Summer Lovin’

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Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 13 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

Summertime! Lake, River or Salt Water?

It was submitted by: http://www.southernbellecharm.com

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Let me start by saying that winter is my favorite season.  Let’s be honest, the bulky sweaters, sweat pants, coats, scarves, hats, etc… cover many faults.  Summer clothing, summer activities, don’t leave much to the imagination and for some of us, this is terrifying.  Just the thought of trying on bathing suits, sends me into a panic induced anxiety attack.  My idea of a perfect day is spent lounging on the couch, under a comfy blanket, wearing pajamas, fuzzy socks or house slippers, sipping a cup of coffee and delving into a good book.  Not exactly summertime friendly.  In the heat of the summer, you’re more likely to find me standing naked in front of a fan…panting, sweating and cursing.

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You know those goo-filled toys that kids play with, where you squeeze one side and the other side pops out bigger?  I forget what they are called, but that’s how I feel trying on bathing suits.  I shimmy that lycra/polyester blend over my thighs, hips and stomach, past the boobs, which I have to lift and set into each elastic bordered cup.  I pull the bottoms as far over my butt cheeks as possible, noting that the winter bush looked smaller and better maintained in my granny panties.

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If I wore this swimsuit would I still need to shave?

I peer down critically at myself, feeling not that bad, why my stomach looks almost flat from this angle…then I look up.  At first I think, omg who is standing in my dressing room and how the heck did they get in here!

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Then I realize it’s me, and not the me I envisioned when I was looking down at myself feeling kinda body positive, even almost on the thinnish side of the overweight curve.  I feel that maybe I’ve been punked by Ashton Kutcher (is that still a show?) and he’s replaced my dressing room mirror with one of the carnival fun house mirrors.  Don’t even get me started on the harsh fluorescent lighting!  I mean seriously, don’t retailers realize I’d buy a ton more clothes with a little mood lighting and a skinny mirror?  Instead of smoothing out my bumps and curves, the small piece of lycra horror has just pushed everything down, out and to the side.  Seriously, in addition to the uniboob, I also have tremendous side boob, underboob and back cleavage.  I don’t even know where to look.  Epic disaster.  I feel the need to dive into some ice-cream head first.  Or cry.  Or both.  Summertime…ugh.

They say fat looks better tanned.  Which brings me to the actual secret subject question I received.  Lake, river or salt water?  So, now that I’ve horrified all of you with mental visuals of me in a bathing suit, let’s break this down.  Careful, you’re about to experience the full brunt of my neuroses, and it’s not pretty.  You’ve been warned.

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Lake?  No.  If I’m forced to frolic around in lake water, I’d prefer to do it on the back of an inner tube or jet ski or from the safety of a big boat.  I’m not a fan of swimming around in murky, dank water where I can’t see what exactly is swimming with me, and I’m terrified of getting nibbled by fishy friends.

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I feel like my pale, ghostly white skin looks fairly luminescent bobbing just under the surface of the lake, and that to marine life, I might look a bit like a fat worm being dangled enticingly before them, not a mere snack but a full on 6 course meal.  The bottom of the lake floor just feels kinda gross to me, slimy and strange, forcing me to wear swim shoes which gives me a weird foot tan.  The idea of me bouncing around on a inner tube doesn’t exactly feel me with excitement either.  Frankly, I’m not sure my swimsuit would even hold up.  I have visions of sausage casing erupting, spreading out over the surface of the lake and then being gobbled down by the fish or other strange lake creatures I can’t identify.  As I accidentally inhale gulps of lake water in my frantic dash to pull myself back up into the boat or on the inner tube, it occurs to me how many kids/adults have used this very lake as their own personal bathroom. Or dumping ground (pun intended). I can almost feel the unnamed, unidentified bacteria moving towards me in rapid pace as I huff and puff myself back into relative safety.

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How I imagine the bacteria to look as it’s coming for me!

So yeah…no lake for me.

River? I picture rivers as something you walk across during a hike, or stop to let your dog play in while you bandage up your blisters from the new hiking shoes you bought because they were cute, and the color matched your hiking outfit, not because they were practical or even comfortable and appropriate for actual hiking.  A river is where you might stop to let your horse drink, if you’re into horseback riding or where you might splash water on your red, sweaty and puffy hiking exerted face.  I guess people float down rivers and stuff on inner tubes but I’d have the same concerns listed above under lake.  So probably no river for me either.

Which brings me to salt…

I noticed pool wasn’t an option, and I have a whole rant on public pools and swim parks, but since it wasn’t part of the question, I’ll spare you.  You’re welcome.

I’ll be traveling to Puerto Rico in two short weeks where all my deepest fears and insecurities will be put out on display for better or worse.  I love the beach, except for the sand part and I love the ocean except for the salt/shark/jelly fish part.  I love the idea of the beach/ocean combo.  I love the sounds.  I love the natural beauty to be found there. It’s the practical side of nature I struggle with and the beach is no exception. I don’t relish the thought of washing sand out of my hoohah every day or feeling the sting of salt slapping against my razor burns/cuts.  As much as I criticize and poke fun of my various body parts, I’m kinda partial to them and would hate to lose them to a shark.  If I worry that I look like yummy bait to little lake fishies, imagine what a shark would think!??!  All you can eat buffet anyone?

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So I suppose if I had to pick one, it would be definitely be salt, but more in a lounge chair by the ocean with a delicious umbrella adorned beverage while I delve into the latest fiction craze on my kindle, lathered up with sunscreen, shielded under the world’s largest hat/umbrella combo, feeling a little bit like a movie star but hoping there isn’t any paparazzi hovering around to take gnarly close-ups, and zoom in on my white, cellulite covered thighs and back cleavage.

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Cheers to summer ya’ll ❤

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado                        http://www.BakingInATornado.com

Cognitive Script                     https://cognitivescript.blogspot.com/

The Blogging 911                   http://theblogging911.com/blog

The Lieber Family Blog                     http://thelieberfamily.com

The Bergham Chronicles                  http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Southern Belle Charm                    http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Never Ever Give Up Hope                 http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

The Angrivated Mom                    http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com/

Not That Sarah Michelle                 http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

Bookworm in the Kitchen                  http://www.bookwormkitchen.com/

Part-time Working Hockey Mom           http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

Climaxed                                           http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

 

Fun Is My Middle Name! Or not…

My third buzzword for 2016 is

FUN 🍾🎉

FUN 🍾🎉

and more

FUN 🍾🎉

When I shared this goal with my husband, he had three thoughts:

  1. a stripper pole in the bedroom
  2. more gym time
  3. his/her tattoos

As appalling tempting as those ideas sound, that’s not exactly where I was going with this idea. Although, I do think my husband would rock the g-string and pasties.  If you actually know my husband, then you’re welcome for that visual 😛

It’s difficult to find time to vacation with my husband’s schedule.  We’d love to take more family vacations and romantic couple getaways.  Family vacations are difficult financially with four kids, and then trying to find a block of time we can all go is virtually impossible.  Our 3 girls work full-time, go to college full-time, I’m lucky if I see them more than once per week, forget a full-fledged vacation!  Couple vacations are more manageable financially, but we can’t just leave our 10 year old son behind, not to mention our dogs, and for the reasons listed above we don’t want to burden our girls with this added responsibility, they already do so much.  Extended family isn’t really an option for us either for many reasons.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to romanticize our vacations.  During the planning phase, my visions of family vacation time are Instagram and FaceBook post worthy.  My kids all get along, my husband and I don’t argue, everything goes smoothly and according to plan.  We are the poster children for family fun, togetherness and happiness.  People will want to be us.  They will envy my planning skills, covet our shared photos. 

The reality is usually far different.  For example, the time my husband took off the side of our dodgy RV with a gas station pump.  Or when man-child’s penis got caught in the netting of his swim trunks causing him to cry during the entire walk from the beach to our rented house, every step excruciating pain, not being able to communicate the problem and being yelled at for crying and carrying on.  It’s with fondness that I recall the time my oldest daughter ate the side of a mountain with her face on our first ski trip, and sported a nasty black eye for the remainder of the trip.  Or the time my husband played chicken with a semi-truck in our dodgy RV.  Ah, that RV…such memories. We look back and laugh at these stories now, or at least most of them, but they don’t exactly live up to my expectations.  Our family trips bonded us (tested us) in ways different than we expected. However, I wouldn’t trade one memory or experience, the good, the bad or the ugly.  

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The Dodgy RV

We’ve learned, out of necessity, to rock the staycation.  The six of us have fun just hanging together, playing games, watching movies, eating, drinking and general merriment.  Despite the fact that we haven’t seen much of the world, we’ve done a good job of instilling a sort of wanderlust in our children.  They love to travel, are open to new adventures and places.  Sometimes the best adventures happen in your own backyard.

 The bottom line is that fun is what you make of it.

Honestly, who needs a romantic getaway when you can send your husband sexy videos like this in the middle of his work day.

 

He couldn’t get away home fast enough 😉

Anyway, there is so much in our home state, even our local cities, that we haven’t yet experienced.  Our fun goal for 2016 is to do a better job of exploring the great state of Texas.  It’s practically it’s own country, or so the locals like to say 🙂  

Given my fitness goals for this year, I also wanted to find a way to incorporate exercise into our daily life.  I think 5k’s are great way to do this.  We can train as a family, and some of them are really fun!  Our German Shepherd loves being with all of us.  I thought scheduling scenic hikes with her and the whole family, little day trips, would be fun.  I’m not a huge fan of camping, but I’m willing to give it another try.  Maybe. Possibly. I’ll put it on the list…at the bottom.

In the next few months, our youngest daughter will be moving out (insert sobbing emoji here) and it will just be the three of us.  I’ll have even more time to pursue things I think are personally fun, like blogging, writing, reading and binge-watching television shows on Netflix. I am currently super addicted to Criminal Minds, eleven seasons all waiting for me!  I’m on season 2 and already an expert on profiling.  

My kindle is armed and ready.  

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My kindle queue changes all the time, and I’m always looking for suggestions.

What kinds of things do you do for fun?  What books are on your reading list this year?  Do you have any fun family vacations planned this year that I can envy from afar?  Romantic getaways with your significant other?  Please let me live vicariously through you, share ❤

A Snorkelin’ We Go-Go: She Said/HeSaid – Day 5

So, I’ve got to start cranking out the blog posts if I want to meet my 31 post goal in 31 days.  Next time I mention doing a blog challenge.  Slap me.  Hard.  Let me continue our vacation saga…  I’ve got an award speech to write, and if I have time, I might blog about what my son’s parent-teacher conference taught me about him.  Don’t hold me to these.  Might happen.  Might not.

SHE SPEAKS. SHE IS AWESOME.

Update Section:

1)      Lord and Lady R:  Apparently there have been some crazy shenanigans while I’ve been gone from work between the couple you might recall from the Day 1 blog.  Lord R was in possession of a gun.  Yes, a gun people, you read that correctly.  And this gun had to be confiscated from Lord R after he threatened to shoot himself because he couldn’t stand to live with THAT woman one minute longer, “I’d rather be dead, or in the hospital, but I can’t put up with her anymore!”  Having met her, I take this threat very seriously, and I’m sad for Lord R.  I hope they get everything worked out and can move him over to another apartment soon.  Prayers for both.

2)      My blog yesterday was entitled Burn Notice because we are all quite sunburned.  I neglected to mention that fact, although there will be more of that to follow.  Apparently, it doesn’t matter how much sunscreen you lather on yourself down here.  It’s brutal.

3)      I had no idea that my husband wasn’t even fully awake as our son lay next to him wallowing in fever.  It is good for him that I didn’t know at the time that I was alone in my worry and terror for little man’s physical health.  It’s very good for him.  In fact, I actually used my iPhone to calculate how long it would take to walk from Destin to home, and it was like 9 days.  You’d think it would be longer, I wonder if that’s without sleep…. Hmmmmm.  I’d leave him the map, with coffee checkpoints highlighted and circled.  Yes, I know, I’m a giver.

4)      And I don’t know who my husband thinks he’s kidding, like he needs to wait for man-child to grow up to check out other women…he does it now, ALL THE TIME.  I can’t even tell you how many times he put our life in danger while driving and ogling chicks.  He was like a dog with its head hanging out the window, tongue lolling to the side.  Excuuuuuuse me for scoping out future husband material to get these girls married off so we can enjoy a relatively early retirement!  Far be it from me to think of us and our future happiness!!!!  *sigh*

Okay, on to Day 5.  We departed this morning for Shell Island, located off Panama City Beach.  We drove an hour to get to Andrew’s State Park, only to board a rickety bus with 40 other passengers and loaded down with our chairs, towels, umbrella, assorted beach bags and snorkeling equipment.  Daughter #1 gets the front bench, which she shares with man-child, and we hadn’t driven more than 2 seconds, when the bus takes a corner, and man-child goes flying off the seat.  Daughter #1’s face turned 6 shades of red as we took turns giving her hard time, accusing her of shoving him out of the seat so she could lie down, etc…  It might have been made worse by the fact that a cute boy was sitting opposite her.  I think if she could have vanished herself or us right then and there she would have.  Poor thing.  I didn’t know anyone could quite turn that shade of red; it was more like fuchsia or magenta.  It really brought out the blue of her eyes though.  man-child was a trooper, he didn’t even cry, although that might have been due to shock.  He did throw his sister several hurt and accusatory glances though, and he didn’t offer to sit next to her again.

So after the bus ride, we have to wait on this narrow rickety dock and listen to this guy preach about the oil spill and bad government and how we should all follow him down to his “place” and sign his “special” petition.  Ummmm….I think not.  I am too worried man-child is going to fall off the dock and I’ll have to dive into the murky fishy depths to retrieve him.

Finally the boat arrives!  Away to Shell Island for the promise of snorkeling and dolphins!

I want my money back.

1)      The snorkeling experience (at first) was a bit like trying to snorkel the area around my dad’s boat dock, but worse.  Plus, we were getting attacked by seaweed, floating plants and other things I couldn’t even identify.

2)      The waves were literally back-breaking.  I have no “core”, so when I get knocked down, I literally have to wait for the next wave to hit me and use the momentum in the hopes of propelling myself forward and back onto my feet before the undertow sucks me back down again where I struggle to keep my head above water as the next wave hits me and the process begins again until eventually I am able to get up.

3)      It was a 3 mile hike across what felt like the Sahara to get from the place the boat docked to where we set up beach camp.  Getting back was going to be a bitch.

4)      We did finally find some decent snorkeling on the other side of the rocky embankment, and by the time we were done, we had swam with fish, found hermit crabs and got blisters from the flippers.

I walk back to beach camp and inform hubby it’s time to head back.  All of us are worn out, and very sunburned.  I head back with as much as I can carry, and I don’t stop until I reach the boat dock because I am very afraid if I stop, I won’t get started again.  I wait for hubby to show up with man-child and daughter #2.  Finally, I see him in the distance, carrying the chairs and something else.  What is that?  Oh nooooooo.  He’s carrying man-child, this is gonna get really ugly.  He pretty much drops man-child a few feet from me and by this time I can hear the wailing.  Poor little guy is so exhausted.  He runs to the comforting arms of mommy (mean Daddy go away!) and everyone takes pity on the poor guy and tries to help cheer him up by pulling hermit crabs out of the water.  That does the trick; pretty soon he is smiling again.  Hubby on the other hand has put himself in time-out and isn’t speaking….to anyone.  We avoid him like the plague, he could ignite upon impact.  I am sure he’ll give you some sob story, don’t believe it.  Man-child is 4, hubby does have a 4 in his number, but it’s the first number out of two!

So now we take the boat back to the bus and the bus back to the rental car and the rental car back to the RV.  Now once we get back, the girls and I go shower.  Daughter #1 and I get first dibs, then Daughter #3 and finally Daughter #2.  I know how impatient Daughter #3 gets while waiting, so I am performing a running commentary on where I am in the showering process.  At one point, I holler out that I am shaving my unmentionables.  There is a small silence, then Daughter #3 says “ummm Mom, we aren’t alone in here”.  Oh.  Oh my.  Awesome.  Mouth is shut now, and I hurry and finish and do not make eye contact as I exit the building.  Daughter #1 almost drowned in the shower trying not to laugh out loud at my shame and embarrassment.

Once we are all showered and dressed, we head to The Twisted Palm for dinner.  Each table has its own TV with cable, so man-child is able to watch the Disney Channel….ahhh heaven.  I can’t eat though.  I might have mentioned before I have issues with using bathrooms other than my own at home.  I have only “BEEN” to the bathroom once since we left, so I am feeling a little….backed up shall we say.  In fact, I am to the point where I can’t even hold it back and God forbid this moment happens at the RV park with nice bathrooms, no it happens at The Twisted Palm with skanktastic public restrooms.  I’ll spare you the details, but awful doesn’t begin to describe that particular adventure.

After dinner, we head to Wal-Mart, so I can buy some Motrin PM and we can get some quarters for laundry.  O M G.  I can’t even begin to describe the scene that awaited us.  It was like a People of Wal-Mart convention (you know the website?).  I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

Motrin PM + Purging of my intestines = finally a decent nights sleep.

HE SPEAKS.  HE IS ANNOYING.

Ahhh… the sweet smell of the RV in the morning, awesome!    Off to another day of fun and sun.

Today our plan includes a visit to the “world famous” Shell Island off the coast of Panama City Florida.  We load up the mini rolling turd (aka mini-van rental), get on board, hit the road (again) and head east on the Emerald Coast Highway.

Now I mentioned yesterday that we contributed to our nation’s economy by placing an economic stimulus payment with Wal-Mart in exchange for commercial goods (or crap).

Today, I find out the true significance of the word “obey” as stated in the wedding vows.  Meaning?  Namely that as the man in this family, I must bundle all this crap on my back and haul it like a pack camel to whatever destination we head for.  So there I am, getting out of the car with:  Four beach chairs, a basket full of beach toys and the four-year old man-child who at this point is choosing to walk rather than be carried, praise the Lord.

Reader, take a moment of pause to get this mental picture…got it?

Now stop laughing and read on.

My tribe enters, the wife stands in line with the girls to pay for our tickets and fees for snorkeling gear and I stand in the corner of this place straining to stand up with all this crap while our little guy informs me (and the rest of the patrons) that he WANTS a toy!!   I ponder the scene and suddenly become convinced of two things at this juncture:

(1) That all of these places are tourist traps that intentionally place hokey souvenirs in strategic places while employees behind hidden cameras in the back room laugh hysterically at parent’s dealing with the kids reactions to the response “NO we are not buying anything!!”.  Damn them!!! Damn them all to hell!!!

(2) I need to exit this facility, find shade and drop my load before I pass out.    As I contemplate the one I do the other.

With snorkel gear in hand, we board a bus, which will take us to a pier that will in turn provide a boat that will take us to one Shell Island.  As we board the bus, I am reminded of the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles starring the late John Candy and Steve Martin.   I won’t describe here, just rent the movie and you will get a laugh.    The wife mentioned already, as we pull out of the bus stop, the man-child goes flying onto the floor!   He is fine, but I take this moment to yell to my oldest daughter sitting with him, “Awesome, now your brother can break your fall should you fall out of the seat!”   I think there was a cute boy in the seat next to her, because I am pretty sure the shade of red that materialized on her face was not due to sunburn.  Good Times!

Finally, we arrive at the pier and again we wait in line… for the boat.   Whilst waiting for our vessel to arrive, we are entertained by some activist in the water with what appears to be a large tarp floating on top of the water and held in place by large trash bags filled with air. I think this is the hillbilly version of a simulated Oil Spill?    I really don’t pay much attention, but he is shouting something about the Oil Spill, how bad it is in Louisiana and the impending doom of Florida Beaches.   He keeps ranting about BP Oil and the lack of Government response until the boat arrives.    Now listen, I like the beach as much as the next guy.   I also agree that this crisis in the Gulf is just that, a crisis the likes of which this nation has not seen.   However, while I can appreciate this gentleman’s zeal, I really wonder what good it is doing or if this yahoo has any idea on how to fix this problem.   Yeah dude, the government sucks. Yeah dude, BP is the devil.   Oh hey, how did you get all that crap here?  With your 2-ton, Ford F-350 pulling a flat-bed that gets like 4 MPG?   Hmmmm.   Maybe we should think about our need and desire for Oil that facilitates the urgency and rationale for drilling in risky offshore environments?  Just a thought?    Ok, enough of that.

The boat pulls on to the Island, we get off, we find a spot right next to the dock to make base camp and then the wife goes and “checks out” another spot.   Keep smiling… just keep smiling.      One of the children comes back and informs me that we have found better ground around the corner.   I load up the crap, and start walking.  OMG!  As I turn the corner, there is a desert of Sand to cross and two thoughts come to mind.  First, I now have a mental picture of what Moses saw when he crossed the desert into Median.  Second, the walk back is going to be a B-tch!

We all had a great time of course.  The girls found sea-shells,  man-child got buried in the sand all the way up to his head, we built sand castles and the ladies went snorkeling.   Ironically, the best snorkeling was back at our original location right next to the freaking dock!   This is a fact that swam through my head has I walked back to the dock, across the Sahara, with all this crap and man-child in my arms!    AHHHHH!!!    On the bright side, I got a good work-out in on the way back to the boat.

More to follow….   One more day, then we head back to Dallas!

Burn Notice: Day 4 – She Said/He Said Saga Continues

Let the vacation saga continue….  I’ve got a 5 day weekend coming up, taking a few days off work.  My plan is to catch up on my blogging challenge, and be awesome and hilarious while doing it.  That’s the plan anyway.  Which means it won’t happen.  Naturally.  It’s Homecoming weekend.  Will we survive?

She Drinks and Truths: Day 4

Momma got drunk.

Let me rewind a bit to earlier in the day, or the middle of the night rather.

So, man-child wakes up crying.  He feels feverish, so I am freaking out because naturally, I forgot to pack Motrin, Tylenol or any fever-reducing pain medication.  I put him into bed with Daddy, and after seeing he is settled in, I crawl into his bed.  A bed, which by the way, was too small for me, not that it matters…I’ll be up all night fretting over every possible sick scenario from ear infections from the ocean water to strep throat to malaria (yes malaria) and what we will do if his fever spikes to dangerous levels, because we have NO CAR!!!!!  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!  Would daddy dearest run to the local Circle K?  It’s only a few miles…in the middle of the night.  Maybe if I bribe him with coffee…?  I am getting a headache from trying to strain my eyes to see to the back of the RV to see if little man is sleeping or not.  Then I toss and turn, worrying every scenario to death and praying fervently that everything will be okay.

Finally, dawn arrives.  I wake up to the dulcet sounds of little man driving everyone crazy again.  Yes!  Life is good.  Everything is back to normal.  Thank you, God.

AND….our rental car has arrived!!!!  Woo hoo!!!  Now we can spread our fun over the entire coast!

The hubby takes the car to get his precious coffee.  And for all you haters out there that sympathized with his addiction, when we get back I’m sending you all on a road trip together with him!  And another thing, yes there are things I love, like, admire and adore about my husband.  I plan on borrowing an idea from another blogger this weekend and posting the ABC’s of why I love my husband.  HOWEVER, there is a hulking figure that follows him everywhere he goes…his EGO.  He is better equipped than most to handle my snark, so don’t go feeling all sorry for him, or thinking I’m a man-basher.  Yes, even he will admit this is true, and has even discussed the gravitational pull of reflective surfaces. 
He married me for the express purpose that I keep him humble.  Believe me, no one else could put up with him like I do or vice versa.  SOOOOO there!

Whew.  I needed to get that off my chest.  Moving on now…  Where was I?

Oh yes, so we load up our nice rental car (no seriously it really is nice) and head down to the beach.  This beach is even prettier and better than the last one, so we are all in heaven.  And before we headed to the beach, we stocked up at Wal-Mart with chairs, an umbrella, snacks and loaded up the cooler with beverages.

There was one terrifying moment when I lost man-child.  In the waves.  As he was pulled under.  With no life vest or other life-saving flotation devices.  I felt like a momma tigress fighting through that undertow to reclaim my son!  He finally surfaces after what looked like a whirlpool sucking him under, and I yank him up and immediately sooth him as he belches from his toes and gags (I’ll admit I did kinda offer up a prayer that he not throw up on me).  Then daddy came out (finally, what the heck!) and took him back to our mini beach camp.  A few minutes later, little man was back out shaking his fist and screaming at the waves.  Ok there tough guy.  Meanwhile, mom sank down into a puddled heap and almost wept from relief.

We decide finally we’ve had enough, so we head back to our little home away from home.  Shower, change and head down to the Harbor Walk Village, which is this quaint little shopping mecca with everything from designer clothes, to live birds, to fish-gutting.  We ate at this restaurant called Harry T’s.  It was scrumptious, and yes for the first time all vacation we broke our vegetarian rule.  Couldn’t be helped.  When in Rome.  And all that jazz.  I ordered this drink called the big top.

It looked like a fish bowl with sparklers in it and fruit decorating the edges.  This thing was massive.  I drank about a 1/3 of it, and I was tipsy.  Well, ok…drunk.

We had a great time, the girls picked on daddy and man-child was a prince.  Then we got a visit from Giggles the Clown (the scary clown with the smokers cough and the terrifying cackle).

But she said balloon animals and face painting, so man-child was in!  She painted his face like a pirate, and gave him a balloon sword with a holster.  Aye matey, he looked like a right good pirate on the high seas!  She even made daddy a matching sword.  As we were walking around the little village, man-child wanted my mirror, and then he proceeded to walk while staring at himself as we tried to help him navigate since he wasn’t watching where he was going.  He is truly his father in every way 🙂

We headed back to the RV, and all fell exhausted into our tiny little uncomfortable beds (oh, after giving man-child some chewable motrin tablets, we were taking no chances this time).

Oh…and HIS side or whatever: Day 4

This morning I woke up realizing that it was not a dream… at some point my wife was replaced in our bed by my son.  Where is my wife?!?!   Honey?!  Are you here?!  What happened?  Why are you curled up in man-child’s sleeping quarters?    Now before you get too harsh, please realize that when I,  OCD Boy and Captain of the  Worry Wart Extraordinaire Club (a trait which I am obliged to add serves me well in my current job) finally relaxes enough and  falls asleep, I enter into the twilight zone and do not do well waking from this state of mind.  I recall the man-child crying.   I remember something about him running a fever and my wife frantically realizing that we had no over-the-counter medication on board the RV.   (OMG!  I cannot imagine the kind of “what if’s” my wife is cataloging at that particular moment).  There were also the “gentle” kicks in the midsection and kidneys in the middle of the night that I was curious about.   Then, dawn, and my boy snuggling up close and saying, “Daddy— the sun is awake, that means you have to wake up tooooo.”   Some times that boy is too cute for words, and if he was feeling like crap last night, then thanks be to God, his little motor is running fine now and he is ready to go.

First things first, pick up rental motor vehicle.  God shines on us again, and we find a little rental car place right next to the RV Resort.  I walk over and get a new mini-van and head back to get the family… right after I hit up my supplier (Local Circle K) for my morning dosage (Coffee or Manna from heaven, either one works).   We pack up and like any good RV folk would do…WE HEAD OUT TO THE WAL-MART.  .    After an expenditure that can only be described as an economic stimulus payment we load up the mini-van (or the mini rolling turd as I like to call it) and head to the beach.

On the way, I mention that yesterday on my 3.2 mile run down the coastline bike path, I noticed some areas where there was public parking on the beach and also mentioned that it fills up fast so we want or rather NEED to hurry.  Now I mentioned this in Wal-Mart and suggested we hurry.  For some reason, the wife got a little unnerved when I mentioned this again on exiting Wal-Mart.   Seeing her irritation I could only think of the immortal words of Bill Clinton, “What? What did I do?”    Anyway, as it turns out, we find a place to park, a prime spot at the beach and quickly begin to enjoy our day of sun, fun and near drowning events.  Ahhhh.. Good times.    Honestly though, it was a tremendous time and the beach and weather was absolutely idyllic.   Thank you God.

After the beach, we head back to our little slice of heaven on wheels and get cleaned up to head for the Harbor Boardwalk.  It is a quaint little walk way on the bay, waterside that contains shopping and all sorts of stuff to do.  We arrive – after getting a little lost – and the fun begins.  I only want to note a few key highlights for your reading pleasure:

  1. On the way, the wife tells me to stop checking out girls in dental floss outerwear and watch the road.  I, of course explain I was not doing this that I am watching the road and seriously, like she is not checking out guys all this time.  She replies, “…but I am doing that for the girls, it is different.”   OMG!  Did she really just say that!?   Oh, I cannot wait for man-child to get older so I can play this card!  I never knew this exemption existed.
  2. The first thing we do upon arrival is “search” for parking… I will let the reader’s imagination run free at this juncture.  Let us just say that I moved the car after finding a space.
  3. Next we encounter the “bird-man” on the boardwalk.  He has several tropical birds of all sizes and makes money by perching said birds on willing patrons and for a tip will allow a picture to be taken.  So here I go… man-child is in one arm, the other arm has three small birds on it.  I have a large bird on the other shoulder and what can only be described as two small pterodactyl’s on TOP of my head.   Yes I said on top.  The smile and ‘click’!  (of course it takes several unsuccessful clicks by my wife with one camera until she finally switches and takes a pic on the iPhone camera… while I worry about bird crap the whole time)
  4. Finally a nice dinner, face paint and balloon swords.  Good times!

So we head back to the RV, Fat, Happy, Face Painted and all.  Along with silent prayers of thanksgiving that tropical birds don’t crap on patrons.

Next Stop:  Shell Island

Emerald Coast Day 3 – She Said/He Said

Oh my goodness, I am so far behind on my blogging and tweeting and Facebooking.  I feel panic and hysteria, until I remember it’s just blogging, tweeting and Facebooking.  Life happens.  What can you do?  From Thursday to Saturday, I spent more than 60 hours awake which breaks down like this:

16 hours – work

24 hours – marching band activities

1 hour – homecoming dress shopping (found THE dress in the 1st store, God had mercy on my soul!)

remaining hours (because I suck at math) – showering, drinking coffee, shoveling down food, tweeting, Facebooking, blogging, getting dressed, driving, yelling, pulling out hair, staring blankly into space, trying to remember what day it is, trying to remember why I signed up for all this, texting, e-mailing, giving instructions, receiving instructions, losing kids, finding kids and more driving.

I wish I was soaking up rays and listening to the waves crash against the beach on the Emerald Coast right now.  Since I can’t be there, I’ll live vicariously through our vacation.  As soon as I hijack my brain back, I will be blogging new material.  Forgive me.  Don’t desert me.  Hug me (actually don’t…I’m not really a hugger).  Thank you for sticking around!

SHE ALWAYS SPEAKS THE TRUTH: DAY 3

Since inquiring minds want to know, the answer is yes.  We did sleep in the RV on night 2, and the kids slept with no problems.  Every time hubby and I would move, we would smack each other.  I never thought I would hear the day he would say he missed the “Great Wall of China” aka the body pillow nestled snuggly in the middle of our bed at home.  He scoots down the bed as he sleeps, I never knew this.  In a king-size bed at home with “the barrier”, I don’t know what he does over there, and now that I know, I miss my bed more than ever!

Other things I’ve learned about my husband on this vacation.  He’s OCD.  Seriously, are there drugs for this condition?  It started small.  He touches the air conditioning control knob about every couple of minutes.  I know what you are thinking, big deal right?  Well after 16 hours in an RV, that cute little tic starts to take on ginormously annoying significance.  At one point, I snap “the setting on that knob hasn’t changed since we left Dallas, quit touching it!!!!”  To which he replies, “what’s it to you?”  To which I reply, “Your mom!”.  Yeah, I don’t know what that means either, this is just what we’ve been reduced to.  But it’s not just that, let me recap for you:

1) When we stopped at the hotel, he asked if I thought we’d even be able to get a room, after we checked in, he worried aloud about where to park the RV and if it was “allowed”.  Once we parked the RV, he closed every curtain and hid every article not nailed down.  Then he circled the RV 3 times making sure the locks he’d already locked and double checked were locked, while I stand there exhausted, hot and waiting…not patiently.

2) While traveling in the RV: “Did the kids shut the fridge?”  “Did they shut it all the way so the latch catches?” “Did you turn off the water pump?” “Did you say you turned off the water pump?” “What is that noise?” “They aren’t messing with the air controls back there are they?”  In addition to the 5o repetitive and annoying questions, he keeps touching that damn knob.

3) Every time he passes the air conditioning unit, he checks the settings.  Every time he passes the fridge, he checks the settings.  When we went to Hooters, with cars in the parking lot, and a dude on his cell phone, he asks me “do you think they are open?”  OPEN?  Is he serious?  It’s 6pm on a Sunday night.  If I could go 1 hour without someone asking me a pointless stupid question, I would think I had died and gone to heaven.

Last night before crawling into bed he asks me if I think he should check to make sure the suitcase bins are locked.  I couldn’t resist so I said…“I’m sure it will be fine.” (pause) “Of course, if someone’s steals our luggage, you’ll be kicking yourself for not checking” (pause) (insert hubby curse word here: readers choice) and then my giggles as he gets up and goes to check if he locked them.  Ah…good times.

But I digress…  After our first night in the RV, we pack up and head out, Emerald Coast next stop!  Yay!!!  But first we have to do some souvenir shopping, and as luck would have it right down the street is “The Souvenir Shop”, yes that its name!  It’s bright pink, with a big shark busting out the side of the wall. Perfect.  After dropping 100 bucks on cheesy local trinkets, we head back the other way to look for a Starbucks.  Hubby hasn’t had his coffee yet, and that vein in his right temple is starting to pulsate.

Ruh-roh.

We can’t find the Starbucks.  I nervously glance in his direction.  Oh, not good.  Bad idea! I quickly avert my gaze lest he catch me watching him.  I like being alive.

So then he asks if we should just head back to the I-10 and get coffee there somewhere on our way out.  I made the Starbucks suggestion, and have suffered through his angry coffee-deprived outbursts, sullen silences, and irritated mutterings, not to mention “THE VEIN”, I am not making any more suggestions or decisions at this point.  And that’s what I tell him.  Yeah, that didn’t go over well.  Then the first exit off the highway with gas stations offering his personal manna, yeah closed due to construction, next stop 12 miles.  Oh good grief.  He might kill us all.

Next exit, there is what I called a quaint little Exxon station, hubby said something along the lines of “I doubt this dump and the yahoo who runs it even has coffee!” as he slams out of the RV.  I put my headphones on, enough of this business.

Did anyone know that pretty much the entire drive between Mobile and Destin is done over water?  Which means…bridges?  Did I mention my fear of bridges already?

Finally, we arrive at the Geronimo RV Park!  I am happy to report, that we have a concrete slab, and the bathrooms are better than some hotels I’ve stayed at…YAY!!!!  We get all hooked up and head to the beach about 2 blocks away.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!  Now this is a beach!!!  We had hours and hours of fun, it was so pretty, and it was good to laugh and relax and enjoy my kids.  Even hubby was able to relax for about 5 minutes without worrying about something and enjoy himself.  He was exceptionally good at body surfing.

Man-child loved it.  He built sand castles, and his sister buried his legs, and he enjoyed the waves crashing around him.

My oldest daughter enjoyed the boys.  At one point the waves crashed into her and she almost lost her bikini top and I think several boys in the vicinity almost got whiplash trying to look.  Poor kids got knocked around silly by giant waves, and I think drank half the ocean water.  At one point after bragging that I hadn’t yet lost my footing, a big wave knocked the wind out of me and smacked me into my youngest daughter, causing her to do a face plant in the water and nearly drown.  Oops…sorry dear.  She got a good laugh though that I finally got swept away.

We finally decide we should head back to the RV.  In case it wasn’t obvious that we aren’t RV folk, the pizza delivery man showed up to deliver our pizza, all the RV’ers who were out grilling and cooking shot my husband dirty looks.  Whatever, haters!

Our rental car will be here in the morning thank goodness.

We are all tucked in, I’m thinking maybe I’ll actually get some sleep when….

Man-child starts to cry….

To be continued….

HE NEVER SPEAKS THE TRUTH: DAY 3

Here we go!  Onto our final and much awaited destination—the Emerald Coast of Destin, FL.

As the wife stated, we did in fact spend the night in the RV our second night out.  The discerning reader will note that I utilized the phrase, “spend the night” and not the descriptive phrase, “we slept in…” to describe this experience.  Why?  Because I would not say that I or my wife actually slept.  The kids, yes they could sleep through a cataclysmic event on most occasions, but me and the wife… no, not so much.    I love going on vacation, don’t get me wrong, but few things are as relaxing too me as our bed at home.   If love makes a house a home… then a big wonderful bed makes it really, really home.

So, onward and forward we go.  Now let me begin by stating that ANYONE who knows me knows one thing.  I am a caffeine addict.   I MUST  have coffee in the morning…first thing, without question.  I do not see this as a fault… it is a fact. “Hello, my name is Jerry, and I am a Caffeine addict.  What? No I don’t have a problem… if I did not NEED it, then it would be a problem… so up yours and get me a coffee, black.  What? No if I wanted cream and sugar with it I would have ask for freaking hot chocolate… now get me a coffee!!!” 

Knowing myself as I do, I try to make arrangements for getting my morning “crack” into the bloodstream before any serious or meaningful interaction with others.  I do this as a courtesy to myself and for mankind in general.   Yesterday upon entering the “Cajun RV Resort” I instinctively notice the Shell gas station right across the street, and like any good crack head make a mental note of my supplier’s location so I can get my fix first thing the next morning when needed.   We wake up, I disconnect the rolling turd from the hookups, (this includes the black and grey water tank purge ceremony, which entails a set of specific prayers – like an exorcism of sorts)  and I start making plans to get my morning fix from the good people at the shell gas station.

That is when my wife states, “But  the girls and I would love some Starbucks and I think I saw one down the street, so can you not just wait?  I want to get on the road!”   I smile, well I fake a smile, mentally marvel at the fact that my soul mate after all this time does not understand the nature of my need for morning coffee, and agree to this plan.   The morning lingers on, and as an hour passes I am still without my go-go juice…NOT GOOD.   A few minutes later the headache starts to set in and I am getting ready to move into a state of serious withdrawal.   I check my watch… past 9:30am… no coffee… Houston we have a PROBLEM.

We finally leave, and set out to find said Starbucks.  Oh, but lest I forget, we also HAD to stop and buy some hokey souvenirs from the Souvenir Shop!!   OMG!    I could have run, literally jogged to the shell station, filled up on coffee and doubled back by the time we were done!!!   The search for Starbucks continues.  After searching and looking all over the place and ticking off several pedestrians, no luck finding Starbucks. Let me add here that driving around small streets is not a good idea for a novice RV driver.    At this point I need to stray, mainly because what happened in the next half hour is a total blur to me.  I recall some degree of yelling, mention of hitting the interstate and finding the closest gas station and then… total darkness. (I liken these little episodes to Bruce Banner turning into the Hulk)  When I woke up, I was pulling in to some rinky-dink Exxon off of I-10 and wondering if Cousin Ted and Uncle Wilbur would even know what Coffee was much less how to make it.  Praise be to God!  They did…  oh the sweet, satisfying warmth of heavenly goodness… I missed you.

We keep on trucking down I-10 and within a few hours arrive at the RV park in Destin.  Now I am not a RV Park expert, but this place is nice and well equipped.  The manager even came out and helped me back into the concrete slab and showed me all around.    Very nice, and comforting to see that some people still understand what customer service really means.

After getting all settled in, we head to the beach and spend several fun-filled hours frolicking in the clear waters of Florida’s finest beaches.   The kids had a blast.   The wife was completely glowing as she played and swam with the kids.  The Man-Child was having a blast, and as a Dad, I realized that it was a moment like this that made it all worthwhile.    Indeed, I am blessed and Life is Good.

Ended the evening playing a rousing game of Mastermind with my youngest daughter.

More to follow…

Biloxi Blues – She Said/He Said

Here is Day 2 of our godawful fabulous RV vacation.  I feel like I’m cheating by not writing new posts, and I just want you all to know that I’m okay with that.  I’ll have something new and really craptastic fabulous for you tomorrow (hopefully…fingers crossed.)  I’m thinking of discussing hair.  My hair.  It needs help.  It seems the more hair I gain in undesirable places the more I lose on my freaking head.  But I don’t want to ruin any surprises for tomorrow.  I’m not promising to post a blog tomorrow about my hair, lest you all have expectations or some crap, I’m just saying it COULD happen.  So, don’t get excited, is what I’m saying.  You hear what I’m saying?  lol, I just made myself laugh.  I could be drunk.  KIDDING, not when I have a football game tonight.  That would be irresponsible (if I admitted it, which I’m not).

SHE SAID: DAY 2

Thank you Marriot Courtyard in Covington, LA for the wonderful shower, frigidly cold room and decent nights sleep!  I turned the thermostat down to a crisp 61, my oldest daughter claimed she could see her breath…whatever.  We are up and at ’em bright and early, Day 2.  Although it looks as if we’ve been vacationing for weeks, all of us girls went to bed with wet head, and all I can say is SCARY.  But, nothing a ponytail can’t fix.  We head down to get our free breakfast.  man-child is in rare form this morning.  He managed to embarrass his mom and sisters twice in the space of 5 minutes.

First, an attractive woman of indeterminate age walks past our table and smiles at him as if to say, what a cute boy.  Man-child sees her, and comments “hey, where is my grandma?”  Her smile vanished pretty quickly.  Second, there was a group of police officers at the table next to us, to which man-child yells out “Mommy, that man has a GUN!” and then proceeds to pretend shoot everyone in the restaurant.  Okay, I think our time here is done.

Luckily, it is a short drive that awaits us this morning, a little over an hour to Biloxi, MS.  We find the RV park, it’s amazing what a little sleep and daylight can do for people.  The Cajun RV Park of Biloxi, MS greets us with a smiling alligator sign, we pull in.  Can you live in an RV park?  Some of these people look like they’ve been here for years.  Don’t get me wrong, some of these RV’s are amazing, like nicer than our home, but then there are others…  Of course, I can’t really be judgemental, we are in the RV with the amazing signage for Cruise America all over it.  It’s very obvious when we pull in that we aren’t “RV folk” and I wouldn’t say we received a friendly welcoming, but I could just be paranoid.  We check in, park the RV, and hubby does a fantastic job of hooking up our sewer and water and electricity.

On a sidenote, Man-child used our toilet on board once, and it emitted the most godawful odor any of us have ever experienced.  Thank goodness we brought air freshener!  That was the first and only time we’ve used the can in the RV.  I don’t like to use the bathroom in public places anyway, or showers.  I have an iron bladder, and luckily I haven’t been able to eat much because we’ve spent so much time driving, and I haven’t really had an appetite.  Hey, maybe that’s the key to my diet, spend a year in an RV!!!!  What about it kids?  Oh.  Ok, I guess not then.

Finally, after the 1009th time that man-child asks if we are going to the beach, we all get our swimsuits on and trek to the white sand beaches of Biloxi.  The water felt so good, and it was so nice just to finally relax for once and we both enjoyed watching the kids frolic and play and goof around.  We were finally having good fun, yay!!!!  Of course, the major drawback of frivolity on the beach is the sand.  Or to quote my oldest daughter “I think I have sand in my uterus”.  There seemed to be a lot of dead things washed up on shore, I don’t know if that is normal, or due to the oil, which by the way we can’t see.  The saddest was the tiny little blowfish and the giant turtle.  We then see what looks to be giant storm clouds rolling in, so we pack it up and head back to our little home away from home.  We head to the showers, and I had sand and other things in places I can’t even name.  I showered for what seemed like an hour, and still couldn’t get the sand off.  I’m hoping it has magical exfoliating properties and I come back looking younger, tanner and slimmer!  It rains most of the rest of the afternoon, which is nice.  We hang out, play games.  The RV park offers free wi-fi, so everyone is relaxed and happy.

Finally, it’s time for dinner.  The only restaurant really within walking distance is Hooters.  Nothing quite says white trash like walking out of your RV park, past the Waffle House, to the Hooters.  Our waitress is a little piece of sunshine.  I guess she figures a family of 6 isn’t going to tip well, she doesn’t know my husband is a boob man obviously.  I let the girls take hits off my Hurricane, I mean I might as well embrace my white-trashness to the fullest!

It starts sprinkling on us once we leave Hooters, so our dream of taking the girls to their first Casino has died.  The girls grab the RV keys and run ahead of us, which is only an important detail, because when hubby looks for the keys later, they are nowhere to be found and the girls play the “But I gave them to so and so…”  I could tell that hubby was about to have a meltdown of epic proportions, so I suggest he exit the RV while we look.  After a few panicked moments where I convinced myself I would forever be trapped living in this RV park, with a clothesline and a dangly wooden sign that says “welcome to our home”, and a pen of chickens (we didn’t actually see a chicken pen, but it wasn’t hard to imagine one existing), we found the keys, in a drawer of all things.  It’s amazing how many times we have lost things, the RV is not that big.  So disaster averted!  Another hour or so commences of playing Shoots and Ladders and Candyland before we decide it’s time for bed.  Isn’t living vicariously through us on vacation exhilarating and exciting!!!

P.S. I don’t like to see Mausoleum shops on the side of the Interstate, I think it’s insensitive…just sayin’

P.S.S. I also don’t particular care for the signs nailed to trees that say “REPENT OR PERISH”, but as hubby pointed out we are in the deep south.

P.S.S.S.  If hubby had seen that discovery show special on the architectural deficiencies of our nation’s bridges, he too would be nervous, and I think it’s the sheer will of my nervous, hyperventilating energy that keeps the thing together so we can cross.  So there!

HE SAID: DAY 2

We wake up refreshed and ready to hit the road… from the Marriott.  Hey, don’t hate, our stay here in Covington, LA, while not planned is a testament to our family’s flexibility and quick decision-making.  Besides, they had comfortable beds, showers and free breakfast.  YES!

As the wife and kids get breakfast I am assigned the MAN duty of getting the rolling turd loaded-up.   After a quick shower, cleaned and refreshed, I step outside into the wonderful southern Louisiana climate where the humidity is so high that mist is coming off the ground, there is a thin haze in the air and sweat starts pouring from my body.    By the time our RV is loaded, I look like I just found my spirit animal in the confines of a sweat lodge and we are ready to go!!   Sorry about the man-smell kids.

First things first, I get gas, and Coffee (aka gas for me) and off we go.  After a short drive we arrive in Biloxi.  We look for the RV park, and it is not hard to spot… it is behind the gigantic sign displaying a big smiling alligator that reads, “Cajun RV Park”.    Man, we know how to live!   We get checked in, find our “site” ( please note the proper lingo is RV Site,  not RV PIN, or RV STALL – apparently these have some derogatory connotation?) , and now onto the fun stuff – hooking up the services.  Water – check.  Power – check,  big blue tube you stick in the ground to purge all stinky bile and evil from the RV – check & and disgusting.

Next we head to the beach.   I must say, it is a beach.  There is water, waves & sand.   Please note we also found several dead fish, a dead blowfish, and a dead decomposing sea turtle.  Fun, family time and a biology lesson!  What more could one ask for.     The good news, no oil in the water!   So we get some sun, enjoy the beach, and head back to our home away from home.

Family time ensues and I must say, it is refreshing to watch the girls bond with their little brother and it reminds me of how wonderful they all really are.   Now for the best part of my day, the wife is looking for places to eat within walking distance, and as luck would have it there is a Hooters right next door.   You say coincidence, I say providence.   “Yes honey, I think Hooters would be a great idea.”    Now before you get too judgmental, I must submit that Hooters HAS to be a family oriented restaurant, I mean if it was not why would they have kid’s menus?

We eat, we head back my kids lose the keys to the RV.   It was at this point I began to believe what Bill Cosby said about not being “real” parents unless you have multiple kids.   The blame game continues for about five minutes, my wife sees the vein in my forehead popping out and in her unending wisdom suggest that I step outside the RV for a moment.  I am sure she is worried that the heat coming from my forehead might set off the on board propane tanks.  I won’t linger on this point.  It was mentally scarring.  So I will only say, the keys were found and all is well and my kids will live to see their college years.

Next stop:  Destin, FL.

PS:  On the toilet smell my wife speaks of… now my text the day of pick up makes sense.   “we need matches, AIR FRESHNER and cleaning supplies”    Man, am I smart or what?

Are We There Yet? She Said/He Said Version

The next few days are extremely busy for me.  I don’t want to get way behind on my blogging challenge, so I decided to share a vacation blog that I wrote a couple of years ago with my husband.  We do a “she said/he said” blog, where we take turns recapping our vacation day activities.  We had this insane brilliant idea to rent an RV and drive to Destin, Florida for a week and stay in RV parks along the way.  Yeah, what could possibly go wrong with cramming 6 people in a tiny RV for a week?  This post only covers Day 1.  So, you get to meet my husband and hopefully get a laugh or two at our expense!

DAY 1: SHE SAID (OR THE TRUTH)

I’m hot, sweaty, tired, claustrophobic, and irritable and I’m pretty sure my children left their brains behind in Dallas, where my husband and I also left our patience.  Are we there yet?  No?  Well, where are we?  We hadn’t even left Dallas County yet.  Probably on the road for 45 minutes.  It’s a 15 hour drive.  Feeling my pain yet?  OMG…

The week leading up to our family vacation should have been my first clue, the fates were all but shouting ABORT! ABORT!  Let me recap for you:

I ran into a glass door and busted my nose, didn’t break it but got a nose bleed and left a face imprint on the glass which rudely remained there for the whole next day as a reminder of my stupidity.  My nose was sore, and I’m still afraid to blow it, which has led to other issues (well, “supposed” issues, hubby says I snore, he’s got no proof).

Our garage door broke, trapping my husband and the kids in the house on finals week.  He handled everything gracefully (insert sarcasm here).  My kindle broke.  Our TV broke.  Our dog had bloody stools.  I fell off a curb at work and twisted my ankle slightly and bruised my hip.  We had a record number of emergency calls at work, and so many residents coming and going from area hospitals it was hard to keep track of them all.  There might have been more bad luck, but I can’t remember, it’s possible I hit my head when I fell from the curb.

My favorite emergency call was from Lord and Lady R.  A couple still unhappily married after a billion years, both well into their 90s and determined to kill each other.  Seriously.  The ambulance arrives, I go down to find out which R it is, the Lady or the Lord.  I walk in to hear the Lady screaming at the Lord, I don’t hear a response, so it must be the Lord.  He’s lying in bed, looking deathly pale, she’s at the kitchen table graciously talking about his congenital heart disease and the fact that at 95 we can hardly expect him to live much longer, after which he wails in the background.  It’s hard to tell if he’s wailing for God to please come and take him from this nagging shrew, or if he’s distressed that she’s screaming about his death, or if he’s in pain.  The (hot) EMT’s check him out, but because of his pacemaker they can’t get a good read.  He is mainly unresponsive and incoherent, so they decided to take him to the hospital, to which Lady R replies, “Thank God, peace and quiet, now I can sleep”.  More moaning and wailing from Lord R.  Do I exaggerate?  Sadly no.  The ambulance takes him away, with Lady R screaming in the background, that if they take him they better bring him back because she is too weak to drive!  True love.

So, enter vacation.  I am so ready.  We get up early, drop the dogs off at their respective sitters, and head to pick up our RV.  Ummm.  We pull into the RV rental place, and my only thought is please God let this not be the right place.  I see rust and garbage and mayhem everywhere I turn, if there is a business office located inside this place, I can’t see it.  I can’t get out of there fast enough.  Have fun, honey!  More on the RV pick up during the “He Said” portion.  (See how I plugged for you honey?)  I have to run one more time by the store, when hubby sends me this text.

“Get air fresheners, cleaning supplies and matches”

I am completely freaking now.  I don’t like to call myself a snob, and I’m not about MOST things, but come on…!  I wasn’t expecting 5 stars on wheels, but…ok yes maybe.  As it turns out, it was exactly what I realistically expected, meaning I didn’t need to wear protective armor and anti-bacterial every surface down.  We load the RV, and we are officially on our way at 11:30am on Saturday, June 5, 2010.  Woo freaking hoo!

The most irritating thing about the whole driving experience, apart from the heat and the whining and being in the car for hours on end with no hope in sight was that my beloved didn’t seem to appreciate my running commentary while he was driving.  He kept getting really defensive and yelling at me.  Before you rush to take sides (mine obviously), and in the spirit of fairness, I will give you examples of comments made by moi:

“wow, the driver in the car ahead of us has a really nasty looking mole on the back of his neck” or

“hey, honey, about a ½ mile ahead of us, there are cars braking.” or

“I didn’t realize you could take an exit that fast without overturning, that was…exhilarating…ummm or not”

So as you can now clearly see by my demonstration, my side is the side of right and you all agree with me, he was clearly being unreasonable.  I’m sure he’ll spin it ugly during his version, but I expect my super smart audience to be wise to his shenanigans and not fall for his cunning manipulation of the truth.  Truth-seekers keep constant vigilance!!!

So anyway, our journey took us out of east Texas, into Louisiana, then into Mississippi then back into Louisiana…huh?  What?  Wait a minute…!  Yes, yes it did and then lost.  And by this time it’s 10 pm; we are all hot, sweaty, tired, irritated, short-fused and ready for a shower and bed.  I make the executive decision it is time to find the nearest hotel and start fresh in the morning.  So, we paid for one night at the RV Park we didn’t use, maybe they will have pity on us and give us a refund, but I doubt it.  It is currently 11:32pm and I’m exhausted, so signing off for now.  I’m sure I didn’t include every memento of our fabulous first day, but these are the highlights.  Hubby will have more for you tomorrow morning, I’m sure (he’s not as dedicated as me, and is probably sleeping by now).  In case you’re wondering about that last statement, we are in separate hotel rooms.  We couldn’t get adjoining rooms, so we divided and conquered, or is it conquered and divided?  Either way, I bid you goodnight.

P.S.  My oldest daughter wants everyone to know that on more than one occasion, I might have called her stupid or told her to shutup.  I don’t recall the so-called events, but I promised to mention it anyway.

P.S.S.  Am I the only one who finds it irritating to be bombarded with questions every 2 seconds, for example:  “Can I drink this water?”  “Can I eat these chips?”  “Is this white trash bag the trash?”  Need I go on…?

P.S.S.S.  The dog is fine, Amazon sent me another Kindle, the TV and garage are fixed and all the children are still alive.

DAY 1: HE SAID (LIES ALL LIES)

All things that have a beginning…begin.   I know, extremely profound.   Of course it is hard to tell exactly where our little soiree began.  As my wife has so eloquently stated, did it begin with a face plant in the glass, the Flat-Screen TV going out, the Garage door spring breaking or on the actual day we left or from the moment I arrived to pick said RV?  Who knows?

Law of Nature #613: the week before your scheduled vacation, EVERYTHING WILL GO WRONG.

I am sure there is logic embedded in there somewhere.

At any rate, let us move on to the highlights of DAY 1: The “Griswold” RV vacation.

Saturday Morning:  Proceed to drop off animals and pick up RV.    Animal Drop = good.   RV pick up = OMG!!!   When we arrive, in the back of my mind, the theme song of Sanford and Son immediately starts playing.   Now, I am not a snooty person, and as a budding minister I do my best to see the good in all types of people.  That said; let us just say that I was well… a tad taken aback.   I am not sure if this was an RV graveyard or the actual RV pick up site.   I turn to my wife and see the beads of nervous sweat dropping which appeared on her forehead and come up with, “hey honey, just drop me off you don’t have to stay”.  Her reply “You thought I was staying?”   Well, I get dropped off at the Sanford and Son RV resort, my wife fish tales out of the drive way, and I am left with Gomer Pyle and his associates to review documents, shoot the breeze and proceed with my RV walkthrough.   The walkthrough went well, and to my surprise, while not a new “as seen on the Internet” vehicle, the RV was in good condition.

As I am sitting there filling out forms, Gomer ask me for some emergency contacts.  Then he proceeds to tell me he will need these in case something happens and we don’t return with the RV… like “going camping and getting mauled by cougars or other wild animals”.   Yes he said that.    After this little Karma mud pie, Gomer then reminds me that the onboard fire extinguisher is really on there to, “get my family out in the case of a deadly fire”.   Oh there is more…he then informs me that should the RV catch fire it will ignite and burn at an alarming rate and the toxic fumes from the plastic burning will blind me and make it impossible to save anyone trapped inside…   REALLY?!   SERIOUSLY?!   Thanks again for Karma mud pie # 2.!!!    Just keep smiling… Just keep smiling.

Saturday Afternoon:   RV is loaded and we are on the road!!   Yeee HAAAWWWW!    Now, I love my wife.  Let me start with that.  I really do LOVE my wife.   I can also state that I have read my wife’s entry upon this writing and feel like I must say only one thing.    Honey, you’re RIGHT!   I am sorry for driving in a manner that made you nervous, scared or at times delivered you to the brink of a nervous breakdown.    That said, the aversion you seem to have against the color red (brake lights) scares me a tad.  And yes, while there have been some incidents involving bridges in the past… I can assure you that 98% of the time, bridges will operate as designed and we will not fall off in to the abyss below.

Saturday Evening:  Ok it is late, we are not really lost (as a man I will NOT admit to being lost), but we are not really sure if we are going the right way either.   Add to this, we are all hot, tired and desire creature comforts.  So the boss (that is my wife) makes a decision:  TO THE HOTEL NOW!     I give my assent to this stroke of genius and on the first night of our “RV” trip we enjoy a comfortable night inside the domain of a Marriott hotel.. ahhhhh!!

More to follow.  Next stop: Biloxi, MS.