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Monday, May 15, 2006

Purple Rain

We had another great visit from our friends Kurt and Steph over Mother’s Day weekend. They live near Albany, so it’s a big trek for them to visit, but we always have a good time. Last year at about this time, we were just leaving to go on vacation with them to the North Carolina Outer Banks. We stayed in a big vacation home on the bay and flew stunt kites.

They picked a great weekend to come visit, since the Rochester Annual Lilac Festival started this weekend. Every year, artisans and vendors crowd Highland Park while throngs of visitors come to eat the carnival food, listen to the free outdoor concerts and smell the beautiful lilacs. This year was one of the best in recent years, due to warm temperatures, adequate rainfall and an unusually mild winter.

We arrived at the festival with sunshine overhead, despite calls for rain over the weekend. Oh, if we had only listened! Parking was at Monroe Community College and RTS provided shuttle services to the event for $1. We piled on the bus with all of Jeffrey’s necessities in tow. Liane met us on the festival grounds and we all had some good ol’ fashioned healthy carnival food before wandering around the attractions. Heading up the hill to the reservoir we saw a campoeira mandinga group practicing – or doing a demo, we couldn’t tell. Dani and Kurt got snow cones and popcorn from the vendors once we reached the top of the reservoir. From there, you could see the whole festival. How did we miss those impending rain clouds?

Surely, the skies opened up when we were furthest from the bus pickup. We heard the thunder and tried to take a shortcut around the park, but we foiled by… well, we took a wrong turn, really. Yeah, that’s when the hail started. We made a mad dash through the festival grounds until we found shelter under a tent from the vendor of Hammock Chairs of Death. To be fair, his weren’t the Chairs of Death variety, just the standard overpriced hammock chairs that you can buy here and here. Being the well-prepared, resourceful newbie parents that we are, our son knew none of this as his stroller comes equipped with a force field-like rain shield that we (remembered) immediately threw over the stroller and carseat gestalt once the hint of rain began. And if it began with a hint, it made to “clubbing you over the head with the obvious stick” of thunder, lightening and hail before it finally subdued to an incessant drizzle for the rest of the afternoon. Thoroughly soaked, but with a dry baby, our soggy party headed back to the bus stop.

Cue graphics for Stephen Colbert’s Tip O’ The Hat/Wag O’ The Finger segment. And now a Wag O’ The Finger to the RTS bus driver for our return trip. We boarded the bus, and we were immediately told that the stroller had to be collapsed. No problem, I thought, and I unclipped with carseat and proceeded to fold the stroller up. “Where does the carseat anchor to?” I asked the bus driver. Surely there are latch points or a seat belt… No. There wasn’t. I told them then I would be putting Jeffrey back into the stroller, locking the wheels and securing it with the wheel chair tethers (he was very concerned about the stroller careening off and taking someone’s eye out!). That’s when the bus driver began screaming at us and making quite a commotion. He told me that our stroller cannot go on the bus, and I told him that I’d find another damn bus! And that we did. An RTS representative was standing by and overheard the row made by the driver. She secured us a spot on the next bus, which had no qualm with our transportation system.

The next morning we had breakfast at what is quickly becoming a new Kurt & Steph tradition, James Brown’s Place. Mmm… the Atlanta Heap is so yummy! Some lady came up and asked us how old our little girl was. I told Danielle that they shouldn’t have dressed him up in that damn cow outfit!

Happy Mother's Day to all of you Moms out there!

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