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4:40 p.m. - July 09, 2007
Zoo Day 2007!
It was an idyllic day.

Ok, except for the speeding ticket.

But other than that, it was pretty nifty. Pretty darn nifty.

Any trip to the zoo is going to be neat, but it was a special zoo day mainly because the four of us went to the zoo.

Normally, Liz had been taking the girls to the zoo during the week to make sure the crowds were minimal and all that, but finally, it was time for us all to go to the zoo.

So Liz packed us a lunch and off we went. We said that we should get going before 8:30 in the morning to avoid crowds and the worst of the heat.

That’s what we said.

So we were 1 ˝ hours late – it’s not like we HAD to get there on time. It was a combination of lazy parents, sleeping kids, and well, trying to get a 5 ˝ and 2 year old girl ready for the zoo.

I wonder what boys would be like. Even Kristin is now trying to pick out her outfits and likes her hair styled in certain ways. If she doesn’t want a pony tail, she’ll make sure to remove the pony tail in her hair within 8.2 seconds of its installation.

On the way over, we listened to a CD I made for Liz. The girls were relatively quiet reading books and Liz and I had a nice chat. As we headed toward downtown Indianapolis, I-65 went from 70 to 55, but most of the traffic was still in 70 mode.

Well, I was in the left hand lane, and came over a hill. A state cop was out of his car and pointed at me to pull over. I thought at first it was a seat belt check, since the new law is in effect that everyone in the car must have on a seat belt. But Mr. Cop was pretty much without humor, and said I was doing 72 in a 55.

I gave him the license and registration, and hoped that the visions of the cherubs (who were being very polite) in the back seat were enough to give me a warning.

No dice.

Ah, well.

Still, that couldn’t diminish zoo day. How could it?

It was crowded but not packed. It was hot but not deathly humid. It was a pretty nice day to be outside, really.

Since Kristin can’t survive a long zoo experience, we had to pick our spots. The girls really wanted to see the Oceans exhibits and pet a shark, and there was always the chance of seeing a dolphin show and then going to one other exhibit.

Mission accomplished.

Seeing the girls pet the shark was fun. They had express instructions on where and how to pet the shark and Katie not only was following them to the letter – as is her wont she was imploring everyone to pet the sharks in the proper way.

The dolphin show was fun, though the dolphin on our side had an independent streak and didn’t want to do a couple of tricks. She was the dominant female of the pod, so perhaps she was going to plot the great Indianapolis Zoo Dolphin Coup of 2007 and her insolence was a sign to the others that they didn’t have to take it from the man (or woman) anymore.

The other exhibit we saw was the desert exhibit, which also housed the snakes. Lots of lizards (Katie’s favorite is the Blue Tongued Skink) that were being fed, lots of turtles, some neat birds, and some meerkats.

The meerkats were fun to watch, but they are just persistent diggers. They looked like they were trying to tunnel out – perhaps to join the dolphins as their auxiliary guard in the Animal’s Republic of the Indianapolis Zoo.

Katie said we should get a meerkat for a pet.

“Honey, they need to dig. It wouldn’t be good to have a meerkat digging in the house all of the time.”
“Well, then, he can stay in the backyard!”

The only other trip-up was at lunch. Liz and I have been together since January 1993 and married since December 1994, but she never knew my aversion to mayonnaise until Saturday.

I always made my own sandwiches, and for other trips we just ate at the food court. But she made us all nice sandwiches, and I didn’t tell her to hold the mayo.

I mean, I really don’t like mayo.

You know, marriage is a life long learning experience.

Trips to the zoo are also quite cultural from a people watching experience. I noticed these things on this trip:

• The Amish and the Mennonites like to go to the zoo, but I finally figured how to tell them apart. The Amish women and girls wear black bonnets with their plain dresses. The Mennonite women and girls wear white bonnets and some dresses with interesting patterns.
• I guess to go out on the town the Amish men can wear blue shirts, but always with black suspenders. Mennonite men can wear flannel-like looking shirts that you wear around the farm.
• At the dolphin show, there was an Amish teen couple sitting away from the rest of the family. I assume that they were trying to be like normal teenagers, and waiting for ‘rumspringa’.
• Many of the Amish men had bowl haircuts, but probably they were honest to goodness bowl haircuts and not in any way trying to look like a Ramone.
• The people with tattoos are slowly becoming a majority. I think in order to be a total rebel a teenager needs to not have any tats or piercings at all.
• We don’t talk English good in America, ya know.
• It never ceases to amaze me how impatient parents expect their preschoolers to act like adults in public.
• No matter what language you hear, you can always tell when a preschooler is not getting her way.
• Are there better gigs than being a walrus in a zoo?

So, with the sights and sounds of the zoo filling our eyes and ears, we bid adieu, and hopefully will return soon.

I will be glad when the job search is over, so I can concentrate on more days like this before I make my move elsewhere. I think we all need them!

Oh, right, pictures:


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