Saturday, September 27, 2014

If we forget our history, we are doomed to repeat it, right? Welcome to Vulcan 2.0

Everyone has met Flat Stanley, I assume.  He's a boy that got flattened and then goes on super adventures via the mail.  A friend of ours was just introduced to Flat Stanley and mailed us his ninja Stanley.  Yay!  Adventures in our great city!

First of all, we had to write an apology to said friend because that ninja is so stealthy, we cannot find him anywhere in our mess house.  So Sweet Girl crafted a new Stanley with a hoodie for the fall weather.  Crisis? Averted.

Now on to where the adventures would take place.  Let me give a little back story and exposition here.  Vulcan is a 50 ton cast iron statue that looks over the city of Birmingham, AL.  We have BEEN to Vulcan once before and it was replete with crying and gnashing of teeth.  (Crying and gnashing of teeth is our theme song around here so be prepared to hear it often.)  This mama has insane vertigo.  I have actually looked over the 2nd floor railing of the mall and gotten dizzy/terrified/nauseated.  My Sweet Boy is afraid of heights.  He is built like a tank but melts into tears at the THOUGHT of any height.  Elevator ride? Tears.  Standing on a step ladder? Crying.  You get the idea.  Sweet Girl is more on the fearless side but she sways with the crowd.

So whatever possessed us to go to Vulcan the FIRST time is beyond me.  It was nighttime.  Strike 1.  It was so windy. Strike 2. And did you know the walkway around Vulcan is open grate?  WHY WOULD ANYONE DO THAT?  STRIKE 3.  So we look around the park and had a pleasant time  We have a major meltdown about the elevator though.  My dear husband walks up the many flights of stairs with the kids while I ride the glass elevator alone.  The doors to the elevator open, I step out, and I'm stuck! I could not cross the open grate walkway from the elevator to the actual statue.  I promise, I tried but that metal walkway was made of flimsy Jello as far as my mind was concerned and the wind was making the whole statue gently lean from one side to the other.  Or, at least, that is what my vertigo was telling me.  My husband tried to coax me over and it wasn't happenin'.  So he starts to walk the kids around the statue.  There were several people up there.  One woman decided a skirt was a wise fashion choice and it flew up over her head.  My kids were shocked and did not notice (for a moment) that they were essentially suspended in the air, high above the ground.  THEN THEY NOTICED.  Let's just say leaving that place was in no way bittersweet.

Fast forward a few years and here we are with Flat Stanley in need of some fun.  Wednesday morning, I call Sweet Boy into my room to discuss a plan:

Me:  Where should we take Stanley?
Sweet Boy (SB):  VULCAN!!!!!
Me:  Uh...really?
SB:  Yep!
Me:  You remember what happened last time right?
SB:  What?
Me:  The crying and well, it just wasn't very fun.  Do you think you could handle it now?
SB:  Yes, I'm not afraid.
Me:  Even of the open grate walkway that is so high up in the air that it makes you dizzy?  (See, I'm trying to scare him because I don't know if I CAN HANDLE IT.)
SB:  Yep!

So we go and it starts out so fun!

This time we went in the museum and it was a nice little set up.  However, my 11 year old son could not keep his hands off of anything.  I promise I have taught my children how to behave in public.  They just pretend I haven't.  The museum walks you through how iron is made, the life of people in the mines, Birmingham history as it relates to Vulcan and the iron industry.  It was visual enough and short enough to keep the kids' attention the whole time.

Then we walk over to the statue.  We give the seemingly nice lady our tickets and she proceeded to murder our plans for a happy ascent.  I was going to let Sweet Boy walk up the stairs alone.  This lady wasn't havin' it.  When I finally convinced her that he was old enough to go up the stairs alone, Sweet Girl wanted to go too.  Sweet Girl is tiny for her age and the lady did not believe she was 10.  Whatever lady.  I told Sweet Boy we were going to have to ride the elevator.  He welled up immediately.  I told ticket lady to excuse us while we had a talk. Once I convinced him to ride, we went up and I forced...FORCED...myself to smile and walk across that death defying grate.  I made it to the wall of the statue and the world started melting.  I managed to hang on to the side of the building and grab this picture.

Do you know how hard it is to focus a camera phone from the top of the planet with one hand?  It's hard.  I asked the kids if they wanted to go around to the city view and they said yes.  So we slinked around the walkway with our backs to the wall as if we were perched on the tiniest ledge of the highest building.  I made it about 3 steps and told the kids we were leaving.  We practically ran down the stairs.  

As we walked out of the building, I looked lovingly at my children and said, "WE ARE NEVER COMING HERE AGAIN!"  

Our adventure with Flat Stanley taught us we are willing to go to the highest heights for a friend and that when we learn a lesson, it needs to stay learned!

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Like George Washington Carver said:

1. Be clean both inside and outside.
2. Neither look up to the rich nor down on the poor.
3. Lose, if need be, without squealing.
4. Win without bragging.
5. Always be considerate of women, children and old people.
6. Be too brave to lie.
7. Be too generous to cheat.
8. Take your share of the world and let others take theirs.


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