Friday, December 11, 2009

Bah Humbug!

Well, here we are enjoying a lovely dinner before I totally ruined my own evening. Aaron and I, along with our friend, Jan, had tickets to see A Christmas Carol last night. I was so excited- it's one of my favorite stories and I'd never seen it performed on stage.

We ran into terrible traffic on our way into downtown Cincinnati, then proceeded to get lost looking for the restaurant where we had reservations. I absolutely hate being late so I was a little jumpy by the time we finally arrived 20 minutes late. The restaurant was really gracious and we proceeded with a nice dinner.

We were cutting it close to get to the theatre on time so we made a beeline as soon as we paid our bill. I had to parallel park (got it on the second try) and Aaron shouted, "Go, go, go!" We all jumped out of the car and ran toward the doors but I screeched to an abrupt stop as I realized... I had just locked the keys in the car, WITH THE CAR STILL RUNNING! Who does that??? I was horrified. I had never locked my keys in the car, let alone while it was still on. Of course, with the fancy electronic features on most cars these days you probably can't do something so stupid but this is a totally stripped down rental car with manual windows and doors. Great.

I insisted that the guys go into the show while I tried to extricate myself from the mess I created in just two seconds of complete brain malfunction. The police officer sitting outside the theatre couldn't help me so I got a phone book from the ticket office and picked a towing company with a nice big ad- how else do you do it in a strange city? The dispatcher said, "Well, in that area it's going to cost you $60." I was in no mood to shop around so I soon had help on the way.

It was about that time when I realized that I had lost one of my favorite bracelets, one my mom had brought from Mexico. Not my day.

I was imagining someone seeing an empty running vehicle on the dark city street and taking the opportunity to break a window and drive away. SO, I decided I better go stand by the car. God bless the Cincy police officer who offered to sit in her squad car and watch for the tow truck driver so I could go in and see some of the show.

I felt awful being one of "those people" who come in late to a show and make everyone stand up so they can get to a seat. I had to sit in the back row to minimize the disruption. About twenty minutes later, I felt my phone vibrate and had to apologize yet again to the poor people whose toes I was trying not to stomp on my way out. The phone call was from the tow truck driver who had driven twenty miles to get there, was not familiar with the area and couldn't find the theatre. Oy! When I got to the car, it wasn't running anymore- not a good sign.

The driver eventually made it, unlocked the car in just a few minutes, restarted it and advised me to keep it running for at least 20 minutes to recharge the battery. So, I sat in the car trying not to cry and trying find the lesson in the experience, knowing that Scrooge was taking his trip down memory lane with the Ghost of Christmas Past as I sat there.

It was not Dickens who said it, but "All's well that ends well." I saw the whole second half of the show sitting in my seat between my two dates. And afterwards they insisted on going back to the restaurant in search of my bracelet. Miraculously, it was sitting in the middle of the parking lot and hadn't been crushed by tires. Although by that point I felt like having a good stiff drink, I cut my losses and went to bed as soon as we got back to the hotel. My pride still feels the sting today but I'm trying to get over it. After all, it could happen to anyone. Right?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Another new city- Philadelphia

Who's your favorite founding father?

One of these things doesn't belong... the guy without a pony tail!

Yesterday was our first day here and the weather was sunny and unseasonably warm. We sqeezed in lots of exploring and I learned so many great bits of American history trivia. Did you know that George Washington was really tall? He was around 6 feet 4 inches! He towered over most other men of his time, when the average height was 5 feet 7 inches. They speculate that he was asked to lead the troops in the Revolutionary War partly because he had such a commanding presence. Good thing he turned out to be a good leader too.

Did you know that Ben Franklin was 81 when he signed the Constitution? He was the oldest signer and far exceeded his life expectancy, dying a few years later at the age of 84.

As I was signing a credit card receipt at the national park gift shop, the sales clerk noticed I was left-handed. He told me that since 1981, all but one of our Presidents have been left-handed. Hmm? It seems more than coincidence but I wonder what the common link could be. Can you guess who was the odd one out?.... George W. Bush.

We saw the Liberty Bell and toured Independence Hall. It's been an educational visit so far and beyond that, Philly seems like a really neat city. We haven't eaten a Philly Cheesesteak yet but there is still time. It's been a great first stop back in the States to finally see the city where our nation was born.