Channeling Jane in a leopard tankini...
Vacation…Webster defines a vacation as a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation. We bank our time and save our money planning for that perfect vacation. We each have our own version of what that vacation would entail. For me, heck, all I need is a good book, some celebrity mags, a comfortable beach chair and a steady stream of libations served to me with little umbrellas by a waiter on the beach, preferably a cute one. Others may appreciate spending their time strolling the streets of Paris with a French dictionary in their pocket, eating coconut macaroons while navigating the sky for the closest way to the Eiffel Tower. But you get my drift.
During the first 10 years of my marriage, the Big Cheese* and I have been fortunate enough to take some great vacations, both to the beach and traveling across the globe. These trips, overall were never that adventurous and mostly consisted of good food, strong drinks and lots of R&R.
So how on earth now, after having two children, a sore hip and 10% more body fat have our vacations turned into one never ending commercial for Bass Pro Shops Superstore. Now a giant outdoor nightmare, complete with real sweat, bug spray, Merrel shoes and a handheld GPS. Bye-bye pina coladas, island dance clubs and sleeping through breakfast. Hello waking up at the butt crack of dawn, bug bites the size of quarters and the ever popular game of “Hey Cheese*, don’t touch that mushroom, its poisonous. Goodbye private bathrooms-- hello squatting in two feet of stagnant water pretending to look for fish while you pee, in PUBLIC.
Our most recent vacation or I should say excursion brought us to woods of North Carolina. I was looking forward to a nice quiet week visiting my parents in their log cabin. I didn't have much planned, I would mostly spend the time catching up on my soaps, joining in happy hour at 4:30pm, followed by a couple of games of penny canasta and concluding on the couch watching a 9pm rerun of Law & Order. Instead on day two, before I had a chance to finish my first cup of coffee and make a plan for the day the Big Cheese* had loaded the kids and me into the minivan and we driving straight into the Pisgah National Forest. Instead of catching up on Days of Our Lives, I spent my day screaming for my life, sliding down a 150 foot giant rock into a 7 foot pool of freezing cold water. I kept thinking each time I face planted into the ice cold water, after getting back my breath and pulling my wedgie out of my bum...how in the hell did he find this place? What did he Google “dangerous slippery natural waterside, located in the godforsaken underbrush of the Pisgah National Forest”?
So box was checked, surely one “outdoor adventure” would tide hubby over for this trip. I was not so lucky. On day three, while many of my friends were Facebooking about their great island vacations in the Florida Keys and St. Maarten, I was stuck in banjo country white water rafting down the Tuckaseegee River with no guide, in a raft wearing my leopard printed tankini. No drinks, no food, no nothing, just a paddle and a prayer. Oh, and to top off the assemble, I have to mention my hideous pair of water shoes, neon pink and black slip ons, two sizes to big purchased 15 minutes prior to push off at the local Kmart. The only think I remember during the purchase was the Big Cheese running behind me as we were going to be late, yelling “honey don’t worry, you can wear those shoes next time we go rafting”. Next time, what is he kidding? If only I could locate the GPS, maybe I could send a diress signal and have someone air lift me out of this Fish and Stream nightmare.
In retrospect had I known we would be sliding down giant rocks and white water river rafting I would have left home my black Steve Madden heels and leopard tankini and opted for some semi-fashionable river shoes, and a pair of jean shorts.
OK so you can see I am pretty pleasant to deal with, but after all my bitching and moaning I have to say that the vacation was not a total bust, it was definitely adventurous and maybe even a little empowering. I did feel young sliding down that slippery rock, I imagined myself as Angelina Jolie sliding through ancient tombs of the never world, even if I looked like a tramp. And more importantly as family we got to try some fun things together. There is something to be said for seeing a child’s eyes light up for the first time when they attempt and later conquer something new. And although I griped the ENTIRE time during both outdoor trips, the girls had a blast. They embraced these adventures like the little Lara Crofts they inspire to be. And while the Big Cheese* may have missed the mark marrying me and my love of all things silky, shiny and fashionable, he did hit the jackpot with our girls, Mac and Cheese*. Their eyes are wide open and they are eager to experience all of life’s great adventures as long as we continue to show them the way. If he, or should I say we keep this up, those little girls will surely conquer the world one giant rock at a time. Of course they will be wearing fashionable shoes, I mean seriously why can they?
**Names have been changed to protect the innocent and obnoxious. All blogs now refer to my nine year old as "Mac", my five year old as "Cheese" and my hubby as "the Big Cheese" because he is the cheesiest.