Monday, August 17, 2009

double true

After the Eleven got home last evening – she’d been at work and I’d been at the USO – we were lying on the couch, possibly taking a nap, and I said to her, “You smell a bit different today. Are you wearing something new?” Her first response was a no but after a minute or so she did say, “Well, I am wearing some carrot-patchouli oil on my arms and feet.” As if wearing carrot-patchouli oil was normal. I never cease to be amazed. This morning there another new scent wafting through the door and she told me it was merely a Tahitian monoi spray. Ah, monoi.

A bit more on the summer’s trip. On our drive back from Quebec we (the Eleven and three children) stopped in at the Montshire Museum of Science for a few hours. This was L.’s and my second visit – probably a half-dozen visits or more for the others – and it couldn’t have been planned better, being a summer Friday afternoon and all.

Our first visit was a few summers back when L. was staying with us as we lazed our summer days away (or, a week in my case) on the East Dummerston hilltop in Vermont. X suggested we head up to the museum being that it was, under her declaration, the best science museum ever. “Well, well, little lady,” I told her, “I’ve been to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, the Science Museum of Minnesota, and the Museum of Science and Technology in Barcelona. I know from science museums.” I’m not sure just how she expected some mini-museum in Vermont to compete with the grand exhibits of the World; I decided, and assuredly relayed to her, that she was nuts. Her calm response, something akin to a wink-and-a-nod, made me nervous. Could she know something I don’t know? Do they have a nuclear fission apparatus that they’ll let me play with? Nevermind, I thought, she just doesn’t know how experienced I am at the sciencer museums. Does she know that I’m a member of the SMM? Does she know that in Barcelona they don’t even give you experiment instruction in English yet it’s still fantastic? Probably not. What a dear, dear girl. We drove up one afternoon and ended spending two or three hours at the Montshire; that was longer than the ten minutes I needed to decide it was the best science museum, ever. After I was done knocking smaller kids out of my way, watching cutter ants, memorizing bees, playing with the fog machine and myriad other stuff any kid would love, I cornered her and declared the Montshire as “Todd’s Best Science Musuem”. If I remember correctly I think she rolled her eyes and let me continue to trumpet my very own genius.

Our visit this summer was probably even better. The kids spent a few hours inside while we walked the beautiful outdoor nature trail before all ended up out in the water-dam-ball-sprinkler contraption yard. The museum had very few people visiting on that Friday afternoon and it was perfect for viewing and playing with all the experiments. At some point X disappeared and I ended up finding her asleep under a tree on the grassy knoll of the water damming area. In my surprise I immediately joined her, followed by Laurel, and we three then spent nearly an hour watching beautiful clouds roll by, pointing skyward, and calling out things like: lobster, crab, monkey, alligator on a jetski, crab, lobster, dragon, rat, dog, crab, lobster. (You’d be surprised just how many clouds look like shellfish or crustaceans.) That hour was the most peaceful and perfect time.

When we finished we were all ready for lunch (having gotten directions to three or four sandwich shops from the New England Sandwich King) and headed just across the Connecticut River to Hanover, New Hampshire. Hanover is home to Dartmouth College and even though I’m not going to prattle on too much I will say this: Dartmouth and Hanover are what people have in mind when they think of college and a small town. It’s a beautiful place and if it weren’t so perfect I’d think it a cartoon.

I’ll add some cloud pictures when I get home.

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