Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Top 10 Highlights of Vacation

10. Tornado watch.  I mention this first because if I were to begin with the fact that we were enduring 70 degree temperatures while my Northeast peeps froze under snow... well, then that might breed bad feeling.  So, I'll try this: guess what happens when temps jump 40 degrees? Tornado watches!

Now, I "do" hurricanes.  Yeah they're big, yeah they're scary, but you know about them days in advance.  You know pretty much where they will hit, when, and how bad it's gonna be.  Which means if you have a mind to pack up all your people and possessions and move inland, you can pretty much do that.

Hurricane watches are different than tornado watches.  Different than, "Oh, fyi o ye family touring outdoor historic sites, there is a possibility that a funnel will drop from the sky and take you into the next life.  Just so's ya know. Y'all be careful out there. Watch yer heads." Or something.

We were all in historic Jamestown when we got that particular weather news from a very nervous Park Ranger. My husband and sister-in-law took it in stride, and made attempts to tell me not to worry.  "It's just a watch.  That just means conditions are favorable for a [funnel cloud of death] twister to [drop from any point above us and] form.  That's all."

This did not work for me, an individual who's of a mind that people in Kansas should regularly live underground, or at least keep their babies and collectibles in bunkers all the time.

Somewhere between the Pocahontas statue and the archaeological museum that had already disturbed my children with highly unnecessary specifics of survivalist cannibalism, the watch became a warning and we were told to "go home."  Because a second story, vacation "home" was tornado-proof, I suppose.

Usually I'd post a picture here, but I was too busy dragging my blythely unconcerned children towards the relative safety of a small car to take anything as mundane as a photograph.  Here's my best at a visual:

We got to the parking lot, waited an endless 2.3 minutes while a male relative used the restroom, and began to drive off the island via a small, low bridge with no guardrails.  

On our left over the Chesapeake, a misty, grayish mass was moving over the water, spinning it into a froth as it went.  I had enough time to say, "Hey, look at..." and the car shook violently in (ha!) hurricane force winds.  Large hail pinged off the roof, and water started to flood across the bridge.  Grey was the sky, the rain, the bay, and the road, and little distinction could be made between any of them.  

I handled it...well, I prayed.  Yes, my voice sounded strangely like a weepy and very excitable Miss Piggy repeating the Lord's name and random, philosophical questions like "Can we go back?" and "Is it safe?"   

Steering her tiny car with my now-crazed self and two older daughters--one following her emotional lead, one mine--my much more level-headed, wonderful sis drove that car off the island to safety, avoiding fallen tree branches as well as open bodies of water as she went.  And we lived to spend the evening in the outdoor hot tub, watching the birds fly home across a gorgeous sunset, temps in the mid 60's.

Happy sigh.

9.  Awesome RI neighbors.  Absurdly awesome RI neighbors.  Neighbors who, while you are walking around Williamsburg in shorts, text you pics of your freshly shoveled stairs and walkway back home "so people wouldn't know you were away."  Oh, and they fix your screen door while they are at it.  

The south hasn't cornered the market on friendliness yet! :)

8.  Awesome, clean-looking indoor pool that is warm enough that you don't have to "get used to it."  LOVE!

7. Big Game Hunting Safari.  Folks, there is now a video game I'm addicted to.  Our resort place had a free (squeak!) arcade for kids and yours truly.  I got neck strain from the time I spent with that plastic rifle, while my progeny beat air hockey pucks and billiard balls behind me. Somewhere in VA now, "KD" has a high score record for her ability to shoot five bucks and the trophy (usually a poor zebra or giraffe or elephant).  I'm so very proud. Got extra points for shooting flamingos too.  In real life, I don't have the heart to kill anything bigger than a bee, but on Big Game Hunting Safari...booya!!

Oh and playing x-box dance games with my girls was loads of fun too.

6.  Winter Olympics!  And time to watch them.

5,  Historical sites.

I have an unreasonable love for historical sites--"George Washington was actually here!!!"--probably because I was once a homeschooled Rhode Islander who was a rabidly avid reader whose family wouldn't ever drive more than 15 minutes in any direction, practically, for oh, like, eighteen years.  So yay historical sites! 

If I could invent an app, it would be to get pinged to know when I'm passing a historical site and what happened there.  (Yeah it probably already exists, but my phone's out storage space...) Out of the collection of non-essential things that annoy me, few annoy me more than seeing a small, black and white historical marker while speeding down the freeway, with no place (and/or time) to park and read what it was, and only ever getting the first line and a half.  "Greenwald's Tears Near this site was the last stand of the noble..."  That's all you get.  Grrr.

So yay for Williamsburg and Jamestown and Yorktown!  Williamsburg was a lovely walk down a colonial street, 

Jamestown was right on the bay and would have been gorgeous if it hadn't been chock full of tornadoes and stuff, and Yorktown was awesome awesome because they preserved, like, the whole thing!  Acres and acres of battlefield.  So neat...

3. TVs.  As in, one in each of two bedrooms and a big one for the living room.  Deplorable.  Bad for the brain. Lousy for sleep.  Isolating to the family.  SO MUCH FUN!  My little ones could watch "Caillou" while my tweens watched "Good Luck Charlie" and Dan and I watched parallel slalom finals.  Crazy cool.  

2.   Bathrooms.  As in, 2 whole, full bathrooms.  As in, more than 1 bathroom.  As in, 50% better than my normal existence.  As in, I could technically (though unadvisedly) have two people brushing their teeth, two people bathing, and two on the potty at the same time!  I wouldn't but... man.   The possibilities.  Getting misty-eyed just thinking about it. 

That's it!!  As soon as I can figure out how, a "Go Fund Me" button is going up for a second bathroom!  I give in!  Bathrooms, happy sigh... oh and

1. Family. Of course. Sisters-in-law who hang out with the kiddos and put them back to sleep when they wake in a strange house. A father-in-law who chuckles at the antics of the two year old, takes you to dinner, and then plays board games with you for hours. And a mother-in-law.

0. A daughter losing a new iPod full of photos.  :(

-1.  A time share presentation.  Oh help.  Oh, they're good.  They are "just doing it for you."  They "know how it is to vacation with family."  The offer "is for today only."  Oh you want a better offer?  Oh that's impossible.  Just impossible.  But you know, "Let me just go check with my boss to make sure."  And guess what!  The impossible is possible!  Just sign here and you will be the owners of more time share property!   

Heck no!  We have enjoyed the timeshare that was very much "sold" to us when we were barely into our twenties and a month into wedded life.  But no more please, because hey, pretty much anything is an "upgrade" if it has more than one bathroom and the stove isn't harvest gold and does have more than two burners. It can pay not to be spoiled.  Heck, I'd happily try tenting.... but you know Daddy Warbucks has a taste for the finer things.

There we have it.  Figured it was time for an indulgent post, as this blog is taking the place of two decades of short-hand, illegible diaries.  Need to record these wonderful highlights for posterity....


  1. Sounds like a great vacaiont (except for the Tornado( So glad you are okay. We live not far from the Williamsburg/Jamestown Area but haven't made it to any of the hisotircal sites yet. We are planning to go in May though....(when we can get in cheap for homeschool days!).

  2. Beautiful pictures, I really love the architecture of the buildings! I am attempting to comment here for first time rather than Facebook, baby steps LOL. Yay for indoor pools and extra TVs and bathrooms-- it's the little things that make vacations wonderful!

  3. Thank you for your comment Angela! And due to overwhelming concern: no, we there wasn't actually a tornado. Rather, there was a storm front rushing over the water which met us on the bridge. Very grateful we were okay! :)

  4. I grew up in tornado country and I still live in tornado country and I am still a compete wimp about them.