Monday, March 12, 2007

Trouble with the train

I had been planning for several weeks to take Amanda out of town to an undisclosed city. The plan called for leaving Alastair at his grandparents' house, catching the train, and heading up to DC in the early afternoon, having a nice, relaxing meal, and then a bit of museum hopping the following morning.

I got started early, got all my reservations squared away, secured child-care, and took the day off to get the weekend started right.

Since the train was to leave at 2:46pm (right in the heart of nap-time), I had my dad come over and sit while Alastair napped. We got to the train station at 2:27pm, and when I got in line to get my tickets, I heard the ticket agent tell someone that the train we were taking was running 2 hours late. Great. F'ing Amtrak.

So we took it in stride: we went to an antiques mall for a while and came back at our appointed time (only one hour later). I called the District Chophouse and rescheduled our dinner from 7:30pm to 9:30pm. We then waited at the station for another hour, and at 4:45, when the train was finally supposed to arrive, they announced that the train was still an hour away and PARKED.

I'd had enough, and I didn't want our trip to be utterly ruined by slAmtrak, so we went back to the car, filled the tank with gas (and our bellies with coffee), and drove to Washington, DC, in the middle of rush-hour.

And we never stopped until we got to the Pentagon. Seriously. Traffic moved at 80mph from Mechanicsville to Alexandria, and we were in slow traffic for all of about 10 minutes in the city. We parked at 6:27pm, only one hour after the train was originally supposed to have arrived. Try though I might, I was unable to get our dinner re-scheduled to 8pm. Alas.

So we wandered, and we had a great time doing so. When it came time for dinner, we had a great one. The District Chophouse has lost a little over the years, but it was a late dinner, so maybe they were just tired, too. We were exhausted when we left the restaurant at 11:15, so we went straight to bed.

One of the greatest things about having a baby is what it does to your internal clock. We are now unable to sleep past 8am, which means we never miss breakfast when travelling (used to be a huge issue: we'd sleep 'til 10 or later and not be able to find food). We had a fabulous breakfast at the Corner Bakery, checked out of the hotel, and spent several hours touring the National Gallery.

I had a blast! I've really started to enjoy impressionist art, and there was a neat photography exhibit showing Paris during Hausmann's reconstruction.

We left DC at 1:50pm, apparently dead-center in the touristy hours, and never once hit a slow-down in traffic. It took us 80 minutes from our departure time to get to Mechanicsville (3:10pm), which I think is a record for us. We picked up Alastair from his grandparents' house, went home, and had a lovely evening.

On the whole it was one of the best weekends we've had together in a long time. It's important to recharge every once in a while.

On a side-note, I told some co-workers on Thursday that Alastair was walking but not yet standing up on his own, and that very evening he started doing it. Not standing with the help of objects--he's been doing that for months. He just picked himself up and started walking. Then he did it over and over again, like he'd been doing it for years. My little Hercules.

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