After the wedding, we were all exhausted, so we all managed to sleep in nicely, even the Wee Boatswain. (Thank you!) We decided to skip the hotel’s breakfast in order to pack and make it to the post-wedding breakfast by 9AM. Of course we all needed to shower, Granouille’s toys were underfoot, WB needed to be fed and napped, and there was bickering.
The breakfast was held at a playground near the wedding site, at a large shady park near the river. The couple had reserved a shelter, but there were a number of shaded tables nearby. The real excitement, however, came from the largest wooden playground structure I’d ever seen, which rose like a castle behind the picnic area. Without even a “by your leave”, G was off and running.
We had a leisurely breakfast of muffins, fruit, and coffee, and got to catch up a bit more with our college friends. When the bridal couple arrived with the flower girl and her brother, G blissfully pulled her into a game of princesses. When it was nearly noon, we said our good-bye’s and piled into the car. G hugged the flower girl, declared her her “very best friend”, and waved piteously as we drove away.
We’d hoped to put a great distance between us and Bloomsburg before stopped for lunch, but that was not to be. Instead, we pulled off an hour and a half later, in State College. We weren’t sure what we’d find, but we turned on the “Parks” points of interest on the NAV system and made our way to the closest one. It turned out to be a wildlife sanctuary with a large field of wildflowers, a barn, some picnic tables, and two portapotties. G thought the portapotties were the cat’s meow and used them repeatedly.
We ate a lovely lunch there, finally putting to use our extensive picnic supplies. We met another family–grandma, grandpa, and granddaughter–who had been walking through the field. We had a long chat and grandma filled us in on their daughter’s “strange ways”–babywearing, nursing, etc.–and confided that she was pregnant again, first making us promise we wouldn’t breathe a word to anyone. (You won’t tell, will you?)
From there, we drove to Somerset, where more college friends were staying. We passed the afternoon somewhat sleepily on a grassy hill near a playground. G played with their older daughter; their younger daughter slept. The Cap’n and the husband discussed vintning and brewing.
Around 5PM, we got on the road again. We had originally hoped to stay in Pittsburgh, but it didn’t seem like we would make it that far. We stopped in New Stanton, PA, along the turnpike, where we found a reasonably priced Fairmount Inn hotel that had suites. We checked in, dined at Eat ‘n Park–a Pennsylvania institution–then took WB home to bed.
After extracting a promise from G that if the Cap’n took her swimming, she would go to bed quietly and without a fuss, I looked forward to some quiet time in the room. While they got ready I discovered two things–a large hairy black spider in the bathroom and, when I went out to the car to get something, a bunny and a large hairy black cat in the parking lot. I made the Cap’n dispatch the spider, while G crowed about how much braver she was than I am. I dragged her, in her bathing suit, out to the parking lot. She crept after the bunny until it loped away and we could hear it crackling through the field weeds. The cat looked crestfallen, and didn’t stick around once G turned her attentions to him.
She and the Cap’n came back from the pool, exhausted and happy. We promised to make time for swimming in the morning. And then the thunderstorms hit.
After tucking G in, we settled on the couch with our final ration of cocktails–negroni for the Cap’n, a Manhattan for me. G tossed and turned. She asked loud questions; she rolled around on the bed. She sang to herself and called her brother’s name. We all started to fall apart.
If anyone could tell me how to get through this part of traveling with children, I’ll take any suggestions. The Cap’n and I started out well, but that girl–she wears us down. We revoked her swimming-in-the-morning privileges. We counted down. We threatened. We ignored. At one point I found myself in the hallway with her, fiercely whispering under my breath, hoping that we were not causing a scene. Eventually, and with the suddenness of a thunderstorm passing, she fell asleep.