Monthly Archives: August 2006

Please Hold; Regularly Scheduled Blogging Will Resume Shortly

I know, I promised updates on 1) Abby, and 2) The Big Chicken Dinner.

UPDATE #1: Abby’s doing fine, though still wearing the splint. She has a nasty, horrible bruise on her left thumb knuckle, and she lost so much skin that my knees buckle a little bit every time I change the bandage.

UPDATE #2a: We did go back out for Take 2 on the dinner a few nights after our ER adventure, but I never got around to writing about it because we’ve been packing, traveling, traveling more; now unpacking, doing laundry, ridding the house of two weeks worth of flying cat fur, restocking the bare cupboards with $326 worth of groceries, and getting the kids ready for their first day of school, which is the day after tomorrow!

UPDATE #2b: There were, in fact, oodles of noodles. They were good. Abby reports that “fried chicken rocks.”

*looks forward to getting back into the regular routine and having more time to write, which should happen probably sometime around Halloween Christmas never*

*looks forward to continued shirkage of responsibilities and writing anyway*

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It’s Just Not A Vacation Until Someone Slams A Thumb In the Car Door

We made an innocent attempt to let the kids experience a family-style, southern-fried chicken dinner at a place that has not changed its menu or decor in 50 years.

Going to The Damsite Inn is a little like visiting Gramma’s house for me, as I have fond memories of eating there as a kid. My kids were totally impressed when I told them that I had worked there between my freshman and sophomore years in college. I noted last night – with horror – that the waitresses still have to wear the same shapeless, awful, black polyester jumpers that were required in 1984. In spite of that distasteful memory, the place is family-friendly and I didn’t feel like cooking last night. Life’s too short not to dip into giant vats of grease now and again.

After an hour or so of struggling with the kids to comb their matted vacation hair and find clean clothes, we set off in search of mashed potatoes and buttermilk biscuits. We parked and started walking toward the restaurant, but then heard one of those sound combos that every parent dreads: car door “slam” followed by “AIIIIEEEEEEE!!!!!

We went inside long enough to collect an ice pack and to determine that Abby’s pain was not going away, then set off to tour the local emergency room.

We were lucky. It was not busy by ER standards, and Abby managed to make it through triage, x-ray, assessment and bandaging in less than two hours. She was a great sport, posing for pictures between nurse and doctor appearances. She enjoyed the spotlight, despite her pain. She told the doctor the entire history of our summer vacation, beginning with our flight details, when asked, “So, what happened?”

Sam and Hannah were thrilled to watch Sponge Bob on the waiting room TV, and enjoyed some additional excitement as two sheriff’s deputies walked in with a handcuffed prisoner in an orange jumpsuit. He also seemed to enjoy Sponge Bob.

Abby’s thumb is not broken, but she is sporting a cool splint and calling her friends to tell them about her adventure. She has promised never to close another car door while gripping it by the edge. (Did I really never teach her that? Darwin Award for Mom.)

We had Happy Meals for dinner, complete with moody ambiance courtesy of the rental car’s maplights and Radio Disney. Chicken Dinner Attempt #2 is scheduled for Friday.

We’ll bring our own ice packs.

Open Query Regarding the Male Brain

Why is it that when a second floor shower leaks water onto a first floor dining room table, all the men in the house, none of whom are plumbers, scurry downstairs to the basement to diagnose the problem?

Sublime Grandmother Moment

My mom loves life when her grandchildren come to visit. She fills a “grab bag” with little gifts that she collects throughout the year, and the kids get to choose something each night while we’re here. They never tire of this tradition. They love their tiny stuffed animals, toy cars, wind-up fishing games, unusual rocks, and kazoos. Nonny always finds cool and interesting stuff.

There is nothing more entertaining than the sight of my mom sternly lecturing the kids about the inappropriateness of bathroom humor at the dinner table. She does this without any hint of irony, as they giggle uncontrollably over the repeated, loud “pppbbbbblllllltttt” sounds exploding from the Whoopee Cushions that she bought them.

Biology Experiment

Can a vacationing 10 year-old boy survive for five consecutive days eating nothing but single-serving boxes of sugary cereal, such as Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops and Apple Jacks?

Yes. Yes he can.

UPDATE: Sam has demolished the 30-Pack, with sibling backup. But in an unexpected demonstration of his commitment to The Program, he has moved on, without complaint, to his grandparents’ big box of Fiber One.

We Interrupt This Vacation

… for a long overdue review of last Thursday’s Festival of Talent.


I’m afraid I’ve missed the moment on timely reporting of this event, but due to popular demand, I’m gonna write it anyway.

The 2006 Summer Oasis Festival of Talent lived up to its billing and then some. The music was musical, the magic tricks magical; comedy sketches were funny (sometimes unintentionally so) and Sam made sure that the show was exceptionally gassy.

It was clear by the time the second act hit the stage that this show was going to go far beyond its scheduled hour. Sam was listed ninth of 34 participants, so I counted myself among the luckier parents and enjoyed the first eight performances, including Dan’s guitar solo, Robin’s dance routine, Tyler’s comedy sketch and Robert’s performance of The Amazing Ring of Loops. When George took the stage and began his card trick, Sam peeked out from behind the curtain. He was next, did not appear to be nervous at all, and was obviously enjoying the show, so I relaxed. George reached the end of his card trick without achieving the intended amazing and mystical result, but was quietly yanked from the stage when he declared a “redo.”

The emcees didn’t get to finish announcing “And now, Sam will burp his ABC’s” before Sam approached the microphone and started in, with gusto. Slowly, he belched, carefully enunciating each disgusting letter. “W” was particularly impressive, both in length of utterance and depth of emission. He was not deterred at any point during his alphabet by the giggles and applause emanating from the audience. He made it all the way through, one letter at a time, like a seasoned performer confidently singing his signature ballad.

It. Was. Hilarious. I laughed. I cried. I could barely breathe.

When Sam reached “Z,” the crowd went wild. Loud cheers and applause all around, and a standing ovation and “WOO HOO!!!” from his proud mother.

He stole the show, and he knew it.

After a few minutes basking in the glory of his moment, he sauntered offstage and back to the parents’ section to check in with me for the required post-performance high-five and maternal congratulations. He smirked, held his hand out, and deadpanned, “Mom. Pencil and paper.” When I explained to him that I wasn’t sure what he needed, he said, “Um, you might want my autograph.”

I couldn’t hand the pen over fast enough. He autographed my program. I will cherish it forever.

We left 90 minutes into the one hour show, in search of celebratory frozen treats. We missed Corey’s interpretation of Boulevard of Broken Dreams on the trumpet, one of twelve acts still awaiting time in the spotlight.

Sam reports that his post-show ice cream cone was awesome.

We Are There Yet

I’m pleased to report that we have successfully accomplished the goal of arriving safely at Mom and Dad’s place, after Friday’s flight from Boston to Detroit, and Saturday’s four hour drive from Ann Arbor to the lake in the northern woods.

For anyone planning to travel by air in the near future, I’m happy to inform you (and simultaneously, mildly alarmed) that airport security, even in Boston, was a breeze. Of course, anyone who has traveled with kids knows that even if x-ray inspections and strip searches don’t muck up the travels, there are bound to be other challenges.

Friday, Flight Day

Airport Security: easy

Flight: on time

Number of return trips to rental car counter to obtain correct paperwork required for departure from rental car lot: 3

Amount of time elapsed between touchdown on runway and actual departure from airport, due to mind-numbing incompetence of employees of a reasonably priced but unbelievably laid-back car rental company that rhymes with “holler”: 2 hours

Saturday, Day of the Dreaded Car Trip

Elapsed time between departure from my brother’s house and Hannah’s first “are we there yet?”: 16 minutes

Total number (give or take five) of “are we there yets?”: 37

Total Number of closed fist punches between occupants of the backseat: I don’t know, I have learned to crank up the radio and face forward.

Number of caffeinated beverages consumed/required: Consumed: 8. Required: there is not enough caffeine in the world.