What I did that sucked on my summer vacation
Time to kick back. Relax. Spend some quality time with friends and family.
God only knows the two are mutually exclusive.
Yes, summer is the time to take that much-deserved vacation. Hop in the car and head off to wherever the wind may take you.
Who doesn't fantasize about taking long walks along the beach? Hugging your children with all your might? And telling your wife how much you love her?
Then, sending the kids off to the beach so you can have sex with the hotel maid.
It's your chance to get away from it all. Relax. Let your inhibitions run wild. And create memories that'll last a lifetime.
Unless you're me, and you're hoping that the memories of your summer vacation will remain with you until the end of this sentence.
That's sentence as in, a series of consecutive words.
And sentence as in, prison.
You see, last week the Strauss family embarked upon an epic week-long journey to one of the storied beach towns of America: Ocean City, Maryland.
That's Ocean, as in near the water.
And City, as in shitty.
As my wife so eloquently commented: "Y'know, if anybody's looking for a place to play miniature golf, get a henna tattoo, and buy a t-shirt that says 'I LOVE BEER!' then Ocean City is your kinda place."
The other interesting thing about the Strauss family trip to Ocean City is that not only were we stupid enough to take a 10-hour trip to this Tundra of Tackiness, but somewhere in the planning stages of this glorious event, a certain unnamed wife of mine thought it would be a really good idea to bring her mom, her dad, her niece, her nephew and her niece's friend along with us.
I wasn't expecting a lot from this trip.
You'll be happy to know that trip lived up to my expectations.
Truth is, we've been saying all along that this was going to be a "vacation for the kids."
Which is fine. Except for the fact that "dad had to pay for it." And that there were no plans in sight for a "vacation for the parents of the kids."
Welcome to my so-called life.
But enough of me complaining already. Hey, who wants to read my vacation diary?
Today we left for our trip to Ocean City. Since we have so many people we had to take two cars. Cathy drove one car. I drove the van with my father-in-law Pete, my nephew, Bobby, and our kids, Max and Isabelle. I love our kids so much. They're really great. Quiet…unassuming. They really appreciate everything they have and they feel fortunate and grateful to have what they have.
Seven minutes into the trip, my kids started screaming in the backseat because the $180 TV/VCR we bought to keep them occupied for the long trip wasn't loud enough for them. Eleven minutes into the trip, my father-in-law Pete had to go to the bathroom. Twenty-three minutes into the trip I heard my first reference to Joe DiMaggio.
Well, we actually made it. About an hour from Ocean City, we crossed a four-mile bridge that goes over the Chesapeake Bay. It's pretty spectacular. I told the kids to look out the window to see the amazing sites below. My great, quiet, appreciative, unassuming kids told me to "stick a sock in it" because Scooby Doo on Zombie Island was almost over, and "Scooby Doo is cooler than stupid water, anyway."
I love my kids.
Our hotel is called the Castle in the Sand. There is sand, but it doesn't really look like a castle to me. It looks more like a Howard Johnson's with a sign that says, "Castle in the Sand."
I asked the woman at the front desk if there was an ice machine. She said sure. Then she took me outside, unlocked the two locks on the ice cooler, gave me a bag, double-locked the ice machine again, and then asked me what room I was in so she could bill the bag of ice to my room.
Our room, by the way, is right next to the outdoor lounge. Everyday from 1-5 pm, there's a band playing there. I've heard a lot of bands in my life, but this is the first time in my life I've ever heard a band start their set with the theme song from the Jeffersons.
I wish I was moving on up. To the Four Seasons in Toronto.
Today we went to a water park. There were waterslides and tube rides, and many large people wearing far less than they should be allowed to wear by law.
My niece and her friend are on the prowl for boys today. Again. It's funny, but I don't remember running across girls like this when I was 18.
Or 21. Or 25. Or 30. Or yesterday.
Tonight, we went to the world famous Ocean City Boardwalk. There are stores and food and many large people wearing far less than they should be allowed to wear by law. We went into an old-fashioned arcade to let Max play some games. Six minutes into playing games, Isabelle peed her pants and left a big puddle by the bowling machine. No one seemed bothered by it, though, so what the heck, I wasn't, either. Is that so bad? As we got ready to leave to arcade, there was a torrential downpour. We ran to the car and we all got soaked. We got in the car and the kids started screaming that they didn't get the cotton candy we promised them, so I had to run back up to the Boardwalk to get cotton candy.
I love my kids.
We went fishing today. At the pier, you can rent a pole and bait for $4 an hour. After an hour of catching nothing, we got ready to leave. I was taking the bait off Max's hook when I heard my nephew Bobby say, "Uh oh." I looked down and saw that my pole had fallen over the side of the dock and was sinking to the bottom of the bay.
I found out today that at the pier, you can rent a pole and bait for $4 an hour. Or you can buy it for $30 if your pole winds up sleeping with the fishes.
Every morning my mother-in-law comes up to the Boardwalk to rent a bicycle. Apparently, this is a great Ocean City tradition. You can only do it until 10 am, then they put the bikes away for people to walk around. My mother-in-law swears that riding these bikes is the greatest thing on earth. So this morning, we all went with her.
There were two things I didn't like about riding the bikes.
Riding the bikes.
And listening to my mother-in-law say, "Isn't this fun?"
It's really hot today. Really, really hot. We took the kids on a Pirate Ship today. For the low, low price of $16 a person, your kids get to experience a one-hour ride on a real live fake pirate vessel.
I thought this was going to just be for the kids, but I personally learned some great pirate things, too.
What's a Pirate's favorite letter?
How much does it cost for a Pirate to get his ears pierced?
A buck an ear. Aaaaaaaaar!
I was really feeling sorry for the captain of the Pirate ship. Six times a day he's got to take this boat out. But the worst part is, he's gotta spend the whole day talking like a pirate.
Who's gonna help me batten down the hatches? Aaaaaaar!
All hands on deck! Aaaaaaaar!
Visa or Mastercard? Aaaaaaar!
Max had a bit of a fever and wasn't exactly himself, today. He was extremely happy, however, when the pirate and the crew kept coming up to him, getting right in his face and screaming, "Aaaaaaar, Matey Max, c'mon and help us find the booty!"
I have reason to believe that if Max possessed karate skills, he would've used them at this time.
We're going home tomorrow. Darn.
Late last Friday night, after listening to Pete talk about Joe DiMaggio for eight more hours, we walked in the house.
I brought in our luggage, I looked around, and I thought the only thing I could possibly think at a moment like this:
"Only two more days until I go back to work. Only two more days."