"Sorry" doesn't seem to be the hardest word - "goodbye" is most difficult word for me to say. I did this yet again this morning when I saw my son off at the airport. I love spending time with my son, which happens about once a month or once every three weeks, but it's just never long enough. This weekend, we celebrated his 13th birthday by going to The Tech and The Winchester Mystery House. He also got to pick out his choice of birthday cake from Dick's Bakery, so we had a delicious checkerboard white/dark chocolate cake with burnt white icing. As is tradition, he picked out his birthday dinner for me to make - meat loaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, and corn.
It was interesting watching K at The Tech, which is the Technology Museum in San Jose. He paid very little attention to things I thought he'd be interested in, such as the "clean room" and the "internet" area. He ended up spending the majority of his time programming the computer and connected devices in order to rig up a mechanized operation to feed the computerized fish. So, he had a choice of using a button, a motion sensor, or a microphone as the trigger. The trigger then started the motion of either the toy train or the lever - he chose the lever. Tinker toys were connected to set in motion the feeder, which had a mallet at one end to simulate a fish feeder. There were computerized videos that showed different ways to accomplish this task, but K wanted no part in the videos. Read the manual... follow directions? No way! After a few unsuccessful tries, I thought he would give up and wander to another exhibit, but he insisted that we stay until he figured it out, which he eventually did. It made me think a few things - first of all, ever since he was a young kid, K has always been fascinated by how things work. He has always liked electricity and is a very tactile learner. If it's not "hands on", it's not going to connect for him. Also, I always worry when he doesn't maintain attention to a task, even a seemingly enjoyable one. This showed me that, with the proper motivation and interest in something, he can see a project through to completion. This has been a big worry for me as I look ahead to his future and try to envision what the real world will be like for him.
On Sunday, we met up with some friends and visited the Winchester Mystery House. K really wanted to take this tour because he has a love of guns and weird trivia. Personally, I thought the tour was overpriced, but I learned some things. First of all, if you're rich, you can afford to be eccentric (like Mrs. Winchester was). Secondly, there is such a thing as having too many bathrooms. The tour also made me vow that, if I ever have contractors work on a house, I will let them do their job so that, after I die, I won't have people wandering through my house on a tour thinking "this was one weird chick". Of course, K liked the gun display the best. He was amused by certain factoids presented on the tour - like the fact that Mrs. Winchester's favorite number was 13, which is a pattern she used repeatedly through the house. Also, from a kid's perspective, the only thing a gift shop really needs to have in it to be appealing is candy and soda.
All in all, a very good and busy weekend. They never last long enough....