How To Ruin A Family Vacation, Part Two

  • By this point, you should be experiencing some of the rotten fruits of your labor. Your body should be responding in ways that let you know that you are on the wrong track. Tension should be starting to manifest itself in your neck and shoulders, spreading up to the base of your skull, and aching in a way that emphasizes the fact that your twenties are long gone. Your mouth and throat will begin to show their support for this predicament by jumping on the drying up band wagon, detouring almost every last milliliter of saliva to other parts of your exhausted body.
  • Water, that’s what you need. Pass out the last water bottles that you brought with you. Barely contain your excitement that there is enough water bottles for everyone to have their own. Open yours, but take only one drink, you’ll finish it after your shower. Thirsty or not, you have children that need to stop jumping on the beds, and be encouraged to sleep in them.
  • Now, take the most green shower you have ever experienced. Conserve that water flow, baby. No whales are going to miss the amount of water coming through that shower head. Over the next few minutes you will not only receive second degree burns from someone using the sink in the other room, but you will also realize that your hair has congealed into one, hugely unattractive, dread lock. Spend the next several minutes trying to undo whatever mad science project is going on between your hair, hair products, sweat, questionable motel shampoo, and the trickles of scalding/freezing hard water at your disposal.
  • Be thankful that this is not your life. Well, it is, but only for one night. Gratitude will help bolster your spirit, and keep you caring enough to still be disappointed when the next day turns out poorly. You only have to get through this night. And by night, I mean morning, as it is now after midnight. Time to get a drink of water and lay down for a few hours rest. Tomorrow isn’t just going to ruin itself! Hydrate, like an Olympian. You are going for the gold, are you not?
  • Except, you can’t. Realize that your family members are all part camel, and they have filled their humps with every last drop of drinkable water, including yours. That’s okay, you’ll just swallow your pride, that should take a while.
  • Lay down on what can only be described as a rock bed on worn out springs. Pretend that you are at the suite at the hotel that you actually booked. You know, the one that you are still being charged for, because your psychic abilities are as poor as your mechanical skills, and your reservations are non-refundable. Knowing that you are throwing hundreds of dollars away, with nothing to show for it, will go a long way towards the successful ruination of your vacation.
  • As tired as you are, you might be tempted to give in to the lull of your husband’s 10 decibel snoring and enter into deep sleep. Resist. The ability to let your hopes be knocked around like a pinball depends partially on your inability to relax. Make sure to wake up fully at least 9 times over the next six hours. You, my friend, are an over-underachiever.
  • The next morning, put your husband in charge of securing a mechanic. Do not question his ability to do this. Instead, try desperately to entertain five cranky children through their disappointment, in a small motel room. Wait for several hours for your husband to return. Then, do not physically attack him when he shows up, nourished by the restaurant he discovered while out and about, “with an amazing salad bar”. You want to ruin your week, not your life. And if this is how you fare in a small space with people that actually love you, you have little hope of surviving prison. Also, you do not have the coloring or body type to pull off an orange jumpsuit.
  • Instead, be uncharacteristically patient when your husband says that it’s all good. Waste time trying to keep your failing trial run at the tiny house movement as clean as possible. Cleaning will ensure that you do not feel at all like you are on a vacation, and will remind you that you are currently without the actual comforts of home.
  • Agree to hold hands when your husband suggests that you all pray together as a family. Do not be at all suspicious when he begins, even though this is not a normally occurring event. After all, you are doing a pretty fantastic job of messing this up, but maybe some divine intervention could help things along. You’re not sure, but you think your insurance covers An Act of God…. Now, wait for it…. there it is! Hidden in the prayer your husband is saying, are the words. “And thank you God that the mechanic will work on the van tomorrow, and that we will stay here for one more night…” Those words will be quickly followed by the dollar figure that your salad consuming husband has already agreed to. This is where you will lose it. Right here. Right at the corner of this little trip already costing your family four digits financially, and the prospect of staying in a hooker motel, again. Act immediately. Do not allow yourself time to think or calm down. Yank your hand away from your husband and drop an F-bomb, while he is still mid-sentence with your Creator. This will not only shock your husband and children, but will allow you to feel a unique emotional cocktail of shame, embarrassment, and anger. Look at you go! You’re better at failing than you even thought!
  • Now you’ve done it! Your lack of holding it together has opened wide the barn door for your children to fall apart. Your motel room will quickly resemble a casting call for The Real housewives Of Hillyard. Chaos will ensue. Dr. Seuss was right, today is your day! No one can spoil a party quite like you can!
  • Buckle down. You’ve got to keep going, the time is half through. Just keep doing what you’re doing for the next 24 hours. Then, check out of your motel, and try to entertain your children for 5 1/2 hours at a truck stop this close to a bustling freeway. Pay the mechanic, up front, of course. Then get your hopes up right before he informs you that you have cracked your head gasket, and maybe the head.
  • Finally, do what you should have done from the start, and call your best friend to pick you up. When she drives from two states over, with a tow trailer hooked to her 8-passenger Nissan, you will really let go of all the remaining pieces that you were holding onto. You’ll just stand there and cry. Because you feel like you’ve been through so much, even though that seems so shallow, because this Missoula not Syria. But also because you have someone that loves you that much. And because she made you laugh when she said that she only wished you had broken down in Florida, so you could squeeze in a vacation.
  • You’ll head back to the place where you started from. You’ll have lost your minivan, a chunk of money, and most of your self-respect. But at some point during the last leg of the drive, you’ll realize that you are smiling, that you are just as safe now as you were all along, and that still have everything that you cannot live without. Before you can stop it, you will be filled with gratitude. While your weekend earned a gold star in awful, you’ll be thankful for how other things in your life are turning out.
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