do our 2 rock stars emergefrom the house. Was this a sign of things to come?
 On the uneventful flight, Andrew finished one book and read 136 pages of his next one, Charlieplayed with his Nintendo DS or watched “Where the Wild Things Are” and Maddie noshed onolives. That sentence pretty much sums up our lives. For much of the trip, Charlie played ScribbleNots, a Nintendo game that allows the players to think of new and creative ways to kill a characternamed Jeff. Poor Jeff was killed by a sickle, a rogue church usher and of course the ubiquitous abroken parachute. Upon arrival, we hailed a cab. During the ride, I made the mistake or asking thecab driver to stop texting while driving. Although he complied, he proceeded to give us the ride of our lives. His tip reflected his level of “service” and I hope to never see him again.Once checked into our hotel, we promptly (after two episodes of Zack and Cody) hit 
for lunch. This hole in the wall restaurant in Chinatown is not to be missed and they evenaccommodated two of the world’s pickiest vegetarians. From there we climbed one of the steepest hills in the hilly city of SF, to reach the base of 
. For a claustrophobic who’s afraid of heights, Coit Tower and its rickety phone‐booth of an elevator was terrifying for Tanya. Havingher children play on the stairs and wrestle at the top didn’t help matters. Translation – we got outa there a lot quickerthan I would have liked but we saw the view and smelledthe centuries‐old elevator.From Coit Tower, we basically fell down a steep hill towards
where we watched what’s left of thesea lions at Pier 39. They barked and fought but I couldn’help but wonder, where did they all go? Apparently, inaddition to historic blizzards, Al Gore’s global warming hasalso chilled the water temperature and driven the sea lionssouth. We then cable‐carred it back to the hotel and I fellasleep. I mean
asleep. I could not move. No dinner, nofun. It was 6:47pm. George Burns and Olympia Dukakiscould have called me old. The family did something, Andrew read his book, Charlie probably killedJeff on his Nintendo DS and then my alarm clock went off and it was time for Day 2.
 The best part of our family trips is the “family,” not the “trips.” It’s the little things that happenalong the way. It’s like John Lennon put it in his song Beautiful Boy: “Life is what happens whenyou’re busy making other plans.”
At breakfast on Day 2, Chief decided that our family needed Indian names. Charlie was Smidge.Maddie was Smooch. Andrew was Itchy. Itchy is short for Boy Who Go to Bed with Itchy Butt Wake With Smelly Finger. Although he begged for a new name, ‘once Chief speak, name cannot bechange.’As we walked to the Alcatraz tour, Itchy asked what my favorite word is. I told him I did not haveone. Maddie volunteers that her favorite word is Fresh. Itchy blurts out that his favorite word isAcknowledgement. Acknowledgement? Really? Yes, Acknowledgement. One of the greatest partsof parenthood is watching your kids develop into individuals. Sometimes they act just like you didas a kid and sometimes you wonder if they are yours at all. At this very moment, it was definitelythe latter.
rocks. The boat ride over, the views, the wind. It just works. Upon getting off the boat,we were informed of Alcatraz’s Jr. Warden Program. In this program, the park ranger gives thekids a list of questions to be answered as they tour the island. Little did we know that this list would consume our kids and become a competitive event. Tanya and I simply wanted to enjoythis once‐in‐a‐lifetime family experience. They wanted to answer inane questions on a pamphlet that even Applebee’s wouldn’t offer to kids. Tanya told the kids that they’d be Jr. Wardens whetherthey completed the questionnaire or not and we then proceeded to the audio tour.Theaudioportionfeaturesthevoicesof formerinmatestellingof theirbrutalmurders. Maddie’s body shook as she heard George “the Birdman” Stroud recount the “slap andchop” sounds of his murders. When the tour was over, it was time to be sworn in as Jr. Wardens.The children ran ahead to meet Ranger Bill at his outpost. That’s when the record scratched asRanger Bill told the kids that they had not answered enough questions to warrant the coveted titleof Jr. Warden. There’d be no plastic stars for Team Z. The kids were crushed. For the remainder of our trip, anytime a restaurant presented the kids with crayons and some form of word scramble orother game, they promptly completed the entire form, especially the boys. I think they feared theirfood would not come if they didn’t.After a quick bite, we proceeded to
to watch chocolate being made and to eat two of the biggest sundaes I’ve ever seen. Then it was off to
for a ride on thepaddle boats. We should have known something amiss when the cabbie told us he’d never heardof paddle boats at Golden Gate Park. $30 dollars later and another nauseating experience forTanya and we arrived at what we were told was a lakeless park. We walked around the botanicalgardens – what child doesn’t enjoy looking at plants – and then took another $30 cab ride back tothe hotel. During the ride, the cabbie told us that we were only 1 block away from the paddle
boats. Tanya hit the nail on the head when she said, “this was the most expensive non‐paddle boat ride we’ve never done.”To celebrate the Day That Could Have Been, I decided to throw good money after bad and take thekids to
one of the most famous restaurants in SF. We’d dined here on ourhoneymoon and it was here where I celebrated closing the biggest transaction of my career. Thiswas going to be a special meal……Or not.Apparently we’d both separately given the kids the stern speech about being on their best behavior. So much so that they were stressed and nervous beyond belief. Maddie refused to eat and Charlie wailed in Tanya’s arms after he spilled his second umbrella’d Shirley Temple all overthe table. Twenty minutes into the meal, our table is covered with towels, the kids are exhaustedand playing with our phones and the appetizers hadn’t even arrived. No need for further detailson this experience but it’s safe to say this was an expensive lesson and I’m looking forward to thekids’ Happy Meals tomorrow night.
 Tired of spending $30 to get anywhere, we hopped the 71 bus and headed for the
at Golden Gate Park. Along the way, we saw numerous homeless people and heard ayoung man ask some students near us if they “wanted to buy some drugs.” Now this is living!The Academy is a huge science‐related museum with a rain‐forest, an aquarium and aplanetarium. We headed for the planetarium intent to take in a show about the birth and death of stars. With the reclining chairs and dim lighting, I didn’t even make it through the introductions.Never even saw the opening credits but what a nap. Damn, I’m old. As we toured the museum, wewatched the rain pour, thankful that we were inside. With the wind‐chill, it was in the low 30s.We quickly checked out the living roof of the museum which is a thick grass roof with sun‐lightsthat insulates the entire museum. After lunch, we gave the kids $20 and let the kids select and payfor their desserts. Upon their return, Andrew gave me $7 and asked if $13 was a lot for 3 desserts.He then took a tiny bite of his cake and made a face as if he’d bit into a lemon. He then startedscratching his tongue with his fingers to get the taste off. We could not control our laughter.The rain stopped and we decided to finally go paddle boating. The walk to the paddle boats wasmagical. We (ok, I) tweaked the kids and we laughed the entire way there. The
are a must. Maddie and I were in one boat while T and the boys were in the other.
In this case, it was paddle boating. As much as T and Itried, the kids wanted to race. For an hour, they taunted each other with “Loser” and “Sucka.”

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