Missing Vacation

I’m missing my vacation. You haven’t seen it have you? No, ’cause I haven’t posted any photos yet. [snort] Working on it! More than that though, I miss being on vacation. I’d like it if my vacation lasted all week or even two instead of a partial week, but I’ll deal.

I feel like blogging vacation memories may be a bit like the verbal equivalent of old family vacation slide shows. So if you start to drift off to sleep I’ll try to give you a nudge.

After wrangling a few car (and other) issues, we hit the road putting a hefty chunk of miles behind us before we stopped at a Cracker Barrel where we all indulged in dessert–me, blackberry cobbler; Dave, double chocolate Coca-Cola Cake; and the mini-me had a kid’s ice cream sundae. Yummo on all three counts. (Hey, don’t fall asleep yet.)

Like the time warp that it is, the Old Country Store side of CB sucked a bit too much of our time, but we scored a peg game for my dad and some other goodies including a wire-twisting-beaded-shape-making bracelet thing which some call Magic Loops and others call a Flexi-Sphere. I had one as a kid. We also picked up Nik-L-Nips and Razzles which Dave and I both enjoyed in our childhood. Our daughter has been officially introduced to the joys of candy that turns into gum in your mouth. Not much else to do while driving, so I’d snack on fried pork rinds (a strange favorite for long drives) and a 5-Hour Energy drink to help keep me on the road and avoid stopping at a hotel or planting the car into a tree.

The stay with Dad was great! My Dad makes some seriously awesome pulled-pork BBQ. And he’s pretty much been making it every time we visit for a while now ’cause we like it so gosh darn much. There’s a local place where we can get pulled pork BBQ and it’s good, but my dad’s is AWESOME! He also made us his super-delicious ribs and we got to enjoy copious leftovers of all. While we don’t normally eat much meat, we completely enjoy loading up on any nutritional requirements bestowed by meatiness while we’re with Dad. To top it all off he made Bananas Foster which is also totally awesome in a meatless bananas and ice cream sort of way.

We played with the dog, boated on and swam in the lake. Dad’s black lab thinks it’s pure heaven to jump into the lake to fetch a tennis ball and she will do it until her 10-year-old body is about to drop from pure exhaustion. Good dog!

Sara played imaginative games. She was a dolphin, a baby octopus (on the run from an Inkasuarus), a mermaid and a puppy. Lately, Sara has been assigning me the role of “bad guy” with most of her imaginative play. For example when playing Harry Potter, she’ll be Hermione, Dave will be Harry, a guest friend will often be Ron, and I get to be Voldemort. I’m not sure what exactly it means that she likes to make me the bad guy. But play at the lake was no different. She made me the octopus mom for a while and then decided I was the Inkosaurus “Ink-o-saurus(?)” which is apparently a giant, evil, dinosaur-octopus hybrid borne from Sara’s imagination. It shoots its victims with a foul ink and is generally monstrous so that other creatures run away. My cutie-pie still seems to like me fine for the most part in real life, though, so that’s good.

After playing mermaid as well as puppy and dolphin with Sara, Dave eventually discovered the joys of playing inanimate floating raft. He floated in his life vest in the warm lake water and did nothing at all (aside from getting too much sun). Ah vacation!

A couple of dragonflies seemed to find my shoulder a particularly attractive landing spot for their special kind of dragonfly love dance and I expect quite a little population explosion. The amorous couple left and returned several times. Sara was highly amused. We also saw a large green and black dragonfly as well as a red and black one. Dragonflies are such a work of art and we wish those too would have stopped long enough for closer examination.

Fireworks were spectacular! This was our first year boating out to the “bridge that does the fireworks” show near my dad’s. We’ve heard about it for years, and I have to say that it, indeed, ROCKED! The boats are allowed to get close enough so as to be under the umbrella of sparks as they rain down in pops and crackles. You can feel the sounds in your body. The glittery blossoms can be so enormous as to take up well more than half of the sky. My camera couldn’t zoom out far to capture the whole thing–that’s how up-close and personal this show can be. I’ve never seen anything quite like it and I’m a pretty big fireworks fan. This was the first year in many that we didn’t light a single firework of our own despite being in a state where nearly all consumer-class fireworks are totally legal. But the show was so good that it didn’t feel 100% legal, so there was plenty of explosion satisfaction.

The days passed quickly and it was time for the long drive home. We topped off the tank with gas from a convenience mart which not only had pumps with mechanical numbers that flip as you fill your tank, but signs which read, “Our Gasoline is Ethanol Free.” I’m not sure how they manage that these days… We also picked up a few Cheerwines to last the ride home. (Cheerwine is sort of cherry-flavored soda pop completely free of wine.)

Many miles further up the road, we stopped for more gas at a mini mart where I noticed the clerk was packing heat. I just don’t see that very often. Not sure how I feel about it in this case. I’m sure the clerk sees it as a way to discourage crime in his shop. It would definitely discourage me in case I was thinking of making any life-changing, spur-of-the-moment decisions to turn to a life of crime and rob this particular gas station right then and there. (But I probably wasn’t going to do that anyway.) I’m a little freaked out that the clerk (or owner) feels that the threat of robbery in broad daylight is so intense that he must wear a sidearm before dinnertime. Maybe he knows something I don’t. So, I’m thinking, I really don’t want to spend any extra time there, and I didn’t.

A few sore bottoms, a slightly car-sick child, then one more rest stop and we were home. It felt very good.

Copyright © 2010 Deb L. Kapke


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