Posts Tagged vacation
I have to admit that I’m a little taken aback by the remarkably temperate weather currently favoring us here in eastern midwest, or whatever largely inaccurate geographic designation is current in use for the Ohio valley. Regardless, it’s like, cool, you know? As if maybe fall this year isn’t only going to be this 10-day period of moderate temperatures in early November bookended by an “Indian Summer” notable for the heat of a thousand suns and the arrival of pre-winter bringing with it the bleak bone-chilling cold of a Kardashian heart.
Indeed, it’s a reminder that although summer technically has another 10 or so days to hang on, Labor Day has come and gone, all the kids are back in school, and it’s time for my white capri pants to go back into winter storage.
That also makes it a pretty good time to reflect on the events of the summer, which got me thinking about our family vacation to the beach this year. It was a good trip, and I hope it gives the kids plenty of memories they’ll hold on to for years.
Of course, that’s not all it was. The trip was also an excuse for me to visit brewpubs in strange and foreign places. Places like Knoxville, Tennesee, home to the Downtown Grill and Brewery. If fact, I wouldn’t hesitate to say that of the three beer-related locations we visited this summer, it was definitely my favorite.
Because I’m am not much with the Captain Subtlety, I hope that by now you’ve all hipped to the realization that this is obviously all just rambles and meanders leading up to the part where I link to a newly published Hoperatives post by yours truly.
Yeah, this is that link. Go read about Downtown Grill and Brewery, because it’s a place you should want to visit someday. Also, check out a completely new set of poorly photographed pictures.
There will be nachos, I promise.
As promised in yesterday’s belated and no doubt riveting debate post about the ever-popular summer road trip, the time has come to wow and regale you with the story of our vacation.
I promise I’ll try to keep the slides to a minimum. Everybody comfy?
Originally, the Puddinette and I had planned to make this kind of an off year for vacationing, meaning nothing to far away or extravagant. Somewhere in our not-so-distant future lurks a visit to that money-grubbing mouse in Florida, and my understanding is that a trip to Disney World costs somewhere between the value of a new car and your first born son. Naturally, I was willing to consider the “take four kids, leave with three” option – consigning the Puddinpop to a modest term of indenture in a Disney mascot outfit – but the Puddinette was apparently having none of that.
Thus, we were considering a brief “staycation” this year, in the interest of saving our greenbacks for next year’s Big. Disney. Blowout. Vacatia-thon! But then, sometime in early May, when we began to discuss the topic in earnest, the Puddinette and I looked at each other and said in unison, “I need a beach.”
So, a beach, then. We settled on Myrtle Beach, partially because it’s not too far away and partially because it’s one of those places everyone’s supposed to have been by the time they reach adulthood.
Guess who’s got two thumbs, is 39 years old, and had never been there before this week? This guuuuy.
Of course, the scary thing about travel is that, well, by definition, it requires traveling. Even the most upbeat and positive Sally Sunshine can be brought to his/her knees and power-wrenched into coping with a stress-fueled headache, the Permanent Scowl of Doom, and heaven only know what other cranky horrors by hiccups in one’s travel plan. So the daunting thing about our planned trip to Myrtle Beach was the fact that it’s over eleven hours away by car.
Now, I know eleven hours doesn’t sound like a long time, but you have to remember that we’re talking about eleven hours in semi-perpetual motion while The Attitude sits strapped into a five-point harness and tries not to go all Mr. Hyde on everyone within screaming/flailing/flinging distance. The Puddinette isn’t too fond of sitting still for extended periods of time either.
To reduce the looming threat of ruining at least one of our precious days away, we planned a leap-frog a trip. On the way to Myrtle Beach, we stopped overnight in Asheville, NC where we sampled some fine local brews and visited the enormous Biltmore Estate. On the way back, we visited Knoxville, checked out the Sunsphere Tower, World’s Fair park, an awesome brewpub, and a pretty cool little general store.
What’s that you say? Proof? Well, if you’re going to be that way about it, fine…
See? The puddinlings take a moment to cheese for the camera in front of the Biltmore lawn and main entrance.
Not to rub it in, but this was the view from our hotel balcony. Not bad, eh?
The Attitude, in a moment of serene reflection on the beach, contemplating the construction of a massive sand castle so he might demonstrate his unequaled power…by knocking it down.
The puddinlings again (The Attitude had adopted a stance of protesting all photos by this point), but this time with the Puddinette, before the impressive Sunsphere tower in Knoxville. Did you know they have corporate office space in there?!
I’m glad to report that the trip was a complete success, and we all returned alive, well, and ready to hit to sand again as soon as possible. In fact, tomorrow would be good. Can somebody make that happen, please?
Of course, such an endeavor is not without its lesson. Thus, I give you What I Learned On Our Trip to Myrtle Beach:
- In any single enclosure* where four or more people are attempting to sleep, the, um, snorers will be outcast in groups. That’s how Mini-Me and I ended up sharing the pull-out bed in Asheville, like some kind of dreaded Island of Misfit Noses.
- In any modern society, the quickest way to instigate a fight between any two individuals is to hand them an atlas-style road map and ask a simple question such as, “How far is Greenville from where we are now?” or “What road do we take next?”
- In any place were tourists congregate, the modern equivalent of P. T. Barnum (usually in corporate form) will provide a large, flashy area where fools and their money are soon parted, usually for overpriced food or trinkety junk of various sizes, shapes, and colors. Put more simply, They &*%! you on the boardwalk. I do not like these places.
- I always scoffed at the idea of places like Medieval Times, where (I imagined) you paid exorbitant amounts of money for half-rate food and a “jousting tournament” less compelling than your average Renaissance Faire. And I was wrong. Yes, the place ain’t cheap, but considering the other ten thousand ways one might spend a similar amount of money on lesser food and entertainment that includes little more than counting the extravagant piercings of passers-by in the flickering neon of the “tourist shoppes,” it can be money well spent. Seeing how the kids ate up the show was value enough for me. The roasted chicken was pretty tasty too.
- Spray-on sunscreen is evil incarnate. You press the button and watch a mist of UV protection burst out and appear to attach to one’s target area (aka, my shoulders). However, any actual protection from the sun wafts away on the sea breeze, leaving someone (aka, again, me) doomed to skin crispy like pork cracklins.
- Now matter what face-reddening behaviors you participated in during your misspent youth, no walk of shame you’ve ever experienced will compare with striding out of the local Dollar General after one of your darling children chooses that “quick” trip to grab some new sunscreen (see lesson #5 above) as the perfect moment to answer the call of nature, thus reducing the restroom in the stockroom, adjacent to the employee lounge, of course, a biohazard. That, my friends, is a Walk of Shame.
More seriously, as someone who has not been a huge partaker of the dreaded “family vacation” in the past, I realized that vacations used to be about claiming a few precious days of rest and relaxation for myself, and little else. But these days, a vacation isn’t just about making myself a lazy camper, but getting to see the world and exciting new things through the eyes of my children. Sure, a book or a nap on the beach is a fine thing, but it pales in comparison to the look on your kids’ faces when they feel the surf knock them backwards for the very first time.
If you ask me, that’s the magic in taking a vacation.
All that aside, as I said, we each had an awesome time on our little adventure. In fact, I decided I’d like a beach house where I could just live, write, and hang out with the family. I just need, like, a million people or so to buy my book for $1 or so. Now…does anybody know a million people?
*Remember when “suite” meant “more than one room”? Yeah, apparently the world’s hotel chains decided to repurpose that term. “Suite” now means “bedroom with an adjoining area for a sofa bed, separated by, at best, a half wall, if you’re freakin’ lucky”
I’m so sorry there hasn’t been anything in the way of a Monday post today, but I was busy. Busy, recreatin’, that is. I took the day off from work and beat a helpless and otherwise undeserving bunch of golf balls around a course today with my brothers and dad.
Sure it was nearly 90 degrees and I might have resembled a porcupine that accidentally fell into a pond afterwards, but great fun was had by all regardless.
So, instead of the decent post of which you all deserving, I give you, instead, this golf haiku:
Puddin on the Links: A haiku
Tiny, dimpled balls
Fly straight and true for others
Fly sideways for me
What did everyone else do today?
Since I made such an item of vacations earlier this week, I figured why not stick with the topic? You know, because if I can’t squeeze every last drop of the ole’ post-potential juice from a subject that really didn’t need much more than a few lines of discussion to begin with, well, what am I even blogging for?
So, in the spirit of beating a dead horse, hammering it into the ground, or otherwise refusing to quit on something that’s quite clearly just done, let’s talk about ye ole’ summer vacation a tad more.
All I’ve done this week is yammer on about the beach. Oh, the beach is sunny, oh the beach is warm, the beach this, the beach that, Marcia, Marcia, MARCIA! Eh, I mean, the beach, The Beach, THE BEACH!
But obviously there’s a whole world out there ready to strip you from your hard-earned vacation dollars with their tourist traps and gaudy crap trinket souvenirs. Maybe a summer trip to the ocean isn’t your thing and instead you’re looking forward to the World’s Largest Hairball. Perhaps a visit to Old Faithful and a little roughing it* is more your speed, or a trip to, I don’t know, Idaho. Granted, I’m not sure why anyone would want to vacation in Idaho, but whatever.
I don’t know, you tell me in today’s Saturday Debate…
Summer Vacation: The Beach is best, or Screw that, I’ve got a much better idea?
As always, we encourage comments on the topic of the day.
Also, here, have a poll too.
And have a great weekend while you’re at it.
*By “roughing it,” I mean camping, not acting out scenes from those “50 Shades” books. You know…unless that’s your thing, in which case, who am I to judge? Hey, if that’s the kind of vacation your looking for, have fun. Get your…um…accessories all polished and ready.
Image courtesy of Wikipedia.org
After reading today’s earlier post, in which I declared my beach-trip maidenhood, the Puddinette was quick to make one key editorial suggestion. See, while it’s certainly true that I’ve never been on a vacation dedicated to spending most of one’s time on a beach, that’s not to say I haven’t ever been on a beach while on vacation.
In fact, I’ve been on two Caribbean cruises, and we honeymooned in Jamaica. But we spent a limited amount of time beach-going on those trips.
Nonetheless, if anyone out there happened to be thinking, “Oh, the poor dearie has never seen the ocean” and was perhaps taking up their checkbook to make a hefty donation to the “Get Puddin to the Coast” fund, um, I guess put the pen down. Maybe. I mean, if you want to donate to my vacation fund, I certainly wouldn’t send it back. Goodness knows traveling with a small basketball team like the Puddin Family isn’t cheap. Souvenirs alone are like…
Ahem. Never mind.
Anyway, so yes, I’ve beached before. This, however, will be my first all-beach-all-the-time trip. And I’m very much looking forward to it.
I hope that clears up any misunderstandings.
Now, then, I have even more EXCITING NEWS!
No, I didn’t sell the book yet. Not that exciting.
But…BUT! Netflix has finally seen fit to send me Underworld: Awakening! I don’t know if my number came up in the bingo-style DVD hopper or if perhaps someone who works at Netflix reads Puddintopia*, or what. Perhaps, in the immortal words of Mr. Miyagi, simply “Buddha provide”. Either way, indeed, there was much rejoicing.
So then, as soon as the kids are asleep and not likely to be bothered by the sounds of a cheesy vampire-werewolf-gunfire romp, I’m going to watch the hell out of it.
It’s okay to be jealous.
I won’t hold it against you.
*HAHAHAHAHAHAH. Shyeah, right. And monkeys’ll fly outta my butt!
Clearly, as I so artistically rendered in breathtaking detail yesterday, my intention for summer is to weep when driving off to work pretty much every day between now and Labor day while my kids wave good-bye. Of course, they won’t just be waving; they’ll be giving me a set of evil smirks, too, that say, “We’re free to irritate Mom alllllll day, and you have to go to work and be suppressed by The Man.”
Or, well, something along those lines. I might have added my own assumptions in there.
At any rate, after I spent all evening last night pouting, I decided to do something about it. And that’s why I just booked my first ever summer beach trip.
For the record, yes, I realize that being a beach-vacation-virgin at almost 40 year of age is the very definition of lame. Please try to keep your pointing, chortles, and sneers to a minimum, thankyouverymuch.
As I made our reservations, though, something else occurred to me. Namely, that this getting away for a few days with little responsibility beyond keeping my progeny fed and entertained gave me an outstanding opportunity to branch out and sample some beer from, you know, out there. In America. Which is not something I get to do too often.
Um. That really wasn’t a suggestion. You can read it here.
While you do that, I need to go make up a very extensive list of summer chores for my kids.
Does “Re-roof the house” need a hyphen or not, do you think?