Field Trip, Star Trek and 1986

I had a good day today. Went on a field trip to the State Capitol in the morning, saw Star Trek in the afternoon, listened a string of hits from the spring of 1986 at dinner and actually found a Scooby movie the girls hadn’t seen yet at the movie store and brought it home.

Almost had the day ruined when I got caught up watching Game 7 of the ’92 NLCS on the MLB Network. Damn you Jose Lind for dropping that routine grounder! But seriously, how bad is your arm if Sid Bream beats the throw? Barry Bonds chokes as soon as the leaves start turning…

Anyway, I took Riley and two of her friends to the Capitol for a mini-field trip. We visited the House and Senate, got to walk through an underground tunnel and sit in the Speaker’s chair. As a bonus, I was treated to a staggering array of usage for the word “like.” Do they not teach English in public schools? I did, however, get to hear about the girl who threw up during math. And then again on the sidewalk.

Capitol Field Trip 011

Here’s something I learned – third grade girls can quote The Suite Life of Zack and Cody at nearly the same pace with practically the same accuracy rate as my buddies and I with Caddyshack and Fletch quotes. Impressive.

Note to other parents out there: The Hannah Montana movie? Not that good evidently.

The girls verdict on the Capitol? The Senate chamber smelled bad. As did the elevators. I didn’t argue. With amount and type of stuff coming out of that chamber, it’s bound to emanate the odiferous scent of…um…decaying matter.

The underground tunnel got the thumbs up. As did the immense cabinet in the building which contains dolls of each of Iowa’s first ladies. Each of the dolls is adorned with the dress the first lady wore to their inaugural ball.

Holy Crap. This was like a combination of Dancing with the Stars and What Not to Wear – if that combo were run by third graders incapable of making a decision. Thankfully none of it was as annoying as that chick from What Not to Wear. However, we did spend our time ranking, re-ranking, erasing and ranking again, our top three dresses. The first ladies from 1999, 1957 and 1838 consistently rated near top according to our panel of 9 year-old judges. So I guess that means if you’re nine years old and a girl, you’re attracted to fashion from the late 90’s, the 50’s and dresses worn during the administration of the father of modern Democratic party – Martin Van Buren.

The weird thing about the whole trip was that…well…I’m not sure how to put this…it was a really good time. It really was. I highly recommend to anyone that has had to deal with a tough, tiring and frustrating stretch of time at the office to round up some third graders and take them on a field trip. Doesn’t matter where you go. I suggest taking them to a place that you generally consider to be important and serious. Then, once you’re there, ask them lots of questions and pay attention to their answers and impressions.

If you could pass a law what would it be?

“Cell phones for third graders.”

If you worked here what would you do?

“I don’t know but I’d ride the elevator a lot.”

What was your favorite part about the field trip?

“Lunch. And the dolls.”

They were a little unclear on the whole Senator and Representative thing.

3rd Grader: “So if I had an idea that I wanted to be a law, I could call my Representative and they’d make it a law?”

Me: “Well, yeah. You could call them up and say, hey, I think every third grader should get a cell phone.”

Riley: “AWESOME!”

Other 3rd Grader: “But do we have to pay the bill? Because, that could get expensive.”

See that? I almost launched into a detailed lecture on the dangers of government trying to do too much and the law of unintended consequences. But instead I just told them that sometimes the best thing the legislature can do is just leave us alone…

We ended the visit with the girls doing some mock interviews of each other as if they were TV reporters. Interestingly, their questions were astoundingly similar and equally insightful as the reporters who normally visit the Capitol.

Dropped the girls back at school, picked up Mom and went to see Star Trek.

What’s a better, more descriptive word for awesome?

Holy. Crap. If you like going to the movies and having your hair set on fire, you’ll like this flick. I’d kill to be able to sit and write with JJ Abrams. Mainly because I’d be able to write into the LOST script a grisly yet entirely satisfying death for Kate. Regardless, the movies are supposed to be something you can’t see on TV. It’s supposed to be big and loud and long.

Man, I hope Terminator is as good as Star Trek.

Finally, we’re at dinner and as we’re finishing I notice that it suddenly became the spring of ’86. My evidence? When was the last time you heard All I Need is a Miracle, Invisible Touch and If You Leave? In a row. Is the flux capacitor in Mom’s car? Did Jean-Claude Van Damme from the Time Enforcement Commission show up? Are Dennis Quaid and Jon Caviezel conversing on a HAM radio?

Anyway, it was weird. Had Live to Tell and Danger Zone come on next I would have been looking for a kid and crazy wild eyed old man who claimed to be scientist. Thankfully, Beat It was next nobody is going to mistake that for the property of 1986. On a side note, if you really want to hear a great but underappreciated song from the spring of ’86, dig out Go For Soda by Kim Mitchell. Ignore the big ol’ thick slice of velveeta in the video. I’m just saying…

Tomorrow we have gymnastics, a birthday party and then we’re teaching Riley’s Sunday School class again. So that’s a good Mother’s Day gift for Mom…

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Published in: on May 8, 2009 at 10:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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