Thursday, September 25, 2014

Staycation Day 3: Atlanta Botanical Garden

Part of the reason that we didn't travel for fall break is because we had to do some work around the house. I feel like home improvements fall into two categories: improvements of omission and improvements of commission. In law school you learn that you can be charged with a crime of commission, which is an overt act like stealing a loaf of bread. But, you can also be charged with a crime of omission, which would be failing to do something that you're supposed to do like not paying income taxes (take note, Jersey Shore cast members). So, if you're thinking about home improvements, there are things that are genuine improvements to your property, like adding an outdoor fireplace, or remodeling a bathroom. These are improvements of commission. Then there are improvements that are just expected, but if you don't have them...people notice.   For example, if you buy a new hot water heater, no one is going to compliment you on the temperature of your water.  ("It is truly a pleasure to wash my hands at your house because the water is just so temperate," said no one ever.) However, if you don't have hot water, people will be like, "what? You have no hot water? What are you, a polar bear?" These are improvements of omission, only noted if you omit doing them.

In any case, our home improvement was of the omission variety. So, we had to spend a chunk of change on something that no one will ever notice AND no fall break trip.

This is my reaction to a cold shower, even though it is
supposedly good for you

Sorry for that long digression, but there's not much to say about our Staycation day 3. It was Wednesday and the kids were even crankier about being extracted from the house than they were on Tuesday. The Botanical Garden is an old stand by for us. We've gone to the Garden Nights, Holiday Lights for three years and really enjoy seeing the Scarecrows in the Garden, which is the fall feature. Unfortunately, we were a little early for the scarecrows, but the Imaginary Worlds installation was still growing (ha, ha) strong. There are all these huge plant sculptures of animals and mythical creatures:

The water goddess. 


I feel like Imaginary Worlds has been there for a while, maybe a year, and we'd seen it before. But, I thought it would be nice to do something nature-y and outside. Plus, I feel like I'm suffering from memory loss, so I had forgotten almost everything.

The one kind of dicey thing at the Garden has always been the food situation. Before the big Garden renovation the food was pretty good (albeit Aquarium-level expensive), with soups and salads, plus some pretty good options for the kids. After the renovation and expansion, MetroFresh took over the food and I still thought the options were good for adults, but the options were not great for certain picky eaters I know. Well, MetroFresh is out and the Garden is making the food in-house, although staying with the MetroFresh concept of soups, salads, and sandwiches. They have also added personal pizzas to the menu, which was perfect for the Boy and the Girl. The Baby got a kid's meal, which was a ham and cheese sandwich. I don't think she's ever eaten ham, so I told her it was a special kind of turkey in order to avoid a scene. There were some prepared salads displayed and I picked one with fruit and blue cheese. MISTAKE!!

First, I am not a food princess. I have sent restaurant food back to the kitchen exactly three times: once because there was a caterpillar on my plate, once because there was a fly in my ice cream, and once because there was a cigarette butt in my chicken and broccoli. To me, anything is edible unless there's a foreign object. As soon as I opened up the salad and got a whiff of spoiled lettuce, I knew I was in trouble. You know when you buy a carton of mixed greens and it emits that rancid smell when you open it, you just prepare yourself for all the baby red oak to be black and stuck to the arugula and having to pick through the whole carton to find anything useable. It's enough to make you stick to romaine, which must have a shelf life comparable to a Twinkie.

Oh, I see the side-eye. Yes, I was exaggerating.
Twinkies have a much longer shelf-life than romaine lettuce.
I went about picking through the lettuce and quickly discovered that none of it was salvageable. All the lettuce was black and slimy and inedible. I shut the lid and ate some greasy kale salad off the Baby's plate. I, like Taylor Swift, dislike confrontation, so I wrote a catchy song about how gross my salad was. No, I didn't, but I did return the salad (which I think makes me more emotionally mature than Taylor Swift, so there's that). The restaurant employee looked pained and offered me another salad, which I declined because the first one was just that bad. I didn't get my money back, but I did get a free banana. There's a sucker born every minute and I own 12:59 PM on October 31st. When I was heading back to my seat, banana in hand, I noticed two ladies sitting next to us with a different prepared salad sitting uneaten on their table. I asked whether they had a problem with the salad and she said it was spoiled, too. So, consider yourself warned not to eat the prepared salads at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. The children, however, were very happy with their pizza and "turkey" sandwiches, so those items remain as viable options.

Lunch situation aside, we enjoyed the actual Garden, itself. And it was home school day at the Garden, which left me with the impression that home schoolers have larger than average families, but that the kids are better behaved. All the kids seem to pitch in to help the family, while mine stare daggers when I ask them to pick up the dirty socks that they've thrown on the floor. After a week of doing homeschool-esque activities, I know for a fact that I'm not wired to homeschool, nor are the children wired to home learn. When we started the week off, the Boy said he planned to finish "The Sorcerer's Stone" by the end of the week, but I don't think he did anything other than play Minecraft. With that in mind, we spent Staycation Day 4 at the bowling alley, where the only thing anyone learns is what songs were popular in 1984.

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