[Warning! This story includes children throwing up. The title may not have given that away. This story is not for the faint at heart or the weak in stomach. Dakota rates it PG.]
A sure sign that your vacation may not go as planned is when you wake up the first night to your wife saying, “Ryan throws up like you!” Of course this would be really awkward if your son’s name wasn’t Ryan, but it so happens that mine is.
Our family has enjoyed many a trip to different water parks. On this particular adventure, we had found a good deal on some social living site and purchased two nights at Wisconsin Dell’s Great Wolf Lodge. Here, let me paint a picture for you.
Great Wolf Lodge isn’t the biggest waterpark, but it’s still pretty fun. It’s probably the perfect size for families with tweeners and younger kids. By the time they get to high school, the 40 foot lazy river begins to feel like a tramp through the bathtub. With that said, one of our favorite parts is that we often visit these waterparks when hardly anyone else is there. We don’t have to wait very long to go down a slide, or get a basketball in the pool, or steer through 40 toddlers in the hot tub. The problem this time was that they opened up half the slides at a time and would then switch them up every hour. Our hour window was right, the boys were running around on one of the water play grounds, and an innertube opened up. So I grabbed it and Linda and I scampered off to the largest slide in the park. It was good exercise, climbing up those 25 flights of stairs with a 2 person raft slung over our shoulders. Of course when we crawled up the last 50 steps to arrive at the top of the slide and saw the guy in front of us have to get on a scale to see if he and his little girl could go down on the same size raft we had just carried up – well I got a little nervous. My nerves proved to be accurate as the peach fuzz employee directed Linda and I to get on the scale. Much to our dismay but not to our surprise, he told us that we needed the 4 person raft to go down. Of course he was kind enough to push our 2 person raft down the slide without us. On our way down the 35 flights of stairs, after talking to Linda about all the weight she’s put on, we decided that if there was a 4 person raft sitting there waiting for us at the bottom, we would grab it and go back up. There was, and we did, just to spite the punk kid at the top. I saw a bit of respect in his eyes when we climbed back up those 45 flights of stairs to take our rightful place on the slide, only to lose his respect as I screamed like a little girl when he pushed us down. I’m just kidding, I didn’t scream. Linda covered my mouth! The excitement exerted through the slide incident drained Linda and I for the evening. We contented ourselves with overseeing the wave pool.
You may have noticed the absence of our beautiful daughter in the story so far. Like I said, this particular park is for tweeners and below. Into the story, enters Molly. Following about 3 hours of waterpark fun, the family made its way back to our hacienda where we found our teen daughter fast asleep on the couch. We thought that maybe she had snuck past us in the waterpark and went down some of the slides numerous times to be so tuckered out, but this was not the case. She just likes sleeping apparently. Goodness! I always get criticized for taking naps by Molly. The shoe is now on the other foot. Her most loving mother gently and kindly stirred her awake only to be nearly eaten in rage – [please use gravelly voice when you read.] “I can’t get up in 5 seconds.”
About 10 seconds later, we had all changed, and we were out the door to find a restaurant that would satisfy the cravings of everyone in our family. Spencer wanted hamburgers, Ryan wanted chicken tenders, Dakota wanted cheese curds, and Molly wanted pizza. Linda and I wanted something cheap! Molly’s suggestion was that we go to Culvers. Culvers isn’t cheap, so we decided instead to go to Denny’s. Now if you’ve been to Denny’s in the past few years, you might realize that this wasn’t the greatest decision. The last time Linda and I went to Denny’s was when we were dating about 15 years ago. For some reason it seemed cheap to me. Let me tell you, their prices have gone up. Culver’s would have been a better choice, not only because it would have been cheaper but because Denny’s only had one server. Apparently the other one hadn’t shown up to work. Of course our waitress was quick to share this bit of frustration with us immediately when she walked up to our table. I of course would have docked her tip for such unprofessional service, but Linda paid the bill and . . . Well, Linda is nice. She gave her a bigger tip because she felt bad for her. Well played waitress!
The sickness that would consume the rest of our brief stay began to peak its nasty head, so Linda and I dropped off the kids at the hotel and took an hour or so to check out the outlet mall right next door. The purpose was to find Molly a swim suit. [Pause. Buying your teen daughter a swim suit is an entire story by itself. One that I might share with you at a later time when I have the mental fortitude to relive it again. Let me just say, they don’t make swim suits that would satisfy this father’s preferences. All the substitute options, for instance, jeans under a knee length skirt, weren’t acceptable to Molly. Imagine that.]
Linda and I arrived back at the hotel room to find some of the kids sleeping and the others watching a debate about Trump and Clinton. Wow! That’s the refreshment I was hoping for on my holiday. Sleep came quickly for most of us – at least to begin with. What followed was a nightmare of coughing, throw up, sneezing, and restlessness. It was in the midst of the cacophony of bodily noises that I awoke to Linda telling me that Ryan throws up just like me. I’ve never been so proud. I figured that at least one of my children would end like me, hoping for their sake that they would end up more like their mother. Of all of them, Ryan seems to carry my physical traits and my personality. Apparently this likeness goes deeper than that. As well, he throws up like me. You may wonder how our throw up could be alike, but as Linda told Ryan, “your throw up comes from your toes.” Ryan and I have full body convulsions. It truly does sound like death is drawing near, and we are fighting for our very lives. Good thing the distance from our toes to our mouths is so short, otherwise we’d be in grave trouble.
It was at this precarious moment that the thought crossed my rather foggy brain, we should probably go home in the morning. Morning came, we packed, spread our viral mess around the waterpark one more time for about 2 hours, drove through the drive thru at Arbys, and arrived home for an evening of blanket clad, pillow embraced, movie time.
We do vacation right!