• Archives

  • Categories:

Critters, typewriters, and cable cars

Our summer adventures have continued with a lot of trips to the zoo. We got an Oakland Zoo membership a couple months ago, and I quickly learned that our boys love going to the zoo, and since it’s less than 20 minutes away, it makes for a nice late afternoon getaway if I leave work a little early. It also makes for a simple outing on the weekend, which is what we did recently and went to the petting zoo part of the zoo for the first time.

Sadly, the rides on the outside of the zoo are not included in the membership, but with free parking it’s still an inexpensive activity that makes them very happy. Plus, we can pop into the zoo too! On one small day trip on a very hot day, the boys enjoyed a couple of the little kids rides, and then we took the gondola inside the zoo up to the top and right back down again before heading home.

In other animal news, we also spent one Saturday morning visiting the Sulphur Creek Nature Center. The only one of us who had been there before was Adam, who went with his first au pair back before the pandemic! They have a lot of birds that are being rehabilitated, as well as some rabbits and at least one coyote, and an indoor discovery center where Aaron really enjoyed visiting the snakes. Definitely a place to go back to.

I’ve recently taken some modified advice from my therapist and started taking the boys out on separate adventures that cater to their specific interests. It can be stressful to take them out together, since they have very different ways of experiencing outings. At the zoo Aaron loves to stare at the animals, where Adam would rather run through fields and quickly inspect each unfamiliar symbol on the zoo map. When they’re out with one parent, it can be tricky to cater to both, and even when we go out as a whole family, we find ourselves dragged from one thing to the next rather quickly to keep them both happy. I’m sure it’ll get easier as they mature and can each better cope with doing what their brother wants to do, but for now it’s sometimes just easier to take them out separately.

In the spirit of this, I took one weekend this month and did an Adam day and then an Aaron day.

Adam likes typewriters, and I wanted to get my IBM Selectric II cleaned up and repaired. So I decided to take Adam for a drive up to Berkeley Typewriter. It’s a 25 minute drive each way, so there was a bit of a risk, but I didn’t have to be worried. I got my estimate and turned over my typewriter, and then we spent a half hour exploring typewriters in the store portion of the repair shop. Adam delightfully went around to various typewriters writing his name.

And I got to see the typewriter that Tom Hanks donated to the shop! Tom Hanks rather famously collects and uses vintage typewriters, and I first learned about his shop donations after he donated a typewriter to Philadelphia Typewriter. It was a delight to learn that he had gifted one to my local shop as well. And it’s a beautiful red IBM Selectric at that!

As a bonus, we brought home a professionally gutted typewriter that the boys could use as a toy. Adam now regularly plays typewriter repair shop, where he tries to “fix” it with a variety of tools. It’s adorable.

On Sunday it was Aaron’s day! He’s been asking for MONTHS to ride a cable car. He knows about them because I like cable cars and some of his books about San Francisco feature them. In general, my little two and a half year old likes public transit anyway, so my goal with him on this beautiful August morning was to take BART (train #1!) up to San Francisco and take him on some public transit downtown. First stop, a cable car!

I made the mistake of going to Powell, somehow forgetting that at the height of summer there’d be a huge line for the cable car on a Sunday morning. Instead of waiting in that line, we hopped on a vintage street car to the less popular California Street cable car line. I was quickly reminded how tricky it was bringing a lively two year old, a folded stroller, and a diaper bag onto crowded public transit by myself. People are incredibly kind, and someone even gave up their seat for Aaron on the street car, but it was an ordeal. Once settled in, we did have a nice time on the street car though!

As expected, when we arrived at the California Street cable car stop we were able to hop right on board. Due to having a stroller, we had to sit inside, but it worked out well for his first cable car ride. He could walk around a little inside, and we did the full length of the line, and then took it back to where we began.

From there we walked past Ferry Building to where the MUNI Metro line surfaces and took that down to the Giants baseball stadium, which he enjoyed seeing. We then ended up with brunch at one of our old favorites, the Delancey Street Restaurant.

It was a long morning for Aaron, but ultimately a very successful one. We took the MUNI Metro back to BART and made our way home after brunch, wrapping up our weekend adventures!