The Life and Times of Monkey, Buster, and Yessa

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The Day The Internet Died. July 25, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — mommie2zs @ 2:19 pm

I’ve written a much longer post about what it was like trying to restore internet service to our house, but I did want to remind myself how wonderful it was to just play with the children without the default distraction of the internet.

Buds and I discussed having an internet free day one day a week.  I’m not sure he could actually do it, and quite honestly, I’m not sure I could, but I think it would be a good idea…

For all of us.

 

The Worst Customer Service Experience Ever…And The Lessons I Learned.

Filed under: Uncategorized — mommie2zs @ 12:51 am

When we got up on Thursday morning, we had no internet.  To us, this is a problem.  Thus began a quest to restore internet.  This might seem relatively simple in the highly technical world I live in.  That was not to be the case.

This is a story of 3 hours, 15 minutes on the phone:  Sixteen phone calls, trips to 2 different stores, talking with at least 10 different people, tears, frustration, anger, disbelief, shock, laughter, and awe.  After a day and a half to recover, I’m ready to honestly consider my failings in this whole bizarre process, and to help make sure no one else ever has to stumble through the field of land mines such as I did.

It all started about 2 weeks ago.  We received a Stern Notice Letter in the mail indicating that our account with Verizon FIOS internet service was in arrears.  I quickly realized this was due to the stolen, but not actually stolen, wallet incident.  I had had to cancel all our credit cards, and didn’t realize that the Verizon bill was directly charged to our credit card.

Lesson #1: Keep an up-to-date list of what bills are directly charged to your credit cards.  I’ve done a good job of knowing what cards I have in my wallet, and have all the necessary information to be able to cancel those cards quickly and efficiently.  I had no record, other than online, of what charges show up on those cards month after month.

With the Stern Notice Letter in hand, I gave Verizon a call to update our credit card information.  I talked with a very kind woman named Michelle.  I explained the Lost Wallet Incident to her, and she was very understanding.  She updated the credit card information, and even put a note in our file indicating that if we were charged a $5 late fee, I could call in to have that waived since the stolen wallet wasn’t our fault.

Problem solved, incident over…I truly believed.

Being me, and here’s a little trip into my brain:  Once paper is no longer needed, out it goes.  I am the opposite of a pack rat, whatever that is.  A purge rat, I guess.  A week or so after the call to Michelle, I shredded the Stern Notice Letter.  It was, in fact, the day before the internet disappeared from our home computers.

Lesson #2: If a product you use has an account #, always have at least one piece of actual paper that has that account # on it.

My goal is to be a paperless home.  I have great filing methods online for tracking everything.  It has always worked for me.  Until, the day I shredded the last and only piece of paper in our home that had the account # for our Verizon FIOS internet service.

I believed that my phone call to Michelle was the end of the incident.  Verizon had our new, accurate credit card information.  Surely they would just charge the necessary amount to bring us up to date, continue charging the correct monthly amount to that credit card, and all would be well.  That assumption, it turns out, was a mistake that would cost me a very large part of my day.

Lesson #3:  Large companies do not think like a normal person.  They are not a normal person, hence, unless someone normal inside the company ensures that it thinks like one, it doesn’t.

It turns out that I spoke with Michelle in the Verizon FIOS Billing Department.  The Verizon FIOS Billing Department can update my account information, but, apparently, it cannot actually bring my bill up to date.  I believe, based on my now greater-than-I-wish-it-was knowledge of the internal workings of Verizon FIOS internet service, after Michelle updated my account, she should have forwarded me to the Verizon FIOS Financial Services Department.

She didn’t, and I didn’t know to ask.

Lesson #4: No matter how small you think the problem is, once you have a person on the phone in the Large Company, you do not let them off the phone until you have said some version of the following:

  • Does this take care of the issue?
  • Is there anything else I need to do?
  • What should I do if this is still a problem?
  • Is there any other department I need to talk to?

I don’t know if Michelle even realized she wasn’t solving my problem.  She was truly wonderfully helpful, and I believe she meant to solve my problem, but, for those who are inside the Borg, they can’t always remember what it is like for those outside the Borg.

The morning the internet died, in my usual, optimistic way, I called up Verizon on the toll free number that now showed on our computer.  “Due to an account issue, your internet service has been disconnected.  To resolve this issue:   blah, blah, blah.”

I felt I had resolved the issue, so I wanted to talk to a human at Verizon FIOS internet services, who would realize the mistake was Verizon’s, not mine, apologize in an appropriately chastised voice, and restore our internet.  I called the phone number.

Lesson #5:  If you want to prove you are right, get your friend or partner to tell you, “You’re right!” before you get the Large Company on the phone.  Then, don’t expect to hear, “You’re right!” from anyone else.

The people who work for the Large Company, don’t care if you are right or not.  Their job is to get you off their phone.  Going in with a self-righteous attitude can be so quickly quashed, it isn’t even funny.  Want to know how you get squashed out of your self-righteous indignation?

Lesson #6: “May I have your account number, please?”

In Verizon FIOS internet company’s brain, they are protecting me by making it virtually impossible to access my account if I do not have the specific pieces of information that they believe I ought to have if I am who I say I am.  The impression I got was that for most of the people with whom I spoke, they truly have no control.  Or, at least, they don’t believe they have any control, and that’s the same thing, isn’t it.  I didn’t have an account number and it did not matter that I was offering to give them social security numbers, mothers’ maiden names, length of the contract, etc.  An additional problem was that the phone number Verizon had associated with the account was not any phone number I could recall.  I would learn, many phone calls later, from one of the kinder souls I spoke with that day, that the number linked to the account was a (656) number, which, thanks to the Internet, I now know is in Cuidad Juarez, Mexico.  Hence, not a number we have ever “owned.”

Lesson #7: When you get someone helpful, even if they aren’t in the best department to help you, quiz them for any and all information you can glean.

It turns out there are many little quirks to the internal workings of a company the size of Verizon.  They provide home phone, television, and internet service, as well as cell phone service, and, in their mind, all these are individual, small companies:  regardless that to the customer, Verizon is simply Verizon.  Because we only had internet service with Verizon FIOS, we could not be helped by the same department that dealt with people who had television or phone service with Verizon, nor could I be helped by a department who dealt with people who had “bundled” services with Verizon.  We were in a separate category from people who had FIOS and home telephone or FIOS and television with Verizon.  Again, I’m sure to Verizon, this is some sort of customer privacy issue.  For me, it was a hugely confusing, tremendous pain in the keister.

That same helpful person should be able to give you the extra pieces of jargon that are going to help you get to the correct department.  For example, finally figuring out that I didn’t want the Billing Department, but that I actually wanted the Financial Services Department was a great leap forward.  Learning that the problem with not having an account number, nor the phone number they had connected to the account was that it meant Verizon couldn’t “secure” our account allowed me to sound more knowledgeable to the reps I spoke with.

Lesson #8: Always get the phone number to the department that you are being transferred to.

Verizon is a phone company.  I was disconnected three different times in the midst of my 16 phone calls.  I’m not sure how that happens.  Luckily, the reps I spoke with must have been used to it happening because several of them gave me the phone number without me asking.  Often times it was one of the phone numbers I had already been connected to so I didn’t even need to write it down again.

Lesson #9: If something seems screwy, trust your instincts.

I managed to stumble upon a voice mail message that informed me, “As of July 1, 2010, your services are being provided by Frontier Communication.  To reach Frontier, dial 1-877-462-8188.”  Having been lulled into a near coma by the stupidity of the whole situation, I dialed the number.  While I waited for someone to answer, my brain finally whirred into gear.  I KNEW I wasn’t a Frontier customer, so I hung up the phone.

Lesson #10: There truly is a human somewhere on the other end of the line.

I was moved to both tears and laughter on my phone death march to restore Verizon FIOS internet service to our home.  All while talking with one representative.  Her name was Ms. Chaet, or something like that.  (She wasn’t keen on giving me her name, possibly because I sounded half-crazed at this point.)  I began to cry while on the phone with her because I truly began to wonder if I was ever going to resolve this issue.  I knew it was silly.  It was only internet service, after all, but I had been on the phone for over 2 hours…time not spent hanging out with my kids or accomplishing anything…and I was tired of it.

When I began to cry, after telling my sob story, she asked me to hold for a few minutes, I suspect to talk to her supervisor about what to do with the crazy lady on the phone.  She came back and asked me if I knew the amount of the last bill I had paid.  I knew the amount we needed to pay was $173, but that was all I knew.  The following conversation ensued:

“Not the amount you need to pay, but the last bill you actually paid.”

“I don’t know,” I said in an exhausted voice.  “$87?”

She sounded slightly exasperated.  “You only have internet with Verizon, not internet and phone, or internet and tv.  It’s less than $87.”

“$45?”

“It is more than $45.”  She didn’t say it, but her voice did:  Moron.

I had an insane urge to laugh because this is a game the children and I love to play.

“Mom, I’m thinking of a number between 1 and 1000.  What is it?”

Or, if you’ve ever watched The Price Is Right, you recognize this game, too.

It didn’t feel like I should laugh, though, because Ms. Chaet held my future in her hands.

“I just don’t know,” I repeated a couple times.  I feared that she’d only let me guess three times, or that there was some other secret Verizon FIOS rule I didn’t know about.

“$59?” I asked very tentatively.

“$59 is close enough.  I’m going to give it to you.”

I couldn’t have been happier if I’d just won $1000 on The Price Is Right.

So, do you want to know what I won?  My account number.

Lesson #11: Repeat back every number you are given, and if it is a really important number, repeat it again.  Then ask if there are any other numbers you might need to have.

Ms. Chaet explained that she couldn’t help me pay my bill.  I either had to go to a Verizon store, or use the automatic phone bill pay system.  (Which cost an additional $3.50)  I repeated the account number as she gave it to me, but in the process of me repeating it, she repeated numbers as well, so I ended up with 2 additional zeroes in the number.  (As you might guess, this hindered me later.)

She also gave me something called a Ban#.  I have no idea what this is, but she told me I might need it, so I wrote it down.  Later, it saved me because, since I was trying to use an inaccurate account #,  I was able to pop up with the Ban#, which allowed the person I was talking with to access my account.

After talking with Ms. Chaet, I tried to use the automatic phone bill pay system.  I couldn’t get it to work (thanks to the 2 extra zeroes.)

Lesson #12: Take a break.

After my attempt to use the automatic phone bill pay system failed, I took a break.  It did me a world of good.  Then, I bundled the children into the car and we drove to the Verizon Wireless Store.

Not surprisingly, the man at the Verizon Wireless Store (which got horrendous reviews on Yelp, by the way,) told me, since I didn’t have any service with Verizon besides internet, he couldn’t help me, but the Shoppers Grocery Store about 3 miles away could.  Apparently Verizon has a contract with Shoppers so that customers can pay their bill there.

It didn’t seem likely to me that, after spending 2 1/2 hours on the phone with Verizon FIOS internet customer services representatives that a Shoppers Customer Service employee would be able to do something amazingly different, but I chose to ignore rule #9, and we drove over there.

The very kind woman behind the counter couldn’t help me because I didn’t have an actual bill.

Back home to throw myself into the swirling morass of Verizon FIOS phone numbers again, and, because I now had an almost accurate phone number, I was able to finally get to the bottom of things.  Laticia was able to help me learn that:

  • I had two extra zeroes in my 18 digit account number.
  • When I was using the automatic phone bill pay system, it was going to ask for a number, and the number it wanted was from #7-#16 of my 18 digit account number.  It didn’t want the first 6 numbers, nor the last 2.  This was a game I could never have won.

To prove that I am not making this fiasco up, here is a list of the phone numbers I called, in no particular order:

  • 888-244-4440
  • 877-462-8188
  • 866-506-9656
  • 800-837-4966
  • 877-638-0953
  • 888-338-9333
  • 410-265-0577 (This was a non-working number, given to me by a Verizon employee.)

Lesson #13: Be grateful you don’t have to do this every day, and laugh when it is all over.

In addition to following my own lessons learned from above, the next time I enter a morass such as this, I will take copious notes, in order, of each number dialed, and the  names of people talked to.  One of my mistakes was allowing myself to drift from department to department.  If a person can transfer your call, that same person can stay on the line until you are sure you’ve gotten the right place.  I should have made someone take ownership of  my problem with me.

Lesson #14: The internet isn’t so important.

Except for the Buster’s general refrain of, “Mom, I’m bored.” it was a really great day without the internet.

And that is a lesson worth learning.

 

Highly Unlikely… July 23, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — mommie2zs @ 7:06 pm

Zoe wanted to make up a game using the poker chips, but then she got distracted by some math videos the Buster was watching, so Noa and I made up a game instead.

The rules of the game were:

Pick two dice of two different colors to roll.  Each die had numbers and one pig on its sides.

If you rolled two numbers, you got to get that number of poker chips.

If you rolled a number and a pig, you took that number of chips from an opponent.

If you rolled two pigs, you had to put all your chips back in the poker chip case.

Noa and I were having a good time playing when Monkey decided to join the fun.

I quickly explained the rules and she said:

“It’s highly unlikely that you would roll two pigs.”

“That’s true, ” I said, “But how did you know that?”

“Well, because I’m smart, but also because…”

She then took me on a little walk through her brain, including a reminiscence of the night she and Grandma Vermont bested Dad, Uncle Zach, and Grandpa Vermont at poker.

Her reasoning was completely sound, and she showed great extrapolation skills.

I love when I get to see how their thinking works, these kids of ours.  Pretty amazing.

 

Self-Control July 20, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — mommie2zs @ 9:15 pm

Buddie decided to return his 4G iphone, which was a major decision for him.  I offered to do the leg work on it since he is swamped at work right now.  The kids and I headed to the Apple Store after we dropped Mom at the airport this morning.

The friendly genius at the Apple Store sent us to the At&T store about a block away to get the phones switched around, then we had to go back to the Apple Store to actually return the phone.

If you’ve never been to an Apple Store, it is the best Techno-Geek playground in the world.  Our kids love the place.  The girls each had their own computer to play on.  The Buster was bouncing back and forth between iphone games and ipad games.

The AT&T store…not so much.  Walls of phones and accessories.  It took us about 40 minutes at the AT&T store to jump through all the necessary hoops.  After 7 minutes, I doled out my supply of 3 iphones to my 3 children, and they sat down on the floor and began to play.  If I’d had an iphone for myself, I would have taken a picture.

With my free time to stand around and wait, I started thinking about self-control.  I wondered if I was actually robbing the children of an opportunity to learn self-control by always having a distraction available to them.  We’ve always got at least one phone on us, and the children are certainly adept at using them, so…we use them.

Is that wise?  Is self-control something that comes with age, so the children will naturally grow into it, or, does it take opportunities, like being bored at an AT&T store, to practice?  Or, if there weren’t an iphone, would it just be me being the distraction?  Or the children figuring out a way to play together as a distraction?  Hmmm.

It’s rather like the mental paroxysms I went through before we purchased a DVD player for the car.  We make multiple 8-12 hour car trips every year.  Our kids have always been great car travelers.  When they were younger, they were fine with random toys, books to look at, lots of sleeping, etc.  The three of us, when Noa was 8 months old, drove from home to Chicago in 12 hours, with only 3 stops!  Personal Record.

But, it began to feel less “fair” to them as they grew older, and were in that stage between being babies and learning to read.  Plus, Monkey wanders into car sickness, so even now that she can read, I’m not sure it is a good option.

Hence, the DVD player, and we’ve never looked back.

Do I sometimes wonder if I’ve robbed them of some opportunities to talk and fight and visit as we take these marathon car trips?  Well, I might if I didn’t, then, quickly remind myself that we are homeschoolers, and hence, spend approximately 15 hours per day together, talking, fighting, and playing.

And, God love’m, when Buds is in the car with us, he’s on a computer or his iphone.  I’d love the children to see him as a role model in most every way, so maybe this instance should be no exception.

 

A Brief Glimpse of the Future July 19, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — mommie2zs @ 4:31 pm

I’m sort of a middle-ground Mama on this one issue.  I was happy when I was preggers, and happy when we were done having babies.  I found the end of my nursing relationship with each child a little sad, but not traumatic for anyone involved.

When people talk about how amazing it is that children grow up so quickly, I sort of get it, but Buds and I have so much fun together, and each day the children and I have so much fun together, and it just seems to be getting more fun every day, the end of having our children live with us doesn’t seem like it will be so traumatic.

But then, two things happened yesterday:

1)  Noa and I took Mom out for dinner for her birthday, and then we popped over to Barnes and Noble for a look around.  I was standing in line to pay for our books, and was privy to a conversation between a father and daughter.  It wasn’t bitter, it wasn’t angry, it was just so abrupt and disconnected.  The father was asking if the daughter had read a required book for school.  No, she hadn’t, wasn’t going to, she said she’d get the Cliff notes.  Pretty much she was just saying anything she could to disagree with her father and to be a pain.  I really did want to give her a shake.  Her dad maintained his poise, but I think he would have preferred to give her a shake, too.

Buds and I have children who scream with joy when we come home and run up to hug us and tell us we are the best Mommy and Daddy in the whole world.  When does that stop, and can I make it never stop?

2)  Normally Buds puts the Buster to bed at night.  This involves the standard teeth brushing and hygiene items, but then they snuggle in bed while Buddie plays some game on his iphone and the Buster watches until he falls asleep.

With me, it is much more boring, so the Buster prefers Dad, but Buddie is swamped with work right now, so last night the Buster got me.  We snuggled in, and he started telling me about this funny show he saw where people had to get wet and muddy and try and get through a wall, etc.  Very physical humor, and he said he’d love for our family to be on a show like that one day.

Now, I had a book on my iphone I was looking forward to reading.  I was tired, I knew the Buster was tired, but I suddenly had a vision of someday when we offer to snuggle into bed with him, and he says, “No, thank you.”  And that’s it.  We go from a critical piece of the bed time puzzle, to the outside encourager.

So, I put my book down, and settled in to listen to my boy talk about some crazy funny show that made him laugh.  And I was grateful he took the time to tell me.

And then I told him I loved him, and wished him good night.

 

Great Speeches

Filed under: Uncategorized — mommie2zs @ 4:19 pm

I was privy to the following exchange between the Buster and Yessa a couple days ago:

Yessa had been working to get Buster’s attention for quite some time.  She had something she really wanted to tell him, but he was absorbed by what he was working on.  She persisted until he finally said, “This is the wast time I’m wistening to you.”

“Otay,” said Yessa.

Ah, those great speech patterns that will someday be lost to time.

And this morning, Yessa wanted Buds to help her great dressed.  Or, rather, she wanted,

“Dad, would you get my fwoze?”

“Your fwoze?” responded her constantly teasing father.

“No, my fffwwwooooozzzzze,” she replied slowly and carefully.

“Oh, your fwoze,” said her snotty daddy again.

Yessa looked at him with a gleam in her eye, smiled, and said, “Yes, my fwoze.”

Dad got the clothes.

And finally, Yessa’s newest word creation is:

Lasterday, as in,

“We went there lasterday.”

It’s truly a lovely combination of last night and yesterday.  I may love it as much as soothme and base-up.

 

I left my heart in San Francisco, the beginning. July 2, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — mommie2zs @ 2:37 am

Our first trip to San Francisco together was many years ago.  The summer after Chris’ sister, Rebecca, graduated from high school.  She’s now a married, nearly 30 y.o., with two children.

Our second trip to San Francisco was three years ago, shortly after we moved to Virginia.  Buds spoke at a conference (and received third-highest speaker honors), and the children, my mom, and I tagged along.  This is what we looked like then:

Waiting for our first-ever, family ride on the trolley cars.

Grandma Vermont had brought Zoe authentic clothing from China, and she’d outgrown some, so a trip to Chinatown was high on our list of must-do’s.  And, The Buster’s feet had grown so much, I had to run out to a Payless and buy him a pair of shoes.  Can you tell what his favorite movie was at the time?  (Not the Peter Pan DVD he is holding.)

This was when Yessa was still in her “Always Have My Tongue Out” stage.  It was so cute.

No caption necessary.

Mr. Blue Eyes

So happy at the Exploratorium, watching everyone else’s fun.

Fascinated by an exhibit at the Exploratorium.

In addition to Buddy’s outstanding presentation, we all had a fantastic time.  Mom and I trekked all over the city with the children.  We loved the Exploratorium, the Aquarium, taking the trolley cars all over.  It was great.

This latest visit, in May of 2010, was no exception.

We rented an apartment through VRBO.com, which has become our standard practice now.

Here’s how it looked:

The children were thrilled because there was the sweetest, rickiest, old elevator for us to use to get to our second floor apartment.

It was a good omen because this was my dorm room number my freshman year in college, too!

You walked in the door, directly into the dining room/kitchen.  The entire apartment was totally redone and lovely.  These are the same IKEA cupboards we                                                                               chose for the basement kitchen in the Big Yellow House in Iowa.  Another good omen.

You walked down a little hallway to the living room, which quickly became the Children’s room when we got the beds pulled out.

The French doors from the children’s room led to the Master Bedroom.  Huge tv and old windows.

Grand walk in closet, which we briefly considered making a bedroom.

And totally remodeled bathroom completed the home-away-from-home.  The window above the mirror led to a ventilation “chute” that went from the roof to the basement of the apartment building.  You could hear other people’s conversations, which reminded me a great deal of that feeling from A Tree Grows In Brooklyn.

We were in town from Tuesday to early, early Saturday morning.  Wednesday and Thursday, Buds headed off each morning to represent Juice at the Google I/O Conference.

That’s Jon standing by the Juice display.  Buds and Jon talked themselves hoarse over the two days, though they were gratified by people’s interest in the amazing things Juice is doing.

So, while Buds headed out early those days, the children and I discovered a Diner down the street where we went every day:

The kids loved it for the mini Jukebox at each table, and for the car, which the Diner was built around:

You can just see the scary mannequin driving the car.  Didn’t bother the kids at all.

As a break from the avalanche of pictures, I want to write down a couple stories that struck me about San Francisco.

1)  I had the three children by myself most of the time when we were there.  Noa was generally riding in the stroller, and the two big ones and I worked out a system for them to hang on to each side of the stroller when we were in busy areas or crossing streets.  Still, at times, our system didn’t exactly work.  The Buster, by nature, is a mosier.  He’s often looking, strolling, thinking, humming, just generally doing his own thing.  We were crossing a busy street. (Our apartment was about 8 blocks from Union Square and the trolley car roundabout, so always very busy once we walked down to the main street.)  The girls were right with me, and I looked back to check on the Buster.  There had been a large clump of people crossing at the same time we did, but, not surprisingly, we ended up at the back of the pack.  Zachary was the very last person crossing, except–and this brings tears to my eyes to even write it–a young man, about 26 y.o., or so, stayed behind Zachary to be sure he crossed safely.  He didn’t try to rush or encourage Zachy.  He let him take his time, but he was truly caring for him.  He could easily, and understandably, have zoomed past us as others did.  He chose a different path.  He took the 45 extra seconds to make San Francisco feel like it was part of the village that was helping me care for our children.

After we had all crossed, our eyes met, and I gave him a heartfelt thank you.  He gave me a simple nod, and went on his way.  An angel without wings.

2)  It has been a long time since I have seen so many smokers.  Probably because we were walking so much, rather than driving, and probably because smoking is not allowed anywhere indoors in San Francisco, so people “have” to smoke as they are making their way from place to place.

3)  Our trip home was to be in two parts:  A quick hop to Los Angeles, then a 2-hour layover, then the long leg home.  We flew Virgin American, and I casually mentioned to Chanler, our ticket agent, that we’d love a direct flight.  There was one leaving within 30 minutes of our flight.  He switched us over as if it was no big deal.  It has been so long since it has been a pleasure to fly.  This trip was a pleasure all the way around.  I’m so tired of the adversarial relationship it feels like airlines are willing to be in with customers.  If Chanler had said it would cost us a $100/ticket to switch flights, I would not have been surprised.  We wouldn’t have done it, and the trip would have been fine.  But he didn’t, he looked at us with our three young children, and he made our lives easier.  It gave us 4 extra hours at home, and got us home before dark, and just made the end of the trip that much more lovely.  Virgin American has won some huge fans.  Price will still determine our loyalty, but I will sing their praises whenever I can.

Thank you for that detour, now back to our trip.

We purchased City passes for the kids and me.  The first day, we attempted a treck to see the California Academy of Sciences, only to discover everyone gets in free on Wednesdays, so the line stttreeetttccchhheeeddd clear out and around and down the sidewalk.  We didn’t realize it was a free day, and I hoped if we took our time, and attempted to enter the Academy after lunch, the line would have evaporated.  To pass the time, we went to the Japanese Tea Garden which is also in Golden Gate Park.   It was a soothing and wonderful place to visit.

Once we realized the line was not going to disappear from the Academy of Sciences, we hopped on a bus and headed to the Exploratorium.  After a quick stop at a Diner to fuel our energy, we walked around the pond which lives on one side of the Exploratorium.  It is housed in the Palace of Fine Arts, which is an impressive piece of architecture.  Every trip to San Francisco for us has included this amazing museum/science play space, and this time was just as wonderful as the others.  Monkey and Buster are old enough that I don’t have to be with them all the time, and they loved walking around and trying out all the different exhibits.  Yessa wanted to stick close to me, but she also was intrigued by so much here.  We didn’t get to even explore half the place, and we loved every second of our time.

After our very full day, we headed back to our San Francisco home, and everyone, including me, was asleep by 8:30.

Conclusion of first full San Francisco Day.