when the going gets tough

(hell yeah, i’m quoting billy ocean. whatcha gonna do about it?)

so part one of salvage the vacation quest was a bit of a bust. we took a drive to york, pa, stopping in towson, md along the way to hit the rainforest cafe for dinner. (i have finally come to terms with rainforest, if only because this is now the closest one, so i am not constantly hearing pullllease mama, can we go to rainforest??? pullllllease???) it was kids eat for $1.99 night — whee! there was a guy making balloon animals, and in general, it was a nice meal until jools felt like he was going to throw up. oh, the joys of hanging out in a restaurant bathroom, waiting for your son to blow chunks. which, i would note, he never did. he was simply tired. i want to go to sleep, he announced. so off we went. in total, that trip took a harrowing six hours, which includes rush hour in both washington AND baltimore plus one hour at dinner.

full day one we drove to hersheypark (losing I-83 temporarily somewhere around harrisburg, but getting back on track eventually.) i love hersheypark. it’s everything six flags is not: clean, friendly, full of helpful employees. there’s even a kosher restaurant there. i’m not kosher, but it was a revelation to me that someone would actually put something like that there. it also probably accounted for the several busloads of orthodox members of my tribe who were there on the sweltering day, girls dressed in long denim skirts and long sleeved shirts.

oh, and there’s chocolate. so it isn’t fancy chocolate — i was raised on hershey’s milk chocolate, and to me, it tastes like my childhood. we hit chocolate world twice, as they were giving out new hershey bliss bars as you exited. of course, when you ride something like that with a smartass like me, well, the bliss is all mine. first, we read about how childless milton hershey started a school for orphan boys, a noble pursuit which still runs today, though i believe it is for girls, too, now. but i looked at BS and said, how nice, he opened a school for boys. but what about the girls? what were they going to do in life? then, of course, you learn about the chocolate. and here i go, spoiling all the fun: i bet it isn’t free trade chocolate, is it? so is hershey doing anything to not exploit people in developing nations?

yeah, i’m fun like that.

anyway, the park was pretty crowded and it was pretty hot. we did get on some rides, most notably jools’ first time on a real roller coaster (both the comet and the sidewinder), so we did have fun. but it was impossible again to hit the waterpark, and, as i said before, the lines were a bit insane. and by the time we got to eat dinner, it was after 8pm, BS’s brand new cell phone’s touch screen was shattered by his time on the comet rollercoaster, and people were pretty exhausted. we drove back to york in the dark on fumes, a tired, cranky crew.

day two. dutch wonderland. DW is a lot of fun for kids under the age of about 7. it, too, is pretty clean and friendly, just like hershey. it also has a kosher restaurant, just like hershey. (in fact, BC asked whether there was a corporate relationship between the two parks. she’s smart like that.) it was also pretty crowded and pretty hot. BS, being exhausted from the previous day and pretty stressed from the fact that we almost got killed on I-83 that morning while merging (no exaggeration this time, i’m afraid), basically became ill. he sat out in the car for a little while, while the kids and i explored the park some more. unfortunately for me, the only place without a long line for lunch was…the kosher mart. but too bad for me: i was wearing my mini purse, which i pack with only the barest of necessities, especially since BS has other stuff in his wallet. only, too bad for me: BS was in the car, trying to revive his stomach. all i had was $20 in my pocket and an Amex. they don’t take Amex, and $20 didn’t cover lunch. little by little, i was telling the very , very sweet person at the kosher mart to remove this item or that item until i hit $17.

then i sat my kids down at the bird-poop-covered table to eat. and i cried. i was tired, i was hungry, i had a sore throat, and i really just wanted to leave.

eventually, BS returned to the park, and the kids and we went on a few gentle rides before leaving. we were going to dinner at the house of my best friend from grad school, Kip, when we hit first a major accident on Route 30 (read: the only road between here and there), then a lane closure. by the time we were near our hotel, BS told me to drop him off and i could take the kids to Kip’s. which i did. he was really looking green around the gills, so i knew better than to press my luck.

we had a great time at Kip’s — this was probably way more my speed for the day — eating dinner and letting the kids run around in their massive yard. she had found a DVD game of Family Feud at a yard sale for $1, which we played twice. (Kip, btw, is a master of finding finds at yard sales, etc.) and we returned at 10 pm, only to find that the electronic lock on our room had been changed. fortunately, BS woke up and let us in.

there’s so much more fun to report, like our miserable ride back yesterday (which included an entire bottle of nestle quik spilled all over the inside of the car), but i’ll spare you. suffice to say that by the time we got home, we had shell-shocked kids, a mom on the brink of tears, and a dad on the brink of reenacting a scene from the Exorcist.

i know today’s going to be better.

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9 Responses to “when the going gets tough”

  1. Aw man, sorry for the crappy times.

    One year, on the drive back from the beach, we stopped off in Clearwater, FL, to visit an old friend who treated us all to a really nice dinner in a really nice restaurant. A really nice dinner which Gav (who was 5 or 6 at the time) then promptly vomited out all over me and the really nice restaurant floor. I can still conjure up the smell. Ahh, memories.

    Hope the sun is shining for you today.

  2. Things can only get better!

  3. Yup, this week’s gotta be better. Hate the smell of milk in the car. Blecch. I think that’ll be well covered in the DCUM archives tho. Thanks for the (kosher) lowdown on the amusement parks. And you know I’m with ya. Indentured servitude candy amusements anyone?!

  4. BTW, mykidsmom tells me that it is the same kosher caterer at both parks, so your daughter had it right!

  5. My kids love the Rainforest Cafe, too. It makes me too jumpy and nervous with all those snakes and storms.
    Hope today was better.

  6. mom zombie Says:

    Ah, family vacations, they sure aren’t like the brochures are they? I could write a book …
    –MomZombie

  7. You’re a better parent than I am, Miss Wreke. It’s a 3-hour drive to the nearest Six Flags or similar. The kids don’t yet know it exists (THANK GOD).

    Hope it got better?

    — Laurie

  8. WOW. I think 2008 is the Year of Cursed Family Vacations. Holy shmoley.

  9. Interesting Read! Very detailed blog.
    Thanks for sharing

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