Did I mention we were on vacation for a few days? It was a grand adventure, indeed. We departed bright and early Saturday morning for a brief 3-hour car ride across the hills of Kentucky and south central Indiana.
On Saturday we got to enjoy a ride on a real live locomotive at the Indiana Railway Museum, which was no doubt the highlight of The Attitude’s trip. On Sunday we drove to Holiday World in nearby Santa Claus, Indiana. Monday, we drove down to Patoka Lake and then we spent enough hours at the hotel water park that our kids nearly collapsed at bedtime.
Not by accident, I’d like to point out.
That pretty much sums up our trip. Not surprisingly, I came up a few observations and conclusions along the way I wanted to share:
- Trying to use free hotel high speed wifi with 500 other people is not as high speed as advertised. At peak times I felt like it was internet Thunderdome with every proxy request—two requests enter, one request leaves.
- The modern American water park is full of tiny holes in the floor from which water will shoot up into your shorts at the moment you least expect it. This is not always as pleasant as it might seem.
- Some of those holes bubble water up continuously, in a less surprising or threatening way. For whatever reason, it is apparently basic human instinct to cover these holes with one’s toes and make the water shoot out at high pressure and odd angles. My two and a half year-old son, The Attitude, took to doing this himself before seeing me do it.
- There will always be at least one (1) exceedingly hip individual at any water park wearing combat boots (regardless of being an avowed pacifist), cut-off shorts, and a dark, button-down shirt. He/she will spend all day wandering the pool area but will never actually get wet. I usually refer to this person as Waldo, primarily because they typically have some form of knit headwear. I feel badly for the grandmothers who purchase all-day water park tickets for the Waldos of the world
- I have absolutely no room to criticize another individual’s physique and would never think to do so, especially as I resemble the kind of guy that looks like he drinks enough beer to write about it for a blog. That said, as I am fully aware of my Humpty-Dumpty-esque physical conditioning, I therefore cover myself in an appropriate level of swimwear. In other words, I know better than to persecute innocent children and bystanders with ‘Puddin in a Fancy Italian Speedo’. Please, pool-goers of America, follow my example.
- When sliding down a body slide in a water park, it is possible to either retain one’s swimwear or prevent the intake of approximately 1300 gallons of water via one’s nose, but not both. Choose wisely.
- Holiday World was the biggest surprise on our trip. I was expecting a kitschy type of place in keeping with the basic Santa Claus, IN theme, oriented only for the kiddies. Instead I found a bona fide amusement park with actual roller coasters capable of jiggling the enamel off my molars in short order. The price wasn’t ridiculous, the staff was the friendliest group of workers I’ve ever seen toiling in 87 degree heat, and the soft drinks were free and easily accessible. Well played, Holiday World, well played.
- Did I mention the friendly staff? Not only did everyone smile at me—an astounding feat in itself considering I’m typically either the most overlooked or most thoroughly scorned paying customer anywhere—but the employees were even polite and friendly with each other. I happened to overhear a teenager worker who was at that moment mopping out a Men’s bathroom stall paged via walkie-talkie to clean up a, um, well, let’s call it a ‘cookie-tossing’ across the park. No only did he acknowledge that he’d be right there, he thanked the dispatcher on the radio, who, in turn, politely said she appreciated it. It was like watching “The Waltons Run an Amusement Park” as the A & E Classic Movie of the Week. So, either the park is run by a brainwashing cult bent on politeness or someone is doing a good job in management. Either way, the world can use more of that. Heck, I should be so pleasant when the Puddinette gives me non-vomit related chores on hot days.
- Conventional wisdom would suggest that a 37 (wait…38?) year-old fellow bearing the well-deserved nicknamed ‘Puddin’ with a history of slipped cervical discs should probably not entertain too many rides on rattling wooden roller coasters. I laugh at conventional wisdom. Roller coasters still roolz! And the Puddinpop, a newly minted coaster enthusiast himself, concurs.
- God bless a free hotel breakfast buffet. Admittedly, it’s not exactly four-star cuisine, or, well, two-star, or, um, even worthy of being called cuisine, really, but when you’ve got a family of 6 to feed for 4 days, you can easily become your own Economic Stimulus package. Now, sure, the “eggs” were rubbery and, probably not coincidentally, tasted like eating rubber bands. And yes, the “sausage gravy” was the color, consistency, and flavor of flour-thickened skim milk and had less experience with sausage than a sacrificial Greek princess, but hey, the biscuits were mostly edible and there was plenty of bacon. You can’t screw up bacon as long as it’s made from, you know, pork. So, while The Voice might not have been terribly pleased with breakfast each morning, my wallet sure appreciated it.
I guess that hits the key points. I’m probably forgetting a few other witty observations, but either way, we had a safe trip and a great time, and it’s good to be home.