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The signs were there but I chose to ignore them. I wasn't hungry. At all. Which is extremely weird because I am ALWAYS hungry. I could be in the middle of being carjacked and be all "Hey Zorro, could you pull my car into that McDonald's? All this stress is making me crave a Big Mac. Do you want some fries to go with that upcoming arrest?" So, the fact that I wasn't hungry was an indicator: it was time for me to go on vacation. The only time I ever get sick is on vacation. I guess it's because it's when I finally allow myself to relax so the illness slithers in and strikes like an asp. I am the Cleopatra of furlough.
So, not only am I always sick, vacationing nowadays takes on a whole new level of stress. As parents, we painstakingly plan where to drag tiny people with the hopes of creating wonderful memories and learning experiences. You research hotels with enough space and family tolerance. You actually have to think: is there a gigantic conference of monks who will break their vow of silence to tell my kids to STFU because they are fighting over who has more scrambled eggs from the buffet? Gone are the days of week long relaxing beach lounging at all inclusive resorts where your biggest stress is making sure you flip often enough to achieve maximum tanning results.
See, the thing about family vacations is that the kids come with you. You spend so much time and effort and money to present amazing wonders of the world to them. They're super pissed off and pouting because you're the asshole who won't buy them a $250 stuffed bear at the hotel gift shop. You'd think we would learn. And yet, year after year we pay thousands of dollars to yell at our children in new zip codes.
This year, my in laws came to see us from the east coast. And my MIL wanted to visit Lake Tahoe while they were here. Perfect! We haven't been there yet either! We packed the SUV to the brim and headed east for a three day excursion.
Here's the Norman Rockwell Version of our vacation:
We enjoyed every wonderful attraction that Lake Tahoe has to offer. The children were grateful. The weather was deliciously warm but not humid. My hair looked terrific and I only chose healthy food options that were low in calories, yet satisfying to consume. No monks broke any vows.
And...here's the reality:
During our drive to Tahoe, my two year old sang "Maanananananana Pop Goes The Weasel! Mananananananana Pop Goes the Weasel!" on repeat for hours on end, peppering it with the B-side version of the ABC's (the one that skips several letters but adds colors and a few numbers). Once and a while she trotted out a kick ass knock-knock joke like: "Knock knock. Who's there? A tiger in underpants" (Bahahahahahahahahaha!!!! - laughing maniacally to herself).
My five year old watched High School Musical 2 approximately seven hundred million times.
Our hotel was next to the casinos. But since Lena is about 150 months shy of her 18th birthday - we ended up spending $600 in the arcade instead to win a squishy rubber frog (which Emmeline immediately ripped the leg off of).
Since we haven't had rain in 6 months, of course we woke up to vicious thunderstorms which peppered Lake Tahoe intermittently throughout the day. We opted for a duck tour of the area (since we were getting soaked anyway). As there are no seat belts in the amphibious vehicle I had to keep a death grip on my curious toddler who kept trying to "yook" off the side of the boat into the ginormous lake. Between the fighting, crying and whining, the girls were robbing us of our will to live. We strapped them into the car in the hopes that they would fall into an ennui-induced coma while we drove around the mountains. It is cute how delusional we are in times of crisis. No sleep was to be had. My hair looked like a small family of rodents had moved in from the humidity. We were contenders to be recipients of death by whining and nagging for snacks and prizes. My headstone would have read "It's. Not. Fair!!!!!!" and "Cawy me!"
The next day was beautiful out so we drove up the opposite side of the lake. It's an absolutely GORGEOUS drive which I spent the entire time nauseated and trying not to vomit in the cooler while we looked at water. And houses near the water. And more water. With some boats. On the water. We drove by Donner pass. Yummy. Nothing like thinking about cannibalism when you want to barf while sitting in the third row of your SUV and listening to a rousing rendition of Puke Goes the Weasel.
Here is Emerald Bay. If you spin around in circles while reading this post, you will have the
same nauseated experience I had while sightseeing.
All in all, we did have a great time. My in laws kept the girls overnight a few times during their visit so I was able to lie in a ball of nausea without being nagged. We were lucky to spend time with our family and I got the cutest t-shirt! Maybe for next years vacation we can take the children to a monastery and drop them off with the silent sitters. The monks will be grateful for their vow of celibacy and I can go barf on a beach in peace.
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