Monday, May 17, 2004


Title:A family vacation gone wrong

Just about every vacation goes "wrong" somehow: a big argument, lousy weather, lost luggage, etc. But all this stuff eventually makes it into the potpourri that becomes The Great Family Story.

My favorite vacation gone wrong happened when I was 20 and met my parents in Minneapolis to fly to England to visit my sister. Memorable bad things that happened:
    --We stayed in a former chicken house that had been prettied up as a B&B. It was actually quite nice inside, if somewhat low-ceilinged. But they had wrapped all the mattresses in plastic, so I slid around all night on top of the sheets. And it was cold. COLD COLD COLD. We had one electric fire in the living room. And I was sleeping on plastic with one blanket and a sheet.
    --I dropped my 1 year old nephew on his face.
    --My sister accidentally unplugged their refrigerator before they left for our week by the seaside. We came home to no food and ANTS EVERYWHERE. And by then we'd hit proper summer temperatures, so cleaning up was really icky.
    --I missed my boyfriend tremendously.
    --The day we went to Exeter it poured rain and dad's hearing aid was ruined.
    --All I brought to read were books on the Soviet Union (to prep for my trip there later). Boring.
    --My dad had his pocket picked in London, on the tube.
    --Our flight home was delayed and then cancelled. When we finally arrived back in Minneapolis, it was too late to make any connections that day, so they booked us into a hotel. But our bags were checked through to Denver, so we had to go argue with the baggage people. By the time we had our bags, the hotel driver told us there were no rooms left. So we had to go back into the airport and find someone to get us chits for another hotel. We finally hit the sheets about 2 a.m., and had to be up at 6 to catch our flight.
    --The $5 they gave each of us for breakfast at the hotel bought us an orange juice. Everything else was upwards of $10 or more.

However: I have pleasant memories of watching my two preschool neices splashing in the (COLD) water, eating pasties in the cafe by the sea, being assured by my sister that old people (her mother-in-law) could really be annoying, my dad telling me that my mom had a "classy chassis" (my dad NEVER talked that way!), shopping at the Leicester outdoor market, seeing Evita in London, staying at a wonderful hotel in London--in my own room!--buying fun records not available in the States, and Morag (from Scotland) working with us in Minneapolis to get the hotel issue resolved so my dad wouldn't have a heart attack, literally, in the midst of dealing with it. Oh, and my dad's best friend, Ken Hamilton, picking us up at the airport. That was the last time I saw him.

We survived. And it was fun.

Other memorable "bad vacation things:" arguing with my sister at my parent's 50th anniversary party and making Mom cry, Beast falling over the suitcases on an escalator in Frankfort, trying to get my camera fixed in Beijing, Shady (our dog) peeing in the hotel room instead of outdoors, having to change TJ's diaper in a prop jet bathroom, running with Sparky from one end of the Memphis airport to the other, being overseas when the plane went down near Long Island in 1996, nearly being mugged in Rome, discovering that our vacation home had been burgled, Aeroflot.

But they are all great stories!

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