Ever gone on family vacation? We have. Here is a script of what our morning looked like the day we left for a 10-day vacation to French Canada. It doesn’t need much introduction….
The eve of departure, Friday night, 8:34 pm:
Me: Hey mom, what time are we leaving tomorrow?
Mom: NINE AM.
Mom: I’m not kidding, Dana. We are leaving at 9 am whether you are in the car or not. Are you packed?
Me: Nope! Are you?
Saturday morning, departure day. 7:23 am:
My alarm: *stupid iphone alarm sounds*
Finally I awake because I hear pots and pans banging. I meander downstairs. Food is sprawled out on the counters; MOM is bent over rifling through the pantry. DAD is nowhere to be found, and my brother, MIKE, is asleep.
Mom: Have you eaten yet? We have to go soon.
Me: I just came down here.
Mom: Ok, well I was going to make some pancakes.
Me: I thought you just said we have to go soon.
Mom: Can you go to the furniture store when it opens to get the extra pillows?
Me: What extra pillows? For what? Where?
Mom: Do you want blueberries?
Me (sticking a pretzel into a jar of Nutella): Do we have bagels?
I end up making myself French toast while Mom does a mélange of things, like shifting food around on the countertops but not actually putting it in the cooler and asking repeatedly where we are going on vacation again?
Me: Mom, should we wake up Michael?
Mom: No. Go tell your dad to stop vacuuming the car. He has to exercise for his back and that’s going to be another two hours.
Me: I thought we were supposed to leave at nine?
Mom: Shut up. (pauses) Did you get the pillows?
I go out to the garage. Dad is pretty much done vacuuming the car.
Dad: I’M DONE ALREADY JUST DON’T SAY ANYTHING.
Mike meanders downstairs, rubbing his large knobby knuckles in his eyes.
Me: (calling) MOM, MIKE’S AWAKE!
Mom: (calling back) DANA, COME HELP ME PACK.
I go to help mom pack her bag.
Me: (lounging on the bed) Remember when you said we were going to leave at nine?
Mom: You really need to shut up. Which top do I bring?
She pulls out four identical shirts that are just different colors.
Me: None of them.
Mom: You’re not helping! Did you get the pillows?
Me: What pillows?
Mom: For the new couch downstairs.
Me: And you need them right now?
I go to the store to get the pillows and come back. Mom is bustling around in the kitchen, her level of frenzy much higher than when I left. She is wiping down counter tops, her red hair on end.
Mom: WHAT IS THIS?! Twenty-nine, ninety-five?!
She scrubs manically.
Me: What are you talking about?
I go over and see that a price tag had bled ink onto the counter so that our counter was marked $29.95. I begin to laugh uncontrollably. Dad and Mike come in and ask what happened, then they begin laughing too.
Mom: (near tears) And look at this coffee maker!!
Me: (still laughing) Mom, who cares about the coffee maker?! We’re leaving!
Mom: Because if we die and they have a party, I want the place to LOOK NICE!!!!!!
We get in the car and leave. Already on the highway, we realize Mike does not have his ID that he might need with his birth certificate to cross into the country.
We return to the house. Our neighbor across the street is out getting her mail.
Neighbor: Are you guys flying?
Mom: No, we’re driving.
Neighbor: Oh, really? I would’ve been halfway there already.
Mom: (says something jumbled and unintelligible then rolls up the window)
Me: What did she just say?
Mike: Dana, get me the goldfish out of that bag?
Me: GET IT YOURSELF!!!!!
Ah well, everyone looses it.
But the departure barely rivals the point in the trip when I almost died under the white water rapids (a trip recommended to us by the aforementioned neighbor who I will strangle in my dreams from now on); or when my dad insisted that we all get out at a lookout point at night, teeming with drunk teenagers, and apparently, something else. While Mom, Mike and I all stayed in the car refusing to look at the dimmed city lights from the side of the road, dad got out in an indignant huff to mix with the raucous teens. He then came bustling back and yelled “THERE WERE RACCOONS!!!!! WALKING BETWEEN MY FEET!!!” Or the time when we braved a fancy restaurant, Mike ordered what he thought was a cheese pizza, but was really French cheese layered on top of tomatoes and a barely cooked slice of bread. He ended up scraping everything off and just eating the crust, left hungry, and slumped his 6’5 framed around Québec with an angry scowl. Mom was so mad at him for not eating, she pretended not to notice. Or the time Dad woke us up early to go to the changing of the guard at the Citadelle, which involved lots of yelling in French and parading around the royal goat. A goat.
I do hope that your family vacation was a tad less harried and ridiculous than ours, but I still wouldn’t trade mine for anything.