Family vacation: Sunny days or bust

As if Andrew and Rita didn’t do enough damage, pity the great state of Florida which now has the Seabolts to contend with. When the unexpected but delightfully generous offer of a beach-front condo dangled in front of us, we jumped on it.

Granted, with the spate of midwestern blizzards that have beleaguered us lately, we would probably have jumped on an offer of a tent pitched along side a Kentucky highway somewhere too.

Speaking of which, past family vacations have been more of the three to four days in a tent variety.

It is almost foreign to me to pack for a trip and not be wondering how much bottled water to tote along for tooth brushing and such. The thrill of sleeping on a mattress that is not inflated each night is enough to make me giddy I tell you.

Drive time

The drive time on this trip will be approximately 22 hours one way. I don’t think I have quite internalized quite how much time that really IS.

Much like childbirth, I think it best just to block that OUT and focus on the big reward at the end. We are driving because despite all the lip service paid to cheap airfare, the double-whammy of airline tickets and the car rental we’d need once we got there put us in the uncomfortable position of having to decide if we wanted fast travel or college for the kids. College won out — but just barely.

It has also been noted that with the sheer number of electronic devices — cameras, cell phones, video games, and MP3 players — the resultant cords, plugs and chargers that power them mean our chances of getting anywhere NEAR an airplane without being mistaken for terrorists is slim.

Now, Mr. Wonderful, being wonderful, had among his first thoughts when the initial offer came through that FINALLY we could meet those Florida relations I’ve been stalking — er talking to — for four years.

As any modern-type person, you just really can’t hold your head up in polite society if you don’t have a family tree that meanders and divides along the way and mine is no different.

Family

Those following along at home a few years back may recall the saga of my long-lost father and newly found half-siblings. For those just joining us the synopsis goes like this: I have three half sisters I have met exactly once — 20 years ago.

While long distance relationships might have some charm, we feel ready to take it to the next step. In many ways this trip seems divined.

Trip

Of course, Mr. Wonderful being a man, has weird ideas about travel, namely focusing on “making good time.” He sees the trip as less a journey and more a straight rocket-like course to our destination.

His main theory seems to center around leaving after work and school on a Friday afternoon and driving STRAIGHT THROUGH.

Sunny days or bust!

“So let me get this straight?” I asked him. “You think that the way I want to arrive on the doorstep of the sisters I have not seen in 20 years is disheveled, disoriented and exhausted, toting two wired kids who have slept in a car all night?”

The “blink blink” stare he gave me told me that yes; he actually thought that was a GREAT idea.

“Somehow I doubt my sisters will be all that impressed when I collapse on the couch and drool in exhaustion for the next 10 hours. Not to mention having to watch the children while I sleep.”

“But I’ll be there,” he protested.

“No, you won’t.” I assured him. “I’ll have pushed you out along I-95 long before.”

Cranked

Mind you, we had this entire conversation during a 20-MINUTE drive where, having turned into pumpkins the very moment the clock struck 9 p.m. as is the Seabolt family way, the four of us bickered incessantly.

The children with each other, Mr. Wonderful and I with each other, then we’d switch off and I’d bicker with one of the children and so on.

And he, I couldn’t help but point out, thinks we can make it nearly 24 hours in a car together?

Clearly, he NEEDS a vacation. I think he’s had some sort of mental break.

This is how in the future he will be driving us to Florida or driving me to drink but either way — we’ll have fun!

(Kymberly Foster Seabolt is looking forward to sisters and sun.)

About the Author

Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless. More Stories by Kymberly Foster Seabolt

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