Friday, January 28, 2011

Our No-Power Day Turned Out Kind of Great After All

So honestly, even I am tired of hearing me complain here and on Twitter about my power going out every time there is a storm, but what am I supposed to do when EVERY time there is a storm, my power goes out?

I am also tired of hearing myself complain about school being canceled EVERY time there is a storm, but between a teacher work day on Monday and THREE weather cancellations, my kids have been in school for ONE day this week and they're not going tomorrow either.

C'mon. It's not like kids need lights or heat to learn, do they?

I was so saddened last night when my power went out. I got surlier and surlier as the house got colder and colder, with the exception of the refrigerator and all our food, which got warmer and warmer.

When I woke up this morning and our power was still off, I knew that I would have to leave the house or I would FREAK THE FUCK OUT and be unable to claw my way back to sanity. So we packed up a laptop and some DVDs, wrapped a blanket around the mouse cage, and bid the pets good luck and godspeed.

Our plan was to go to a museum and then spend the afternoon watching movies at Alex's office while he worked around us. At some point I remembered about the Lego exhibit at the National Building Museum. Last summer when we went, we spent forever building Lego structures. I was hopeful the same would happen today.

We walked up to the museum just as they were taping up a sign informing us that because of the weather, they would not open until noon—a full hour away. I tried to call bullshit, because they were obviously inside, but the only people who heard me cursing were my kids.

When that didn't work, we killed some time by playing on the giant Allen wrench sculpture outside.

Then my children ran in circles for a little while.

Then I took them to lunch at the Burger King across the street. At this point it was 11:32, so we played Team Stimey's version of 20 questions, which involves hints and, when Quinn is the one taking questions, requires that you ask, "Is this thing something imaginary from the video game you're creating in your mind?"*

The answer to that question is inevitably, "Yes."

Surprisingly, Sam and Jack are remarkably good at figuring out what he's talking about.

* Quinn will be creating Monkey Kong Country when he is 20 years of age. Nintendo, you're on notice.

We were finally granted access to the museum and went to buy our tickets to the exhibit. One of the things I love more than anything in the world is being in buildings that have miniature renditions of themselves inside. The Building Museum is currently one of those places.

They were setting up for an event, which is
why it looks like moving day behind my kids.

If you haven't been to the Building Museum, this is what it looks like. I circled the mini representation of the building, which was inside the mini representation of the building. You can't beat that.

Even Lego Stimey loses kids.

We headed upstairs to our destination, where we spent about four seconds looking at the actual exhibit, which are Lego renditions of famous buildings. Whatevs. We'd seen it. Bins of loose Legos waited for us in the next room! Actually Sam thought it was cool and went back to look after building his own structures for two hours. There is a Lego Fallingwater and now Sam wants to go see the real thing.

Meanwhile Jack built Legos and didn't speak of anything but Legos for two and a half hours. He was in his happy place. I was too. It was the best place we could have ended up today.

This was before the other power-outage/school cancellation refugees arrived.

Quinn insisted on building a car, which was a little bit of a problem, because out of literally thousands and thousands of Legos, I could only locate two wheels. Fortunately, Sam eventually located two more wheels and after the Quinn/Sam fist fight over who got to use all four of them, we had a car.

The car is one of those video game ideas from Quinn's imagination.

Sam, who is the least Lego inclined of all my children, had a blast. He built a house and a lake and helped his brothers build things and spent probably an hour building a tall tower with me and also built a baseball stadium.

I REALLY need one of these rooms in my house.

The tower that Sam and I made was the tallest structure in the room for a really long time. That is, right up until this little girl brought her tower over, put it next to ours, noticed that it was slightly shorter, built it up a little, then put it back right next to our tower and smirked away as her mom took photo after photo of her self-righteous little grin.

This must be how the Sears Tower feels.

Sam was going to make his taller and crush the little girl, but I talked him into letting the small child take the win. Her hubris took her down though, because she kept playing with her building (rookie mistake; you don't play with Legos) and eventually she broke it into many pieces.

That's our stadium on the left and Stimey Town on the right.

There comes a time in every visit to the Lego exhibit when you have to pack up your shit and leave. We meandered around downtown DC, headed toward Alex's office and made both friends and enemies on the way.

Friend: The cute girl that Jack made a catcall noise at who laughed and told him he was cute. (In my defense, I have NO idea where he learned that. I'm going to guess Tom & Jerry.)

Frenemies: The guards at the Department of Justice building who are hella serious about defending their turf from idling cars, security threats, and seven-year-olds (Jack again) who step up on the curb where they stand. On the way out with Alex two hours later, the guards laughed and said, "We remember those boys!!" Good to make an impression on the people with guns.

Enemies: The hapless business people who were unfortunate enough to walk in front of my children when they were kicking snow. Fortunately, most of them don't carry guns. Most of them.

They look so innocent, don't they?

Between leaving the museum and arriving at Alex's office, I got a text from my friend telling me that the power in my neighborhood was on. There is not a lot that is better than getting that information. I imagined my pets at home emerging from under their blankets (cats) and barking at the suddenly whirring and beeping electronics (dog). We decided to continue on to Alex's office so that we could all go home together when he got off work.

The kiddos played DSi while we waited for Alex to do his lawyer stuff. Quinn is a big fan of the Nintendogs game he got for Christmas.*

It's even more fun to watch him play fetch with
his fake dog when his real live dog stares
wistfully at him from the couch.

Even though my friend had promised that my power was on, we all got tenser and tenser as we approached our house, sure that somehow it would have gone back out or all the houses in the neighborhood but ours would be lit up. Happily, we arrived home to a house ABLAZE with lights.

For a day that started out as a complete bummer, it actually turned great pretty quickly. My kids and I had such a fun time together. Sometimes setting out on an adventure hoping for nothing more than not being miserable turns into a day to remember.

* Disclosure: I bought Nintendogs, but I do have a relationship with Nintendo as a brand enthusiast

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