Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Boston Marathon in Four Days

Grif and I did a Grandma Day on steroids from Monday-Thursday in Boston.

We had a great time.

Grandpa was in Boston at a convention and had a large complimentary room. I did not think the spacious room should be wasted on one person. Grif and I redeemed some miles tickets and went to keep Grandpa company — sort of.

Fourteen year old Grif was sure that there would be absolutely no problem getting his ten ounce conditioner and toothpaste through the airport carry-on security. He told me in no uncertain I-know-what-am talking-about, how-can you-possibly-believe-otherwise terms but he did refrain from saying the stupid word that one was a gel and the other a paste so neither were liquids. I guess he was right as both items passed right through both Chicago and Boston security. Even Grandpa who travels every week was wrong on that one. You must know how hard it was not to secretly alert the security scanners just to prove myself right. Grif and I are cut of the same like-to-be-right cloth—even though not we are not blood related.

Grif and I are not natural travel companions.

On an airplane, I like a seat on the aisle.
Grif likes a seat by the window.
I like to sit together.
Grif could probably care less about that.
It worked out well for us . . .
On Monday, during the day, on the way to Boston, Grif sat by the window, I sat in the middle seat. On Thursday night, our plane left at 8:30 p.m., Grif sat in the middle, I sat in the aisle.

Grif told me that he was mostly interested in taking the trip with me for the plane ride.

I was primarily enthusiastic about the history of Boston and the surrounding area.

Grif explained that he is not that into history. He likes living in the present and doesn’t believe all that stuff about learning from the past.

I thought Grif would like a bike ride tour—doing something active.

"No, not particularly."

He liked the tall ship ride because he had forgotten how nice it is to relax on a boat just drifting out to sea.

Grif was enthusiastic about having a TV right across from his bed, reminding me that his main interest is electronics.

Grandma, that would be me, was disinterested in TV but concerned about Grif’s interest. Hubby had all of the “Adult” channels blocked but
even so . . .

Grif forgot his wallet, his school ID, his swim suit, a hat and a jacket.
Grandma brought much more than needed.

Grif did not need a wallet, a school ID (that I asked him to bring in case we needed it at the airport or for fares into some venues but there was no need) a swim suit, or a jacket (the weather was warm even at night.) He did miss his hat but was fine without it. I did not use much of what I brought.

We I found a half-price swimsuit that looked twice Grif’s size. Grif insisted that it was fine. I coerced Grif into a dressing room and stood outside and waited briefly, ridiculously hoping that Grif would show me how it fit. I was astute enough not to ask. Grif emerged quickly stating that it fit fine and so it was purchased.

Two days later, I coerced Grif into going swimming by saying, “I bought you a suit and I want you to use it at least one time.” Also, I was pretty sure that Grif had not showered or washed his hair while we had sweated through Boston and thought the pool was a lesser request than a shower. And so he accommodated me by trying the pool, but really, Grif did not need a swimsuit, I should have trusted him more, I am pretty sure that a shower would have been just as entertaining for him.

Grif likes to stay up very late, or early depending on how you count time. He is a self-proclaimed insomniac that absolutely cannot fall asleep at night. I like an early bedtime, around 10:30 p.m., and generally fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.

I like getting up in time for the complimentary breakfast.
Grif loves sleeping in the morning.
We figured it out though.

I got up for the free breakfast and brought back a few items that I thought Grif might like. Then I opened the shades and said “Sure” to the maid cleaning our room and Grif woke up. He ate, with no complaints, cold dried-out pizza from the night before and then we were off to explore by the early hour of 10:30 a.m. each day.

I love to take photos and record my trips. One time Grif showed a bit of interest and told me to take a picture of this statue with its hat. He thought it was comical.

Other than that, he appeared oblivious of the camera but was aware enough to duck if I pointed it in his direction. I felt like the paparazzi as I furtively tried to sneak a photo of him here and there.

I love walking everywhere and do not mind a few distractions or back tracking between destinations. My feet and my legs never got sore nor was I ever stiff the next day. Praise God for that and I mean that seriously. Obviously that was not so for Grif’s still growing body.

I would have been glad to take a swan boat ride because we were in Boston. Grif thought not.

I asked him to indulge me if the line was not too long.
It was.

Honestly though, Grif was an easy and pleasant traveling companion. He is very low maintenance in the clothing, shoe and food departments. He never once asked for a souvenir or if we could please go shopping. Shopping and souvenir hunting are also way at the bottom of my favorite things on vacation. We had some serious and some amusing conversations and some quiet stretches. I was delighted.

We agreed on most things.

We both liked the Duck Tour. It was informative and fun.

And we would both definitely like to return to the Museum of Science. It was fascinating. We especially enjoyed the Mathematica exhibit and I really enjoyed the exhibit of George Washington Carver.

We saw two IMAX movies, one called Thrill Rides and the other was Whales but I may have nodded off a bit during the last movie.

It was fun eating lunch as we looked over spectacular views of Boston, Cambridge, and the Charles River.

We both enjoyed Fenway Park.

I gave Grif no choice about attending a baseball game. I wanted to see the historic field and the Green Monster. Even though neither of us is a fan of either team, I thought it was a great game. We both liked the old ball park and we both love ballpark food—almost a different food for each inning but we showed a little restraint.

We both liked figuring out the subway and found it quite easy to navigate.

We walked the Freedom Trail because I just thought we should do that and we enjoyed the tour of the USS Constitution or Old Ironsides.

Grif likes routine, the familiar and dislikes change. He says that he is not normal for a teenager because he is a deep thinker. He is thankful that God gave him such a good mind. It makes both of us wonder how to turn on and off the switch in our brain sometimes. I was glad for the brief moments, we were able to travel together and talk about navigating life as well.

Before the trip Grif told a friend on FB, “I have to go to Boston next week.”

I’d like to believe that it was better than he expected. He graciously told me a couple of times, “I’m really glad that I came/went to Boston.”

That was a perfect finish for me.


Bernie said...

Brenda, I so enjoying seeing all these pictures and reading about your trip to Boston, my late son and I did this trip right after his dad passed and it was wonderful. We seen many of the same places. Thank you ever so much for sharing this post, I love it......:-) Hugs

Mummy McTavish said...

That looks like it was so much fun! I think I would have had fun on the tall ship... but I think I've romanticised it a bit and it's probably not the nicest way to travel for more than a quick tour.

Wanda..... said...

Your account of your trip to Boston with Grif made me smile many times, Brenda. I love his name, it suits him well, a confident young man. He sounds very much his own person

Mom/Barb said...

Brenda, you are the best Grandma ever! Your sensitivity and caring is obvious in this post. I love all the pics! Barb

Jacquelyn Stager said...

I'm trying to figure out why reading this has made tears come to my eyes. I'm not at the "grandma to teens" stage yet, though I've started to see growing signs of "I can do it myself" from the 4 year old. (teardrop) My mom has been my example of how to hang in there with the grands through the (trying to find the right adjective here) teen years. You have a terrific attitude and Grif will never forget that you cared enough for HIM to take him on this adventure. I say you are over-the-top in the grandma department! All the fun things you did are just side dishes to the main course...the love you showed a wonderful young man in your life. You are such an inspiration!!

Diana said...

Awesome trip Brenda! I would have enjoyed it. I've always wanted to visit Boston! Grif reminds me very much of my Katie! Teenagers, they are an odd lot! Love Di ♥

Rebecca said...

Chuckle, grin. Laugh out loud. Smile.

BTW - I ALSO loved your grandson's comment about Bonhoeffer's books.

Dee said...

Love this post and am still smiling as I type this comment...I love the last photo. :)

Grif McDonell said...

I really did enjoy going there. I think what I liked best about Boston was that compared to Chicago and especially Geneva, where I live, there were very few bugs there. It was very nice to be able to eat outside without having to swat at my food and/or face every few seconds.
P.S. I wasn't THAT bad, Grandma...

Brenda said...

Are you kidding? You were not bad at all! You were great! I had a wonderful time! Thanks, Grandma