Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Our Mini "Vay-Cay" (I can't believe I just quoted Seriously So Blessed)

Over the river and through the woods, to Grandfather's museum we went.

Or something like that.

On Sunday we drove to Wright/Patterson Air Force Museum, which for those not in the know (which including me up until a month ago) is right outside of Dayton Ohio (only 75 minutes away).

Random Fact Moment: the Ohio license plates say "Birthplace of Aviation," and North Carolina license Plates say, "First in Flight." The Wright Brothers were from Ohio (well, mostly; they lived and ended up in Ohio), and made all their plans in Ohio, but then went to North Carolina because of the well situated breezes and sands. I think that two states trying to capitilize on the same topic is a little silly, but regardless America appears to be very proud of its role in flight history.

Avram's Grandpa, Grandpa Shannon is a retired Major in the Air Force, and was a flight navigator and electronic warfare officer (which meant he did the weapons and stuff in flight). During Vietnam he was a part of the Wild Weasel group, and so got in a plane to be shot at a lot while destroying SAM (surface air missile) sights. He and his pilot, McInerney (who I always thought was two people, you know, Mack an' Earnie? [I'd only audibly heard the name before this weekend]) earned the Air Force Cross, the second highest honor available in the military.

At the huge, Smithsonian museum of Wright/Patterson (did you also know that there is a Smithsonia museum not in the DC area? Now you know. I'm so informational I'm practically like public television, which I will actually bring up, later) there's a large exhibit on the Wild Weasels, and Grandpa Shannon's flight suit and Cross are on display. Please ignore the tacky flash in the middle of the photo, and instead notice the uniform on the right, with Grandpa Fred Shannon in the middle of the picture.

This weekend there was a Wild Weasel reunion convention next to the Museum, and so we met his grandparents there at the end of the convention on Sunday and stayed overnight at a hotel and went to the museum on Monday with a personal, guided tour (I felt very important). It was a great little mini vacation (not that we were technically in need of a vacation from real life, since right now there are two stay at home parents in our family, but it's amazing how tiring and hard staying at home all the time can be for two adults and two children), especially perfect since his Grandpa paid for it for us (and now he has my blog site, so he may be reading this, so thank you a lot, we had a great time, Grandpa!).

Avram drove there, in our normal he drives everywhere and I drive home agreement. Unfortunately, unbeknown to us beforehand, the entire trip occurred right as the remnants of Hurricane Ike went racing through Ohio. Avram drove the whole way through massively strong winds (something like 60 mph), and we even had the opportunity (?) of seeing a semi almost jackknife in front of us. Like right in front of us. It started tipping over, but somehow the driver righted it before it fell, and then he immediately slowed down to like thirty, probably because he'd seen his life flashing before his eyes. I know I certainly say my life going kaput. Yeah, Avram was cursing the day he learned to drive on Sunday.

We arrived fine, though, (and let me take a minute to say that you're an amazing driver, Avram, because buttering you up in public will completely make you love driving, right?) and had lots of good Grandparent/great grandchild pictures. We wanted to go out to the Olive Garden for dinner (footnote 1), but all of the restaurants in the area were closed for lack of power, so we went to the house restaurant, because the hotel had its own generators and hence electricity. Only one waitress/server had made it to the hotel (there were a lot of tree that blew down, over roads, etc), and so she had to help the whole dining area and the full bar as well. The dinner itself had good service, because we arrived at five and there were only three tables with people at all. Around six or six thirty a party of twelve showed up, and all things ground to a halt. I knew it was a bad sign when the night manager for the hotel came out with the drinks and then started taking orders.

We actually were going to get dessert, but a half hour after we asked for the dessert menu, and then after another half hour until she could get back to us from the full bar to give us the menu, and then after another fifteen minutes or so we gave up, and went to the bar and paid the bill there (and by we I mean Grandpa Shannon). It was a good thing he was buying, because my dish cost more than anything I've eaten out before, although this is more an indicator ofthe level of restaurant I've eaten at in my life than anything else. Although it did taste good - I had local walleye fish, which was good, but it came with this amazing mushroom and asparagus risotto.

Hurrican Ike, or more properly Tropical Depression Ike (which sounds more odd considering this is smack in the middle of a northern continent) raced on through, and so the next morning our plans weren't affected at all. All the local schools were closed, which I thought was a little excessive, but it turns out that the majority of Columbus's schools are closed all week as well, because of lack of power. Most of Columbus is without power currently (although we obviously have it. Really, we live the easy life) and won't get it again until this Saturday. There are a lot of lights out all over the city, which makes navigating intersections with normally protected left turns tricky in the whole four way stop rule.

Anyway, speaking of electricity, what did we, the intelligentia class Shannons do in our hotel room Sunday Night (footnote 2) and Monday Morning? Watch TV. Not thought provoking shows, either. Sunday Night we tried watching a very badly animated show on cartoon network, and then caught the end of an Eighties movie starring Goldie Hawn where the climax centered around one of her football players (yes, she was a football coach) keeping money in his jock strap and being accused therefore of bribing her in order to play. (It's even more stupid and cheesy than I can express). It's called Wildcat if this little blurb enticed any of you to further inquiry. Monday morning we went for the old quality feel good show "Saved By the Bell." Ahh, you've got to love the early nineties. Lydia and Avram also got sucked into "educational" programing. Here they're learning how pillbugs move (the big answer? Legs.)I think there must be some gene inside all humans that activates around a TV and causes us to turn it on and watch thoughtless shows with loud and annoying commercials.

Thankfully we left shortly for the Museum. Lydia loved the museum, especially the part where she got to sit in a cockpit. She wouldn't get out, either (she actually sat in two of them), but just kept exclaiming, "My flying, My flying!" (She has a current difficulty with placing pronouns in their proper places). I only finally bribed her out with promises of food. (footnote 3).

Overall it was a great little getaway with family and quality conversation, and thought provoking tours of lots of Air Force airplanes (mostly thought provoking in me trying to hash out how I feel about standing armies, while also appreciating living in a country with one). I recommend you all obtain a famous military Grandpa with his own exhibit in the Smithsonian that he'll pay for you to come and visit.

Footnote 1: I never go out to eat on Sundays normally, nor go to any store or shopping on Sunday, including getting gas. I even try to arrange my schedule so I don't have to travel long distance on Sundays. However, when there is family involved, like here in visiting his (non Mormon) Grandparents on a Sunday, I don't mind at all going out to eat with them.

Footnote 2: We also normally don't watch any non church Movies on Sunday, but I guess in my mind Sunday had ended sometime after we arrived in Dayton, since we'd already gone out to eat.

Footnote 3: Why do I try bribing as a parent? It's a horrible form of parenting, putting parents, ie me into the role of wheedling and begging and pleading for my kid to just do what I want so I can reward her for doing what she ought to be doing anyway. The worst part is, I resort to bribing often, usually with either some food item or watching a show Lydia likes, but then it doesn't even have the decency of working! Lydia at 2 1/2 isn't old enough to really grasp a long term idea like if you are quiet and well behaved I'll let you have a Zebra Cake later. All she gets is blah blah blah Zebra Cake, and immediately begins squalling for a Zebra Cake (a little debbie cake of artificial preservatives), squelching both the whole point I was bribing her for (silence) and her health all in one fell swoop. Why do I even bother? And even more to the point, why do I keep on bothering? Because I'm subconciously convinced that someday I'll tell her if she lets me change her diaper now and then I'll give her something she wants that I'll get results. Ha.


  1. Okay, Thora, so the main problem with such long posts is that I as I'm reading through I find about 25 different things I want to mention in my comment.

    Didn't realize there were Smithsonians outside of DC. Cool.

    Your "tacky flash", if it had been placed somewhere instead of right on Grandpa's ear would only have lent some glamour to the photo.

    Nice driving through a hurricane! Crazy. Call it a hurricane, not a tropical depression. It sounds so much more exotic. Glad you all made it through alive!!

    Poor Lydia. It's pretty perplexing, putting pronouns in their proper places!

    Love the blah blah blah Zebra Cake! Funny.

    And we travel so much on Sundays (FOR church) and so we actually have to eat out quite often. I used to hate it, but I'm used to it now and just try to keep myself from rocking with the music that's playing.

  2. I am impressed with you avram...driving through a hurricane...not fun...and with all of you for having what sounds like such a smooth vacation with little kids. and very happy you made it home alive...still have power and your sanity. way to go! and just so you know, devin has been driving since he was 16 and in heavy weather,traffic or other situations like that, he frequantly tells me he can't talk or hold my hand and he nneds it quiet to consentrate (ie "stop talking Tali"). just know your not alone if driving freaks the crap out of you. Love you guys and miss you too!

  3. Ditto to Lisa's first line! Hee hee.

    What a neat trip! Neil and I have the same routine of sabbath day activity when visiting his (anti-mormon) mother. Family first. It's hard to do missionary work in your family when your beliefs interfere with visiting with them.

    So glad everything turned out so well! Oh, and I completely stopped reading when you mentioned Olive Garden in order to have a good drool. Mmmm....

  4. I'm so glad I we are going through very similar stages of life together (me with a 1 1/2 year old and one on the way, I will be you soon...). I love being able to relate so well to your life. I am looking forward to being 2 stay at home parents when Kevin gets back (which I promise I will explain soon on my blog. I'm just lazy).