Our last full day of vacation got off to a great start. Warren really wanted to go to Cafe Du Monde for coffee, so we borrowed Nancy & Dick's trikes with the idea of putting a monkey in each basket. Once Satchel realized his third cousin, Max, was hanging out for the day due to a fever, he decided to stay home.
Warren, Jiro, and I set out after a quickie lesson from Dick. (It took a few tries to get the hang of having three wheels.) We rode down Canal to the river and then cut over to Jackson Square.
First stop, coffee & beignets at Cafe Du Monde. Turns out Tuesday after a holiday is the perfect time to visit. No line, no waiting. (To find out what Jiro thought of his first ever beignet, tune into Dining with Monkeys.)
Second stop, a hot muff(aletta) for Warren at Central Grocery. (Jiro picked out a bag of Italian honey candies.)
Third stop, a shrimp Po-Boy for me at the Verti Mart.
Riding through the French Quarter was super fun. Jiro caused us to turn quite a few heads. I heard, "Oh! Look how cute!" about 500 times on our ride. Besides feeling cool because of the wind in my hair, I felt cool to be on a trike. We definitely didn't look like tourists. More like hipsters who lived in the Quarter with their kids.
We headed back to the house around noon, ate our sandwiches, and regrouped. As payback to my mom for watching the kids on Sunday, I agreed to take the monkeys and my niece to the Aquarium while Warren took my nephew to the World War II museum. (My mom, Nancy, and their friend, Muscles, went to Audubon Park for lunch in the clubhouse.)
The monkeys and my niece loved the Aquarium. No big surprise there. Nancy said they lost a lot of the fish during Katrina, but it was not noticeable. (I hadn't been to the Aquarium in about 8 years. Warren and I took my nephew when he was Jiro's age!)
The penguins were the kids' favorite, followed closely by the amazing Seadragons. They also loved the kids' area with a shark and stingrays they could pet. We saw another ghostigator, which was fun. It shared a tank with a giant turtle who climbed on its back for a little swim!
We watched the giant tanks at the end for a long while before attacking the gift shop. (Thanks to Nancy and her family membership, we all got in for free so we had money to burn!)
When we finished in the gift shop, we walked back over to the ferry for another ride to Algiers and back. (While we were waiting all three kids started singing, "Don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me/Don't you wish your girlfriend was a freak like me." Mortified, I said, "How do you know that song??" "Alvin & the Chipmunks!" they responded in unison.)
After the ferry ride we (we meaning my niece and Jiro) got a hot dog/sno cone snack and then headed to Canal to catch the streetcar home. I had made plans for Team Oster to go to City Park with Amy to climb trees and possibly get a burrito on the way home, but the monkeys refused to come. So, Plan B was set into motion. Warren, Amy, & I drove to Magazine Street for a little shopping. (I had been itching to go to Scriptura.) Sadly, one hour is simply not enough time to properly explore Magazine Street. (All of the stores were closing and my mom was not enjoying having all four kids to herself.)
Amy told us about a restaurant called Parkway Bakery near City Park with great Po-Boys and outdoor seating. Nancy & Dick had dinner plans with Dick's cousin, so we borrowed the minivan, loaded up my mom and the four kids, and headed to Bayou St. John. (We actually loaded, unloaded, loaded, unloaded, and loaded again due to Warren's missing sunglasses. He had entrusted them to Jiro for some unknown reason.)
Luckily we all had a snack before going to dinner because when we pulled up to the restaurant there was a sign on the door that read: Closed Every Tuesday. (They might wanna update their website!) Determined to make lemonade out of lemons, we decided to take the kids to City Park to play while we came up with another place to eat. (None of us were really familiar with the area.) Also, Jiro had conked out and I wanted him get a decent nap since we'd been going at a breakneck pace.
We soon found a really awesome playground and those amazing oaks I remembered.
The fun was short lived. Satchel soon had tree gunk in his eye and my niece had an unfortunate collision with a metal pole on the playground resulting in half of her front tooth breaking off!!
We immediately went into emergency mode. Of course this was the ONE time I was without water, so our first order of business was getting water to keep the broken-off-piece-of-tooth hydrated. (My suggestion for my niece to suck on it was shot down, but we later learned this is the ideal short-term solution.)
While en route I called my brother, a doctor, who advised bypassing the ER and looking for an on-call dentist. So my mom called the daughter of her longtime friend, Pat, who is a nurse (and mother). She in turn made a call and five minutes later we had the name of a pediatric dentist and directions to his office. (Fortunately Amy had loaned us her city map so Warren had no trouble getting us there.)
By now, my niece's lip had stopped bleeding and she clearly was not in pain. Frankly she seemed to be enjoying all of the attention. We were kind of having fun! (Even my mom, but only because Nancy had given her half a Xanax prior to our departure in the minivan.)
Dr. Simon was a dream. He was calm, chipper, charming, and accommodating. And his office was filled with toys! (Including the coveted Nintendo DS.) My niece had her tooth fixed in no time.
I have a strange feeling that my niece is going to grow up to be a dental assistant--or rather, a dentist--someday. She seemed right at home and Dr. Simon said she was an excellent substitute for his normal assistant. "I was!" she said proudly.
After many thank yous to Dr. Simon, we ended the evening with a 9:30pm dinner at Ye Olde College Inn. It's one of my grandparents' old standbys and the first place Warren ever had an oyster po-boy. (Eight years ago.)
As we drove home down St. Charles Avenue--one of the best avenues ever--I wished we had another week of vacation left.
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