8.11.2010

as per usual... the journey is the destination

ah... summertime
camp is over... the kids are at home
the world's second most difficult riddle needs to be answered...
"how do I entertain the kids?

it is a tough one...
what is the most difficult riddle?

no it is not
"how many licks does it take to get to the center of the tootsie roll tootsie pop?"

the world's most difficult riddle is
"what's for dinner?"

the second most difficult riddle can be almost as great of conundrum
the children often object to suggestions
it is best not to suggest but rather to instruct


kids can be quick to say no
so options and opinions are not always weighed into the situation

nine year old Dean is far more agreeable than six year old Grant
the museum was proposed by Grant
but the notion of riding our bikes downtown was met with objection
sure he is only six... but he has done it before and he is more than capable of doing it again... and again... and again

it had been a while since we had been to The Museum of American History so that was said to be our destination
when really... the journey is the destination
it is my primary objective to simply get the boys out of the house

in an effort to be somewhat fair I try to give the boys some options
there was a discussion about the route and potential places to eat
all things discussed and agreed to were open for modification
sometimes without discussion

as the boys played their Nintendo DS video games I worked to get the bicycles ready
helmets and bikes were gathered
air was checked... the chains looked well lubed

as I made the final preparations of locating the U-Lock and cable I had nine year old Dean fill several water bottles
it is certain that we will need water
it is certain that there will be a demand for many water breaks from six year old Grant

we got on our bikes and headed out of Mount Pleasant towards the National Zoo
as we short cut our way through the back end of the Zoo towards the bike path in Rock Creek Park Grant asked if we could just go to the Zoo
it was transparent... it was not the zoo he was looking for... he was trying to cut ride short

NO DICE ROCK SLICE!

around the tunnel rather than through and we approached our only real hill on the way there
the boys knocked it out without issue

the bike path proved to be a good option for the boys

far less stop and go then the downtown route with its alleys, driveways, and of course busy intersections

as we rode I tried to piece it all together for the boys
there is Thompson's boat house where we rent sit on top kayaks
oh.... there is Roosevelt Island... someplace we have not been in a while
that is the Watergate... there is the Kennedy Center... blah... blah... blah... blah

our trajectory was altered

there was a shift in priorities
the discussion of "where to eat?" caused an immediate impulse of hunger in all three riders
so we decided to eat before the museum... but where?


chinese food? mexican food? sandwiches?
there was no agreement among the troops
again... no democracy

dad rules

we left the bike path and pointed towards downtown

passing the Lincoln Memorial
while snapping a shot of the boys in front of the memorial that is displayed on the back of the classic copper penny I managed to roll over a staple and get a flat in my the rear

ah... a good lesson opportunity for the boys
interestingly enough that lesson was not a lesson in how to fix a flat

that lesson turned out to be... always leave the house prepared
it turns out that I was lacking a 15mm box wrench for removal of the rear wheel

luckily for me the puncture was small enough that it caused a slow leak

our trip would then involve water breaks for the boys every mile or so
thus allowing for dad to pump up his rear tire

we were able to traverse the city from the Lincoln Memorial to the White House with only one stop to refill the back tire with air
by the White House we went to THE BREAD LINE for sandwiches and french fries
THE BREAD LINE has excellent french fries and sandwiches

after a casual lunch where we split two sandwiches and one order of french fries with water from our water bottles we left off to resume our objective... the Museum of American History

it was good to get out of the heat and into the air conditioning
the boys were excited to check things out

I tried to be patient and move at their pace

I tried to be patient with all the tourists swarming around


the majority of our time was spent at THE SPARK LAB at the museum
http://americanhistory.si.edu

after some time with gyroscopes, snap electrical circuit kits, an effort to build a PVC cart, and some other random stuff I asked the museum employee to point us to the other "hands on for kids" part of the museum
she told me that THE SPARKS LAB was the only location of this sort in this museum
to that I exclaimed... THE WHOLE MUSEUM SHOULD BE LIKE THIS!

she agreed... we left off to check out the rest of the museum

there was all sort of stuff... actual cars and actual boats

all sorts of models and statues

educational films and videos
but no more hands on stuff
maybe a button to push to start the video
but most stuff was labeled DO NOT TOUCH
the exact opposite of hands on

I was getting tired... it was wearing me out...
I knew that the ride back was going to be a journey
the combination of the heat and the expenditure of the morning along with the flat in the rear and the requisite climb back up to Mount Pleasant
it was clear to me that I would need to get the boys out of the museum with enough energy to
get us home

the trip home was as much a part of the journey as the trip there
again I tried to be patient...
allowing the boys to slow and stall here and there
climb a tree or a monument along the way


not agreeing to all requests

while being reasonable about some of the requests

not every cry for water got a water break
but there were multiple water breaks

some were conveniently spaced for air in the tires or resting before the climb

we made it home

I sent the boys into the AC as I put away the bikes
then once inside we were stuck with the riddle
"what's for dinner?"

we waited for mom to get home and then we picked up some Thai Food that we would eat at the pool
riddle solved

double!
the boys would be entertained and fed

while getting exercise and cooling off

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