Seeing as how we have been back from our trip for a couple of days now, I had better get a blog post written about it before I forget everything that happened.
Because the good Lord knows that I cannot even remember specific items that I went into Walmart to get. Take Tuesday. The boys and I braved the heat (THE WICKED, AWFUL, FILL-YOUR-BRAS-WITH-ICE-CUBES HEAT!), and we went into the super shopping center because I needed food items for dinner and saline solution for my contacts. I was pretty much completely and also 100% out of saline solution, so this was a top priority item. As in, had it been James Bond, this would have been his primary mission: Get a bottle of saline solution. 007 would have been totally on it.
I came home with brats and buns and a new bottle of ketchup. We got hand soap, because I couldn’t remember if we were about out or not. We bought coffee and cheese. And James Bond completely forfeited his mission, because Tuesday night, when I yanked my dried-up contacts off of my eyes, I still had zero-point-zero drops of saline solution in this house.
But you know what I CAN remember? The words to every ’80s song out there. I know this for a solid fact, because while we were driving, driving and also driving home from our little trip, Hubs and I lucked out and tuned into a radio station playing “All your favorite ’80s hits, right here, all day long.” Of course, only I considered this to be good luck, because Hubs is not particularly fond of ’80s music, unless it involves AC/DC or Ratt or a Led Zepplin song that goes on for twenty-six hours without stopping. (Because did Led Zepplin actually record any short songs? The answer is NO.) But yes… Score on the radio station, and I was able to sing the entire lyrics to Mr. Mister’s Kyrie, A-Ha’s Take On Me, and George Michael’s Faith, while Hubs mumbled that the only thing WORSE THAN the songs we were listening to was having to stop so that someone wearing dress slacks from South Carolina could get out of his Mazda and take pictures of a buffalo.
Because Hubs and George Michael? Oh, people; they are not friends, even though I was once going to grow up and marry George. Of course, that little issue turned out to be something that was even more impossible than me remembering saline solution at Walmart.
The Jedi Family left town, which is a huge deal, because of all the staying home we participate in. My mom’s aunt and uncle were hosting an enormous family reunion, so we loaded up the Suburban with accoutrements, and we set out.
Also? I’m not sure that the pioneers on the Oregon Trail had more items in their wagons than we had in our Suburban. They were moving their entire lives West; we were leaving home for six days. Traveling with a baby on board requires SOME THINGS, y’all.
A couple of hours into our trip, we hit a waterfall, which we stopped to show the boy. This was before HEAT WAVE ’12 swept the Western United States, so yes: It was chilly, and we had to dig sweatshirts out of the back of the Suburban, which were buried beneath the bed frames, the sofa and the full-sized coffee table. We didn’t travel lightly, in other words, and of course the sweatshirts were at the very bottom.
But the falls? Oh my word! Terrific!
Hubs, who is ever the vigilant Navy SEAL, noticed the fish swimming down below, so he pointed them out to the boy. And this picture of the two of them snuggled up as they do some fish-gazing? Well, it melts my heart, y’all. Two-thirds of my heart are held by those two gentleman at the fence. The other third belongs to that cute baby of ours.
And then we drove even more miles.
And then finally we paid a fee at the national park gate, and Hubs leaned over and said to the employee working there, “We came to shoot a buffalo. We don’t have one of THOSE trophy mounts at home yet.”
Hubs is hilarious. He’s also been placed on the NO ADMITTANCE INTO NATIONAL PARKS list, and I’m pretty sure that the black SUV behind us was driven by FBI agents who were keeping an eyeball trained on him.
We spent a solid hour roaming around a gift shop in the park, because the boy would be completely content to visit EVERY gift shop in America and do nothing else on vacation. Gift shops are his love language.
He bought himself a knife that would have made Lewis and Clark proud, but which made his mama gasp and say, “Really? You need a machete? What eleven year old boy NEEDS A MACHETE?! You’ll cut your arm off.”
And then we packed Thing 2 and the knife-toting boy off to see a geyser explode, right along with 1,000 other people. Yes, there was a bit of a crowd. And by a bit of a crowd, I mean WOW! I DIDN’T KNOW THIS MANY PEOPLE WOULD ACTUALLY FIT IN THE NATIONAL PARK AT ONE TIME.
And then we crossed a state line, and low! There were billboards everywhere advertising that King Tut had done loaded up all his gold and he’d come to the local museum. The boy is crazy-nuts about all things Egyptian, so we paid the museum fee to get in.
Thing 2 was NOT crazy about the museum or the Egyptian artifacts. Thing 2 was PLUM DONE BORED, and he vocalized it well in his outdoor voice. While the boy and Hubs roamed the enormous exhibit, I walked a marathon with Thing 2 around the museum’s perimeter, trying to keep him busy and happy.
And then I fired off a response text on my phone to Hubs’ mama, and an 85-year-old museum tour guide walked by, slapped my arm, and hissed, “PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY NOW.” I was a bit shocked by the arm slapping and realized that she was probably one of those teachers from a one-room schoolhouse who rapped kids’ knuckles with a ruler.
Yes. I put my phone away. And then I told Hubs what happened, hoping he’d work up some sympathy for me and offer to fight the elderly lady to the death in my honor, and all Hubs could say was, “There is a sign at the entrance that says NO CELL PHONES. Why do you always have to break the rules everywhere we go?”
The boy commandeered my camera while Thing 2 and I were chasing down some entertainment in the stroller, and he successfully managed to take a photograph of EVERY! SINGLE! PIECE! of the King Tut collection. He caught my camera’s memory card on fire with all the picture-snapping, people, which is something that I haven’t even done yet.
Two days later, we arrived at my aunt and uncle’s house with the raccoon and the boy still with us. That night, they took us to see another waterfall, and listen:
People stupidly stop in the park to take snapshots of buffalo, which Hubs and I don’t understand. But, put a waterfall in front of us, and we were all, STEP ASIDE! I HAVE A CAMERA, AND I NEED TWENTY-SIX DOZEN AND ELEVEN PICTURES OF THIS FANTASTIC WATERFALL! WE’RE MAKING MEMORIES HERE WITH OUR CAMERA, PEOPLE! WE ARE ON VACATION!
I told Hubs that we had stooped to the level of a tourist.
He nodded his agreement and hung his head in shame.
I may have caught my memory card on fire at the falls after all.
The next day, Hubs and I fell in love with a little town with a population of 46,000 people, and we contemplated moving there, because it has WATERFALLS and also AN OLD NAVY STORE and (AND!!) a Sonic. We do not have these blessed wonderments in Small Town.
My mom’s cousin just happens to be married to a real, live, and also genuine golf pro, and he and Sister’s Husband took the boy golfing. The boy couldn’t decide if this or the King Tut exhibit would become the highlight of his trip, because he loves him some golfing.
And golfing with the pro? Well. Questions could be answered. Swings could be modified. It’s what Hubs and I like to call FREE GOLF LESSON. To say that the boy had some fun is an enormous understatement. He golfed nine holes, and came back grinning from ear to ear. Hubs and I dropped him off at the golf course, and we stayed just long enough to watch the guys take some practice shots on the putting green and then tee off.
And then we went to the Sonic for Cokes, because they have the best ice ever.
Here are Sister’s Husband, the boy and the family golf pro.
And my camera’s battery died, but I did snag a few snapshots with Sister’s camera.
There’s Sister and our cousin, S. S has great hair. And she’s incredibly funny. And we contemplated packing up and moving to the house next door to her, because goodness! We laughed until we peed.
(I especially like the fact that a couple of eleven year old boys were behind these girls when I snapped the picture.)
The boy and Cousin S’s son had never met before. R is exactly the same age as the boy. He is also going to be a 6th grader this fall. R and the boy became the very best of friends, and the boy simply packed up his stuff and moved in with them while we were there. He and R stayed up late together. They rode bikes in their pajamas. They threw water balloons at girls. They did manly things.
Mainly, they played hide and seek with the girls, and apparently SLAUGHTERED their opponents by hiding as well as trained Navy SEALs. They regaled us all with a play-by-play account of exactly how they kept the girls seeking for hours on end.
Of course, Cousins K and L were at the reunion, too.
The family golf pro is married to Cousin L. Cousin L is one of those girls you just want to hug and squeeze and smooch on, because of OH MY WORD! SO STINKING SWEET AND FUN! I did everything I could to talk her into moving out to Small Town with us and becoming our neighbor. And also? Their daughter, J, is beyond adorable.
And J? Well… She is going to college this fall on a GOLF SCHOLARSHIP. The boy was speechless, and plagued her with umpteen-twenty-bajillion questions. J also fell in love with Thing 2. We solicited her to move to Small Town and become our full-time nanny, because we adore her.
Cousin S’s daughter, P, was a ton of fun as well. I wanted to adopt her! She spent some quality time snuggling the babies, and playing with the babies, and making us all laugh loud enough to snort.
Of course, I could plague y’all with forty-eleven-gobs of other family photos, because we had SIXTY-EIGHT FOLKS hanging around the house for a few days, but sadly, vacation photos are never as interesting to people outside of your own family.
So, I’ll wrap it up.
Because SWEET MOTHER OF POCAHONTAS! I have typed plenty o’ words tonight.
Just know that we are back from our trip. And know that we had more fun than we ever dreamed imaginable. And know that Thing 2 HATES, LOATHES and also DESPISES his carseat now, which is making getting him into it for Walmart trips very difficult.
And I have to go there again tomorrow for saline solution.