Sunday, June 08, 2008

Happy Birthday... To Me!

Today I reached the celebratory milestone of 47. I don't know why I'm so excited about 47, but I truly am. Is it because I have accepted gravity? (They're going to point south no matter how much I will it otherwise). Is it because my number one goal this year--for the first time in my life--is not to lose weight? (It's to achieve a life/work balance). I don't know why, I just know I'm pretty up with 47.

And the birthday year started off well. In spite of the Phillies 4-2 win over the Braves on Friday night with a crushing final out at home plate, we had a great time at the ballpark--the fireworks were fantastic. It was hot as all get out, and it rained, but getting there, parking, getting out were all surprisingly easy--easy enough that I would like to go to more games and I normally would do anything to avoid the crush of that much humanity.

We continued the party last night at the Georgia Aquarium where we spent the night sleeping with the fishes. I didn't have my laptop or I would probably have blogged the night. As it was, Dave had his Blackberry and updated Facebook with enviable frequency (as seen at left).

The night at the aquarium begins at 3:00 pm with dinner at the Aquarium Cafe--you arrive and eat dinner on your own with vouchers they provide. At 5:15 everyone spending the night (there were 230 of us last night with about 200 between the ages of 6 and 11) gathers and breaks into groups for fun (and educational) presentations, experiments and behind the scenes tours. I was most excited to see the education area of the museum--not something ordinary visitors get to see--it's for school groups--and the top of the Ocean Voyager area (the 6.3 million gallon aquarium exhibit--shown at right).

At 10:00 pm we found out where we were going to sleep, and our group of 24 people (all families) lucked out and was assigned the tunnel under the Ocean Voyager (all of us settling on our mats shown at left). It has a 6.25 inch thick acrylic dome above so you can lay and watch the fish--including the four whale sharks (one of which is shown below)--swim over you all night.

For any of you who have visited the aquarium here the tunnel is the long area with the moving walkway and one of my two favorite spots at the aquarium (the other being in the Ocean Voyager room in front of the ginormous 2 foot thick acrylic window/wall). The tunnel--except for being a main corridor with emergency lighting on all night--is probably the best place to sleep as there isn't a bad mat--everyone gets a perfect window view.

Our sleeping companions were Fred, the potato grouper (shown at right), a hammerhead and several other sharks, fish uncounted, and schools of rays (shown to the best of my limited photographing ability below). I was hoping there was a cool name for a group of rays like rhinoceros get to congregate in a stubbornness and ravens get together in an unkindness, but apparently rays just school like most of the other fish. Dave thinks they should be called a beam of rays, I think he might be on to something. Herring get to be an army, and barracuda get to be a battery. Poor rays.

The best part of the sleepover for me though was the Starbucks coffee and big dispenser of half 'n' half they had waiting for us this morning at 6:00 when they rousted us from our mats. Oy. I didn't expect to spend the 47th anniversary of my birth sleeping on a floor with 23 other people, but I wouldn't have exchanged it with anything. A couple of hours of sleep when we got home at 7:00, and I am right as rain!


Bill said...

Perhaps a sting of rays?

A flap of rays?

A flat of rays?

Not that there's anything wrong with David's thought, mind you.

Jodi said...

Happy Belated Birthday! I love the sleeping under the fishes idea--sounds like so much fun!

ren said...!

happy b-day a bit late. your present is the freedom to revel in my jealousy at your cool celebration.