On Her Flying Trapeze

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Houston We Have a Problem

Dan, Papa and I spent a fabulous day at NASA, yes, that NASA, where the astronauts are.

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My mom took one for the team and spent the day watching the grandkids, yes those grandkids.
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To make it up to her, we brought home a NASA shot glass that she can use to take her “medicine.” That’s what SHE calls it.

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Now I will take you on a guided photo tour of this top secret facility and its many top secrety secrets.

nasa1The massive security gates at the entrance to the compound are manned by women who mask their pitch black martial arts skills with petite smiling faces, pleasant conversation and laughter. You see, they don’t want the terrorists to know they're being screened. They even trick you into paying for this initial shakedown by disguising it as a “parking booth.” Yeah, right.

There was some kind of hold up in the line. The delta level security agent told us it was caused by the woman in the car in front of us “taking a few minutes to come to grips with the fact that the ‘parking attendant’ could not speak Vietnamese.” I guess she still harbors some bad feelings from her experiences in Nam. The woman must have required "special attention".

After paying admission, we went through the second sophisticated level of security. They had a box… with instructions, no masking their intentions this time. They wanted our guns and they wouldn’t take no for an answer.

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All of the employees throughout the museum, from the ticket takers to the trash receptacle collectors were actual astronauts, wearing official blue jumpsuits.

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They had a MickeyD’s-style play place on crack.

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It came complete with projectiles, a gauntlet and video screens so the parents could watch their kids getting the hud kicked out of them and loving it.

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We had to line up against a wall so this guy could take our picture for our “file”. No fingerprints, urine samples or retinal scans were taken at this juncture.

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As we went through the metal detectors and boarded the tram, they continuously reminded us that we were not at a theme park but were in fact entering a highly sensitive government agency. I was confused by this. The security guards at Disneyland have much bigger guns than this sorry excuse for a firearm.

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My dad wore a Dick Tracy-style gangster hat, causing us no end of grief from the feds. Couldn’t he have worn a bandana like a normal person?

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Dan, on the other hand, wore a hat bearing Chinese symbols, which can roughly be translated to mean, “I Come in Peace.”

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Everything was designed to give the feeling that we were really in outer space. I find it problematic that it costs a dollar less to buy a soda in outer space than at my high school reunion.

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Apparently astronauts like pink flowers. My dad says they are called Crepe Myrtles. Apparently secure Canadian males like pink flowers too and have the ability to identify them when called upon.

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Since we had only one adult and two children in our party, we found it difficult to follow all of the complex instructions laid out before us. Instead we chose to link arms and pray we would not be hurled from the tram as it took off at super-sonic speeds of up to 10 miles per hour.

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We passed the space cows, Texas longhorns. Go figure.

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97 steps took us up to historic mission control, a place that made us all tingly thinking about how Tom Hanks and Bill Paxton almost didn’t make it back alive. I hear that if Tommy had died in that shuttle disaster, Keanu Reeves was slated to play Robert Langdon in The Da Vinci Code.

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The orange chairs were surprisingly comfortable.

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We saw a bunch of stuff with acronyms. I think there are more acronyms at NASA than in a teen chat room on MySpace. It’s all classified of course, unless you’ve got the 20 bucks or the daddy with 20 bucks to get you into this not-theme-park.
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Please don’t let the Russians get ahold of this technology. Space station, smace station.

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I think this may be one of the best quotes I’ve ever read. Right now I think we’re in a sort of semi-friendly cold war. That is WAY better than the unfriendly kind.

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Here is the first watch worn on the moon. My dad wondered how Neil fit aboard his ship. I don’t care how strong his arm was, that is the biggest fetchin’ watch I’ve ever seen.

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Rescue me please. Dan was no help, locked down in the cargo bay. At least there weren’t Snakes on this Plane. (We recently saw a preview for Snakes on a Plane and almost had a heart attack from laughter.)
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We saw the mockups. We lived space.

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This guy, suspended above our heads when we weren’t expecting it, freaked me out to an almost thumb-sucking degree.

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We took almost 200 pictures. Dan liked the buttons.
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We had a blast and now I’m thinking of becoming a SAHM-turned-astronaut. Yes, I’m serious. What’s a little Master’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering, really? A couple years of my life… big fat hairy deal. I wanna go to the moon. They have caramel sundaes on the moon, right?

27 Comments:

Blogger Jeana said...

Katherine, how did you think of so many funny things to say all in one post? This was stinkin hilarious!

6/07/2006 4:29 AM

 
Blogger a suburban housewife said...

Tom Cruise was in "Apollo 13"? I have always wanted to visit NASA. Looks like y'all had a great time!

6/07/2006 4:37 AM

 
Blogger Maine Mom said...

You are too funny!

6/07/2006 5:04 AM

 
Blogger theresa said...

I never thought anyone could make a trip to NASA be that interestingly funny. Thanks, I think I'm gonna have to change my career too....think they have classes to teach us not to have motion sickness?

6/07/2006 5:09 AM

 
Blogger Nettie said...

What an entertaining day and post! I do wish you had gotten a picture of Papa sitting between the two "kids" though. Oh well, I guess you just can't photograph everything. Just almost!

6/07/2006 5:24 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom Hanks was in Apollo 13. LOL.

6/07/2006 5:25 AM

 
Blogger owlhaven said...

You funny girl. Did the security guy notice you taking a picture of his butt-- er, gun?

Mary

6/07/2006 6:50 AM

 
Blogger jessica said...

That's Texas for you. Everyone supposedly carries a gun, but you're not allowed to take them anywhere. Go figure. Even the medical tower where I go for my OB appointments has a sign "banning" guns in the building. Man, that really cramps my style! I was so planning to show up to my prenatal appointments packing heat.

6/07/2006 6:58 AM

 
Blogger ABC Momma said...

"Hud" used to be part of my vocabulary about 15 years ago. You made me realize how much I miss it. "Crap" is getting so over-used.

Love that playground!

6/07/2006 7:25 AM

 
Blogger Queen Beth said...

Kathryn, you never never cease to make me laugh until I pee my pants! I love your twisted take on life!!

:)

6/07/2006 7:27 AM

 
Blogger Regina Clare Jane said...

Omigosh- that was hilarious! I got my husband to come and read it and it really started our day off in a great way! Geez, our NASA down here in FL is so not as funny as your NASA!

6/07/2006 7:36 AM

 
Blogger the voice said...

Top secrety secrets? Delta level security? Hard attacks? You are way too hilarious. Who knew NASA was such a riot.

6/07/2006 7:38 AM

 
Blogger Thoroughly Mormon Millie said...

I had no idea Grammy was such a drinker. Does the bishop know?

6/07/2006 7:40 AM

 
Blogger No Cool Story said...

Kathryn, I'm serious, when they crown you Queen of Blogtopia I want to be there.

Who knew NASA had cheaper drinks than you HS reunion?, or that when going there, you should leave your gangsta-wear at home? How about the fact that Neil Armstrong actually got his name from a very massive-strong arm where he wore that huge watch? Who knew!?

I salute you ma'am

6/07/2006 7:47 AM

 
Anonymous Pam in Utah said...

Great pictures, wish I was there with you, you funny girl!

6/07/2006 8:28 AM

 
Anonymous Alissa said...

While Tom Cruise is a space cadet, I think the "Tom" you're looking for is the Hanks variety.

HI-larious.

6/07/2006 8:33 AM

 
Blogger Lei said...

Fun, fun! That's the town I grew up in, ya know. :) Enjoy!

6/07/2006 9:04 AM

 
Blogger The Daring One said...

OK! I'm a dork! I know it was Tom Hanks and not Tom Cruise. I changed it to the right Tommy! Well actually, my Dad changed it for me, cause I'm out with my Mom and I couldn't wait another minute to correct my mistake so I gave him my password. And yes, this is really Papa writing this comment. Really! Honest! No foolin! I kid you not!

6/07/2006 9:54 AM

 
Blogger Tigersue said...

Very, very funny. Even funnier when I just finished watching Apollo 13 with Ron Howards commentary!

6/07/2006 10:20 AM

 
Anonymous shannon @ rocks in my dryer said...

Is it my freaky imagination, or do you and Dan kind of look alike?

6/07/2006 7:08 PM

 
Anonymous Heidi said...

Katherine, put lotsa big gold stars next to this entry for a future time when you are asked to showcase some of your best material. (BlogHer perhaps?) You have a gift, and lucky us--you're willing to share it!

6/08/2006 8:10 AM

 
Blogger The Flip Flop Mamma! said...

It must have taken you an hour to download all those pictures! I can barely stand doing 3 or 4! Very Funny! I really liked the McDonalds playland on crack!

6/08/2006 12:55 PM

 
Blogger Shalee said...

Yes they do have caramel sundaes, and because there is zero gravity there are absolutely no calories to worry about. It all burns off in you re-entry into Earth's atmosphere. (Hey, now that would be a really money maker for me... the Zero Gravity Diet Zone... Don't steal it, okay? I've got details to still work out in my head about it...)

Make mine a hot fudge and I'll go with you!

6/09/2006 7:41 AM

 
Blogger Heather said...

These pictures and the commentary. You are amazing!

6/09/2006 9:44 AM

 
Blogger Waya said...

Wow! That was a cool post! I didn't realize they allowed visitors to NASA? My 2 boys, actually 3...the hubbie, would love this. I guess we have to make a trip to Houston then.

6/09/2006 11:14 AM

 
Blogger Michelle said...

You are hysterical!
I'm sure they have ice cream on the moon- but them come in small plastic packages and are kinda crunchy.
Love the pictures.

6/09/2006 6:25 PM

 
Blogger Maddie said...

Oh my gosh, I'VE BEEN THERE! yeah!! Very funny post. :-)

6/10/2006 3:12 PM

 

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