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My family and I went to the National Book Festival in Washington D.C. today.  It was our first time and so we did not know what to expect.

It exceeded my expectations!  There were so many tents and lots of things to check out.  We got there a little later than we hoped and so it was already pretty busy when we got there.  We headed to get lunch almost immediately since The Boy was hungry and wanted a drink.  After $11 hamburger combos, we finally decided to check out some of the tents.

We headed to the PBS tent first.  We grabbed some activity sheets and tattoos and then ended up leaving.  The boy was in a foul mood.  I think my 5-year-old was able to crush the perkiness of one of the workers…

The Boy: What is this?

Me:  It is a pin.

The Boy: Oh.

The worker:  I have something else for you.  Do you like Sid the Science Kid.

The Boy:  No, he is lame!

The worker:  Oh, what about Dinosaur Train.

The Boy: LAME! Everything here is lame. [walks away]

Me:  uh… Precious, isn’t he?  [trying to smile]

Hmm..  The day was not starting out well.  Our friends were waiting in line to play a game, but the look on my husband’s face made it clear (and my son’s verbal tirade) that waiting in line would not be the best idea.  So, we decided to head to the Pavilion of the States (I think it was called something like that… I am a bit too lazy to check the brochure to find out the name).  My kids loved taking the map and getting them stamped at each of the state’s tables.  We picked up lots of great goodies and the kids won a Redskins activity book for  visiting each of the tables.

My son said he wanted to go to The Magic School Bus, so we headed over there.  We were greeted with a rather long line.  We stood there for about 2-3 minutes before I realized that one of the authors I came to see, Sarah Vowell, had started her talk in the Contemporary Life tent… It just so happened it was on the other side of the festival.  Honestly, I hate lines and my family is not too keen on standing in line as well, so we left.  My kids, my mom, and husband  stopped at the stagecoach and I left for the talk.

I am glad I made it there in time too.  Sarah Vowell was a wonderful speaker and was just a funny in person.  

It was there that I decided it was worth waiting in line to have her sign a book.  After fighting the crowd in the book sale tent, I took my newly purchased book, Unfamiliar Fishes, and headed over to the signing area to join the line.  It took 45 minutes before I finally made it up to meet Sarah.  Luckily, I had two really nice people next to me in line, and talking to them helped pass the time.  We talked about the books, but we also talked about basements flooding, stupid people who do not listen to directions (like the guy in front of us who was holding the poster for her to sign…even after the staff came by to say that she would not sign it), and the guess what the author in the next tent wrote.  We did not care that the guy with the poster kept giving us the evil eye whenever we mentioned that we hoped he was not going to pull the “I did not know” line when he got up there.

When I got up to the tent to see her, I was the picture of eloquence.  Here is the complete dialogue (try not to be jealous of my amazing verbal ability).

Me: Hi. [handing her the book]

Sarah: Hi [taking the book and signing it]

Me:  Thanks.  [taking the book back and smiling]

Talk about a great dialogue.  Seriously, I think she was impressed with my amazing conversational skills!

My cell phone decided to die (about 15 min. after getting in line),and luckily I had enough charge left to text everyone I came with that my phone was dying and send them a meet up spot.  When we all got back together, we took a moment to sit and relax in one of the tents with no speaker at that time.  The kids looked through there bags at the loot they collected and I showed off my coveted autograph.  After a minute, my daughter noticed some brown stuff on her sleeve.  My son declared it “poo.”  He was right.  Right under my daughter’s chair was some really stinky brown stuff smashed and squished around.  It happened to be on her hand and arm, the bag, her tights and on the back of her shirt.  Don’t ask me what she was doing to get it all over her like that… I really don’t know.

A little annoyed, I took her to the port-a-potties to see if I could get it out with hand sanitizer.  I realized after looking in 8 different port-a-potties that there was no toilet paper left in any of the stalls.  I did what I could by dripping hand sanitizer on the spots and had her scrub her hands with hand sanitizer multiple times.  We stuck stickers over the brown spots on her clothes and then decided that it was time to go home.  I mean, she smelled like dog poo (which makes me gag) and we had a long trip via metro and car to make before we got back to my parent’s house.

What a way to end the day!  Next time, I think I will bring some hand sanitizer and toilet paper and leave the grumpy boys at home.

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