Sunday, October 5, 2008

Just put me to sleep.

Ok. I’m on another family trip. This time, with another couple and their offspring. We are traveling up the northeast coast. We’re stopping in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire. Awesome, right? Not so much. I’d rather keep it simple, BBQ in the backyard, a walk to the pizza place or a day in a Turkish Prison. I like to attack parenting in fifteen-minute segments. It’s kind of like taking a short shift in hockey. Get out there, skate hard, throw a check or two, give it all you’ve got, then sit for a few. I think a long road trip with the kids is like degenerative arthritis. It’s starts out with a few aches and pains. You take an Advil here and there and then BAM!!! You’re in one of those mechanical wheel chairs all messed up and hurting full time.

This trip has been exhausting so far. I know I’m not as young as I used to be and I don’t want to be one of those lame, lazy Dad’s that just say, “ok sweetie, that’s nice”, every time their kid wants to show them something, but man, I’m freaking’ exhausted. I have to be honest with all of you (Mom and Dad, I know you’re reading). I’m on my third drink. Two beers at dinner and a Vodka / Coke in hand as I write this. I’m not an alcoholic or anything, even though my wife jumps on me when I say I need a drink but man, it takes the edge off, doesn’t it? So it’s a race. I need to finish this vacation-condensed edition of my blog before I not so gracefully stumble off into la-la land.

Because I’m pressed for time, I’ll skip the full details of our day. Here’s the short version… My wife and I were awoken at 7am by kid #1. One of those typical wake up’s by a six year old. They just kind of stand over you like the menacing shadow of an alien, right before they abduct you and perform their hideous and humiliating tests.

I’m skipping ahead five or six hours. Partly because I’m starting to buzz but mostly because it’s just too painful to relive the memories. Excuse me for a second. I need to use the restroom. I’m not sure it’s necessary to tell you this but I’m so used to announcing this to everyone in my house, looking for permission of course, that I just don’t feel right stepping away unless you know where I am. Ok, I’m back…

I definitely wanted to point out that I stood in line at the bumper boats for 45 minutes with both kid #1 and kid #2. It was pretty horrendous. Lot’s of people, hot day, useless ride and kids. All of the essential ingredients to a colossal let down were there. Honestly though, we were all pretty psyched. “I want boats”. I think is what kid #2 said. That pretty much summed it up at the time. Then came the downward spiral. “Daddy, I don’t want to go on the boat by myself.” Said kid #1 “But sugar plumb, it’s more fun when you can go by yourself.” I claimed. “I don’t care. I want you to go with me.” She replied. “No boats!!!” says kid #2.

Fast forward four (seemed like forty four) minutes. My wife is videotaping kid #2 and I in the bumper boat. She’s yelling at me to have the boat face the camera so she can get her money shot. I’m spinning in endless circles, unable to control the boat. Kid #2 is absolutely hysterical, her hands covering her face, shielding herself from the oncoming barrage of squirting water from the other boats. This ride didn’t last very long… I think what bothered me the most was that I was actually excited to hit the bumper boats. That would have been some old school fun right there.

Fast-forward two hours. We pull into the restaurant (victim) de-jour. There’s an aura of optimism in the air. Of course there always is at the onset. I was thinking, all-you-can-eat salad bar and prime rib. A Blue Moon Ale perhaps? My kids were thinking about the next “melt down”. It always happens so quickly in restaurants. Maybe it’s because my wife and I are so self-conscious about being, “those parents”. Maybe it’s because we are, “those parents”. Who knows? All I know is that I always feel cheated when we go out to dinner. As a man and a dad, I don’t ask for much. But dinner is important. A man needs to eat his grub. He needs to have that Warren Beatty moment in Bugsy. You know, when he’s eating ferociously at the table and his eyebrow is bleeding and Annette Benning is kissing him. Now that’s badass. Well… my moment was scarfing down a spoonful of baco-bits, chasing it with some tap water and scooping up kid #2 before she lost it completely for the third time in front of the local townies. I can only imagine the side conversations. To add insult to injury, there was a family of five sitting next to us the entire time. There were the parents and their three boys. If they weren’t coming from the Summer Stock, Sound of Music auditions, I don’t know what… Jeez, these kids were golden. They didn’t make a peep. They just sat there staring straight ahead, eating bread. It was kind of creepy actually. I don’t buy it. I have two words for you. BABY BENEDRYL.

Oh well. At least I have my forth drink. “Coming right up honey.” Says my wife. Just kidding. She’s sleeping next to me on the couch. I’ll get it myself. I always do… Today I was definitely Out-Numbered…