No Seat Belts!


We woke up craving Giant Eagle donuts. Their bakery is getting better and better and it’s become harder to resist the variety of sugary love in the cases. I figure the stroller rode or bike ride to get to Giant Eagle makes up for the calories consumed (maybe if we biked back and forth twenty times over…).

We decided to take the COTA bus downtown after breakfast. Jon drove us a few blocks up the street to the bus stop (yeah, kinda defeats the sustainability argument for taking the bus, but hey, we saved five miles of gas going downtown!), and we waited patiently for the No. 5 to arrive. After a mere seven repetitive questions of “when will the bus get here?”, it arrived! The kids jumped onto the bus steps and dashed to the back. I paid $2 and joined them. Mario’s first response:

“There are no seat belts!”

He was charged. Maria enjoyed the thrill on Mario’s face with me since she had already experienced COTA with me a couple of years ago. I explained to them that a lot of people rode COTA during the week to get to their jobs, and that people read while on the bus or think about their day ahead. M&M soaked it in and asked questions galore. It was heartwarming.

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Our trip lasted a mere 27 minutes and we exited at Bicentennial Park. I have been taking M&M down to this park for years. It doesn’t have any swings or a playground. It just has bronze statutes of mythological creatures and cement blocks to hop on and off of as you go from one statute to the next. But the kids have always loved to read about the creatures and climb on them.

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They also have loved to jump from one block to the next. Mario had such trouble the last two years trying to jump from one particular block to another that was situated just a bit farther away than the others. This year he flew right onto it. II told him the story about how it used to be hard for him and he said “Mom, look” while he acted like he was scared to jump. I smiled at him and he responded “I’m getting bigger, mom.” Yep, you are bud.

We headed to the Santa Maria next. They had tours going on so we got three tickets and joined the rest of the group. It’s always interesting to see who the guide is for the tour. Last time it was a very boisterous young girl who had wavy brown hair and thick glasses and loved getting the kids roused up with stories from Columbus’ time. This time we had a scholarly-looking lad with white tube socks and loafers. He was maybe 17. He loved espousing his knowledge and hearing questions from the audience. He answered all of Mario’s questions with a slight chuckle before each response. A 17 year old in a 50 year old body. He was good though and we learned about what they ate on the ship (hard bread they softened with water and animals they housed on the ship), what games they played (ring toss and checkers), and how they killed rats on the ship (not too humanitarian). We skipped out of the tour a bit early to head to Dirty Franks with dad. Maggie and Laura were supposed to meet us but showed up late and there was no seating for them. They decided to meet us back at the house. When they walked out, Maria started crying. “I want them to stay, mom. I want to be with them.” I ran out with her to try to stop them. We were successful – Maria jumped into Maggie’s arms and fled away with them. Meanwhile, Mario ate two hot dogs with Jon and me. Two! He has to be going through a growing spurt.

We met the girls back at the house and sat around and talked to them about Australia and life in general for two hours. I miss that girl cousin time so very much. Ri hung with us for an hour and then crashed on the floor. Mario knew it was his opportunity to play computer and he took full advantage of it.

A low-key Sunday with a splattering of COTA bus trips, ship trivia, hot dogs and girl talk. What should we have in store for tonight? I see Graeter’s as a perfect end to the day….

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