St. Augustine, you did not make a good impression on me today.
PinkGirl’s 4th grade class went on a field trip to St. Augustine today and I had to drive because she was in a charity performance for Toys for Tots tonight and she had to be at the theater earlier than the bus was returning.
I think I’m all set and then, last night around 6pm, one of the teachers sent out an email:
“If chaperones want to drive we can’t stop you; however it is a big problem in that the trolley tour that leaves from the Old Jail does not return there. It drops us off at the fort, and you will not be able to get back to your car.”
So I Googled St. Augustine and found a map From the fort to the Old Jail . . . it didn’t seem that far to me, but I didn’t know, so I emailed the teacher back:
“What are my options if I need to get PinkGirl back early? From your email, it sounds like driving my own vehicle would leave me stranded. I’ve never been to St. Augustine and it sounds like you know the ropes. Any suggestions?”
His reply, at 6:16 this MORNING:
“I am sure there are a few parents driving. Maybe you can catch a ride back to the jail or miss the trolley tour and just drive from the jail to the fort. Parking for the fort is at the welcome center across the street. Sorry, but there is no easy way that I know of.”
I’m thinking, they all sound like easy ways to me, unless you can’t WALK. I’m thinking all my treadmill time has prepared me for this. Little did I know.
So PinkGirl rides the cool bus with TVs to St. Augustine and I drive my van and park at the Old Jail with all the other parents who drove. We tour the Museum (GREAT tour guide) and the Old Jail. Here’s my facebook posts during the tour of the Old Jail:
“Trying to stand where the authoritarian tour guide tells us to stand. Got in trouble 3 times already.”
“Got in trouble with the cranky tourguide again. Now I’m standing as far back as I can to listen to the tour guide behind me. He’s funnier.”
oh. she was bossy. FirstHusband says I have a problem with authority. I say I just tend to ignore bossy people.
But here’s where it all started to go downhill fast. While we were in the Old Jail, it started raining. Did I mention it was COLD? I was wearing three layers and leather gloves. PinkGirl is wearing two layers and gloves, but she’s running around more. And then it started raining.
We had lunch on a small porch. All three 4th grade classes and a bunch of parents.
Then on to the trolley ride. So NOW we’re all in an open trolley, in the cold, in the rain and traveling at least 30 miles per hour.
By the time the tour was finished 45 minutes later, we were soaked and very, Very, VERY cold. And we had 45 minutes of “free time” until the tour of the fort. The mom I was hanging with was on a quest for coffee and I was right there with her. I hate shopping as it is and there was NO way I was going to shop while I was soaking wet.
After a latte for me and a hot chocolate for PinkGirl ($9.00), we walked to the fort and stood around waiting for that tour to begin. In the rain. I asked our tour guide about options to get back to our vehicles at the Old Jail and he quickly pointed out the trolley stop right in front of the fort. Supposedly, the trolley schedule was every 15 minutes.
So PinkGirl goes on the fort tour with her class in the care of my fellow coffee lovin mom and I walk over to the trolley stop with two other moms to wait. and wait. and wait.
Forget it. It’s RAINING and I’m freezing and if I’m going to be in the rain, I’m NOT going to stand still while I’m getting soaked. I’m at LEAST going to be moving toward my destination. We were decked out in some seriously attractive complementary rain ponchos from the trolley company, so my thought was that if we saw a trolley coming our way, we would look pitiful and step out into the middle of the street and flag… okay, maybe not. But the “look pitiful” part worked after we walked about a half a mile. Since the rain ponchos were covered in the trolley company logo, a BUS driver (NOT a trolley, but a WARM, ENCLOSED BUS) pulled to a stop right in the middle of the road and opened the door.
My favorite person of the day, and I don’t even know his name.
I get the van, drive it back to the fort and go looking for our group. They are on TOP of the fort, overlooking the water. And now it’s cold and raining and WINDY.
This is not my happy day.
PinkGirl, however is having a GREAT time. weirdo.
But the SECOND the tour is over, she says, “Mom, can we go now?
Oh, honey, you do NOT have to ask me twice. I have a vehicle and I’m not afraid to use it. We were outta there so fast! A quick pit stop at McDonalds and we were on the road. PinkGirl fell asleep within 20 minutes and stayed asleep till we got off the highway in our little hometown, about an hour and a half later.
My next facebook update:
“I dont know how PinkGirl is even still standing, much less performing in a show tonight. We had to be at school at 6:30 am, we spent most of the day freezing and soaking wet and she fell asleep in the van on the way home from St. Augustine. Her dad had to carry her into the house so she could change clothes for the show. She’s sleeping in tomorrow, I can feel it.”
“PinkGirl just got home from the show – she is TOTALLY wired. But when she crashes, it’s going to look like this. (at the 2:43 mark)”