The Follow-Up: The Griswolds Have Nothing on Our Family Vacation



Okay, where was I? Oh yeah, Tom driving us off for our weeklong vacation with a numb leg.  (For further ado, read last post.)

We arrive at my friend’s family compound where we are staying on a lake with five other families. There is no better way to beat the heat than being on the beach with friends who have known you since you were 14 — surrounded by coolers overloaded with adult beverages and an occasional juice box.

It’s weekends like this that I really do believe that polygamists have it all figured out. (Well, not the sharing of one husband. At this point, they can have him!) We collectively brought up food, prepared meals, cleaned up, hauled out, kept an eye on each other’s kids, all without being asked. The husbands who made it up all got along. The kids played well together and were completely waterlogged and sticky from smores by the end of the day.

The best part of the weekend was that my girlfriend who was really sick at the beginning of the year was able to rally and make the six-hour drive. She’s the definition of tenacity and it was incredible to spend time with her again. And if laughter is the best medicine, then we all got a healthy dose.

Unfortunately, while everyone was yucking it up, Tom’s pain got worse. The steroids weren’t helping and his knee would buckle as he tried to walk. The muscle relaxer made him drowsy and he ended up spending a good chunk of the weekend sleeping in our friend’s pop-up camper.

My enabling gal pals delivered cookies and Charleston Chews to him. Kinda brings a whole new meaning to “meals on wheels” when you are a shut-in eating in a vehicle.  Thank God we were only going to be there for the weekend because I had visions of Geraldo and his camera crew sawing off the top of the camper to have my husband removed via helicopter. Tom would be wearing a bed sheet, clutching on to his iPhone desperately trying to get the next level of Angry Birds.

I really was more sympathetic than I seem. It’s just always something with this poor guy. A torn Achilles, nose and throat surgery, a herniated disc, kidney stones and countless sinus infections — a gal just gets a little numb to it all. I am just grateful that it is all fixable.

But this injury wasn’t getting any better. We headed to the next stop of our trip: the Wisconsin Dells. Our place was lovely and off the beaten path of all the craptacular sites and attractions that the Dells has to offer. It’s seriously like Vegas for kids: tacky and wacky and larger than life.

Poor Missy was horrified to discover that shopping in the downtown meant shop after shop of T-shirts, fudge, hermit crabs and moccasins. She reached her breaking point after spotting a statue of a naked chick with bouncing  bobble boobs in the window.

“Where are the boutiques? Where are the cafes? These stores are making me so flustered!”

Tom spent most of the days in bed trying his best to hobble out when he could.  The pain remained the same and he couldn’t sleep at night. At one point, I lovingly suggested that he can take the Amtrak home and get to his doctor, but he declined.

While this had all the makings of a family vacation going terribly wrong, it turned out to be the most relaxing week I’ve had in years. The truth is that I was able to keep my sanity thanks to Missy and Junior.

Indian Baby Doll and Her Peace Pipe Bong

Between Tom resting and my fear of driving on roads named “T” or “P,” we were forced to slow down.

Practically to a halt.

The kids and I hung out at the beach and hotel pool. They spent endless hours making rivers and lakes out of sand — running back and forth to the water with their buckets. They treated my feet to sand spas and made up games in the pool. They had as much fun in our bathroom Jacuzzi as the water park. (It pays to be simpletons!)

We created our own room service with hot dogs and brats on the grill. And Missy’s favorite meal was the baked potatoes and steaks from the only market we could find: Wal-Mart.

We moved the coffee table over to Tom’s bed and finished a puzzle without killing each other.

I read three books. Missy read three books. Junior read three pages.

Tom reached level 256,987 of Angry Birds.

The whole family did hit the hot spots: the outlet mall, the Duck tour, an arcade, a water park and a couple of restaurants that freaked Junior out because the mounted deer heads stared him down while he ate his corn dog. He also got some strange bug bite on his chest that looked like a third nipple. I thought about leaving him in front of the town’s Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum so he could earn a couple bucks.

It was all rainbows and unicorns until the last night. I was packing up all of our crap, cleaning out the fridge, squishing ants, folding clothes, etc. as the kids hung out in the big tub in their swim suits. Junior let out a blood-curdling scream accusing Missy of scalding his foot. She’s yelling how it was an accident. He’s howling at the same time. I glance over at Tom lying lifeless in bed. He doesn’t even twitch.

I snap.

“There is no way that you are not hearing this!” He hobbles up to help, but it’s too late. I am steamed and letting out my signature sighs every time I make a move.

It was time to go.

Before we left, Junior bid farewell to our little home: “Thanks for the great time. Call me.”

Tom finally got to the doctor today for an exam and found out that he has a pinched nerve. He was prescribed vicodin that should provide some entertainment. Last time he popped those pills, he hallucinated that a bunch of little people were chasing him in bed. Since the steroids didn’t work, he is going for an epidural shot in a few days.

So help me — if he shoots a newborn out of his loins, I am heading back to the Dells and taking a hit from that Baby Indian.

Please do this mama a solid and forward mom-mom-mom to your friends or share on Facebook. With your support, I can continue to plug away.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.mom-mom-mom.com/2011/08/01/the-follow-up-the-griswolds-have-nothing-on-our-family-vacation/


Skip to comment form

  1. Kim Pugliano

    Don’t think I don’t see the beer on the bed next to Tom’s hand.

  2. Karen

    Sadly, it’s just a Fresca. He couldn’t even cocktail with me because he was on so many drugs!

  3. Nick

    That next level, 256,988 is a bitch. Good luck!

  4. Karen

    The real bitch is ME watching him play Angry Birds for hours on end!

  5. Mary Wiener

    You’re my hero holding it together. That is a loving wife!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: