Matt and I decided that he would take Penny down in the morning so she could maximize her play-time with Jess, and that I would stay home with Alex until he'd had his nap.
Which was fine. Alex and I ate lunch, and I put him down for his nap, and he went to sleep fairly quickly. Eventually, he woke up, and I got him up and changed and loaded the car and off we went.
The first thing that happened was that I got on the interstate and found myself in a parking lot. The hell? Luckily, that particular on-ramp doesn't force a merge -- the lane sticks around and becomes the off-ramp for the next exit. So I got back off the interstate and decided I'd take back roads a little further down.
Somewhere in here, I got a text message from Matt that the picnic had been rained out and they were de-camping to KT and Kevin's place while they tried to figure out what else to do. I let him know I was thick in traffic and asked him to keep me posted.
By the time I got to the next exit, I could see that traffic was moving on the interstate again, so I got back on. Which was a mistake, as it promptly turned into a parking lot again, and this time when I couldn't conveniently get back off. We creeped along, and eventually it got better. Not good, but better. I thought, obviously if ever there was a day to take the alternate tunnel, this was it.
Two miles from the tunnel, when it was too late (again) to turn around, there was a sign: one-mile backup at the tunnel. Well, fiddlesticks.
Though the traffic thickened and slowed, but never actually stopped, so that was okay. Traffic remained heavy and sluggish, and then as I merged onto the last bit of interstate I'd have to travel, they had signs: there was an accident on the drawbridge and the right lane was closed. Well... bugger. And I'm not familiar enough with that side of town to get off the interstate and take back roads.
I wish I'd just done it anyway. I could've pulled over and looked up the route on Google Maps or had the semi-GPS app guide me, and it could not possibly have been any slower -- I wound up sitting in that traffic, behinda tractor trailer truck, for almost 45 minutes. The accident turned out to be a three-car pileup right smack at the top of the drawbridge.
Finally it cleared and I was able to get through the last couple of miles. Just as I was getting off the interstate, I got a text message from Matt letting me know that everyone was moving to the mall that's between the interstate and KT's place, which was handy, as I was just about to pass it. So I pulled in and found the food court and Alex and I tromped up there.
The mall has a fantastic play area for little kids, a walled in area with lots of stuff to climb on, right by the food court. We secured a bunch of tables near the play area entrance and soon enough there were bunches of us there. Penny and Jess dove right into the play area, and Alex took an hour or two to warm up, but eventually started climbing and playing with everyone else.
I met the people I hadn't met before, and we all sat around and talked, and ate dinner, and watched the kids play. It wasn't quite as good as a picnic, but it was still lots of fun.
(click on the picture to see my whole Flickr set for the bash)
Around 7 or so, it was decided to head out. Since I'd arrived so late, Matt agreed to take Alex home and put him to bed so I could have some extra social time. So I took Penny over to KT and Kevin's. Penny and Jess played, and the adults talked more, and had fun flustering KT and Kevin's friend Serge. Penny and I didn't leave until nearly 9:30, though given KT's pictures of the rest of the evening, I wish I could've stuck around!
Sunday afternoon, KT and Kevin and Jess and Jeff and Karen came over, and then a bit later saw the arrival of Braz and Adin and their collected kids. We grilled chicken and vegetables for everyone, and had strawberry shortcake for dessert, and continued with the talking and socializing. (Except for poor Kevin, who was apparently fighting off a migraine. And poor Adin, whose kids were not really feeling too good, so she had to give up and head home early.)
Everyone went home around 8:30, and we cleaned up and got Penny put to bed, and did the rest of our chores, and then settled in to watch Leverage, which was a nice, relaxing way to end the weekend.
So, stupid traffic aside, it was a great weekend, if entirely entirely too short.