Musings from some former inhabitants of the sprawling metropolis that is Prudhomme City

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Columbus Day Four: The Zoo Trip and the Ultimate Creampuff Gluttony

by CajunKate

(*ed. note: Though I did write this while in Columbus, I did not post it until I got home because Bydee's car sucks and does not have an internet connection.)

So on Day Four of Kate and Bydee’s excellent Columbus adventure, we actually got up before the crack of noon. Shocking, I know. We headed over to Jen and Tim’s to meet up with Jen and the boys. On the agenda was the Columbus Zoo. I tried my very best to put obsessive thoughts about the Schmidt’s cream puffs I would be having later in the back of my mind.

Colin and Quinn were so excited to go to the zoo! I asked them which animal they most wanted to see. Colin immediately said, “PENGUINS!!!” Of course. That d**n Scamper the Penguin video reared its ugly head again.

I will now present a photo essay of our zoo trip. Off we go!

First, we walked to the Asia section. We saw tigers and flying foxes and this elephant. We also quickly became aware that it was going to take a hell of a lot more than some dumb animals behind glass and/or fences to hold attention spans for more than 16 seconds.

We walked through the aviary on the way out of Asia, and the birds were a total hit...for 16 seconds. Shortly after this, the day began to get really hot, and we began hustling those kids through that zoo at a manic pace determined (determined, d***it!) that those kids were gonna see and do some s**t, dadgum it!

All over the zoo they have these animal statuaries which the kids can climb all over and which allow parents (and picture crazy aunts) to get their photo ops in with minimal whining. Quinn loved the tiger. Two seconds before I took this pic, while frantically waving his arms in excitement, Quinn said "I'm gonna ride dis big tiger, Nanny Kake!"

Finally, before leaving Asia, we got our jam on. The boys loooooved this drum. It is pretty cool. You know I had to get in a few thumps on it.

After a quick snack and hydration break, we dragged Colin and Quinn onward and forward. We stopped off at the hammerhead shark statuary where Quinn, genius that he is, eventually ran off all the other kids by saying, "Look, guys! A hammerhead shark!" NINE THOUSAND TIMES. Awesome. Also, I almost did not get this picture due to some old man who felt the need to tell me a long drawn out story about catching a shark on a charter fishing trip in Myrtle Beach a few weeks ago that his son-in-law had set up. Yes, I know ALL of this about a complete stranger who never even introduced himself, but just launched into his opus while I maintained the polite Southern girl smile and exclamations of "Wow!"; "Huh!"; and the classic "Well, isn't that something!" while frantically keeping an eye on the kids and thinking I was going to have to elbow that old b*****d out of the way before I missed my photo op. Then it was Mush! mush! mush! To the CAROUSEL, squat-legged nephews, as fast as you can! Where Colin, upon catching sight of the carousel, let out a squeal that registered on the Richter scale and promptly abandoned all hand-holding to run toward it. I expected to hear the theme music from "Chariots of Fire" bust out. It was freaking hilarious!

While Uncle Bydee got tickets, the boys just sat there completely entranced. There was no whining, no bugging out, no incessant chorus of "When's mmmmyyyyy turn to ride?" Just pure, unadulterated ogling of fancy wooden horses. Awesome.

This was my first try at a pic. Do you have ANY idea of the difficulty in competing for attention with fancy wooden horses that go round and round? Well, I'll tell you that in this case it resulted in an almost middle-aged, childless woman standing behind a fence thundering out, "Colin! Quinn! Look at Nanny Kate!" until complete strangers were like, "B***h, shut the hell up and leave those kids alone!"

Success at last! And I just need to point out that Quinn had that horse picked out specifically and dragged Jenny over to it saying, "This is the one, Mommy!" All that earlier horse ogling really worked out for him.

I include this pic simply because of the looks on their faces which I happen to think are absolutely hysterical. They were waiting for the carousel to start spinning. After the carousel, the march was back on! Forward to the boat ride, rapidly tiring and increasingly sweaty nephews!

This is Quinn on the boat ride, which went through Australia and gave you the chance to see gibbons, various monkeys, and otters. Quinn loved the boat ride so much that, when I took him off at the end, he began wailing. I thought maybe he was hurt, but as I set him down on the bench and asked him what was wrong, he managed to tearfully gulp out, "But I wanted to go AGAIN, Nanny Kake!" Sorry, dude, time to march on.

And this is Colin on the boat ride; he just sat there and giggled the entire time. Love it.

Really, Bydee? Throwing gang signs on the boat ride? Inappropriate much? Friggin' Bydee, man!

Last stop of the day was the Wings and Things playground. I cannot even begin to tell you what a blast they had here. Though it could be a little confusing to be on a multi-level climbing apparatus. I know this because at one point, Quinn yelled out, "Oh, no! Nanny Kake, I'z trapped! I'z trapped!" It was my job to convince him that, no, he was not trapped.

This pic is the result of a concerted effort on my part that basically consisted of me bellowing out, "COOOOOLIIIIN! LOOOOOOOK AT NANNY KATE!" until the entire zoo crowd gathered to see what the big deal was.

This pretty much sums up how the day ended. Do you see how sweaty and red that kid is? Later, when Byron overheard Jenny and I talking about something that had happened at the zoo, Byron said, "What are y'all talking about? The Bataan Death March?" And we were both like, "What? No! We're talking about the zoo trip!" And he was all, "Yeah! The Bataan Death March!" At which point, Jenny and I busted out laughing because we totally did drag those kids through that zoo until they were exhausted, sweaty, thirsty, and hungry. The only thing missing was the jungle rotted feet.

At the end of the day, Jen and Bydee had to carry the boys, who were tuckered out and red as beets, on the long trek to the car. By the time we finally got to the car, everyone was dripping with sweat and red-faced. We made a quick stop for a late lunch at “Old McDonald’s," which is what Quinn and Colin call McDonald’s; it's OLD McDonald’s, like the farm. As a treat for being so good at the zoo, and in an effort to cool them off as quickly as possible, each of the boys got a small chocolate shake. Quinn was the most excited about his “chocolate ice cream.” But it was Colin who managed to drink the entire thing by the time we reached home. Quinn could not compete with that. He only drank half of his.

When we got back to Jen and Tim’s, everybody was whipped. I present to you Exhibit A: photo evidence of what a four hour trip to the zoo with two toddlers can do to an adult body. (Where those gang signs now, buddy?)

After naps, all of us, including family friend Paul, all headed down to meet Tim’s parents at Schmidt’s, home of the most glorious cream puff on planet Earth and object of my obsession.

We met Tim’s parents there. We had to wait to get a table, so I went for a walk around the neighborhood. Schmidt’s is located in an area called German Village. If I had to live in Columbus, this is where I would want to live. The streets are still cobblestone and all of the houses are cute little cottages. Here, look:

Just before we went inside, Colin found some old sunglasses in my purse and wanted to wear them.

Naturally, he had to wear them inside. As we walked into the foyer, there was a group of older ladies and gents walking out. Colin said to them, “Hey, guys! Look at me!” I cracked up. Those old people were totally charmed by him. One lady said, “Oh! You look just like a movie star!” As we continued into the actual restaurant, we had to traverse the area where a throng of people were waiting for tables. As we passed each group, Colin would yell out, “Hey guys! Look at me!” He was quite a hit.

Now on the important stuff- the FOOD! I had the buffet because I love variety and also I am a giant pig, and it is an all you can eat buffet. If you find yourself one day facing the buffet at Schmidt’s, here are the things you must get: garlic knockwurst, grilled bratwurst, Bahama Mama (Schmidt’s signature German sausage), German potato salad, red cabbage, sauerkraut, corned beef and cabbage, and sausage stew. These are my favorites. Did I really eat all that? Ya gosh darn right I did! Who knows when I will get back to Schmidt’s again? BUT, of course, the piece de resistance at Schmidt’s is the CREAM PUFF. (Do you hear those angels singing the Hallelujah chorus right now?) Now, there are two kind of fillings for the puffs- chocolate and vanilla. I usually get the vanilla because I consider it perfection, and why mess with perfection, right? But that night, I decided to try the chocolate. Oh my, my! Heavenly, people. Still, I like the vanilla best. As I told Jen and Tim the first time they brought me to Schmidt’s and ordered me a puff, “Oh my God! I wanna like throw myself in a vat of this and just bathe in it and eat my way to the bottom!” Needless to say, by the end I was thoroughly stuffed and waddling. At that moment an oompah band struck up in the front of the house. Colin and Quinn, of course, had to see that!

Well, may be Quinn actually didn't want to see that. But Colin sure did!

Notice Colin is still kicking it (with his sunglasses at the ready), and Quinn has now decided that, yeah, he might as well take a peek.

* The sweetest part of the evening was that Tim’s parents paid for our meal. Wasn’t that awesome of them? They’re the best! (Hi, Mrs. Elaine and Mr. Don!)

Back at the ranch, we tucked the boys in, drank waaaayyy too much beer, and played a card game called Uecker (named for Bob Uecker?) Finally, at two o’clock, Byron and I stumbled back to the hotel already lamenting the fact that tomorrow would be our last day. Boooooooooooooo and hiiiiiiissssssssssss to that, man!

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