Our Caribbean Vacation in Puerto Rico

Wife and I snuck down to the bar. It was a nice getaway from our getaway. Someone would look for us. I told Wife to keep her head down.

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There was a lot to do during our time in San Juan. As usual, different people wanted to do different things. We divided our time between finding out what everyone wanted to do and taking in everything a new destination had to offer.

Puerto Rico’s Capitol Building.

Upon touching down in San Juan, we collected our luggage and our children and stepped outside to find a taxi. Certain children needed to be reminded we were in public, and everyone needed to pretend we were a nice, normal family. We found a taxi and were brought to our hotel. Wife and I got keys to our rooms. We had rooms next to each other. This was an improvement from last year, when our rooms were on different floors. That made coordinating events of the day a little challenging.

Nice to be at the Hotel

There was a little special something included with our keys. I’ll get into that later on. Anyway, everyone got settled into where they would be staying and sleeping for the next few days. Bags were unpacked and warmer clothes were exchanged for summer attire. It was single-digit temperatures when we left Logan Airport, and we were basking in 80-degree weather in beautiful San Juan.

We were all a little weary from our sojourn. Flying four or five hours is bad enough. Having to sit up in seats that don’t recline didn’t make it any easier and having our flight delayed didn’t help, either. Thankfully, all of that was behind us. We were ready for the warm temperatures and blue skies that San Juan had to offer us. Well, the warm temperatures were there. We needed to wait for the blue skies. Our plane landed after sundown.

The Boy wanted to see the pool. Other cherubs asked about the beach. We reminded everyone we had days to see everything in town, including the pool. For now, we needed to find somewhere to eat dinner and discuss our plan of attack.

The Oppressed in front of the Christmas tree in the hotel lobby.

Christmas Day

Christmas was spent in the hotel and at a local restaurant. Before leaving home, I called a place that wasn’t far from the hotel. They assured me they were open on Christmas and could accommodate my family (all seven of us). I played it safe and made a reservation for one o’clock in the afternoon. We arrived at the restaurant and celebrated “Navidad” in an air-conditioned restaurant. This was a far cry from the cold Christmas we celebrated last year in New York City. This year we were walking in the warm Carribean weather. We got back to our hotel for more swimming and a little more rest.

I spent my time in the hotel room doing crossword puzzles, reading Christmas stories, and watching “A Christmas Story”. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it in Spanish. I thought I would since I was in a Spanish-speaking land. That was alright, though. It was easier for me to follow along, which made it easier on my brain.

Beach and Pool

If we weren’t swimming in the pool, we were swimming at the nearby beach. The water was warm, and we were there for hours on end. Our favorite activity there was riding the high waves that came rolling in and crashing down on the shore. Everyone had fun getting knocked over. Wife and I took time from the waves to look around and make sure all of our children were still alright from time to time.

How Many Chairs?

Our hotel had a part of the beach where people staying there could use lounge chairs put out by the staff. If we needed a break from the water, we could just head over to the chairs. Wristbands showed the staff that we were with the good guys.

Upon confirming our stay with the hotel, people manning the chairs asked us how many chairs we needed. We needed seven. Their eyes widened when they learned Wife and I were with five children. Chairs were brought out and, sure enough, there were five little cherubs with us looking for a spot to leave their things while we were in the warm Caribbean water. Not only that, but there were spots in the shade that allowed us to cool off out of the water when we weren’t in the water.

Their eyes widened when they learned Wife and I were with five children.

The beach was great. There was something about being able to swim in the ocean while people back home were dealing with cold temperatures. We were all working on our tans while friends, family and neighbors were working on their snowblowers and car batteries. We had a lot of fun at the beach and at the pool.

I liked the beach. Not only was the water warm, but the waves were high. Everyone got into the water and rode the waves. We jumped into the waves, tried to dive under them. Went out into the water and rode them back to shore, then went back out. The water was warm, but it still cooled us off.

A New Friend

I think The Boy had the most fun at the pool. One day while hanging poolside, we met a family with a young boy. “M” and The Boy got along and started playing with each other. From that day on, the entire family knew The Boy’s vote when it came to deciding beach or pool. Getting to the pool became the priority all day every day for the boy. No matter what we were doing, The Boy wanted to get back to the hotel so he could change into his bathing suit and see if “M” was there.

Wife and I also enjoyed talking to M’s parents while we were hanging out working on our tans. We talked about our lives back home and what we did for work. It was okay for me if we got down to the pool and they weren’t there. It gave me a chance to read my book while the kids splashed around in the pool.

St. John the Baptist

Further away from the hotel, the family took a tour of Old San Juan (also called “Viejo San Juan”). We saw the fort and walked down the streets of the old city. The family was near the church where Ponce De Leon was buried. Alas, it closed before we got there. The Oppressed and I were upset to learn we wouldn’t be able to see this. That’s alright, though. There were plenty of other things we say on our tour. We even hiked through a rain forest. That gave everyone in the family a chance to work off some of the extra calories we had been consuming.

Two of the cherubs walking the streets of San Juan.

Eating in Puerto Rico

Speaking of food, there was plenty of it to sample while we were down there. I was tasked with finding a place to eat on Christmas Day. We figured we could always eat at the hotel if we couldn’t find an open restaurant. Luckily, I was able to find a place that was open, and it wasn’t far from the hotel. I made reservations. They were able to accommodate seven people, bless their hearts. We were at the hotel for lunch. After lunch, a little nap and then back to the pool for a little swim and then back to the hotel rooms for some down time.

I thought hotels would give people a little taste (See what I did there?) of what the area has to offer.

When travelling, we like to try local foods (and drinks). We have learned it’s hard to do that when you’re eating at the hotel. I thought hotels would give people a little taste (See what I did there?) of what the area has to offer. Why else would people travel to different parts of the country or the world?

This wasn’t the case, however, and most of the menu was your generic American fare. I don’t have a problem with typical American food at all. I was just hoping we would be able to order something nice and Caribbean.

I’m not saying the food was bad, either. It was good food. The drinks were good too. I was able to sample a Puerto Rican beer or two. Most of the time, though, it was your standard choices of beer. That hurt a little.

Happy Hour

Speaking of drinks, Wife and I found out about a nice little Happy Hour in the lobby where guests of the hotel were allotted two drinks on the house. That was nice, and we usually grabbed those drinks coming back from whatever swimming activity.

Sometimes, while the younger children were immersed in their screens and the older children were immersed in sleep, Wife and I snuck down to the restaurant for drinks and appetizers. It was a nice getaway from our getaway. Of course, one or more of the children would look for us, and their curiosity would lead them right down to the restaurant, where they would ask us what we were doing. I would tell Wife to keep her head down so no one would see us. Wife told me it wouldn’t matter. It’s not like we were behind a wall. We were sitting at a bar that could be seen by everyone in the lobby.

Dinner Plans Changed because of a Local

Our last night in San Juan was spent looking for a nice local place to end our week-long celebration of the Holidays. It had to be a place that wasn’t too far, and we couldn’t eat too late. I’ll get into that later on.

We thought we had found a great place to eat. It was close enough to the hotel we could walk. I liked that, especially since there was a lot of food and drink we had sampled and enjoyed during our vacation.

There were a lot of stray cats in San Juan.

Our walk was an interesting one. Everyone talked about how nice it was to be walking in shorts and short sleeves in December. Everyone was hungry from swimming. We were talking and nobody noticed how sketchy everything was becoming. There were some questionable looking storefronts. We were all looking around and soon we noticed our surroundings. Someone had noticed we were being followed by somebody. We all grouped closer together. Lucky for us, there was a CVS open. We went in there and waited it out. Our follower left not long after we entered the store. Adults checked outside to make sure everything was alright. We decided to go back to the hotel and eat there.

A Tough Flight Home

All good things must come to an end, including our trip. Coming home from a vacation brings you back to reality.

We were jolted back into that reality on the morning we flew home. The only flight available was at 5:00 in the morning. We were up at 3:00. Everything was packed the night before. We went to bed as soon as we could after our altered dinner plans.

We got up and dressed. Pants and long sleeves. We were heading back to Massachusetts and weather conditions we were accustomed to in December. Everyone but Slugger dressed warm.

Our flight wasn’t delayed this time. We left San Juan, the warm weather, the warm water, the scenery and the people (sane and sketchy). Soon we were back home. We loaded the van and drove back to our house. Our bags were left by the door and went to our bedrooms. We had been up since 3:00. People were tired and we needed to rest and recover so we could prepare ourselves to bring Doggie back home and get ready for the next exciting event that awaited us.

Travelling to San Juan and Warm Weather

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Like last year, Wife and I thought it would be better to travel instead of buying Christmas presents. After looking at options and seeing who could accommodate seven people during the most wonderful time of the year, we decided Puerto Rico was the place to be.

As usual, there were many details to tend to before we could leave. Doggie needed a place to stay, and we needed someone to check on Kitty, making sure she had bowls full of food and water.

On the human side, we needed to make sure the Miracles of Christ had everything they needed clean and packed. I tried to help The Boy, but he insisted he was fine and didn’t need help from any adult in the house.

Travel Day

The day of our flight arrived. Christmas Eve. Everyone descended from their bedrooms upon the kitchen for a quick breakfast. After grabbing whatever we could find, we loaded our luggage and our bodies into the van and joined the countless other jolly travelers who ventured out to Logan International Airport.

Off to the store for a $10 bottle of water and a $20 bag of chips.

We arrived at Logan. Our flight was delayed two hours. It was a bitter pill to swallow, even if I was prepared with my book, crossword puzzles, and beef jerky. We had a five-hour flight ahead of us and the delay gave us time to kill. Off to the store for a $10 bottle of water and a $20 bag of chips.

We spent our time as best we could. I read some chapters and did some puzzles. We ate at a restaurant since people only ate a little something before high-tailing it to the airport. When we weren’t at the restaurant, I tried to coax the children into a game of cards. They declined. Back to my puzzles.

We Work Here? No Food?

After suffering in the cold purgatory of Boston, we were finally invited to board the plane. This was an airline we had never flown before and after sitting in seats that didn’t recline with small, barely usable tray tables, I doubt we’ll be flying this airline again. Bringing our own snacks and drinks meant we didn’t need to buy snacks from the airline.

That’s right. While most airlines at least gave you a can of Coca-Cola or a bag of pretzels, this airline didn’t. If you wanted something to tide you over during the 5-hour flight, you had to pay for it. You would think they would at least give you some pretzels after checking in yourself and your luggage.

San Juan

We touched down in beautiful San Juan, Puerto Rico. Looking out the window, I noticed palm trees gently swaying. We have our luggage and all of our children. No matter how hard I try, I can’t lose any of the Miracles of Christ. We get a cab and take the short drive to our hotel.

Everyone changes out of their pants and long-sleeved shirts. It was single-digit temperatures back home. We change into shorts. Bathing suits. There is a pool at the hotel, and we’re going to use it. The Boy lives for the hotel pool and it’s going to get even better for him very soon.

Holiday Travel

Wife and I decided a little road trip would be just the thing this Christmas. We never told the children.

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Allow me to share with you our experiences between Christmas and New Year’s. Every family has their traditions. Every family has that house they visit to celebrate the Holidays. Some families may even be that host who welcomes friends and relatives into their home.

A very Merry Christmas!

Wife and I decided a little road trip would be just the thing this Christmas. We never told the children. We just told Lovie, who has been in charge of laundry, to make sure that everyone has enough clean clothes for the week. She didn’t seem too suspicious about it but went about her chores.

We went to my in-laws on Christmas Eve, went home, went to bed, and woke up on Christmas morning. We exchanged presents and had a quick, light breakfast. As the children ate, Wife presented them with a slide show detailing what the week had in store for everyone.

Everyone packed bags. We took snacks for us. We weren’t sure what would be open for meals on Christmas Day. Everyone loaded up the car and piled in. The Gaggle, Slick, Slugger, Lovie, The Oppressed, The Boy, Wife, and me. We hit the road, always a favorite hobby of mine. We drove through towns and on highways, stopping where we could to buy snacks. After hours of driving, we finally reached New York, and not long after crossing the line into the Empire State, we arrived at the urban jungle known as New York City.

Stop 1: New York City

All things considered; the traffic wasn’t that bad from our home on Massachusetts’ South Shore to the Big Apple. Even driving through NYC was relatively easy in terms of traffic. Like everything else with life: meals, travels, coordination, this trip presented its challenges which we met and…. Well, we met the challenges.

Our base for this trip was the Hilton Garden Inn on West 54th St. We parked on the street, which was utilized as a street for traffic, a bike lane, and a loading/unloading zone for those staying at the hotel. The loading zone was already full when we got there. Wife got out and got to check us in. I manned the driver’s seat just in case someone came by and said we needed to move the car, which may or may not have been blocking a fire hydrant when we first got there.

The Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center.

Christmas in New York

I patiently waited in the car with seven children, some of whom wanted to go into the hotel with Wife. We said no. There was no way we were letting the kids split up in NYC before we got rooms squared away and luggage out of the car. I kept looking in all directions, hoping to find a better place to park and making sure no one was saying we couldn’t be here.

Wife came back out and informed me we were good to go. We unloaded the car and got it parked out of everyone’s way. On to see our rooms, which weren’t adjoining. That’s alright. I’m sure we can make it work. The boys are on the 10th floor and the girls are on the 30th. Okay, we can meet in the hotel lobby, out front. Meet in someone’s room. Oh yeah, there are three elevators in the hotel, and one doesn’t work. Oh…

The day we arrived was a little low-key. After all, it’s Christmas Day. We chose to eat dinner in the hotel. We did some walking around the city. Back to the rooms for some rest and sleep.

The next day was the start of two full days in the Big Apple. We walked around Central Park. We took a bus tour of the city and took a boat cruise and went past the Statue of Liberty. Everyone ate bagels, pizza, and all kinds of unhealthy food that you would expect someone to eat while they’re on vacation.

I have coffee every day. This time I let everyone know.

Cash… or Not

Oh yeah, pizza. Slick and I went to get pizza for everyone one night. There was a place not far from the hotel. It was late. Everyone was hungry, but no one really wanted to leave the hotel. Three pizzas should cover everybody for dinner. We ordered the pizzas and then we are told it’s cash only. No problem. We had the cash. We pay for the pizzas and wait for them.

I realize I never bought drinks and have to make another order. The manager, who took our order, then informs us they take cash or credit cards. Would we like to use our credit card? Slick and I looked at each other and I told the manager we had cash. We’ll use cash.

There were sidewalk artists. Kids got paintings and drawings. Everyone got souvenirs. Wife told me you could get a Rolex for $10 in NYC. I didn’t know Rolex was going out of business. There’s also a question of authenticity with said “Rolexes” and I guess it’s not just the Rolexes. The same thing happens with certain designer bags and clothes. I’m in my 40’s and I’m still learning things.

Sidewalk artist
A view from our city cruise.

We took a bus tour around the city and listened to a recorded tour. Everyone learned things about New York City, how things got their name, and the history of buildings and streets. We went down 42nd Street. No miracles. Then again, six children went to NYC, and we made it back with all six kids alive and intact. Maybe there was a miracle.

The home of miracles.

West 44th Street

I was on West 44th Street. There just happens to be a recording studio on that street. The Record Plant, aka “The Plant” was where John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, and Jimi Hendrix recorded. Aerosmith recorded there. It was one of those places I had always heard of. I tried to get The Boy to walk down the street with me. He declined. We were also on the far end of the street. I never made it to The Record Plant.

There was plenty to see in New York. There always is. Unfortunately, we had to get home. We needed to unpack our bags and trade dirty clothes for clean clothes, unload souvenirs, get some rest in our own beds and get ready for the second trip of the week.

Stop 2: Home

We got home from the urban jungle of NYC and I took a shower and shaved. It was nice to be in my own bedroom. The past four nights with Slick and Slugger challenged my nose and lungs. I think housekeeping wore hazmat suits when they cleaned our room after we left.

A main reason for stopping at home was an earlier-planned meeting with my parents and siblings for lunch and exchanging Christmas presents. Unfortunately, one of my parents came down with Covid and plans for lunch had to be scrapped. Still, it was nice to get home and unload some of the dirty clothes that were sitting in our bags in the car, especially clothes from Slick and Slugger.

Stop 3: Mystic, CT

We hit the road again. A shorter trip this time. We arrived at a nice hotel situated in a nice part of town. We were near shopping, restaurants, and the Mystic Aquarium. The rooms were nice, the pool was heated. I was waiting for something to happen: some type of infestation, there was a mistake, and our rooms weren’t actually adjoining. Nothing. Accommodations that seemed too good to be true were the real thing.

The favorite part of the trip for The Oppressed.

Dinner and a quick dip in the pool with The Oppressed and The Boy. We fell asleep in our new room, the third in as many nights. The next day was spent at the Mystic Aquarium. The Oppressed got to see turtles. She loves turtles. The Boy got to see dinosaurs. He and I were both glad to see that.

Wrapping up Our Trip

We had to leave the aquarium, though. We had dinner plans with Wife’s cousin at his family’s house. It was a nice house, and, when we pulled into the driveway, I reiterated my death threats to the children if anybody didn’t behave themselves. It went well. All children were able to occupy themselves. Wife and I were able to have intelligent conversations with other adults.

The next morning began with breakfast at a local diner. We did some shopping before getting on the road and making our way home. We got home. More dirty clothes were unloaded. We said goodbye to 2021 and welcomed 2022. It was a year with challenges, kids, lots of kids, and moments that made for interesting stories and reasons for drinking. What mattered was everyone had a good time. We got to do and see things with the kids.

2020 Hindsight

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There’s been a lot of talk about 2020 and how glad people will be to see it leave. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but Coronapalooza isn’t going to disappear when midnight strikes and the ball drops to ring in 2021.

But that’s not why I’m here with you this week. I’m hear to tell you that 2020 hasn’t been all that bad. Not for me, anyway, and I want to share with you the memories of the year that was all about toilet paper, homeschooling, and wi-fi bands that were tested time and time again.

The year 2020 was a year that saw us as a family of five. One left us and two more came. One more came after that and we are now a happy family of seven. We made a jump from dealing with elementary school problems to dealing with teenagers, high school, Driver’s Ed and the multitude of happy experiences and memories that spawned from everything teenager.

Wife finally got one of her wishes. She got to spend more time at home. Granted, she was working from home so it wasn’t exactly ideal, but she didn’t have to fight traffic or deal with coming home after children had gone to bed. I even got to have lunch with her sometimes.

Youth sports got me out of the house with The Boy. We got to spend some time on the baseball diamond where I saw other ways to use a facemask besides protecting your face. Chew toys, sling shots. It’s amazing what kids can do if they’re bored enough. I also spent my time dodging errant throws and thrown bats as well as directing traffic on the base paths and making sure there was one person not chasing a batted ball so the up-and-comers would have someone to throw to as soon as they were done jumping on each other while trying to get said batted ball. Speaking of happy days on the diamond, I would like to take this time to thank a certain neighbor for taking over a couple of times so I could go on vacation with my family.

Vacation. Ah, yes. Vacation. Those glorious weeks spent with my wife, children and my wife’s cousins… and four additional children that belonged to one of those cousins. It was a good time. Swimming and campfires and no wi-fi. I think The Oppressed is still traumatized by the wi-fi-less week. Those therapy sessions are going to be epic.

We spent some time swimming at a nearby beach. We took walks. We dealt with the outdoors and the elements as best we could. It wasn’t Disneyland (our first choice for vacation before the Coronavirus fiasco) but we were able to spent some time together.

Summer vacation ends and we are back to homeschooling and The Homework Wars. We have a small break between homework and dinner where The Boy and I go to flag-football practice. I was an assistant coach. I get another chance to do something with him. The Oppressed has sworn off sports for the rest of her life. I need to find something else to do with her.

Driving lessons. Just one
example of our “fun” this year.

The sports seasons end and the weather gets colder. I move from coaching youth sports to helping one of The Gaggle as they start their driving lessons. There have been plenty of white-knuckle incidents and missed turns and slamming on the brakes when someone realizes halfway through an intersection that there was a stop sign. Good times. We will soon have another child starting Driver’s Ed. My liquor cabinet won’t be empty for a while. The colder weather brings a change to the seasons. We celebrated Thanksgiving. I won’t say how many were there because I’m still not sure what the limits are for gatherings at the time. Whatever they are, I’m sure we were WELL within them.

We gave candy at Halloween. We helped shovel out neighbors. I started to tell my stories to the world about parenting and all of the joys that came along with it. I also took another job writing. A friend of mine took me on to write some feel-good stories about the good people at Northeastern University and their accomplishments. I immediately said yes because I don’t have anything else going on right now. Sounds like fun. It has been.

There was no such fun when I pulled a deck of “Uno” cards out of my Christmas stocking and looked at The Oppressed on Christmas Morning. Playing cards is right under Batting Practice on the list of Cruel and Unusual Punishments she is seeking to have permanently banned. I’m hoping she will change her mind. In the meantime, there will be more stories to tell about me, Wife and our five kids who fill our home with love, memories, and ulcer-inducing stories.

So, what exactly will 2021 bring to us? I have no idea. I’m stuck with you here in 2020. I know there will be three in high school and one wrapping up elementary school and getting ready for middle school. A child in middle school. What could possibly go wrong?

I do have hopes for the new year. One hope is that we can finally get back out to doing normal things. Go out to eat. Take a vacation. Send my children, all five of them, to school full-time. Whatever 2021 brings us, I will be sure to let you know about it. Thank you for being with me this year as I share the ups, downs, and adventures in Parenting. The year 2021 should be an interesting year and, if anything goes wrong, there’s always 2022. Right?

Happy New Year!

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Just me and… Forget it (A Marriage Story)

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We’re a busy family. We always have been. Wife’s work schedule is insane. The kids have sports, doctor’s and dentist appointments, drivers ed. We travel here and there to visit family and sometimes help family with various things around the yard. There’s things around our yard that need attention. We’ll get to it. Sure.

We’re busy just like you. Everyone has their obligations and to-do lists. It’s nice to get away for a while but even then it can be tough for me and Wife. Our children can be territorial; Not with me of course. I could be missing for a month and they wouldn’t care as long as screens are charged up and the Wi-Fi is working. I’m talking about their mother. That’s right. Their mother. I have been reminded numerous times that Wife is their mother. My mother is not in the house and therefore they get to have her and not me. People don’t own people and they should be able to spend time with whoever they want. I’m still working on that message for the children.

One time we took a vacation to a resort. This was before we became foster parents. There was me, Wife, The Oppressed, and The Boy as well as some of my in-laws. One week at an all-inclusive resort. No cars. No going anywhere except the beach and the restaurant. During that entire week Wife and I had a 20-minute lunch together. That was it in the entire seven days.

A rare photo of Wife not surrounded by children.

I know you’re reading this nodding your head. You’re dealing with the same thing. Or you had the same thing once and don’t anymore. You may miss it those days and for that, I pray for your mental health.

It’s not all bad. Sometimes when when we need to go somewhere and have to take two cars, the kids want to go with Wife. This allows me some quiet time. Sometimes the cars are so packed one or two of the children have to go with me. That’s when they show Wife how they can contort themselves in the car and still be able to go with her. They are willing to do anything if it means going with their mom and not going with me. I’m looking forward to one of the children getting their license. Maybe then Wife and I could go together in one car and the children could go in another. Maybe then we could get some alone time. It would just be for an hour or so but I’ll take what I can get.

Last week we had a Zoom meeting with some friends. Wife and I were set up with drinks and snacks waiting for the host to join. Something went off inside The Boy as he sensed I was sitting too close to my wife. He sped into the room, jumped on the couch and crated a spot between me and Wife for him. He doesn’t want me to get too much time with my wife. He doesn’t want me to get any time with my wife.

Family Vacation

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The ‘Rona gave another trial this tried-and-true family had yet to endure: Vacation.

Wife usually picks where we go. I’m happy to go anywhere so I provide the tie-breaking vote if we can’t narrow it down to one place. We did have a place picked out and booked… Then Coronapalooza hit and we were forced to call an audible. We needed a place that would accommodate seven people. We needed a place that would provide fun, diversion and enough space for people to properly social-distance. What better place for that than the Great Outdoors.

One week, four adults, eight kids. What could possibly go wrong?

Wife has told me time and time again she is a “Hotel Girl”. I did a couple of years in Boy Scouts and my first camping trip was wall-to-wall rain. The heavens opened up and stayed open from the time we made camp to the time we broke camp. We swam, cooked, ate and slept in the rain. I should have checked to see who made those tents because not a drop of water came in the entire week.

We arrived at the campsite; Me, Wife, The Boy, The Gaggle, The Oppressed. We were accompanied by two of wife’s cousins. One of the cousins had three kids. One week. Four adults. Eight kids. What could possibly go wrong?

We set up the tents when we got there. I was ready. We had enough tents to shelter everybody and we were cooking on propane. It wasn’t exactly Valley Forge that week.

Wife and one of the cousins did most of the cooking that week. I helped where I could. I washed some dishes. I monitored the kids swimming. The waves at the beach were fantastic. Everyone went out to the water and tried to remain standing as the large waves came at everybody.

We cooked and cleaned outdoors. We roughed it, especially the gaggle, who did everything they could do to find and use wi-fi. All of the children went a week without screens. It was, by far, one of the longest, hardest weeks they ever endured. the mental anguish. The Oppressed was also concerned for everyone’s safety. On the way to the beach, she saw signs warning about sharks and made sure no one went into the water. I reminded her that sharks did live in that water and we needed to be told about this. The sign convinced her that there were definitely sharks and maybe we shouldn’t go in.

Proof we shouldn’t swim.
(The Oppressed)

There were other challenges and trials. Some Daddy Long Legs infiltrated tents. I was sent in a couple of times to rescue God’s little creatures. Some of the tents looked like the children (the boys) were actually trying to grow or culture something in their tents. I was glad I had a mask when I went in there. Some of the kids left their shoes out in the rain. Luckily, we had extra shoes packed.

There were hot showers on the premises, so it was nice to be able to keep clean during the week. What wasn’t nice, was having to trip through the roots and rocks in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.

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