The TSM Blogosphere has been busy lately with talk of vacations and all the "problems" that go along with them. This got me thinking about some of the trips we took as a family (myself, Mom, Dad, and little brother)...and some of the problems that came with them (though none of them involve my dad getting the cops called on him).
Mount Rushmore/South Dakota
I think this was around 1990 or so. I remember this was the trip that my mother tried an experiment to get the two of us to behave in the car during the long ass drive: bribery. She got two rolls of quarters out of the bank and gave one to each of us. Each time we "acted up" or otherwise got into some trouble along the way, we had to pay her a quarter; any quarters left at the end of the trip could be used at the video arcade and if we made it through the whole trip without losing any quarters, we would get another roll each to use at the arcade upon getting home. This was a big incentive to us...until we were fined a quarter each for horsing around at the motel pool in Oklahoma City after the first day's drive. Then we suddenly didn't care much anymore.
The real disaster of this trip came out in the Badlands when the family car got a flat tire literally out in the middle of nowhere. The tire was so flat and our car so weighted down with luggage and whatnot that my dad couldn't even get the jack underneath it to change it out. Three hours of sitting in the hot sun, just waiting for some help. And me, being the little ultra-worrywart I was at the time FREAKED OUT at the prospect of dying out there. Eventually, a state po po came out and called a wrecker for us, but there were some tense moments as I was losing my mind and my dad was pissed off that he had a problem he couldn't solve alone. Then later, when my dad was forced to pay what he considered to be highway robbery for a new tire; well, that was good times at then end of that particular day.
Thanksgiving 1986. My mom, brother, and I had flown to D.C. (my first flight ever, and the only time we EVER flew anywhere as a family) to visit my dad while he was at his FBI Academy training in Quantico, VA. This trip was fine...until the flight home. That's when I, having neglected to tell my mother about the stomach ache I'd had all day, couldn't take anymore and threw up all over the guy sitting in the seat in front of me.
My mother was mortified.
The comedy highlight of the trip came later when we were close to landing in Houston when I reached into the seat back pocket in front of me pulled out the airsick bag, turned to my mom and asked, "What's this lunch sack for?"
New Braunfels, TX
I don't remember exactly when this was, but I was probably 8 or 9 or so. We went to stay at grandmother's house one weekend in New Branfels for a couple days of tubing down the river and playing at Schlitterbahn. Unfortunately, on Day Damn One we went tubing. My brother and I were sharing a tube and, when we went over one of the sets of rapids, the tube dumped over, spilling both of us. To make a long story shorter, I got caught in the current and couldn't make it to shore alone; this guy that was standing on the bank ran out into the water and pulled me out.
As a result, I had no desire to go anywhere near the water the whole rest of the weekend which kind of threw a wrench into the whole 'weekend water fun' plan. My dad was frustrated by this, even going so far as to say, "You didn't drown! What is there to be afraid of?"
Yeah, so anyway, there we were, heading back home less than 36 hours later, me terrified of the water, my dad pissed off at me because we had driven all the way out there for nothing.
Summer 1995. The brakes on the family vehicle give out on the way back to our hotel from Fiesta Texas. By 'give out' I mean the brakes would stop the car...but only if you were going 15 mph or less and had extra room to stop. Instead of calling (and paying for) a tow truck, my dad decides to drive the 20 miles back into town at approximately 10 mph, earning us probably 100 dirty looks from all the angry motorists behind us as they passed us.
I'm still amazed to this day the we a) didn't rear-end somebody and b) get pulled over for going 10 f'n miles per hour.
Quick highlights from some other trips:
- My dad bought my brother and I new fishing rods before one of our many trips to the lake. One the first morning of this trip, we'd been out there for about an hour when I reached back to cast my line...and somehow let go of the rod as I flung it forward. SPLASH! My brand new fishing rod is damned forever to the depths of Lake Somerville. Dad is pissed when he realizes what happened.
- My brother leaves his winter coat at a Long John Silver's on our way back home from a family gathering in central Texas. He realizes this within five minutes of us leaving the restaurant, but fails to tell my mom out of fear of getting in trouble. Instead, he chooses to wait until we are over halfway home to say anything; that doesn't go over well with the parents.
- And I won't even mention the time we were in Arlington and decided to stay at Six Flags Over Texas an extra couple of hours instead of walking over to the Ballpark in Arlington and purchasing tickets to that night's Angels/Rangers game as we had talked about earlier in the day.