Rob and I have not taken a vacation together in about 18 months. Mostly due to finances. Going through IVF and adopting a baby are not cheap things to do, so we've...sacrificed. My sacrifice has been to whine about it and pout. It's a long way from where I was 3.5 years ago when I first realized I had to quit drinking: "fuck, what the hell am I going to do on vacations???!"
Our first vacation post- drink was to Hawaii. I was nervous as hell, but was pleasantly surprised at how great vacation can be when sober. We actually ventured out past the hotel bar, and surrounding block. I recall every bit of it, even the creepy Mormon theme park that showcased the Pacific Islands and their indigenous peoples. That the Mormon's conveniently forgot to add were happy and free before being ambushed by missionaries. That was a good eight to ten hours of my life I wish to have back; although I have to admit, it was a dry theme park. So good on you, Mormons.
Last November I was unexpectedly invited to go to Grand Cayman by my cousin. Her husband had to back out for work, so I gladly filled in. Best part was that my little cuz doesn't drink, so it would be another stress-free vacation, in that my companion wouldn't be on the hunt for the closest two-for-one deal. Gorgeous, that Grand Cayman. Loved every minute of that vacation.
So I have gotten over my initial terror at going on vacation without booze. And now we can't afford to leave the fucking drive-way. Having had to ask the father-in-law to float us money while I am in school, with no income, was a kick in the balls for my poor husband. Earlier in the summer we were offered a free place to stay down at the Outer Banks. All we would need is spending moolah, we quickly deduced that going on even a "free" vacation would look down right asshole-ish, so we declined the kind offer.
So with no vacation destinations, Rob still had to take vacation from work, or lose it. This past week was great. A nice little stay-cation, if you will. Pawned baby off on Grandma, so we could go out and eat crabs in peace. Lounged around the house. Ran errands together. Nice. But still were in a funk about not going anywhere fun, so we decided to go to the ocean for a night. Even after Labor Day, hotels down at the beach cost an arm, leg, and a kidney. We like to rationalize things, so we used our most convenient excuse: The Baby. Cam can't have her first summer on earth without dipping her toes in the Atlantic, right? Right?! Right.
I am a planner. A worrier. Someone who does not adjust well to change. So I spent about 10 hours online looking at the few hotels at the ocean. None over a 3 star. Which set off panic alarms inside of me. My husband would have driven down, sight unseen, and booked us into the nearest place that had a vacancy sign. I do not roll like that. So after much deliberation, I chose a Holiday Inn. We set out yesterday with a full car, a slightly unhappy Cam, and determination to eat every unhealthy thing that we remember loving as kids, down at the Boardwalk.
I should have figured it out when I passed a sign that said "Motorcycle Safety Week". Certainly the hundred or so bikers we passed, got cut-off by, or stuck behind didn't clue me into the fact that they were headed in our direction. My mind must have tried to block the fact that fucking Bike Week coincided with the one goddamn day we were on "vacation". Cam screamed in terror at the ear shattering motorcycles when they pulled along side us. The two and a half hour trip to the beach was a nightmare. Screaming baby, loud bikes EVERYWHERE, cops stationed every few miles to keep the bikers safe, and to keep me from driving like the maniac I can be.
The Holiday Inn turned out to have a fabulous kid pool, replete with water slides, a mini lazy river, and a bunch of fountains. Sweet. In my vacation delirium, I didn't take into account Cam needing to sleep. I'll admit, it made me a little bitter that the 7 month old was keeping me from my ice cream, french fries, funnel cakes, and caramel corn. Oh, and I am a Type 2 diabetic, so my blood sugar was probably low from having to wait six hours in between meals. Blood sugar is under tight control, so no lecture about the diabetes, folks.
Get to the Boardwalk, which under normal circumstance is the best people watching on earth. You add to it drunk, possibly high bikers, it's a train wreck you just can't take your eyes off. It occurred to me, while sitting and eating like a pig at a trough, that the week before this little town hosted an A.A. convention. I snickered to myself as I watched rednecks and bikers yell to one another where the next "party" was. While cops blindly looked the other way. What it would be like if A.A and the bikers were in town during the same weekend. I really would pay to see it.
It was windy as hell, so our walk that I had envisioned as being so tranquil and fun, with summer ended, was anything but. The constant rumble of motorcycles, of rednecks yelling to one another, and booze advertisements everywhere was definitely not my idea of a vacation. We finished our pig out, accomplishing two goals simultaneously: the adult feeding frenzy and Cam getting her first tastes of the boardwalk. We headed back to the car, and decided to take a drive down the highway and memory lane. We got twenty blocks in before we turned back to the hotel serenaded by a very angry, over tired Cam. Motherhood: failure; Vacation Planner: utter failure.
I now sit in the comfort of my own home, in what was awesome silence. Cam , off schedule, is screaming at the top of her little lungs. But I don't hear motorcycles, so I guess that's something. :)