Thursday, July 15, 2010

Grumpy Summer Vacation, Day 1

Yesterday I flew in and met up with the tribe, who are visiting Mrs. Grumpy’s Dad and his wife’s kids, and their kids.

When we checked into our hotel last night they'd screwed up our reservation, and had us down as needing a handicapped room. This didn't seem to be that big a deal, and since it was the only room they had left, we took it. We were exhausted. I set up a wake-up call, went out to forage for food, and after dinner we all fell dead asleep.

Morning came, and with it our wake-up call. When we went to bed it had, somewhat naively, never occurred to me that a wake-up call in a handicapped room would involve more than a phone ringing. But it did.

At 8:00 the phone SHRIEKED at a volume that would normally be mistaken for a racing fire truck, or perhaps a nuclear bomb. It went beyond waking us up. We all leaped out of bed, with the kids screaming that it was a fire alarm. As if the noise wasn't enough to wake the deaf, the room lights suddenly began flashing on and off, plunging our dark-adjusted eyes from glare to dark to glare again at a seizure-inducing frequency. I grabbed the phone, still asleep, and screamed "What the hell is going on?". The desk clerk, in polite tones amplified by the phone's megavolume, just said "This is your wake-up call sir". I screamed "Thank you!" and hung up.

The lights stopped, plunging the room back into pitch darkness. There were 10 seconds of silence, interrupted by Craig announcing that he needed to change his underwear.

After breakfast we went over to my FIL's house. As soon as I walked in I was unceremoniously told that I'd been picked to lead everybody's kids on a forest adventure hike (I’d apparently been voted to do this while I was flying here yesterday). They all told me that Mrs. Grumpy was supposed to have told me last night. When I looked at her, she pretended to still be deaf from the wake-up call.

So I was given 9 kids, some granola bars & water, and loaded up the van.

On the way to the trailhead Mrs. Grumpy called to tell me to stop for mosquito repellent. After making several wrong turns (and being run off the road by a tractor) I finally found a store. I bought a bottle, and moved on.

The hike was an adventure of whiny children, trees, and LOTS of mosquitoes. Bug repellent doesn’t work. Anyone who spends any time in the great outdoors knows that “repellent” is a misnomer. In fact, it’s more like firing a flare to announce your presence, daring the bugs to come get you.

And they do.

You walk quickly, and they follow you. You stop to swat them, and more land on you. And the kids thought we were having a portable eclipse because of the way the black bug cloud followed us everywhere.

After we gave up and turned back, I discovered the bottle of repellent had leaked in my shoulder pack. It had partially melted one of my plastic credit cards. Nice to think it was on our skin.

We headed back to the house, and to clean the bug spray off I sent all the kids to the showers. Of course, as soon as they got out they wanted to go swimming. All the other adults had magically disappeared, too (gee, I wonder why).

So I'm trying to direct 10 kids (somehow another had joined us, I have no idea where) in and out of showers, and clothes, and towels. All the while I'm having horrible visions of being seen by a nosy neighbor and spending the rest of my life in pedophile prison.

After a bunch of Happy Meals I dragged the kids, and cousins, and some friends who’d somehow attached themselves to my safari train (we were up to 12 now, WTF?), to the city pool. Where, of course, I’m suddenly the bad guy because (although I just bought them lunch) I won’t pay for them to buy stuff from the vending machines. Even though I think some of the snacks in there had gone out of production during my childhood.

The city pool was a popular spot, although when we got there one of the pools was temporarily closed for a rescue drill. As I watched, 2 lifeguards "rescued" a 3rd guard, who was pretending to be a drowning victim. The drowning victim, however, wasn't particularly realistic, as he kept talking, and they were all giggling over something. When they got closer I realized the victim had developed a woody during the drill, and was trying to cover it with his hat.

The kids ran into the pool. I found a chair, opened my book, popped a Diet Coke, and relaxed. The afternoon went on, with increasingly cloudy skies. Then thunder crackled, and suddenly it began pouring rain.

At home this would have sent everyone scurrying out of the pool to shelter (I still don't understand why people get out of the pool when it's raining- you're already wet for crying out loud!) but here everyone kept merrily swimming. Even as it became a downpour. Even as strong winds began blowing. And then the temperature suddenly began dropping. Into the low 50's.

To the kids in the pool, none of this was a big deal. To a guy (like me) in shorts, a t-shirt, and flip-flops, it wasn't pleasant. My kids had NO interest in leaving the pool, and I was stuck watching them. And I was cold.

Then the wind began blowing water from the water slide onto me. And when I reached for a towel to cover up, my paperback blew into the pool.

At this point I was waiting for a grizzly bear to come maul me. I figured that would make the day complete.

Fortunately, as the lightning got closer, they closed the pool, giving me an excuse to haul the wild bunch back to base. Where the other adults had returned from a nice day of restaurant hopping. They also wanted to know who some of the 14 kids were that I'd brought home, as 3 of them had never been seen before.

I can only assume they were tossed out of passing UFO's by angry alien parents. "It's 4 light years back to Centauri, and you guys can walk if you don't behave!"

I certainly sympathize.

38 comments:

The Mother said...

Yeah, but aren't you having fun?

outre said...

Ah hahaha... Sorry had to laugh at the hard of hearing equipped wakeup call.

Those strobe lights, at least the 'doorbell' one that was in my college apt. gave off pre-i'm-going-to-blind-you-by-blinking noise. As soon as I'd hear the pre-beep I'd dash for the door.

Be glad the beds weren't equipped with vibrating alarm...

I went to a university with a Deaf college as one of our colleges, which meant other schools around us loved to set off our fire alarms to watch the strobe light/deafeningly loud alarms go off. Apparently it's pretty from far away... different floors blinking in sequence... But not funny when you were in bed and having to exit the dorm after being blinded.

Anonymous said...

Wow! That is quite the adventure. I like how you kept gaining kids lol.

Michelle said...

You made me laugh hysterically with the wake-up call description. Been there, done that, and NEVER want to go there again!

I love your writing style, Dr. Grumpy. When you get tired of doctoring, maybe you should write a TV show.

Mama Gayle said...

I laughed so hard I woke up my boyfriend who was sound asleep beside me. I read the whole paragraph about the alarm in the handicapped room to him. The entire time I read, I could barely breathe I was laughing so hard, then I snorted, and finally I ended up with tears streaming down my face!!

That was honestly the hardest I have laughed in MONTHS...things aren't so funny in my life right now. But that my friend, was pure AWESOME!!!

Thanks! I needed that:)

middle child said...

Glad to hear you had such a wonderful time. You do realize this means I will never go on vacation with you, right?

me said...

Awesome. I felt like I was the 14th kid or something....

I love you Dr. G!!!!!!!

me said...

I'm sorry, but thanks for the great belly laugh!!!

Chris@Knucklehead! said...

Wow, you're either a hero or an idiot, I'll let the fates decide.

"Portable eclipse". Well said.

Molly said...

My mom would never let us swim in a rainstorm because if we got lightening, the pool would electrocute us and we would all die.

Anonymous said...

And yet, somehow, I get the feeling you enjoyed it more than you would another day at work.

Captcha: "morkedum." I would come up with a witty use for this word, but alas, I'm too young to have seen Mork & Mindy.

Julie said...

3 extra kids - that's funny ....

Don said...

Sorry that you had such a rough day of it, Dr. Grumpy. As far as the mosquitoes are concerned, you might consider something with 40 percent Deet in it. My wife and I used it liberally while we were down at Mosquito Paradise, aka Great Dismal Swamp, and we didn't get many bites at all. Good luck on the rest of your trip.

tuni31 said...

I was already laughing in tears by the time you got out of the hotel. Awesome as always, good luck with what's left! :D

Kim said...

Thanks for the morning laugh, Doc!! I needed that! I hope the rest of your vaca is just that....a vacation!

Diana said...

"There were 10 seconds of silence, interrupted by Craig announcing that he needed to change his underwear." Ok, I was drinking coffee and choked on it when I read that. The image in my head is beyond description.

Jacqueline said...

LOL...that is all.

Anonymous said...

I'm a vet & the summer is crazy busy for us, so I don't take summer vacays. Hence I'm eagerly anticipating hearing all about yours, & even had to go back and re-read previous Grumpy vacays! Thanks to you & all the Grumpies for entertaining us during Crazy Days!

Christine said...

Funniest thing EVER!!!! I love your writing!

Erin @ Sassin' Southern Style said...

This is one of the best posts I've ever read. I so wish you and my OB/GYN would meet up and go on a traveling comedy tour.

Mugdha said...

I'm pretty sure you just made my morning, hahaha. I certainly do hope your vacation looks up soon though!

DaddyBear said...

You just earned your dad card for the week! It's amazing how you tend to pick up extra kids when you start doing stuff.

Banshee said...

This was totally hilarious and made my morning. Thanks for sharing! Is it bad if I hope more interesting things happen for the rest of your vacation?

The Plaid Cow said...

The Sportmen's spray bottle of Off has 98% DEET, which should keep just about everything from coming within a five mile radius of you.

The only thing that can make that wakeup call better is bunk beds.

Anonymous said...

LMAO. The part about the alarm going off was a riot.

terri c said...

This was exquisitely written and I, too, love "portable eclipse." Now that you're out of lightning range and dry, I bet those bug bites are itching nicely...

Scott McCray said...

Note to self:
Must not read Doctor Grumpy's blog whilst eating lunch. DAMHIKT.

Still chuckling...

medschoolodyssey said...

I'm now going to go off and perform an experiment as to what compounds Deep Woods Off will disintegrate.

Queen Silly Britches said...

"At this point I was waiting for a grizzly bear to come maul me. I figured that would make the day complete." ah hahahahahahha...snort, snort...sorry! Poor Grumpy. You need a vacation all by yourself.

Anonymous said...

your kids are going to have some great memories about the awesome dad you are

ERP said...

So I assume you hit the bar upon your return?
I am actually going on an extended family vacation tomorrow too - however I forsee it mostly being spent schlumping around the house that we rented. It has a pool so at least that takes out one onorous task you had to perform.

Ben S said...

Biggest problem I found with handicap rooms (for non-physically-handicapped) were the extra-low sinks and counters. Felt like everything was put just out of reach to punish me for taking the room (even though I got it the same way you did).

Marco said...

Great story, Dr. G. FYI, some product developers are exploring olfactory alarms for deaf people where a whiff of wasabi would be released in the air. The mind boggles as to other smells that can be used as alarms...

Anonymous said...

Your vacation adventures are the best. If you decide to give up being a Neuro doc, consider writing a Vacation Guide for Parents.
thanks for the laugh

Feistess said...

I spent a week in the northwoods of Minnesota, and concur on the fact that bug spray isn 't worth a damn. Also not worth a damn is all the tinctures they sell you to deal with the bites that result. I want a Mythbuster's episode on bug spray and remedies. After my week, the ONLY thing that made me not want to scratch myself into strips of bacon was toothpaste applied directly to the bites. I learned this AFTER figuring out that the crap they sell at Walgreens is probably a conspiracy, and was going to lead to a mental breakdown the way things were going.

Watercolor said...

As an architect, I know they are supposed to ASK you what handicap you have an use the appropriate systems, not just use ALL of them installed in the room. Good gravy.

Anonymous said...

inadequate description of the rescuing lifeguards. and the bug whiners should consider a shirt i saw in the airport today- pain is the body's way of letting go of weakness.

pfongk said...

dettol and baby oil mixed 50/50 and sprayed on makes a great bug repellant. I use it here in the tropics in australia where I swear the bugs need to file flight plans and could probably work for the red cross taking blood.

 
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