April 8, 2011

Plan B Rocked (Literally)!

For over a month now we had been planning to go to the Gem Show in Ogden.  Meaning, through the canyon and down the interstate a fair distance.  And of course there was a freak snow yesterday, and last night, and all day so far today, making Joe say we really shouldn't brave the canyon for something as unnecessary as a gem show.  He was right, of course, but the kids read the flier for the field trip that was sent out by Hannah Jane's on-line school that mentioned the $1 bag of rocks and that really appealed to them. 

So there were tears.  Serious tears.  And since Hannah Jane still had mascara left over on her eyes from the fashion show then night before, the tears were visually more devastating than usual.  I knew I couldn't make a dangerous drive just because there are tears, but I promised to try to come up with something fun to do in town.  But what?
Hunter's treasures (mostly shiny fool's gold)!
There's a gem and bead store beside our favorite ice cream parlor in Providence, but I had been in once before and found it underwhelming.  But I had been looking with the eyes of a cheap beaded jewelry maker.  Not the eyes of a rock hound.  So even though I though it would be a sad excuse for missing the gem show, I piled the kids in the van and we headed through the snow to the tiny gem and bead store.

The man behind the counter asked what he could help us find and I explained the situation.  Boy, oh boy did he jump on the occasion!  He sprung out from behind the counter in a manner that doesn't normally befit a man who uses a cane and promptly told the kids that mom was wrong and they could, in fact, touch anything they wanted.  "This is a hands on store, ma'am.  Let them touch!"  Glancing at price tags on large rocks, I still gave the kids a look that made it clear that they were to be conservative in their touching and only after asking, but as the man picked up every rock in the place, pointed out its special attributes, and spoke at length about its beauty, he held every one low for the kids to rub. 
Hannah Jane's shark tooth.  Creepy!
He took us in the back room and showed the kids the giant cutting machine with a blade made of diamonds, his tumblers, and tools.  He described, at length, the process for using each machine and stopped one mid job to open it up and show its contents to the kids. 

As we were nearing the end of our time, he said he had something for the kids: petrified dinosaur poop.  No kidding!  He had lots of small, polished stones  that he said were small, broken up pieces of a larger piece of dinosaur poop that he ran through his tumbler and keeps for kids who visit the shop to learn something new.  Hannah Jane said no thank-you trying to be polite, but after us all insisting that it was okay to accept, she chose a piece.  Haven happily took one and giggles about what it was.  Hunter, the biggest lover of our dinosaur in our family, refused to ever take a piece.  First he told the man that he was wrong and it was not poop.  I told him he could trust the man's word on this one, so he changed his stance to "Well, that is just disgusting and I would never touch that in a gazillion years!"  And he never did.  Funny kid!
Her newly crafted shark tooth necklace and a handful of dino poop!
I told the kid they could choose an inexpensive souvenir before we left.  Haven had fallen in love with a particular stone, which he found in the "treasure box" of rocks that kids could put into small bags and take home for under a buck.  He picked 4 of the one kind, and a few others.  Hunter filled, dumped, and refilled his little bag, annoyed that he couldn't shove one of each in the tiny bag.  Hannah Jane picked a shark's tooth from the front table with the plan of making a necklace.
Snuggled up in bed with new rocks!
Happily, we trudged back through the snow to the van and brought home our treasures to spread out and admire.  The kids all declared it the best outing ever and want to take every person they know back to meet the rock man!  Hannah Jane, the one who had cried the most this morning when out big trip to the gem show was canceled, declared that the gem show would be lame compared to all the fun we had at the gem shop, and they still got that bag of rocks!
How often does the backup plan end up better than the original?  Thanks, rock man!

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