Monday, June 28, 2010

thirty something

Growing up I recall a show called Thirty Something. How adult they seemed. My sister, my friends and I longing to be there; would emulate this life. Playing office (I can still close my eyes and see perfectly the briefcases we borrowed from our parents. The phone we unhooked from the wall) or restaurant (heading down the basement stairs in my parents house, you can still see the chalk writing, CAFE) or just pretend we were thirty. Oh how cool it was to be thirty.

Today I officially entered the thirty something club. And I honestly have to say I don't feel as cool and I thought I would 20 years ago. But I also don't think being in my thirties is anything to get depressed about either. Age is just a number. Still, with each passing year as we get older, birthdays don't hit the top of the important list as much as they did when we were say 10, 16 or even 21. So I find that when I wake up in the morning a little sad that I don't get a party, cake, cards/presents and time to celebrate with friends; I do find it a bit of an ego boost to log into Facebook and see who has wished me a happy birthday.
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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Summer Adventures: Smithsonian National Zoological Park

The zoo. A classic amongst kids and adults alike. Since Mason turned a year old it has turned into a yearly venture for us. The thing about the zoo, yes, the animals are same but you never get the same experience each visit.

Last year we saw panda cub Tai Shan (though not really a cub anymore) before he was sent back to China. This year, we met the baby Gorilla, Kibibi.
She was a hit. Playing it up for all the visitors plastered to the windows of the Great Ape House. While daddy sat watch.
The Orangutan under the blanket was funny and Sophie kept trying to pull herself out of the stroller just to see.
They don't allow strollers into the reptile house so we moved on to the Small Mammal house.
The highlight of the trip and by far the most entertaining (to the kids) were the meerkats.
Running around. Jumping. Scratching at the glass. Running again. They were high on sugar or something. (Though, yes, I did read the article about how sugar does not make kids hyper). Here is a video of the neurotic behavior.

At this point it was about noon and we were all getting hungry. So off to the Panda cafe for lunch. The food left something to desire. Let's just say McDonald's fries they are not. But the kids meals did come with a animal lunch tote.
We must have been a funny site sitting there eating our meals, some kids still in strollers, others on the bench table with us holding our big ass umbrellas while it briefly started to pour down rain. But hey, at least we weren't the losers getting all wet.

Next we saw the Pandas.
It must have been a lazy day because not many animals were out, and the ones that were, were not very active.
Though it seems that something funny happens each time we go. Last year it was the Orangutans that threw up whatever it was that they were eating right there up by the glass window and then proceeded to eat their vomit. All while James, Mason and the other kids watched with amazement and every parent within viewing distance gasped in horror, quickly turning our kids away from the mess. This year it was the Elephants
who peed right in front of us. We weren't sure what it was at first. Thinking it was his trunk he was squirting water out of. And once we realized...oh, the hilarity of conversation that errupted between us.
The, "I should have gotten that on video," and "OMG is that his...? Where's my camera?" "Did you see that?" And just as we were mid cracking up, the female peed too. And it started all over again. Mason thought it was funny too, trying to see. Sophie and the other kids just looked at the animals and us with quizzical looks on their faces. Oh in due time. YOU, too, will get the joke.
It was time to leave however, when the male elephant ate the pee off the ground and started flinging it. Our knowledge of these large mammals falling into the TMI category.

A few more animals to try and see, the sea lion/seal habitat was closed due to remodeling. The Zebras, Tigers, Lions, Praerie dogs, etc. I put Sophie in my brand new Ergo carrier (trying it out for our trip to the beach) since the rain stopped. It made the stroller sooooo much lighter to push up those hills.
She eventually fell asleep. I guess it's comfortable enough for her.

Finally it was time to call it quits. The kids getting tired, restless and wanting to avoid traffic. But not before getting some ice cream on our way out. Mason was introduced to dippin dots. Once again these two got along incredibly well. Isn't that just too cute? Last year they were reaching out to each other from their strollers, causing my friend Dani and I to collide every so often, making animal noises and laughing at each other.

I'm really going to miss this when they move at the end of the summer. :( So sad.

Overall, it was a really great day and look forward to all the events we have planned for the rest of the summer.
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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summer Adventures: Baltimore Aquarium

We just had Sophie's First Birthday party, post on that to come. Mother-in-law still in town and the kids looking for some entertainment. I thought wouldn't it be great to spend the day at the Baltimore Aquarium? We've never been there and I think the kids would love it. So we planned our trip.

Probably only an hour into the ride things took a turn for the worse. Sophie started crying, scratching at her eczema making her ankle bleed. Mason got upset because Sophie was making so much noise he couldn't hear the movie Aladdin, playing. He started to whine and kick my seat. This annoyed me way more than it normally would have because I was feeling car sick. Every time I looked behind me at the kids my head hurt and I felt nauseous. I couldn't look out at the scene passing by without getting dizzy and feeling like I was moving just as fast. And I snapped. I screamed, I threatened and I wanted to cry. Somewhere on Route 15 we pulled over for a much needed breather.

Hours later we made it to National Harbor and were strolling the kids toward the Aquarium. Anticipating an awesome experience. Little did I know that strollers are not allowed. What?! Luckily they had a back pack carrier thing we could borrow and off we went.

I have to say I wasn't all that impressed. Maybe it as due to the problems with my glasses but then again Fred agreed, so maybe not. The Jellyfish were cool. But the exhibit was small and I was expecting more. The open pool with the Sting Rays and Giant Turtles were a hit. Though not as cool as the one in North Carolina where you actually got to touch the Sing Rays. The Dolphin show was lame, to an adult. Most of the information was projected on large screens. They would do a little demonstrating, which lets face it, seeing Dolphins jump in the air and make big splashes will always fascinate little kids. But then they would say something about the Dolphins and point us to the huge screens on the side of pool for a pre-recorded message. Even made a big presentation about Recycling. Which I am all about, but this is supposed to be a Dolphin show. Mason and Sophie loved it though. So much that Sophie started making the sign for more when it was over. The tropical birds were cool and Mason got to play with a rain stick in the Tropical Rainforest. And that is not an alligator but a Caiman, which are predators to Otters. Thank you very much Diego. The shark tank as you walked down the ramp from the top to the bottom was pretty cool too. But we didn't get to see everything as the littlest munchkin was starting to fade. It was nap time after all.

In my opinion, the Zoo is a lot more interesting way to see animals and it's free. Overall, it was a good outing. The kids had fun. Even if it was a bit over priced for what you got.
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Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Remember this post? I was just waiting to get my new lenses in my old frames back. Simple right? Yeah that's what I thought until two months later and the ordeal is still not entirely resolved. *sigh*

It started off with me picking up my new pair (April 23)when they finally came in after two weeks of waiting. Hoorray! Before handing them over I was told that they overcharged for them so they upgraded my anti-reflective. My first reaction was, why didn't I get a call saying I was over charged and given the option of an upgrade or my money back? But it was done already so I just sighed, took my glasses and left. They seemed weird. Meaning my vision was wonky but I figured that was due to me just getting used to the new prescription. Outside I noticed my lenses didn't change but decided to give it another day to see if they just needed more light. But still the next day no change. Figure there are no transitions put on and tried to contact the office to see if it indeed had. After a few phone calls and no answer, I finally just walked into the office (April 27) and the lab had indeed not put transitions on. Also I mentioned the weird vision and found out the frames were bent as well. So, glasses back to the lab and me back in the back up pair.
May 6th: my glasses are back. It still took almost two weeks even with the rush they supposedly put on them. But still feel weird. Vision is not right but can't pinpoint the problem just yet. Having nausea and vertigo. Sometimes my photos on my camera look 3-D. After seeing Fred race and it making me really dizzy I almost feel over I knew something really wasn't right. Discovered after some testing that my right eye is blurry while my left eye is perfectly crisp and clear. I'm pretty sure that isn't right.
May 17th: back at the doctors office getting another exam. She tells me that I can see fine with the prescription when in the equipment but not in my glasses. That seems very odd to me but she says she is making a slight change and we'll see if that helps. Crossing my fingers that they do.
May 21: glasses back for a third time and so far still having the same problems. But decided to give it time to see if it works itself out.
June 1st: in the office again for a third exam. I tried to be more specific this time regarding my vision problems. But stating the same as I did last visit. Left eye is seeing crisp, clear, defined lines, perfect. Right eye still blurry, fuzzy edges. Seeing 3-d once again when looking at some images on my computer and my camera. Images in right eye appear smaller and farther away than right eye. Getting dizzy when move my head. Migraines, nausea, always feeling I need to adjust my glasses on my face in order to see at all. Can't interact with my kids because I get sick after a few minutes of play. Can't focus, feel crossed-eyed sometimes. The doctor much to my astonishment told me that all my problems didn't add up or make sense because, get this, MY PRESCRIPTION BASICALLY DIDNT CHANGE. Wha, wha, what?! Well then what did I pay $300 for? Geez if I had known it didn't change I wouldn't have gone through the trouble of getting new lenses! So I try to go through the whole well then lets just put the old lenses back in if they aren't any different. Of course he totally dismissed that and when I asked how I could see totally fine with old prescription (in my back up pair) and not see with the new ones, even with all the changes they've made, his explanation was allergies. Allergies? My right eye has allergies and that's why my vision is blurry and all these other problems. Riiight. That's why I can see just fine, with my allergy, in my old lenses right? Uh, huh. So feeling ignored and frustrated, not really sure what I can do at this point, I take the damn eye drops and schedule yet another exam for two weeks from now.
I should have stood my ground and demanded my old lenses be put back in and stop being jerked around because this, THIS IS RIDICULOUS. Because honestly at this point it's a quality of life issue. But it took two days, a three hour car ride with cranky kids and me feeling dizzy and car sick (and I have NEVER been car sick EVER in my entire life) and an experience at the Aquarium that should have been fun but had my head hurting, my eyes straining, feeling way too dizzy like in a fishbowl, to say enough is enough.
June4th: I finally get someone to agree to put my old lenses back in frames. I told them that I wanted a refund and in not so many words I was given the impression that this was not going to happen. I should have guessed since they didn't give me the refund when I was overcharged but instead given an upgrade I didn't even want or need. So this is where I am now. June 23rd, over a month later still dealing with this and trying to get someone to talk to me about this refund. Over the last three weeks I've been playing phone tag, in the essence that I keep calling and can't get anyone to give me an answer, call me back or even just discuss the situation. Right now I am awaiting the manager to talk with their rep at the lab and call me back. Meanwhile I am preparing documentation to dispute the charge with our credit card company.
You live, you hopefully learn, you go through crap you wish you didn't have to and then you report them to the Better Business Bureau, bad talk them to all your friends, family, neighbors and random strangers you see, and move on prating you put a serious kink in their profit margin.
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