The Princess had a field trip on Monday to The Polar Express Christmas Train Ride.
Our local train station offers a holiday train ride on an antique passenger train that boasts of hot cocoa and a reading of The Polar Express. Kids are encouraged to wear their pajamas. This particular train generally travels about 90 miles round trip.
Students that had signed up for the excursion were supposed to meet at the depot at 8:15 to board the train.
(The Princess attends a University Model School, which holds classes at their campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and students do their work at home on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. That is why we are meeting there. Her school is another post for another day.)
Let me add that it is freezing cold Monday morning and snow/sleet is falling. We board the train about 8:30. The train is absolutely beautiful. The seats are green velvet. It is so cool. However, due to the antiquity of the train, there is no heat.
So, we wait to get going. And wait. And...we wait. The conductor (?) comes over the intercom and says we will be hooking up to another car and there may be a loud bang. 50 kids immediately cover their ears in terror.
"Loud Bang" is probably not the best use of the language for the children.
We wait about 10 minutes for the "loud bang" which was not a loud bang--more like a startling jolt. And we wait. And...we wait. The conductor (?) comes over the intercom and says we will be hooking up to another car and there may be a loud bang. (This is not a brain rerun...it happend twice.)
At 9:45 we begin to hear the chuga chuga.
Let's review. We've been on a subzero train in pj's for one hour and fifteen minutes. With a lot of children. And their preschool aged siblings. For one hour and fifteen minutes. With no bathroom. For one hour and fifteen minutes. With the conductor's helper lady saying, "Kids, sit down we're about to leave" at least 37 times. For one hour and fifteen minutes. (One funny mom asked if maybe we should rename it The Lady Who Cried Wolf Christmas Train Ride.)
Is there a world record for how many times in one hour and fifteen minutes children can ask, "Moooommmmm, when are we gonna leave?"
Back to the chuga chuga.
My first clue to the length of the excursion should have been the fact that the hot (read: tepid) cocoa was passed out before we left the station. In cups that the school had to provide. One brave mom asked when we might be hearing The Polar Express story. The conductor's helper lady says, "Do you have the book?"
Um, no. We, um, paid for The Polar Express Christmas Train Ride. Crazy us. Expecting that they would have the book.
Instead, the conductor's helper lady asks if anyone would like to sing carols in the microphone. Well guess who volunteers?
The Princess. The Princess and her posse.
I've never heard The Twelve Days of Christmas sung quite like that. 17 times. (On the 15th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me... Webkinz in santa suits...)
We ride for about 12 minutes. And stop. For a little while. And start going back the way we came. 12 minutes later we are within sight of the depot. Unfortunately, a grain hauling train has dibs on the track and we must stop and wait. Within sight of the depot.
We are in the car and headed home by 10:45.
Nothing express about that polar train.