For some strange reason, I decided to take a three year old and a six month old to an art museum. Give me credit for at least finding one with free admissions. The chosen museum, called the Speed Art Museum is located on the University of Louisville campus. The campus itself is in an historic district, with beautiful old brick buildings, and elegant statues.
The visit to the museum actually went well (though fast). Cora enjoyed the impressionist paintings, and the still lifes, which made her hungry. What did not go well was our arrival.
First, I found myself under the road I needed to be on top of to get to the campus. Next I pulled into the parking garage at the museum. I parked and got the kids out of the car, Nyobi in the sling, and Cora in mittens and hat. I have a travel pack, back pack that doubles as a purse and diaper bag as well as a catch all snack buffet for the kids and map holder. For all I know, if I dig around in it long enough I might be able to produce a kitchen sink. I threw the last few Items du- jour into it, and saddled it up over the sling on my back.
This means that with Nyobi, I'm packing about 25 lbs of stuff. Good thing I have hiking boots. I go across a covered walk, out through a park, to the museum doors, no more than 50 feet from the car. They are locked.
The museum doesn't open for another half an hour.
It starts to snow. "No big deal" I think to myself. "I'll go to the information booth and find some other attraction that is open, didn't I read about the planetarium?" I take off through the cold, Cora in tow.
We get to the information booth. The snow is tiny icy pellets and there is a slight wind. The wetness of it saps the heat from your skin faster than the dry cold we came from. Cora is complaining about walking, and the information booth is closed.
Oh well, I think, we'll try the law library. Everyone knows law students study 24/7. I think back to the U of M and U of MN libraries I've visited. This one will have a display on Supreme Court Justice Brandeis. I boost Cora up to my shoulders, and begin walking again. I'm treking the U of Louisville campus with 55 pounds of kids and gear, at least.
This also is closed. No matter, between the Law school and the museum is the regular campus library, and there are students walking up the steps. I join them, seeking some way out of the cold.
At the top of the steps stands one of the desk clerks, he is laughing in amazement at me. "Thats quite a load!" he comments. I chuckle as well.
"Yeah, but at least I know I'm getting my hiking practice." and enter the library. We find our way down the stairs into a basement hall way that is both deserted, and away from the study areas. As I feed Nyobi, and thaw out, Cora demands to use the bathroom.
Please understand, I do not usually give into a three year olds demands. That is bad parenting. However, when a child that age say the word bathroom, manners asside, they cannot wait a minute to use the facilities. You get them there, or clean up the aftermath (see Vacation Adventure #1) I rush her into the deserted bathroom, and send her into the handicap stall to do her business. I sit down on a bench near the door and watch the ankle to knee display of potty ritual, feeding Nyobi the rest of her bottle.
As the potty ritual ends, I glance around the room. It reminds me of any other campus bathroom I've been in. My sucessfully peed out girl pops to the door of her stall with a big "proud of making it on time" smile. I share her joy. Then her smile vanishes.
"I forgot to flush!" she says, and runs back. Suddenly there is an awful high pitched ear splitting siren going off.
My God! A tornado! No, its more like a police car. I pull Nyobis hood up to dull the sound for her, and Cora comes running back and clings to my leg. "What is it Mommy?" she says.
As I glance around, I notice a button on the wall near the door. Its in an attractive blue case, with an attractive red center. Its hung at eye level for my Cora. I peak into the stall Cora used. There on the wall is a similar button. It reads Emergency.
This library has assault buttons in their rest rooms.
"Did you press this to flush?" I ask Cora above the wail.
"Yes!" she says.
Once again loaded up, I climb stairs to the front desk, meeting the desk clerks at the top of the stair case. There, the clerks suggest that Cora and I wait around for the Louisville police to show up. A couple students come out to complain, as I explain and appologize to whomever will listen. The officer quickly goes downstairs and turns off the alarm. After he and the clerks finish chuckling, and explaining in front of everyone how to turn off the alarm, I glance at my watch.
Trust a three year old to find some sort of amusement for me that will take up the rest of 30 minutes. The art museum is open!
As pleasant as the officer was, I could have done without that introduction to the culture of Louisville. Please mark your score cards. Bathrooms two, Cora zero.