Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Return To The 'Burgh

The Taylor Allderdice High School Class of 1993 held its 20-year reunion this past weekend, so this seemed like a good excuse to visit Pittsburgh. Of course, I didn't attend Allderdice and wasn't invited to the reunion, so I just returned home to see family and friends and be a tour guide/tourist. Here are some notes from the trip:

- Attorney Edgar Snyder is everywhere! You can't drive two miles without seeing his picture on a billboard. I think he could win an election to become the next Pittsburgh mayor but that position would probably be a significant pay cut.

- While there probably isn't any type of statistical data on this, my guess is that more people wear professional sports merchandise in Pittsburgh than anywhere else in America. Most of these people wear Steelers gear including the LaMarr Woodley and two Troy Polamalu jerseys I saw at the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh. Sure, the people wearing the jerseys could have been going to the Steelers pre-season game later than evening, but my guess is that they just wore the jerseys because it was Saturday.

- The Children's Museum was a huge hit for my son. There were numerous interactive games and exhibits including a Clifford exhibit that he really enjoyed. The only downside was that we visited the museum on the same day as the Kindergarten Here I Come program where incoming kindergarten students could visit the museum for free. Although he held his own, my son was a little overmatched by all of the bigger kids. On the plus side, there was a school bus outside the museum that kids could enter, so that went well. Mr. McFeely of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was there too, but my son didn't notice him or know who this was.

- Is it bad that I said my son was under two so that he could get free admission into the museum? The cost for kids two and over is $11 (with the AAA discount).

- It's amazing how lost I got driving around downtown and the North Side. Despite growing up in Pittsburgh, I relied on a GPS to navigate through these areas. While I can blame construction for part of my difficulties, the reality is that I struggle with all of the one-way streets.

- We stayed at the Hampton Inn and Suites in the Strip District directly across the street from the Heinz History Center. The hotel was nice, the free breakfast was an added bonus, and the staff was friendly and accommodating. I wanted to get my son milk during one afternoon, but there was none for sale. Fortunately, one of the staff members got him a cup of milk from the kitchen for no cost. I’d be very happy if the Hampton Inn and Suites Pittsburgh – Downtown became the official hotel of Sean’s Ramblings. How can we make this happen?

- Sharing a hotel room with a kid can be tricky. On the first night at the hotel, we put out son in his pack-and-play, and I went into the hall until he fell asleep. About 20 minutes later, I thought it was safe to go back into the room. Unfortunately, I realized that I left my room key and cell phone in the room. I didn’t want to knock on the door on the chance that I could wake up my son, but I had my Kindle, so I tried to e-mail my wife. After about 10 minutes without a reply, I figured she already fell asleep. Naturally, I tweeted live updates about the experience.

When I went to the lobby, the staff hooked me up with a new room key. Again, amazing staff at the hopefully official hotel of Sean’s Ramblings.

- I haven’t been to Market Square in several years, but it looks really nice now.

- To the store in the Strip blasting the “Here We Go” song on a constant loop – Please mix in some other songs. Play “We Are Family,” “Pittsburgh Steelers Polka” or even “Call Me Maybe.” The 19th incarnation of Here We Go shouldn’t be played over and over again particularly in August. (Playing it once in January after the Steelers win the AFC Championship game is acceptable.)

I really wanted to show my son some of my favorite parts of Pittsburgh, but I was only able to hit a few of these spots. Of course, he’s only two, won’t remember anything about the trip and he’ll have plenty of opportunities to make it back to Pittsburgh. More importantly, my family and friends got to spend time with him, so even if he won’t necessarily remember them, they will remember seeing him.


Laurie said...

I think you're probably right with your assessment about sports-shirt wearing in Pittsburgh, although it was a baseball & pre-season football weekend so the results could be biased.

The other Pittsburgh truth is there is always a surplus of sports shirts anytime you hit a "To Pittsburgh" gate at the airport. DVE had a bit where they said that people do that so that other people know they are at the right gate at the airport and I always think of that and chuckle when I'm out of town.

Sounds like you had a big weekend - did you make it to The O?

Sean said...

Hi Laurie - Sadly, we didn't make it to The O this trip. We hoped to go on Friday for lunch, but there was very heavy rain on the PA Turnpike which delayed our arrival. Therefore, we had to get lunch in Monroeville.

mrsgregwillis said...

Fun! Yes. The jersey wearing is a thing. I don't do it, my family does. And the Here We Go loop could be a curse. The locked out story was a good laugh!