Play Day and Railroad Fun

by Heligirl on August 18, 2010

in Daily Ramblings

I got a bit of an early birthday present this past week when I learned school doesn’t start for the kids when I thought. I guess I’m just programmed to start school the day or two after Labor Day. That’s the way it always was for me, it seems.

Sweetness and Mr. Man in Edmonds.

Well, preschool seems to march to a different drummer. Excellent! School doesn’t start until the week of Sept. 20. Oh the joy. Back in June I saw summer coming to a quick close and posted a list of must dos before the end of summer. Every Wednesday (except for last Wednesday, which I used to do doctor appointments and packing for the Oregon trip), I’ve been getting out with the kids for some honest to goodness connection time. Today was no exception.

This Wednesday we went up to Edmonds to visit Grandpop (my dad). It didn’t go entirely as planned, but in the end worked out better that I’d have planned.

Let me explain.

In a rush to get the kids out the door I managed to remember diapers, diaper bag, snacks, hats, jackets, water and my purse. I forgot the cell phone. The thing my dad would call to tell me which ferry he’d be on that would meet us in Edmonds. I realized this 30 minutes into our 50-minute drive. We’d discussed what ferry he planned to be on and where I’d meet him, so I hoped he’d not had a change of plans.

I was a little worried about work. I am technically on call 24/7 and all hell has been breaking lose in the worst way on an uncomfortably regular basis lately and at any moment press could be calling. Or my boss. I just had to hope for the best.

Mr. Man and Grandpop on the beach.

We got there as the ferry was docking. I had enough time to park, get Mr. Man in a stroller, load the stroller and wonder over before Dad showed up. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Dad hadn’t even tried to call me.

I had originally planned to have the kids play in the sand. It had been in the 90s most of the week. However, it was cloudy, windy and cold. We were all wearing jackets. But that didn’t seem to bother them. Sweetness loved watching the cars get on and off the ferry, Mr. Man crawled around in the sand regardless, playing with rocks and driftwood, and Dad and I enjoyed both talking with each other and the kids.

Sweetness with Grandpop doing "Downtown Coffee."

After the ferry left and the next one was about to dock, we wondered across the street and railroad tracks (this is important to the story) to a coffee shop for “Downtown Coffee,” a tradition with my dad that goes back further than I can remember. As we had our snacks, Sweetness kept looking for trains, another huge attraction for her. You see, the railroad crossing kept going off, but no train. Then we started to notice the cars lining up outside the window (they’d drive by typically as they headed onto the dock to board the ferry). They weren’t moving.

After snacks we headed out and saw not only a huge line of cars going up the hill, but a ferry still full of cars (the one that was docking when we went into the shop). The railroad crossing was still going off. There was no train in sight. But a lot of official looking people in orange vests as well as police officers.

We were told that they couldn’t tell us it was OK to cross the tracks, but they wouldn’t stop us either. Pedestrians wondered back and forth (you can see a couple of miles up the track both ways).

We hung out for another 30 minutes in the park next to the ferry terminal and watched the comedy of errors. I called my cell voicemail from Dad’s phone (all was quiet) and Dad had nowhere he had to be. We were forced to hang out and it was great. The kids had a blast in the sand and Sweetness about exploded with all the excitement of cars, trains and a ferry all around her.

Two trains came by, each time triggering the crossing to go up after they passed.

As a side note, both were Amtrak, both were going south, and they were about 15 minutes apart. Who schedules these things?

Anyway, not three minutes after the crossing hand stopped dinging, the arms went back down and it started up again with no train in site.

The ferry workers caught on quick. I’ve never seen people drive off a ferry so fast.

Finally I heard someone on the radio announce they’d received permission to guide people around the crossing arms over the tracks (they were prohibiting it earlier). As they were doing that the arms mysteriously went up, then came back down as a logging truck was going through. They just missed him.

After about 90 minutes of this circus, someone from the railroad finally showed up, went into the little metal building that houses the electronics and shut the thing off.

In the end we had a nice visit, were well entertained, and everyone eventually got where they were going.

I was so enjoying getting photos of the kids with Dad that it never occurred to me to shoot journalistic shots of the railroad fiasco. Oh well. It was my day off you know.


Momma Drama August 18, 2010 at 5:23 pm

awww! looks and sounds like a nice trip!
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Twitter: Heligirl
August 19, 2010 at 3:33 pm

It was nice to get away and play for the day.

kelly August 18, 2010 at 9:32 pm

sounds like the perfect outing & i bet your kids loved all the commotion. Seriously, what is it about trains that make kids love them so?
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Twitter: Heligirl
August 19, 2010 at 3:33 pm

I hear you! They were totally into the trains. Sweetness has a total obsession with anything vehicle right now. I swear, you’d think she was a boy.

Colleen August 19, 2010 at 4:12 am

Wow sounds like an eventful trip. I just have to say “JACKETS” I can’t even imagine wearing jackets right now. How amazing different parts of the county are. Glad you had a good time!
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Twitter: Heligirl
August 19, 2010 at 3:34 pm

It was 90 degrees all week, but of course we need jackets the day we go somewhere!

Carol Ann August 19, 2010 at 8:22 am

I love how kids find such wonderment in the most ordinary of things, cars, trains, sand. The downtown coffee tradition sounds heavenly as well as the cool weather!

We start school on Monday….to have a few more weeks of summer left would be divine.

Twitter: Heligirl
August 19, 2010 at 3:35 pm

It’s so much fun to enjoy things all over again through their eyes. I’d just ignore a train before. Now I pay attention. It’s kind of cool!

Alana Morales August 19, 2010 at 9:48 am

Sounds like a great time! I love the pics – those will be cherished memories as the kids get older. So cool!!

Twitter: Heligirl
August 19, 2010 at 3:36 pm

I agree. I’m trying to fill their childhoods with lots of neat little memories of just being with us, their family. I so wish I’d had more of that when I was a little girl.

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