My family and I have just returned from our vacation in Ocean City, Maryland. It was a good trip, albeit far too short, but we all had a really great time. I spent the morning cleaning out the car and unpacking our stuff, then uploading all of our vacation pictures and displaying a few favorites on Facebook and Instagram.
Ok, you got me. I’m full of crap. I’ve never unpacked less than 48 hours after returning from vacation and I probably never will. It sounded good though, right? My suitcases are actually still quite full and sitting in the middle of my living room floor, the only items removed being daily necessities like toothpaste and contact lens solution. And I still have at least ten empty water bottles littering the floor of my car, along with a plethora of toys, blankets, and various umbrellas as well.
But I really did take some nice pictures, though. Like these:
So even though the trip was fun and I have the photographic evidence to prove it, that’s not to say it was all hunky-dory every single minute. (What on earth would I write about if it were??) Any parent who has ever spent at least one night away from home with a child will tell you that there is no such thing as “the perfect family vacation.” I’m using quotations to emphasize just how mythical that idea is.
Here are my five least favorite things about vacation:
1-Traveling. Whether it’s eight agonizing hours in a car or three miserable hours on a plane, traveling with kids is the absolute worst way to start a vacation. Unfortunately, it’s usually the only way to start a vacation. For us, driving on the way there was actually pretty awesome since we left at 7 p.m. to ensure the kids would sleep throughout the whole drive (thankfully they did). Our options were to leave late and possibly check in sometime after midnight or leave early and possibly spend five hours driving with a pissed off toddler in the backseat. We felt physical exhaustion was the way to go, so we chose to leave late.
The ride home wasn’t nearly as pleasant, however. You know what’s even more fun than sitting in traffic for half a day? Sitting in traffic for half a day while listening to every season two episode of the Fresh Beat Band booming through your car speakers. On repeat.
2-Crappy Hotels. Due to unforeseen circumstances (I forgot), I booked our trip kind of last minute and ended up with very limited hotel options. So I just selected one with a decent price and fairly good reviews, and hoped for the best.
But of course it sucked.
I officially loathe the people who gave this hotel its good reviews. May all of their internet connections be severed indefinitely, and may they be rendered unable to write a faulty review ever again.
When we got into our room, exhausted from the long car ride and anxious to rest our heads, we immediately discovered that there were flies buzzing around all over the place. So we told the front desk that we wouldn’t stay in that room, and five minutes later two guys showed up at our door armed with fly swatters and bug spray.
Um, say what? I KNOW you are not about to start killing flies up in here.
We got to a new room eventually, and the next day decided to hit the beach. Those of you familiar with my blog might be aware of my ill feelings for the beach, but that’s mostly because the beaches here in Staten Island leave much to be desired. As in, I desire sand that will not stain my bathing suit orange and I desire water free of sharp, broken shells and hypodermic needles. I guess I’m just picky like that.
The beaches in Maryland are clean and relaxing enough even for a beach-hater like me. We spent practically the whole day by the shore having a great time– Little M splashing around in the waves and Little D throwing fistfuls of sand at all of the passersby. But we stayed for so long that I must have forgotten to change Little D’s diaper at some point and, as we walked back to our room, she ended up peeing all over me.
So I made a mad dash for the room to clean us both up, but to my unpleasant surprise, my key card wasn’t working when I got there. I couldn’t even get in the door! I then had to stand there as patiently as possible, covered in an aromatic combination of sand, sunblock and urine, while it took three different people to get the damn door to our room open. Good times.
3-Unavoidable exchanges with random strangers. Being originally from Brooklyn, I generally don’t interact well with people I don’t know. It started off as a safety measure and eventually just became a natural part of being a New Yorker. Whenever I venture beyond the great Empire State, I find overly friendly people to be very irritating. Like just shut up and keep to yourself, weirdos. Big M says this is me being bitchy. He might be right. Oh well.
Here are a few examples of what I mean:
There was a lady I kept seeing on the beach who I then ran into one night on the boardwalk. She yelled loudly to me “hey! you look different with clothes on!” Awkward much?
And, of course, there were a few of the usual “are ya’ll from New Jersey or New York or somethin’? I can tell by yer accents!” Mystery solved, detectives!
But let me not forgot the incessant elevator chitchat that accompanies any typical hotel stay. Since our hotel’s elevator was borderline homicidal and closed on just about every part of my body at least once, I had the same conversation about how obnoxious it was every time I found myself next to someone on it. Constantly having to talk about it was more painful than whenever it actually closed on me.
4-Going out to eat. I think the worst part of vacationing with your kids is going out to eat too much. I can take going to restaurants in small doses, but back-to-back meals spent wrestling my daughter into her highchair while keeping her from violently tossing her apple juice at the waiter’s head is just asking too much. Kids are too unpredictable for such formal settings– even kids that are well-behaved. My nephew was an amazingly well-behaved toddler, for example, but he still projectile vomited across a table and down my sister’s shirt at the diner once. You just never know what can happen with young children.
One particular restaurant where we dined during vacation did not bother to put a changing table in the restroom. They were “kid-friendly” enough to have fancy Rubbermaid highchairs and to serve kids meals in cute little sand pails, but not enough to give a crap about where you could wipe your kid’s ass. Have you ever crouched down to change a shitty diaper while holding a squirmy toddler over your knee in a cramped bathroom stall before? Well, now I have. Next to child birth, it might have been the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.
On our last day of vacation, we tried to have lunch in a restaurant but Little D decided to start screaming at the top of her tiny little lungs the moment we walked through the door. After getting a dirty look from every single unsympathetic asshole in that restaurant, I finally just said f*** this and walked out. Big M got the food to go and we ate outside on a boardwalk bench with the sweltering afternoon sun beating down on us, while Little D dropped more greasy spaghetti in my lap than she put in her mouth and Little M almost got crapped on while trying to catch a seagull.
5-Never-ending bathroom breaks. Whenever we go out in public, Little M takes so many bathroom breaks that he sometimes makes me wish he were still in diapers. At home, he can go half the day without peeing once, but as soon as we go out he suddenly has to go every five minutes.
If we go out to eat, he unfailingly needs to use the bathroom the very minute the food arrives. If we are in a line somewhere, he always starts doing his little peepee dance as soon as we are next in line to go. The night we went miniature golfing, he had to stop us at the 2nd hole, the 12th hole, and then once again on the way out, for good measure. At the beach we couldn’t even tell him to just go pee in the damn ocean, because that’s when he suddenly had to do number two.
Car rides are the worst of all. On the way home from Maryland, we’d been driving for several hours when he said he really had to go. So Big M pulled into a rest stop and brought him to the bathroom, but then he then refused to go in the toilet. Frustrated, Big M brought him back out to the car and we continued on.
Suddenly, a few miles later, he began crying and screaming “I HAVE TO GO COCKY RIGHT NOW!!!!” causing Big M to immediately pull the car over and let him shit in the grass right there on the side of the New Jersey Turnpike. I am not kidding, that actually happened less than 20 minutes before we got home.
I guess it’s true what they say. A vacation just isn’t over until someone defecates in public.
It’s good to be home.