Category Archives: Travel Tribulations

CRAZIES’ CLOWN COLLEGE GONE WRONG

shutterstock_105365543 copyLast summer, in a fit of Crazie, I booked a beach house in the Outer Banks with way too many fifteen family members – another nine were in a house down the block.

What could possibly go wrong with that many loud, loving, abominable, affectionate Crazie Town residents in one place?

Number one concern was bedroom placement. Maybe the bedroom off the kitchen should go to the early risers, or maybe it should go to the person who had the most trouble negotiating three flights of stairs, but then again, that person didn’t want any special treatment, so maybe it should go to ???

How do you plan who gets what bedroom for fifteen people and not just people – Crazie Town people? I believe democratic rules work best so the majority agreed to the First Come – First Served statute.

A few weeks after we booked the house, my younger brother, Rick, asked me what flight I was on. Because I’m a gullible sap, I told him. He used that information to book his flight to arrive before mine.

Our son Fineas’ family, driving down from Connecticut, planned to leave at four in the morning in order to be the first ones there.

My nephew Ben bailed on sharing a car with his parents from the airport so that he and his wife, Kate, could arrive first.

This is just the way my family works. We love each other with all our hearts and would give you the shirt off our backs, but there comes a time when First Come First Served wins out.

Vacation day arrived and we piled into the house, alternately shouting curse words and caring remarks to each other. We crowded onto the deck and fought for the best chairs. While we all talked at once with no one listening caught up on each other’s lives, we discovered the house next door was an exact duplicate of ours and also filled with a large family.
shutterstock_105365543 copy Mirror images of ourselves – only perfect.

While we walked around in torn t-shirts and worn out shorts, The Perfects glided from their pool to their house in starched white shirts, sleeves appropriately rolled up two folds. Waves of aftershave and perfume floated our way.

shutterstock_170330840 copyshutterstock_135088358 copyOut on the beach, our sandcastles were six inches tall, made from red solo cups; The Perfects’ reached to the sky with turrets and moats.

We sweated, grumbled and yelled at each other as we set up our Wal-Mart special tarp. Twenty feet away, two uniformed teenagers set up The Perfects’ canvas rental chairs and brightly colored umbrellas.

Our pool was filled with $1.54 plastic rafts while The Perfects’ pool held elaborate floating chairs, complete with cup holders.

Most disturbing to the woman in our group, The Perfects’ older sister paraded out in a white designer two-piece swimsuit. And, although she certainly was a couple sizes larger than a six, she looked amazing. I suppose that comes from not buying your swimsuit from the clearance rack at Target, but I could be wrong.

My family does actually have a few social skills, taught to us by our Evil Grandmother Nellie so as the week progressed we pulled ourselves together and pointed out that someone (not me of course), might find your red beacon of a nose funny; we said in the kindest possible way, “excuse me but that was my drink you just kicked over, you stupid idiot”; and we toned down our loud guffaws to a more seemly quiet chuckle.

Then, BAM! my nephews, Josh and Jordan, started a water balloon fight.  shutterstock_188671901 copy

For the next hour, five little nieces pounded up and down the deck stairs, squealing in delight while the drenched adults shouted out military strategies. When the battle was over it looked like a clown college had thrown up. Our deck, covered in colorful fragments of shattered balloons and laughing residents of Crazie Town.

Next year – fair warning – we are planning our vacation for the Adirondacks. Please accept my apologies in advance if you end up in the house next to us.

FLYING – Part Two – STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS

Click here for FLYING – Part One – HANG ON DUDE

What could go wrong?

What could go wrong?

Oh! Here we go! A little bumpy and this freaking hang gliding hammock is swaying around like a tea towel in a tornado, but still, exciting!

Holy Cow! We are going up fast. This wind is really fierce. I hope I don’t loose my glasses. What if a bug hits my teeth?

Ugh. Why is my stomach turning somersaults?

Wow, this is amazing. I wish it lasted more than ten minutes. Ten minutes is nothing. It’s going to be over before it starts.

Urg, my tummy doesn’t feel so good.

NO!  I am not going to hurl on this poor guy’s helmet. I am going to breathe and my gurgling stomach will settle down.

I wonder if I’m sick because we’re being towed by the plane. I’ll bet once Airplane Dude lets us go I’ll be fine.  I wonder how much longer before Airplane Dude lets us go.

What’s that? Hang Gliding Dude is making some sort of signal. Airplane Dude is not paying attention to him. Is that a problem? Are we in trouble?

Man, we are really, really high. Look at that, I can see the bay and the ocean side. That’s a lot of water. Water. Oh boy, I wish I had a drink of water right now.

Oh my god! The plane unhooked us! Ack!

Wait. This is marvelous. I’m soaring like a bird. It’s exactly what I thought it would be. No, it’s one hundred times better than I thought it would be.

Uh oh. Hang Gliding Dude is leaning to the left. I don’t like that so I’m going to lean to the right. Why are we dipping and diving?  Hang Gliding Dude is shouting at me to let him steer the hang glider. Oh.

Hang Gliding Dude says we are going to “hang out” in the clouds for a bit. He’s turning too fast. Too fast! Blech. My stomach doesn’t like clouds.

I hope we head for home soon. Ten minutes is way to long. Breathe, dammit, breathe!

Finally. Out of the clouds and now I see the landing strip. Land Ho! Gosh, I hope I make it down before I throw up. Breathe, you idiot. I can’t! I’m lying face down in a hammock plunging to my death! May Day! MayDay!!

The ground is coming up fast. It’s going to be a hard landing, so I’ll prepare by closing my eyes. That always helps.  What’s happening now?  I could find out if I opened my eyes, but I think the fear of not knowing is slightly less than the fear of knowing. Yep. Shut is better.

Oh. Wow. That wasn’t bad at all.  We landed like a whisper.  Oh, crap.  Now we’re bouncing along the ground.  Bouncing is not good.  In fact, bouncing is the worst.  Don’t throw up, you nerd!

Okay, okay.  We’ve stopped.

Dude. That was awesome.

I wonder if I could do it again and not get sick.

 

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