My little family of three went on a day trip to Portland, Oregon this week. My husband had an appointment at the VA hospital. We took our son out of pre-school for the day, in hopes of giving him an enriching experience.
We took the LONG way to Portland, for a side trip to Multnomah Falls. Thanks to Google’s direction, we saw two other falls as well. Our son was pretty bored with the whole thing. He did get to play in some puddles. He also got to hang out in his stroller (thank goodness he still fits).
When we got to the VA Hospital, he was such a GOOD boy! He quietly ate his lunch in the “Patriot Cafe” with us. Then, when my husband left, he still sat patiently in his stroller for almost two hours while we waiting for my husband to get back.
They have this weird queue system at the hospital. Ever few minutes there would be a computerized female voice that said, “now serving number blah-blah-blah at counter number blah.” Maybe it’s the sci-fi nut in me, but the idea of a computer telling veterans what to do bothered me. But, our visit to the VA hospital was “quick”, efficient, and pleasant. Maybe that’s because of the computer. Who knows.
We left the hospital with every intent of going to the Oregon Zoo. Our son had been an amazing trooper for the last six-seven hours. He had totally earned some time to run around a zoo like a crazy man.
Maybe the title of this blog should be, “Screw you Google Maps.” I don’t know who’s fault it was that we couldn’t find the zoo. I have successfully navigate my husband through major Oregon cities for going on six years. I’ve navigated him through wilderness forest service roads. When it comes to road trips, we make a great team.
It didn’t matter that I had written instructions, that I had memorized the route, or that we have the Google Map lady (another computerized voice) telling us where to go. We could not find that zoo to save our lives. After an hour I was in absolute tears because we had failed our son. He had been good all day, and yet he still didn’t get to see any damn elephants.
For the record, my son didn’t care. He was asleep. He had no understand of the potential for fun. He wasn’t bribed into being good because of promises of later fun. He also didn’t care when we finally drive out of Portland.
We left Portland the way we came, because it was the route home we saw and neither of us were in the mood for another hunt.
Screw you, Portland. Your street signs lie, Your zoo must only be accessible by tri-met. Your traffic is inhospitable.
We did end up eating at this adorable chinese restaurant in Hood River. It was recommended to us by the gas attendant and right next to our turn off to head home… the LONG way. The China Gorge has amazingly nice wait staff. They even noticed how beautiful my son’s eyes were. They were patient and understanding when my son threw his tablet across the table. (He didn’t hit anything, but they chuckled instead of glared. I appreciate any restaurant with a sense of humor about these things.) Of course, their panda out front is adorable.
I still have a hard time thinking of this trip as a success. I know it was a success for me, I got to see three more waterfalls, which I have written about on my Oregon Waterfall Tour blog. My husband got some pretty reassuring news about his knee from the orthopedic consult, the whole reason we went in the first place. No surgery, yay!
I need to remember that my son had one of the most calm, electronic free days, he has ever had in his life. Even though he finally got his tablet about halfway through. We went almost six hours without any sort of electronics entertaining him. We actually had some, kinda, functional conversations about his toys. He wouldn’t have been so calm and amazing had he not been having a good time.
I still think Portland can go screw itself, though.