Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lessons From Vacation

Vacation is not as much fun as when I was a kid. Or before I was a parent. Or before I became an adoptive parent to special needs kids.

In the interests of spending time on the beach and time with my brother, getting to know his preggo wife, I rented a two bedroom condo with a pool and beach view.

It was a lot smaller than the pictures, a lot farther from the beach than the pictures, and very over decorated. Yes, it’s a beach condo. We do not need to be reminded of this fact with a fish or boat motif-ed in every square foot. But I birdwalk.

Here are the things I learned on vacation:

1. Not all technology definitions are equal. Our landlord for the week assured me before I paid him that we’d have Wifi. My brother works from home on-line, so he had to have the internet. I’m taking an on-line class and wanted to blog and stuff. So it was a priority. Our landlord’s definition of Wifi was to use the neighbor’s. The problem was that the neighbor changed the password and wouldn’t return our landlord's call. Brother spent a lot of time in a national-chain overpriced coffee shop. I just turned my school work in late. Lucky for me, I have an online prof who is very understanding.

2. Not everyone has the same level of tolerance for crazy that I have. You have heard from my blog that my children are kind of special. We have lots of things going on, and lots of behaviors that are outside the realm of what others might see as normal. My brother and his wife—Don’t get me wrong, I love them—they don’t live my life, or near my life, so they don’t know what normal is for us. Our normal level of crazy, I think, might have made them twitch. There were several moments when I caught them looking at me like I was either crazy or, well, crazy.

3. Not everyone has the same gag reflex. I think nothing of changing a diaper on the floor in the middle of the living room. And honestly, I don’t care how many people are there. Or what they’re doing. A wet baby is a screaming baby, and ending the screaming humanely, without me going to jail, is way more important to me than the fact that you’re eating squash casserole. Which, I must say, looks remarkably like what was in the diaper. Which is probably why you started gagging and running from the room. I’d apologize, but you’re pregnant, and you needed to learn that lesson before you finish procreating. Baby poo is gross. Accept that fact and life will be much easier for you in five months.

4. Your intoxicated brother can and will tell your kids stories about you that you don’t want them to hear. I really didn’t want my kids to hear about me giving my brother and all his friends condoms when they were in HS (no pregnancies in that graduating class, thank you very much). I didn’t want them to hear about us rescuing my drunken father from the back office of a bar. I didn’t want them to know I smoked, or drank, or dated before my husband. I was a perfect, virginal pure young lady prior to my wedding day. (Yeah right, but you know where I’m going here, right?) My brother, after a few drinks, decided to tell them all about my sordid past of teenage infatuations with bad boys and cheap wine coolers.

5. Whether or not the stories are true is beside the point. See number four. I deny everything. Those pictures are clearly photo-shopped.

6. Your time spent on the beach will decrease inversely proportionately to the number of children in diapers. I spent about $1000 on the condo, about $200 traveling, and about $400 on supplies from food to toilet paper to beach stuff. I spent less than two hours on the beach the entire week, despite the fact that it was less than a football field from our condo, and despite the fact that I was desperate for beach time. Two kids in diapers will do that. So will four teenagers who do not have any appreciation for the deeply brewing insanity inside their mom’s head.

7. If there is a chance for the crazy to come out in your kids, it will. We’d been there for five days. It was inevitable. Danae and Tonya (her “friend”) got into a screaming, yelling, cursing fight in front of the condo. Then it came inside where a table and chair got broken. It went back outside, and Danae and Leigh ended up in an actual physical fight. (I mentioned the place was small, right?)

There was lots of noise and yelling and stomping, as Leigh got more involved. CC just watched the whole thing, wondering what the heck she'd gotten herself into.  Security was called. I explained to the nice man with the patch on his arm that I have crazy teenagers, and they’ve almost got it out of their system. But that if they couldn’t settle down in the next ten minutes I’d be the one calling the police. Security didn’t seem convinced and Patch-man hovered under our balcony for about 45 minutes.

8. If the crazy comes out, and security gets involved, prepare to be embarrassed. Everyone around us looked at us funny for the two days left of our trip. At least back home, our neighbors can’t HEAR the crazy. In public, we usually take great pains to keep our crazy tucked away for later. And I’m sure that the stares had nothing to do with my openly gay daughter walking around holding hands with her sweetie, or Leigh’s friend CC, who is tatted and pierced and has pink hair, or our decidedly dark-skinned babies that none of us could have given birth to. I'm sure it was the ghetto-style brawl.  Right?

9. You will not want to cook as much as you plan to. We planned to eat out only once. My brother and his wife bought groceries for the rest of the week. We ate out four times. And they took the groceries home. Next summer, we just plan to only cook twice. It’s easier that way.

10.  Everything is more expensive the closer you get to the beach.  Brother and Preggo bought two back-pack lawn chairs from a Wings chain store. They spent $85.  Several giant chain stores sell the same things for about $20 each.  Gas was up 30 cents a gallon. And speaking of gallons, milk was outrageous at about $4 a jug. 

11. You will not be invited to rent again if any of the following happen: broken furniture, broken knick-knacks or complaints about your boogey-board and towel placement. I left the landlord a check to cover the damage, and asked him to call me. So far, my phone has not rung, and I am not holding my breath.

Oh well.

As Preggo pointed out, there are lots of places at the beach.


  1. ROFL. You have a very witty writing style and though I can totally see how some parts of vaca were not fun, I loved reading the re-cap. Though infants haven't really kept me off the beach much. I got them these cool neoprene suits that had velcro bottoms for those diaper changes and we were good to go.

  2. Lee, thank you. My life is one of those things one must look at with humor or the desperation just might take over!! I like the idea of a neoprene suit... I'm going to have to look into that!

  3. so i'm a little behind on my reading . . . i really don't mean to laugh, but you know . . . i had a great week that week. thanks!


If you are an adoptive parent or have one in your family somewhere, talk to me. I could use some insanity that does NOT call me mom!!