Friday, August 17, 2012
Vacation of DOOM
Every year we spend a part of our summer at the beach. It's our family wind-down time. The only week, really, in the entire year that we get away from all the crazy schedules and activities and stress of our lives and just hunker down as a family together. Just us, a sandy beach, and the ocean.
This year we decided to venture away from our traditional beach and try out Key West. We had visions of it, the Hemingway-tropical-beachiness of it all. If there was anywhere to kick back and relax, surely Key West was it.
It wasn't until we started looking at hotels did we realize there really isn't much of a beach in the Florida keys. No, really, there isn't. It's a tropical island with no sand. How the heck does that happen?
But there are reefs! And we love to snorkel! So we set out on a 1250 mile car trip south with a stop in Savannah, Georgia, where my son and I discovered the TROLLEY OF DOOM. Yes. That's what they call it.
We walked around all night, saying in a spooky voice, "the trolley of DOOM! the trolley of DOOM!" and laughing our heads off.
And then he ate fish and got food poisoning and we spent all night up with him sick. :(
And thus began our VACATION of DOOM.
Once recovered, the family found a beach near Savannah to get our sand fix and headed out. We are used to calmer waters than Georgia, apparently, because my son decided to just wade into the shallow water a little, and along came a wave and BAM threw him to the ground, stealing his glasses and taking them out to sea. So we spent the next three and a half hours - nearly the entirety of our day - in a Lens Crafters trying to find a pair of glasses that fit him and get his prescription faxed and waiting for them to be made.
Florida will be better, right?
Well, the hotel... not exactly what the internet said.
Sure... the service was great, the place relatively clean, great breakfast, free wi-fi and parking, and a beautiful pool:
But the "hotel" was really a motel, and the rooms... well, let's just say that calling them a room was a euphemism for "closet." Which, by the way, the room didn't have. No closet, no floor space... just two full size beds, a sink for one, and a bathroom so small one had to stand on the toilet to the door shut behind you.
This was where 5 of us slept.
It was a miracle none of us killed each other. We had to sit on the beds to let someone pass, and to pass you had to crawl over suitcases. Fun times.
But there was still snorkeling, right?
Usually I spend a good amount of beach time sitting on the sand reading. Especially this year, I needed this time to catch up on reading if I wasn't going to be writing. But there was almost no sand. Just woods and rocks and then, water. And it was hot. Africa hot. Hot with a humidity that beat even Virginia in August. There was no way I was NOT going to spend the entire day in the water.
I get in after I've gotten all three kids geared up in snorkels and fins and as I'm wading in, my youngest swims up and tugs at my swimsuit. She pops her head above water and says, "You're still wearing your pump."
AAARGH!!! I scrambled over the rocks like an idiot, trying to get out of the water. My insulin pump, which keeps me alive, is "dunk proof" but not water proof, and there were some scary moments there were I thought I'd killed it.
But I didn't. Phew.
Then, two days later, we went on a boat trip out to snorkel the third largest reef in the world.
I jumped off the boat. With my pump on.
And I killed it. My $4,000 pump that I need to wear all the time ... was dead.
I swear. You can't make this stuff up.
After getting back on dry land I called the pump manufacturer and they informed me they could have a replacement to my hotel by morning. All I had to do was give myself shots once an hour for the next 18 hours. That was fun. Especially the "during the night" part.
STILL - They DID get a pump all the way from California to Key West in a matter of 16 hours (earlier than promised) and I was still alive. So yay!!
Friday we woke to head home and my husband's knee blew out. He's now walking like an 89 year old man with bad arthritis, and in a lot of pain. We stopped on the way home in Georgia to break up the trip, went to dinner and my youngest promptly threw up.
DOOM, I tell you. DOOM.
It seems logical that I'd be dying to get home. But right now I am tucked in a beautiful hotel, with more room than my family of 5 can use. There is carpet on the floor and big fluffy duvets on the three beds. My husband is drugged and pain-free for the moment, and asleep, along with my youngest. My two oldest are watching Pirates of the Caribbean and staying up way too late, and I've gotten on the computer for the first time in over a week. I've not thought about the story I'm working on in a week, and I'm hoping the time away has shaken loose the shackles that are keeping me from writing without fear.
We are safe, all five of us, together, having ended our day with a ton of laughing, a week's worth of memories we will never forget, and some great stories.
And really, can you ask more of a vacation than that?