"How to have a miserable time at an otherwise gorgeous location."
I took my mother to the vineyard today. I had never been there, so I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. She and her boyfriend are really into photography, so I figured if anything, there would be alot of photographic opportunity. Unfortunately, the cards were stacked against us today, and we didn't enjoy it as much as we could have.
First, Brett decided to stay home with Kylie, because he couldn't bear to miss the Ohio State game. I didn't really mind, because Kylie was really tired, and I knew Brett would probably be miserable at a vineyard wondering how his Buckeyes were doing. But I found myself missing him throughout the day. I have more fun when we do things together. I guess I'm not as independant as I used to be. I kind of feel like half a person without him.
Second, Brett put together directions for me and told me to take 31 to 90. Unfortunately, 31 doesn't actually connect to 90, even though it looks like it on a map! So we had a little trouble getting there. My mother eventually figured it out when I handed her an atlas. But not before I got an earful from Brett on the cell phone, upset that I couldn't even find an intersection with 90 "Plain as day!" I may have to hold this over his head sometime in the future.... "Remember when you yelled at me for not seeing the plain as day invisible exit?!" He muttered something later on about how somebody in the county was an idiot for not making an exit for 90.
Next problem was that I was incredibly tired before I even started the day. I was going into this with my eyes half open, and all I wanted was a pillow and a blanket. Also, it was 87 degrees out with high humidity, and my mother HATES the heat. Also, Noelle equated "vineyard" with "zoo." Don't ask me where the connection was in her little mind, but she walked around the whole time asking us to find all the animals. I was tired, my mother was hot, and Noelle was mad that there weren't any animals. Even the ducks on the pond turned out to be decoys! Poor Noelle was quite depressed. I may have to take her to the zoo next weekend to make amends.
To add to the problems, we didn't realize there was a festival there today. Not only did we have to pay $8 a person just to walk around the vineyard, but they wouldn't let me bring in Noelle's water bottle (because they want the vendors to get all the food and drink business). My mother stood there for a little while second guessing our decision and wondering if we should just leave. But since it was such a battle to find the place, she decided we should just stick with the plan and get as much enjoyment out of the place as we could. In hindsight, we probably should have turned around and gone to the air conditioned aquarium where Noelle could see fish, and my mother would be out of the sun. Oh well. Note to self: Know your audience!
Mom and David were hoping to just walk around the grounds and take pictures. But there were people everywhere, so we didn't really have the place to ourselves. We walked around for awhile and listened to the jazz band. They lost power several times, and there were uncomfortably LONG drum solo's while the band scurried to figure out what happened to the power and get it up and running again. I got a little chuckle out of that.
Noelle found one animal... the dog, Bella. She threw him the ball a few times. But then we had to get my mother out of the sun, so we walked to a shady area. Finally, we ended up on the gift shop porch... just sitting there... for an hour... determined to get $8 worth of enjoyment out of the place... even if it killed us!
It didn't work. I took Noelle into the gift shop and bought her a rubber ducky (#19 in her massive collection of ducks). Then she insisted that we go home that very instant, so her new duck wouldn't be lonely and could make friends with the other 18 ducks.
I took a few pictures, but my camera seems to have a spiritual connection with me. If I'm not having fun, my camera takes blurry, boring, and otherwise awful pictures. We finally gave up and left after a few hours. I think David got some nice pictures to add to their album, so it wasn't a total loss. And Noelle was a huge hit with the crowd of people who thought her frog umbrella was hilarious.
As we cut our losses and walked toward the car, I heard an uncomfortably long drum solo. I guess the power went out again. hee hee...
It's really a wonderful place. The beauty of it wasn't totally lost on me, even though I was having a rough day. I'd love to go back there sometime with Brett and walk around. I just have to make sure I'm not completely exhausted and that Noelle is very clear that a vineyard is GRAPES... not monkeys and turtles!
Here are a few pictures that didn't turn out as terribly as the others...