Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Great Trolley Adventure

In my never ending quest to find fun and interesting things to do that don't cost a lot of money, and don't involve being in the sun too long, a few weeks ago I decided we should go on a trolley adventure.

My family and I love the trolley. We take it to the library, we take it to Fashion Square, we take it to Old Town, we take it to Nana's and we have even just ridden the entire route just to pass some time. It's free and it is air conditioned.

Imagine my excitement when the trolley routes changed, and now, if we change to the Tempe Trolley (called the Orbit) we could trolley all the way to Tempe Marketplace. I call Patty, and say, "Let's try this out - should be fun!" While my kids are used to my "adventures", I think the Malley's thought I was a little hair brained - but since it was free and air conditioned, they were in.
We meet at Eldorado, and hop on the trolley. The kids are excited! After much perusing of maps and trolley routes, Patty and I determine which stop we need to get off at in order to meet the Orbit. We have 10 kids between us...Sawyer, Kellan, Rhys, Abby, Grace, Cooper, Kaitlyn, Trevor, J.T. and Amy, which got a little hairy when we realized we had to cross a major street to catch the Orbit that would take us to Tempe Marketplace. There was lots of "Grab her hand", "Don't stop in the middle of the street!", "Rhys, get your shoe!" before we all got safely across, and hopped on the Orbit.

The Orbit took us through all kinds of interesting parts of Tempe, and exposed the kids to some interesting people. A lot more people use the Orbit than use the Scottsdale trolley, so everyone was able to refine their people watching skills.

We get to Tempe Marketplace, with the grand plan to have the kids play on the splash pad. Always planning, Patty had even brought towels. Me - I was going to let my kids drip dry; it was 110 degrees, how long would it take?

We head straight for the splash pad - the kids eager to get wet, Patty and I eager to sit down; that 50 yard walk from the trolley stop is a long one, after all - only to be told the splash pad is broken. Really? Bum deal, and now I am feeling all kinds of smug that I didn't bring towels and Patty has to lug hers all over the place. Heh.

The news that the splash pad was broken caused a little bit of devastation...

But J.T. took the opportunity to do some shopping, and disrobing of mannequins...

And our kids are nothing if not resourceful. Splash pad broken? Well, we'll just play in the fountain!

After the kids had thoroughly embarrassed us by completely soaking themselves in the public fountain (honestly, we didn't notice what was happening until Cooper yelled, "Look at me, Auntie" from the middle of the fountain. On the ball, that's us!), we decided Icee's from Target would be a good idea, mainly because I, the cheapskate, refused to spring for Cold Stone.

After everyone had achieved brain freeze, it was time to catch the trolley back home. This adventure was hard on some of its participants...

So, we are making our way merrily back home when I realize it is 4:30, and I am supposed to have Abby to her mom by 5:00 so she can have a 5:30 swimming lesson. Oops. We are at least an hour away from home. I call Margie, tell her the dilemma, and she decides she is going to try to catch us once we get back onto the Scottsdale trolley. We hop off at the trolley stop at the busy street I talked about earlier, this time with sleeping kids. And we wait. And wait. And wait. A trolley goes by, but I, clearly with my head not where it should be, proclaim, "That's not the right trolley, it's going the wrong way!" (it wasn't). More waiting. Finally, a trolley appears, we hop on, and realize we are going the wrong way. So it is going to take us even longer to get back where we need to be. Yeah, I am a master of maps and such. I call Margie to tell her our status, and since she is used to my utter cluelessness about navigation, she arranges to meet me at closest trolley stop.

I get off at this stop, a sleeping Abby in my arms, assuring Patty I will be on the next trolley behind her, and will meet her back at Eldorado Park to retrieve the five kids I am saddling her with.

Margie grabs still sleeping Abby, and I hop on the next trolley. And it took me about 2 minutes to realize I was GOING THE WRONG WAY. Again. So now, instead of ten minutes behind Patty, it will be more like an hour.

Luckily, Jose is off work by this time and he is able to meet Patty at the park. She by now has 4 sleeping kids, and a little less respect for me. I hopped off the trolley about a mile away from home and walked the rest of the way.

All in all, I think it was a fun day. Not sure if Patty will join me in one of my hairbrained adventures again, but at least she now knows I can't be trusted with maps, and public transportation. All good things to know if you are going to hang out with me.

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