Monday, August 10, 2015

The vacation that wasn't...

When the normally frugal hubby says "Why don't we book a mini-getaway in August - just 2 or 3 nights somewhere fun," I was all over that! It took weeks of painstaking research, but I found the PERFECT family destination. I waiting 1 day to get approval from the hubby and teen boy and the room we needed was sold OUT. Back to square one. Then the hubby suggested somewhere beachy - how about heading down to the shore? We haven't done that in ages. Try Atlantic City.

OK. I got to work. We have a detailed list of things our vacation destinations must have and finding them all in one location is very very difficult. Hubby made a couple suggestions and we swiftly ruled out a bunch of places until I landed on the Tropicana website. It had the requisite indoor AND outdoor pools, hubby's requested boardwalk/beach access, fun family activities, a room with at least 2 queen beds (doubles are just too small), and close to other area attractions. Ding! We have a winner!

Or so I thought.

Remember when you were a kid and the whole family piled into the car to head out on a vacation? It was often a VERY long drive and, if your family was anything like mine, the drive was just an invitation to pain and misery. The Dad would always yell, at least one time, "If you don't cut it out right this instant, I will turn the car around and just go home!" Maybe he even pulled over and pretended to start turning around. Mine did.

Well, we did it. Yes, the boys were squabbling a lot. No, we didn't turn into our parents and make the threat. The boys ASKED if we could just go home. Did they love the swanky resort hotel with all the nifty amenities? No. It was loud, smoky, too big, had none of the cool sounding stuff the website made sound so fabulous, and the all-important indoor pool was small, outdated, run down, and crowded. Vacation ruined. None of my boys could find a single redeeming thing about this trip. They wouldn't even TRY, even after I suggested going to the aquarium ("Why would I want to go there? I can look at fish on my computer at HOME when ever I want!"), playing mini-golf (boring), the beach (too crowded), the IMAX theater (nothing good playing), any local arcades ("Skee-ball is fun...for about 10 minutes. I'd rather be at home playing my video games!") so we gave up. Why force them to stay, have them act out and beat on each other out of sheer boredom, and spend all that money for nothing.

We turned around (the next day) and WENT HOME. Yep. The threat is real, kids. They just might do it! ;)

p.s. The teen boy told us, shortly after getting home, that he's sad the trip didn't work out. He's not totally averse to going on a trip. He just wants to go back to somewhere he's been before. Like the Holiday Inn in Albany NY. He likes that place. Albany, y'all. Albany. They have a nice pool. And there's that go-cart place. OK, son. We can make that work.

Nice view...but it ain't ALBANY!

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

What happens when...

What happens when an 8 year old consumes an entire jar of dill pickles in one sitting and then drinks the juice? (Yes, DRINKS the JUICE.)

"Mom? I pooped my pants. I thought it was just a fart, but..."

And so, recorded here for posterity and as a lesson to other pickle-loving children - don't eat the whole jar and, for sure, do NOT drink all the juice.

(Note to spouse - this might be a better way to go for the next colonoscopy. The pickle cleanse.)

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Beautiful Girls

What do you do when you're awake in the middle of the night, unable to sleep? Me, I watch a movie or read a book. Tonight's selection was Beautiful Girls (1996) with Timothy Hutton, Matt Dillon, Uma Thurman, and a bunch of other favorites. I'd never seen it before, believe it or not, but it got me thinking about friendship.

Being a military brat and moving as much as we did in my early childhood, I didn't have that small town, one circle of friends from birth-to-death kind of experience. I did, however, identify with the lead character in the movie just a bit. Yes, he's a guy and the movie is from the male perspective...but I, like him, left home and left my old life behind me. For very different reasons, I often find myself reluctant to return home.

Let's get back to the friends thought. I've had several circles of friends in my life. The first was a small circle in the age 2-5 time frame. Fond memories from a foreign country where only one of my friends spoke English (another US transplant in Asia.) Then there was the second circle from age 5-8. A neighborhood clan of all ages that got along well and were all-inclusive in our play. Age 9-14 was a tough one. All of those friends moved away at various times or I lost touch with them when I changed schools after 8th grade. I'm actually sad that I lost touch with a lot of those friends. In high school I only made one really close friend. There were a few other near friends on the periphery and one very good friend who moved but we managed to keep in touch, but my BEST friend and I were inseparable. Even when I left for college, she was always around. I made a couple new friends away at school, but when I dropped out to work full time, we lost that daily interaction and a lot of the closeness. My BEST friend was still there. For a while.

Then I got serious in a relationship with a guy. We got engaged after many years of dating and my BEST friend was terrified by the idea of me getting married and moving away. Then, she died. Very suddenly and without warning.

I go home and there is one college friend I look forward to seeing, if we can find the time, but going home is really hard. My life just isn't there anymore. I changed. And like the character in the movie, we just don't fit in back in that old life. That isn't home anymore.

The movie has a sort of happy ending with the Timothy Hutton character realizing home ISN'T his home anymore. He has a new life and his girlfriend really is the one. It took seeing his old life up close with her suddenly in it and how he no longer fits to see he is a better person with her and living far away from that stagnant little home town. Satisfying, right? So why did I bawl my eyes out?

Because I do have the one who makes my life a home and a family, but I don't have that weird circle of friends to visit and remind me of what I'm not missing. Does that make any sense? I wish I had a circle of friends who were happy to see me, ready to embrace me back into that old home town life, tell me they missed me, and make me happy I've moved on. Ha. I wish I'd kept in touch with the circle of friends I had in middle school. Those are the connections I most regret letting go of. It was a traumatic and damaging time for me and I was desperate to start over with my new school. But those friends...they were off-beat, smart, loyal, damaged, fragile, and targets - just like I was - and they accepted me unconditionally.

I miss you guys. Valerie B. Karen R. Karen Y. Joan who couldn't decide if she wanted to keep her Dad's last name or change it to her Mom's after the divorce...I miss you guys.