Thursday, August 8, 2013

Wed. Aug 7: Hell Day

Hell Day.

Ok, granted, I did not fall asleep until after 2am, and my first alarm went off at 6 am to remind me of the conference. I did manage to get up at 7 to listen to the keynote speech of Edmodocon, but it was very slow and boring for me, so I did some work while I listened.

Eventually Sofia woke up and demanded breakfast, so I took her downstairs. It took us all a few hours to eat and dress and get out of the hotel around 10.

And then we sat in traffic.

For about an hour and a half.

Vancouver is one large traffic jam. Often there are four or five lanes of traffic, all merging into ONE lane. And the people have NO idea how to merge. Six cars from one lane will go by before one brave soul in another lane sneaks out.

When actually driving (rather than creeping), it’s even worse, because they pull out onto the main road WITHOUT LOOKING.  Which means they also like to jam on their brakes. A lot.


And the maps we have are “overviews”, which means they list about every 15th road. So it’s very difficult to tell just how far you really have to go to reach the street you are looking for.

Ok. So eventually we made it into downtown Vancouver, and then across the Lion’s Gate Bridge (a three lane bridge, but only one lane open in our direction) and all the way to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.

Which was cool, and would have been very beautiful. Except for the TEN TRILLION PEOPLE walking around!

So much for peaceful woods. Even walking across the bridge (a truly terrifying experience) was disappointing, because you could not stop - there were too many people pushing through behind you.

And we probably should have left the wheelchair in the car for this one, but we didn’t. Which means David carried it over the Suspension Bridge, and later I carried it as I tried to chase Sofia down one of the boardwalks (while David took the boys to the treetop walk).

On top of all this, Micah was IN A MOOD all day. ALL DAY. He did sleep late, and even fell asleep in the car, which is not a good sign. Micah needing to sleep more means Micah is not feeling great, and he will take it out on anyone, especially Mommy and Daddy.

Which he did.

By the time David and the boys got back from their treetop walk (about which Micah rolled his eyes and complained that  they only went to 5 stops), David was ready to shove him off a cliff. We walked back across the suspension bridge (Sofia RAN - no fear in that kid). David and Sam waited in line to go on the cliff walk, and I bought some fudge and gummy bears, in an effort to bring up Micah’s blood sugar level a wee bit. It did help, for a while.

It was a disappointing morning. I am glad we “saved” money by under-aging our children, but I kind of which we had not gone at all. It was lovely but too much like a boring Disney ride. I don’t think that is what was intended; the local folk seem very earnest about their nature walk, but it’s really one large tourist trap.

So we got back in the car and headed back to the city center again (and once again we were on the one-lane side of the bridge). We found a parking garage, and the nicest moment of the day happened. It was already about 3:30, and this particular garage let you pay until 6pm, and then needed a different payment for evening. It was a little confusing, and David was having some trouble focusing at the pay station. So some nice guy was walking back to his car, and said we should just move our car into his spot, because he’d paid up until 6pm (you pay for the spot, and it’s recorded in the machine). And then we could pay online from the phone at 6 for the rest of the evening.

That was nice.

We walked toward “Gastown”, the gas-light district (we had actually stopped there briefly to take Sofia to a Starbucks bathroom in the morning; a nice construction guy let David pull the car over for a few minutes so I could run her in). David and Micah got slices of pizza (and another problem - there was sesame on the slice - but the guy made him a new one without). Sam stayed with them, while Sofia and I walked down further and got some sushi. And eventually David and Sam got some more sushi.

Once everyone had eaten, things calmed down a little bit. We walked around. I was not impressed. There are a lot of beggars and street bums here. It’s very sad. Some have pep and attitude, and possibly prefer their freedom on the street, but most seem so sickly, I wonder why there are no safe places for them to go. Why are there no health services available to them? No help?

There were the usual million tourists, and all the tourist junk shops with the tchotchkes from China. There were a lot of coffee shops. And cobblestone roads. And dirt.

We walked a bit, and then headed toward “Canada Place”, the Pan Pacific Hotel and the Trade Center where the cruise ships leave from. It was pretty there, and we had our first view of the water. We walked along the promenade for a while and relaxed.

Then we headed back to Gastown for dinner. Stopped along the way to look for a “jersey” for Micah. Which caused another problem because I did not realize he meant an official hockey jersey with a player’s name on the back and a team in front, and instead I pointed him toward a generic “Canada” jersey. MUCH complaining and arguing ensued.

We opted for a Spaghetti Factory, since it’s a known quantity - a nicer chain that David has eaten at before. This one was the original store. The food was actually delicious! Sofia and I had the minestrone (vegetarian, as it should be), and she had gluten-free pasta. I had yummy pesto linguini. Sam enjoyed some treyf (non-kosher) seafood pasta, and David had a couple of different sauces on his pasta.

And Micah... ordered the vegetable lasagna....which of course he did not like. So down plummeted the blood sugar again. He was ok for a while, and even pleasant and joking while we walked back to the car. But once we started driving, he started arguing. Digging. Pressing his luck. Not getting it.

I think there is definitely something wrong. I think it’s blood-sugar related. Tomorrow I will keep a strict eye on what he eats. And when we get home, I will be investigating this further with the pediatrician. Something is just not right. He could NOT stop arguing. It was like the way he was back when he was 2 years old and we did not realize he had food allergies. He cannot control the mood, and it just gets worse and worse.

Which makes life REALLY tough for all of us.

So the evening ended badly, because all afternoon the kids had been begging to return to the hotel so they could swim and go on the water slide. I very clearly told them that IF the pool was still open when we got home, they could go swimming.

But we did not get back to the hotel until 10:07, and the pool closed at 10 (although there were still a couple of kids; the desk clerk was just getting ready to kick them out).

So the boys both plunged into bad moods (ok, Micah was already miserable), saying I had “flat-out lied” to them. Which made me VERY angry.

I now have possession of an iPad, an iPod and a cell phone. Not sure when I will return them.

Hopefully tomorrow will be better. Not even sure what we are planning, except that we told them they could swim IF they got up early and ate breakfast first.

David and I are trying to calm down now. Micah really pushed us to our limit, and Sam put me right over the edge.

Why do we travel with our kids?

So here are today's photos:

 Yes, I walked across that. Twice!

 Sofia on the boardwalk
 Yes, that's the bridge.
 Nothing soothes the soul like a short break to throw stones into the woods...
 Cliff Walk bridge

 Sharing some gummy bears
 Stupid Traffic
 One lane, again.
 OMG - are those smiles?

 (The one flare up of mood was when we came across this photo op, and I mistakenly called them football players instead of hockey players. Micah had a fit.)
 War of 1812...from the Canadian perspective...