A family day at the museums

Spontaneous ideas are the best ideas, as far as I am concerned. The Long Suffering Husband is a planner. We’re a bit of a mismatch, to put it mildly, but we’ve adapted over the years – I try to give him more than five minutes notice, and he tries not to plan things to death.

So when I suggested we visit the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History over a recent weekend, he didn’t run to his spreadsheets and start calculating what the trip would do to our monthly budget. It’s the little things that make our marriage work. That, and a lot of denial.

“They have a lozziwurm!” I told the kids.

“What’s a lozziwurm?” they asked.

“It’s a giant squiggly tube that you can crawl through. You can touch the art. You can interact with the art. You can crawl through the art! It’s going to be so awesome!”

“I can’t wait!” the Little Professor said. “I’m going to crawl through the lozziwurm.”

“I don’t think I will,” the Sassy Saint said.

That sound you just heard? That was my heart dramatically cracking in two.

“What do you mean that you’re not crawling through the lozziwurm? That is what the lozziwurm is for! It is the intersection of art and utility. I am shoving my decrepit self through the lozziwurm! How can you not crawl through the lozziwurm?”

“I just don’t feel like it.” She shrugged.

I squinted at her. “Is this because you’re 14 and therefore too cool to crawl through the lozziwurm? Because I’m better than twice as old and not too cool. If being cool means you can’t do fun stuff, why would you want to be cool?”

“I just don’t feel like it.”

I decided to let it be for the moment. It was one of those things that would be self-defeating if you pushed too hard.

Off to the museum we went, where the Professor enjoyed the dinosaur exhibit. By “enjoy the dinosaur exhibit,” I mean he gave us a guided tour with which Matt Lamanna, assistant curator of palentology and the Professor’s personal hero, could not have found fault.

Sass prefers the art museum, so we hit that next, and both of them enjoyed the hall of architecture – the Professor is enchanted with Greco-Roman myths, and Sass adores history – then we hit the Carnegie International exhibit (which includes the lozziwurm).

Since modern art lacks – in his view – both science and history, the Professor was bored, bored, bored.

“There’s a room full of balloons you can play in,” I told him. “Let’s go there.”

“A balloon room?” He was doubtful.

“Yeah, and you can play. C’mon.”

The four of us ventured down to the balloon room, where there were drifts of white balloons with “run, run, run” written on them and a slide show of cheerful children at a playground projected on the walls. I waded through the balloons as the LSH and professor batted balloons back and forth. Sass stood off to the side, arms crossed.

“Don’t you want to play with the balloons?”


“It’s an entire room of balloons! You can roll around in balloons. You can bury yourself in balloons. You can build a balloon fort. This is the best thing ever! Don’t you want to play?”


Drastic action was needed, lest she turn into a Blue Meanie. So I threw a balloon at her head. It worked; she cracked a smile.

A small one, but still – a smile.

(Wallace-Minger, The Weirton Daily Times community editor, is a Weirton resident and can be contacted at swallace@pafocus.com)