Posted by: Kate | June 15, 2008

Wouldn’t Change a Thing

We got back, a few hours ago, from our trip to Hartford, Connecticut, for the Dave Matthews Band concert.  We had an amazing time, and thus I will keep my children for a few more weeks even if they stop with all this angelic-behavior nonsense.

We arrived in mid-afternoon, and were immediately embroiled in an ongoing snafu as we tried to check in to the hotel.  We were staying at the Hilton in downtown Hartford, chosen because of its proximity to the New England Dodge Center (read: one more local landmark renamed for the sake of commercialism).  Approximately a million other people had arrived at the same conclusion, and thus there was a very long line at the counter (and it occurred to me that I’d never had to wait more than five or ten minutes at a hotel counter before).  This was compounded by the fact that we were going to the second night’s show; revelers from the previous night had apparently overdone a tad, and weren’t able to be up and out in time for a 12:00 checkout deadline, not to mention a 3:00 check-in time.

The four of us took a moment to consider our options, which were essentially variations on the same theme: find a way to work with what we’d been given, or throw a tantrum.  And somehow we all tacitly just decided to work with it.  We got keys to allow us to hang out in the pool for a while, stood in the same long line again to check in an hour or so later, and got our room after a swim instead of beforehand.

Then we went to dinner at the restaurant downstairs, because the skies had opened and were dumping copious amounts of water upon Connecticut.  Not Iowa-amounts of water, but still, more than we wanted to deal with on a walk to a more family-friendly establishment.  So the kids, now exhausted from a drive and a swim, could have whined and tantrumed at the lack of crayons and entertainment, or they could have sat nicely and ate their plain noodles and burned hot dogs while Willem and I had haute cuisine (or, at least, Hartford’s version thereof) and high-end alcohol.  They chose the former, bless their little hearts.

The rain abated while we negotiated a cab and the entry lines, and allowed us to snag free stuff at the booths inside (free goofy-looking Crocs for both kids, plus those weird grommet-like decorations for said shoes, and a handful of other handouts).  We found a spot on the lawn and perched on a baby blanket and shoes instead of sitting directly in the mud, on the off-chance that it might be worthwhile to try to stay dry.

And then, just as the house lights went down and someone started making suspiciously DMB-ish sounds, the heavens opened, and a thunderstorm passed about a mile away.  The timing was exquisite: look here at the Weather Channel’s breakdown, and you can tell precisely when we had dinner and when we watched the concert.  You might notice, too, that the rain continued for the duration of the show.

Once again, we had a choice: tantrum or adjustment.  And we all opted for adjustment.  Emily, being Emily, delighted in the chance to play outside in the rain and draw attention to herself with some funky dance moves and random shouts of, “This is awesome!”  Jacob pulled up his hood and maintained a stoic acceptance of the rain while waiting for them to play What Would You Say, because he loves the line, “Don’t bite the mailman.”  He continued to present a doggedly pleased demeanor right up to the moment he fell asleep in my arms.  Willem decided that being dry was overrated and the music was something he could bob his head to without being expected to full-on dance, so he bore up manfully.  And I’ve never been one to mind a little rain (or a metric ton).

So, in short, we had a blast.

After Jacob fell asleep, Emily was getting cold, so we decided to get out while the getting was good, instead of insisting upon sticking around until the very last note no matter how much fun we were having.  (This was in direct contrast to the camping trip we took the other weekend, when we stayed both nights regardless of abject misery and dampness.)  Willem went well beyond the extra mile to find me a hooded sweatshirt, which I had decided months ago that I would buy but which sold out within seconds of being restocked at any of the souvenir stands.  Jacob slept, solidly, despite rain and noise and jostling, through the long hike out to the road.

Thus, we were back in our hotel room, in dry clothes, exhausted, sweatshirt not left on the floor of the cab, before 11:00 p.m.  And blissfully so.


  1. I’m impressed with how each of you bore up so well in the circumstances. I hope the music was good and the colds non-exsistant.

  2. Glad to see you all had a fun time. And a safe trip.

  3. I’m happy to hear you all had a great time. The kids sound adorable.

  4. Nice sounding trip!

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