Monday, July 22, 2013


I like it when people visit DC from out of town and then invite my family to do fun touristy things in DC that we’ve never done. The only bad part is when they ask me questions about the city like I’m supposed to have any idea what that park over there is or what that statue means or why there is a damn replica of the Liberty Bell in front of Union Station.

Fortunately when my friend Tracy and her daughter, Sarah, came to visit, they suggested we go on a Duck Tour of the city and even though *I* didn’t know the answer to any of those questions, the Duck Tour driver DID.

I’m getting ahead of myself here, though. Waaaay before the Duck Tour, we arrived in DC and met Tracy and Sarah. I think that Tracy and I have known each other for a really, really long time and I like her a lot, but I didn’t even know what she looked like before last Saturday.

Turns out she looks like my friend.
We had originally planned an 11 am Duck Tour, but those were sold out, so we bought tickets for a 12:30 tour and then headed off to buy pretzels for my kids because Tracy and Sarah had been eating them when we arrived and my kids are nothing if not impressionable.

Quinn got a chocolate muffin instead of a pretzel. I have two (2) things to say about this. First, if it is made of chocolate, just be honest and call it a non-frosted cupcake. Second, I don’t know how he did it, but that muffin ended up in Quinn’s hair, all over his face, and on Sam’s shirt. It was kind of impressive.

How, Quinn? Hooooww?
It melted for the rest of the afternoon.

We (and by “we,” I mean “Tracy”) had all kinds of ideas for how to kill an extra hour and a half on a billion-degree day in DC but the only one that was juuuust across the street and therefore palatable to my lazy, lazy (lazy) children was the National Postal Museum.

I know. We know how to live.

The security checkpoint to get into the museum was its own little adventure. The guard let Jack use the metal detecting wand, which was kind of the high point of his life. I think that Tracy had buckets of coins in her pockets or something because it took her a long time to get through security. Team Stimey didn’t care though, because we were busy delighting in the majesty that is the National Postal Museum.

Post office boxes?! Wowsers!
I’m being unkind to the postal museum. In fact, it was pretty fun. There was a semi truck to explore (I think because semi trucks deliver mail?), a model train exhibit (I suppose they also deliver mail?), and a stamp table where visitors could find their favorite stamps (because you put stamps on mail!).

If I could get one of these to go in Jack’s bedroom, he would be the happiest kid in the world.
This kid can dismantle anything in the world. I wanted to take a photo of his reflection in the wheel and he took the opportunity to yank a lug nut off of the hubcap.
Now that I think about it, this museum was practically tailor made for Jack. He chased model trains around the table for a long time.
Meanwhile, Quinn and Sam went searching for stamps that featured cats. Sarah looked for a stamp with a wombat on it. These young folks are not particular at all, are they?
I have to tell you though, regardless of how fun the postal museum was, tragedy almost derailed the whole expedition shortly after we got there when Jack stepped on Sam’s foot, opening a climbing-shoe wound, and BLOOD! BLOOD! OH MY GOD, BLOOD!!!!!
It turns out that the thing that Tracy had in her pockets was preparedness, because, HOORAY! BANDAIDS! BANDAIDS FIX TOES!

Or at least Bandaids fix screaming about toes. Either way, this is a photo of a hero.
All of this before we even boarded our amphibious vehicle.

The Duck Tour itself was really fun. Even crankypants Quinn seemed to have fun, especially when the boat just drove right into the Potomac. And then—THEN!—it drove right under planes landing at the airport. SO fun.

I really enjoyed the fact that Jack insisted on wearing a life vest the whole time we were on the water even though no one else did, nor was it required. (Safety first!) I also enjoyed the fact that no one threw up, even in the choppy waters. (Although Tracy brought barf bags from the plane just in case!)

Jack even drove the boat for a minute. He didn’t want to give up the captain’s seat when the tour boat operator tried to get it back.

I cannot get over his wrinkly nose in this photo. I love it. Tracy took it. My photos are way less awesome.

Somewhat awesomely, everyone on the boat got quacking duck beaks, which made for an endless number of most excellent photo opportunities.
This picture quacks me up.
Quinn did NOT care for the quackers.

I know it looks like he’s smiling, but really this is him mid-grimace, shortly before the yelling and ear-covering started.*
After we parted ways, Tracy and Sarah spent the rest of their day trudging around the National Zoo in the heat. Team Stimey headed home on the Metro.

Pro tip: In case you’ve ever wondered what would happen to you if you ran your hand along a wall in a Metro station: (1) Don’t and (2) THIS:

Quinn did some yelling and grimacing after this happened too.
We had a really fun time with our new friends. I’m so glad that I now have a wonderful face to put with Tracy’s name. It is always a little scary to meet new people. I am so happy that the new people I got to meet this weekend were really wonderful. Thanks for letting us spend the afternoon with you, Tracy and Sarah. It was fantastic to get to hang out.

* When Sam was a baby, we took him to get his photo taken in a Santa hat for our Christmas cards. He didn’t smile once, but we used one photo where his yelling looked like a grin. It makes me laugh every time I think of it.

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