Tuesday, October 10, 2006


My folks rented a swank house in Seaside, Florida, and it was about time for a family vacation.

So we packed up the kids and left Memphis at about 7:00 p.m. Friday night. We took the 2 and a half hour jaunt down to Lexington, MS to spend the night with the Smiths. Connor and Chloe slept pretty much the whole way, since it was bedtime, and the car has that odd sleep-inducing quality... usually. Francie and Delaney are just adorable.

We left Lexington at about 9:00 a.m., with a loooong trip ahead of us. It's all kind of a blur-- a stop at a Wal-Mart parking lot to feed Chloe a bottle, right after Connor puked on his shirt from carsickness comes to mind as being typical of the ride down. And starting about 2 hours before arrival, Connor asking "Is THAT Bwana's beach?" every five minutes. I just gotta say thank GAWD for Andria's trusty DVD player. I can't imagine the hell of a long car ride without it now.

We got to Seaside at 5:30 p.m. The architecture and urban planning there are really something to see (in fact, check it out here.) My sister Cory and her man Chris had just arrived (they were smart and FLEW in from NYC), and we all checked out the house. It was amazing-- better than home in a lot of ways. Four bedrooms, flat screen HDTVs, DVRs, WiFi access, a big balcony, big front porch, and back deck, outdoor showers, loaded gourmet kitchen, Bose radios in every room... ahhhh.

I'd be hard-pressed to blog in detail about the week we spent there, because we just didn't do much besides hang at the beach and pool, drink wine (maybe that's the reason for the lack of details here), and read. Connor just loved the beach. The sand and waves had him so excited he was running around frantically, unable to form complete sentences.

The trip back was way worse-- no rest stop in Lexington, and I'll spare you all the horrible details. Except for this one anecdote, which I need to share for therapeutic reasons.

Steph was driving, and I can't tell you where exactly in Alabama or Mississippi we were, but let's just say it was nowhere near a Wal-Mart. Connor announced that he needed to poop, and saying it more than once over a 5-minute period put the fear of God in me and Steph. We found a very questionable convenience store, and didn't want to be picky about it-- when a boy's gotta poop, you just stop. I took him inside, and looked around for a "restrooms" sign. No signs. I almost walked him into what looked like a storage closet, but it had no "Men" or "Women" sign on it. I dragged Connor up to the counter, and asked the (not-so) nice Mexican lady where her bathroom was, and she gestured back toward the storage closet, saying something in Spanish. I dragged Connor in, and thankfully it was much bigger than it looked from the outside-- the distance from the door to the toilet was a good 15 feet. (This becomes important in a sec.) The floor, sink, and toilet were in a state of fetid foulness that I cannot put into words. I looked for a paper towel to wipe the seat off with, didn't see anything, and decided any further delay was too risky. So I winced and plopped (heh) Connor down on the seat.

Connor commenced his usual slowpoke routine, accompanied by various obscene sounds, while I stood in the already-unbearably-stinky bathroom with him. I looked for TP, to have it at the ready, so as to make a quick exit-- and yep, you guessed it-- none to be found. I convinced Connor that I just HAD to leave him alone in there for a sec so I could find some TP. The Mexican lady just gave me a blank stare when I asked. There was a huge linebacker Mexican guy walking around with a "I own this place and I'm proud of it, gringo" air, and asked him for some TP. He said, and I poop you not, "Is he feeeenished?" Really? So you won't get TP for me unless the boy is finished? Why not get it now!?! I tried to converse further with the guy, but obviously what we had was a failure to communicate. I ran out to the car (full speed-- I seriously feared for Connor's life being left in there alone)to get some wipes, and ran back in. And... the bathroom door was locked. My three-year-old was in the world's most wretched bathroom, in the middle of MissiBama, with only two Mexicans of horrible disposition nearby. I beat on the door and told C it was ok, I was there, and please come open the door. (He's three, does he even know how to unlock a door?) He kept mumbling something, and after what seemed like the longest 45 seconds of my life, the door opened. There's C, with his shorts around his ankles, poop all over him, a worried look on his face. Fifteen feet from the potty to the door we walked, with his shorts around his ankles. He took care of the remaining business he had to do, and let's just say I didn't endeavor to clean up any of the mess he had made all over the toilet. We're about to walk out and he says "Daddy, I need to wash my hands." I look at the filthy sink and of COURSE there's no soap AND no paper towels. I just whisked him up and ran out. Back in the car, and I think we actually peeled out when leaving that horrible, horrible place.

OK, I feel better now.

Despite the trips there and back, it was just a wonderful, peaceful vacation. I can't wait to do it again. Next time, we'll drive overnight, so the monkeys will sleep the whole time.


Anonymous said...

If one of my kids had spent that kind of time alone in that petri dish of a bathroom, then I'd have to strap him to the top of the car for the rest of the ride home.

Stacey Greenberg said...

i want to come with you next year. pleeeeeeeeeeeeease!