Over the Memorial Day weekend, we went to San Francisco. We’ve been there several times before, so we pretty much knew the things we wanted to do while there, but we knew it would likely be a different experience with having a child along.
William is a remarkably good traveler, so, not surprisingly, we were actually able to do most of the things we had on our list. The price we pay for traveling with him is researching and scheduling time at a playground once or twice while traveling, so he can have something that’s “his” on the itinerary, too. That’s about the only concession we make, though.
To start, Southwest stopped us when we were boarding the plane and invited William into the cockpit to say hello to the pilots and look around. Dude, I didn’t know airlines allowed that anymore! It was really neat!
When we got to SFO, the car rental agency had overbooked themselves and, so, when we arrived, the check-in line was a mile long (we should have pre-checked in, doh!) and when we finally got out to the parking structure to claim our car, there was a grouping of people standing there, and they literally had no cars available. The workers were running to other agencies and “borrowing” cars from them. Exhausted, I took one look at the chaos, spotted a bench off to the side, and went over there with William and wilted on it. One of the guys who worked there chased me down and told me he’d be back with a car for me. When he came back, he had a fully-loaded Chrysler Town & Country van, proclaiming it to be a free upgrade. Before the guy could finish his sentence, Tony had claimed it and we were on our way. Sort of. We had to navigate our way around the guy in front of us who was trying to start his GPS in the parking garage, but… yeah, mostly we were on our way. And for William, vacation will never be the same again… because the “fully-loaded” part meant that he had a DVD player for movies while driving around. ha
We were generously invited to stay at Tony’s cousin’s apartment. They live right down near everything we wanted to do, while they were in Hawaii for the weekend. (Which answers the question of, where does someone who lives in San Francisco go on vacation? Hawaii, of course!!) They saved us mega-bucks in hotel costs, plus we were super comfy in an awesome and convenient part of town.
Our first day there, we found a little rose garden where William was pretending he was a rabbit, hopping around, twitching his nose, pretending he was nibbling flowers and various other rabbit kind of stuff. It was around 7pm and we had just finished walking Lombard Street. One of the city workers told us she needed to lock the gates of the park, and William started crying, heart-broken. He’d been having such a good time, but sadly, the lady needed to do her job. A woman and her friend were walking by and felt so bad for him, she offered a granola bar to us from her backpack. Even though we declined her offer of the snack, the compassion and kindness behind her offer meant the world to us.
When we went out to Alcatraz island the next morning, our intention was to do the garden tour. We get a lot of island history and are allowed to go in cordoned off areas that are normally off limits. It’s a special thing, free, but only once a week on Sunday mornings. William wanted to ask the docent 10 million questions, and I kept telling him he had to listen, not talk, just like he does in library story time. He was not a fan. At the end of the tour, the docent announced she had one more story… when she finished that story, William said, with a hurt feelings look in his eyes, quite loudly and repeatedly to me, “We’re done! We’re done.” I would feel guilty, except… if I can tolerate 3 hours in a playground with a bunch of kids, dirt, sand and germs, he can certainly tolerate a mere 45 minute tour about plants, birds and history, especially since it was book-ended by running around time and boat rides. We caught the same boat back to the mainland as the docent did, and when she caught sight of William, she told him, “I need more people like you on my tours, you liven things up!”
The Golden Gate bridge was awesome as usual… since we’d been there last, they’ve made some changes to the pedestrian traffic, bikes go on one side of the bridge, foot walkers go on the other. That was a nice change, and one I appreciated for the safety aspect of it. When we got on the bridge, William requested, “I want to walk on it all by myself!” and so I let him down. His grandma D. had done a fantastic job of building the hype about the bridge, so he was super excited about it the whole trip. When the Southwest flight attendant gave him a coloring book, he spotted the bridge on there and said, “That’s where were going!!” Of course, he also spotted the alien spaceship representing Roswell, NM and said we have to go there, too, because that’s where Buzz Lightyear lives. ha!
The other highlight of our trip was our dinner at Scoma’s. I utilized the opentable app to schedule our reservations, and ended up rescheduling twice because it just didn’t fit in with what ended up happening for us each day. I was grateful for being able to do that on the fly, and we had a fantastic meal. I branched out and tried their salmon this trip and was ever so glad for it, because it was melt in my mouth delicious. Tony was sad to discover they no longer serve lobster tail, so he ended up with some sort of lobster dish that he was fairly happy with.
Oh, and a vacation update wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t include potty talk, right? So, there we were driving around and I realize I have to go to the restroom. Like, bad. And things just aren’t the same down there for me since giving birth, if you know what I’m saying (a post for another day, I guess). So we hunted down a public restroom, and I hopped out and waited in line. Because there’s a line for all public restrooms in San Francisco. Thankfully, I made it… in case you were wondering. In kind of a karmic universe balancing itself out thing, when we went to Pier 39, I was shocked when I walked past the public restrooms there and the line for the MENS room was super long. When does THAT ever happen?
I had a bit of a run in with TSA when we were heading home… I was wearing William through the inspection point, and I passed the metal detector and hand swabbing test. However, in all the hulabaloo, I forgot to remove my netbook from my backpack, and instead of them just simply removing it and re-scanning it, they decided to have me go through a full body pat-down, which meant I had to remove William (essentially giving him freedom in a super busy airport), and they dumped all the contents of BOTH my purse (which HAD passed the scan) and my back pack (which hadn’t passed) out in bins to hand inspect, swab, and finally re-scan. Tony had gone ahead to the gate, so he had no idea what was happening. They denied my requests to communicate with Tony, they denied me going after William when he wandered off (I had to verbally coax him back)… words can’t even express how helpless, violated and anxious that experience made me feel. And when they crammed all my stuff back in the bags, I couldn’t find my boarding passes!!
Thankfully, Southwest redeemed themselves in spades to me this trip. The pilot of our plane even came to the end of the gate and reassured me they were holding the plane for me while they reprinted my boarding passes. The flight attendants were super sweet to us. We were very blessed to have had a great experience with Southwest this trip.
I guess now we’ll see how Southwest does when we fly in July… and we’ll see if TSA responds to the letter I sent them.
Pictures from our trip can be seen here: Click