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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Family Vacation #2, Part 1

It's happened again. (cue Jaws theme....da dum, da dum.)

My family nightmare vacation was a complete train wreck. Oh sure, I had a few good times, a smattering of fun amongst the chaos. But the majority of the whole debacle was a flippin disastrous kerbobble of  "holy crap get me out of here!" ness.

Let me start out by saying that the very beginning of the thing was plagued by terror and and angst. Yes, I said plagued. We had planned to leave on Friday, July 19th. We were going to fit 7 people into my sister's Minivan and head to new jersey to pick up my son - who was at Ocean Grove with his father's side of the family. Then we were to head down to South Carolina for a family reunion. Sounds easy enough, right?

Well, you would be completely, totally and utterly wrong. You see, the Minivan is my sister's van, and she had offered to take me, my mother, my son and my brother along with herself and her 3 tornadoes children, because her husband wasn't going to go, because he had college classes he couldn't get out of. (You follow all that?)

So instead of renting a car with just the first 4 of us, we decide to depend on the stability of the plan to use the minivan. Big mistake. My sister's semi-psycho husband finds out about the plan and gets all ticked off because it turns out he can get those darned college teachers to give him the time off for something as amazing and special as a family reunion with his precious wife and darling children. Huh. Right. And before you hummina wha? me - this man is pretty much an asshat to his wife most of the time. Doing things which I will not mention here, because a lot of it is unmentionable. The few things I can mention are these: He spent that entire week yelling, threatening to slash the tires in the van, taking the license plates and trying to bend them up - all so we can't go, because my sister is going without him.

Anyway, because of Nut Job, we come up with this cuckoo plan to sneak away a day earlier while he is at school. And then, to be really clever - we decide to double cross our double cross by leaving a whole 3 days earlier - just in case. We thought we were so awesome. I ask my exhausted and lethargic sister when Nut Job is in class this week, and she says Wednesday. So we plan to leave Wednesday. Then she tells me she was wrong and it's Tuesday. So we plan to leave Tuesday. My mother scrambles to find people to cover her shifts at Pizza Hut, I run around packing like a Tasmanian devil in heat, and my brother does what he does best and says "eh, whatever" to the whole thing. Then the sister calls back and says she's wrong, Nut Job has college on Wednesday. After a long moment - during which I seriously considered throwing my sister into oncoming traffic - we decide to leave on Tuesday anyway. Because what the hell, vacation is fun and you should make it a really long one when you're packed into a minivan like sardines with lots of small children and 2 semi invalids and one crazy mess of a woman. And my mother.

This is what it took to pack up that van. Every few days.

So, Monday, while Nut Job is at college, we super fast pack all the stuff we can and bring it to my house. The theory was that we would have all the stuff here, so that we could quickly pack the car on Tuesday morning. My sister says she'll show at about 10 am. So I spend the entire night worrying about if we are going to be able to leave or not. The next day, I text my sister at about 10:30, "???". She replies that she needs more time and she doesn't know how to get away from Nut Job. I tell her to figure it out, since she has a set of her own brains, because at this point I don't know what to say and if NJ will even believe any of it. She finally shows up at 2 pm, and says she told him that she was going to try and do a practice "pack up" of the van, since he spent all week whining about how 8 people would never fit in the van, and it was illegal. (It wasn't - we called the police and checked) I thought that was the most obvious lie in the history of lies, but hey - we finally got in the car and got it packed and on the road. We ninja pick up my mother, and I have to go 20 miles in the opposite direction to give my husband money for work and say goodbye. At 4 pm, we aren't even on the road and my sister wants to take this kids to say goodbye to their dad. Let me give you a small example of what the texts are like: (S is my sister, NJ is the Nut Job husband)

NJ: Where the @&*! are you?
NJ: If you come back here for anything I"m going to slash the #($^@)^ tires. 
NJ: I love you
NJ: I just want to see the kids and say goodbye
S: leave me alone
NJ: #($^ you. 
NJ: I love you
NJ: I just miss you
NJ: It's my (*&@^$( van bring it back

NJ: I'm calling the cops
S: we'll see you in a week, if you hadn't been such an *^& I would have brought the kids to say goodbye
NJ: $&@^ you

And that would have been a 2 minute text-conversation. All that in 2 minutes. It's rather sad. Anyhoo....we veto the saying goodbye thing, based on the aforementioned text/conversation and we hit the road. We find out Nut Job is on the road as well, looking for us. We get stuck in traffic right outside of our town, and we don't breathe a sigh of relief until about 50 miles later, when we know he must  have given up and stopped trying to find us.

this is what we all felt like

Officially on our way to Atlantic City.

End of part one. (I'm serious - it was that stressful from the get go.)

Saturday, July 6, 2013

How I Ended Up Promising To Go On Vacation With My Family. Again.

I'm going on vacation with my family. I haven't decided yet how I got tangled up in this grand plan, but it's happened. I mean, I'm pretty sure my mother managed to guilt me into the whole thing, all I heard for 2 weeks was -

 "I can't drive all that way by my little ol' bitty self, but I will if I have to"
"Do you want me to die in fiery car crash because I was too tired to make it and couldn't keep my eyes open?"
"Pretty Please?"
"I'm so old and tired but all I want to do is see my family this year and I won't be able to enjoy it if I have to drive all the way to South Carolina by myself"
"After everything I've done for you..."
(insert big blinky blue puppy dog eyes here)

Can someone explain to me why I've signed on for another round of this?

That's pretty much what it sounded like in my head anyway. So now I'm roped in and committed to a two day drive to from New York to South Carolina. At first it was all like - 'I'll pay for everything', and now it's - 'How much are you chipping in?' And somehow the "I'll rent a car" has changed into "We're going in a mini van with your sister and her 3 children", but I'm still going.

I'm pretty sure I did this 2 years ago and it ended up disastrously. (Part 1 and Part 2 for your reading pleasure) And that was without the screaming children. I can see it all now -

We'll get on the road 2 hours later then planned. Ten minutes into driving someone will have forgotten something vitally important so we will argue for another 5 minutes about whether we should turn back and go get it or maybe we should find a Wal Mart along the way, but by the time we figure it out we will be one hour into our journey and won't be able to turn around because no one wants to waste gas. Then the complaining person will complain about having to spend money on something they could have gone home and gotten. After another 25 minutes arguing about that, one of the kids will have to go to the bathroom, while the other two fight over the Nintendo DS and the bag of chips. The chips will spill and the youngest will cry. As soon as that's over, one of the adults will be too cold. The other adult will be too hot and then I will yell at one of them to put on a jacket and the other one to take off the dang sweater. As soon as that's resolved the oldest kid will be hungry, and so will I, but we don't want the crappy food we brought - we want Burger King because it's fun and yummy. So we will find one, commit to getting dollar menu items but then spend $30 on greasy french fries and soda when we have sandwiches and cans of coke in the cooler. After that two of the kids will fight about something else while the littlest one falls asleep and the adults whine about what music to listen to and one of us will have a headache so we shouldn't listen to music at all. My mom will stop us every 3 minutes and tell someone to pose for a picture, or make us stop the car so she can get a shot of that beautiful tree, or sunset, or blade of grass. And we will all alternately smile and yell at her for the duration of the trip while she snaps crappy pictures of us and posts them to facebook so all our friends can see pictures like this:

Thanks for the triple chin angle, Mom.

 And this:
The inevitable "shoving food into face" shot.

 And this:
What the heck? You wasted film on this?

I swear I am feeding the kids benadryl with breakfast that morning, and bringing lots of cheap vodka in a flask.

I'll let you know how it turns out.