Aug 10th 2012
I spent several days this week in Portland, hanging out with my nearly-two-year-old granddaughter while my daughter attended a conference. We went swimming every afternoon in the hotel pool and I tried not to be dismayed that Kendall’s favorite parts of the trek seemed to be the elevator ride and tossing the towels in the basket when we were through with them. She even figured out that if she went into the pool more than once she might get more towels to toss.
Every morning we walked a few blocks south to catch the train that makes Portland such a pedestrian friendly city. We went to Stumptown Coffee, where Kendall delighted in sitting on the high stools while eating her blueberry scone. One day we went to Powell’s City of Books where I faced the challenges of preventing her from pulling every book off the shelf in the children’s department and persuading her to choose just three books to take with us. (We got out of there with five.). That same day, disoriented upon exiting Powell’s, I walked ten blocks in the wrong direction trying to find the big wading pool in Jamison Square. While I was figuring it out Kendall fell asleep and I got hungry, but thankfully I discovered a lovely outdoor cafe next to the pool once we finally got there. I had a delightful brunch, complete with gluten-free biscuit, while she slept. And afterwards Kendall romped in the pool which features cascading water and wonderful climbing stones. We both got soaked and rode back to the hotel tired and happy.
Two other days we spent twenty minutes or so on the train riding to Washington Park to visit the Children’s Museum and the zoo. These trips were made possible by a capacious stroller known as “the Bob,” which carried a small cooler for snacks, a huge bag of Kendall supplies, and a our water bottles, all while providing a comfortable and smooth ride for Kendall. The Bob was great, but also a trial in the crowded train cars where I spent most trips trying to avoid bumping into people and moving aside so they could get on and off the train. In each train car there is a section designated for strollers and bicycles that has no seats, so mostly I spent our trips standing. On our last ride, after an exhausting trip to the zoo, which seemed to have sequestered most of its animals for the day, and after Kendall had announced that she was ready to leave and promptly fell asleep, we boarded a nearly empty train. I found a seat with a Bob-sized space in front of it and sat down. As we rode, the train began to fill. I was sitting in a zone designated for people in wheelchairs and old folks, so I was ever alert to those boarding to make sure I didn’t need to move. I made it all the way to our stop at the Convention Center without having to give up my seat. And only after disembarking did I realize that those seats might have been meant for me. At 62, I very nearly qualified.