Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Grossest Family Vacation Ever (Also, San Diego is Beautiful)

Midsummer 2007: The freshly minted Mrs. Dude and I relaxed on the beach in Maui and briefly considered never returning to the mainland. Vacation is supposed to be a place to relax and recharge and after our wedding, we were thrilled to do just that. Little did we know it would be a very long time before it happened again.

For many years, our getaways have consisted of trips to Ohio to see my family or trips to Northern California to see hers. Both are enjoyable, though just getting there, either with a car packed so full I need a crowbar to pry the kids out, or a mountain of stuffed suitcases, is a process unto itself. One that usually reminds me why we don’t do it more often.

All the while, those remembrances of the Hawaiian sun lingered and we wanted to do something. Plus, I’d maxed out my vacation time at work and with my family all still on their various summer vacations before starting at three separate schools in the fall, I pined for a getaway. Hawaii was the dream, but this times still an oasis. Maybe for our 10th?

But one of the great things about Southern California is you can do so many cool things within a few hours drive, whether you like sand, snow or desert. (Alternately, you can be miserable on a two-hour drive that should take 30 minutes, because traffic here makes less than zero sense. That happens much more often.)

So after much consideration, and minimal planning, we packed up the car and headed down the freeway toward the land of Ron Burgundy, San Diego.  People say SD has the best weather in the country, most often 75 degrees, warm and sunny. Eager to get away from two months straight of triple digits, I couldn’t wait to sit by the bay and relax. Hopefully the Junior Dudes would feel the same.

As we made the journey that Sunday afternoon, a group hunger set in, so we stopped in a scenic little town just off Interstate 5 and found a local burrito joint. I ran in to order while Mrs. Dude coordinated the scene on the patio. I won’t get into details, for they are much messier than I care to rehash, but before we got back in the car for the last half hour of our journey, half of us had a fresh set of clothes on.

We rolled into the Bahia Resort, a place whose website flashed great looking amenities, free breakfast and parking, AND seals living on the property. Sold. Plus the location was just a whale’s splash away from Sea World.  The registrar bumped us up to a suite and things were off to a great start. We went straight into the pool to cool off, since it was an unusually toasty 90-degree day. Hopefully it would break by the next day, for our big trip to Legoland. Little did we know that the heatwave was going to be the least of our problems that day.

We went out to grab a bite nearby for dinner and tried to put the boys to sleep. They were beyond thrilled to sleep in a pullout bed for the first time and Mrs. Dude and I were equally thrilled to have our own room, bed and separating door. As we read a few bedtime stories, what sounded like gunshots rang in the distance. I opened up our sliding glass door and looked out to see Sea World’s fireworks just across the water. Painting the sky and reflecting on the water, their unexpected excitement punctuated an overall great day. Then the boys went to bed and we hoped to do the same.

It never quite happens that way, though, and after we stayed up to get situated in the room and everything set for the next day, Mrs. Dude fell asleep. I was still up for a bit, fiddling on the laptop before dropping out around 1:00am.


What seemed like 15 seconds later, though actually a whopping 15 minutes, was the Little Dude waking up to use the bathroom. Afterward, he come over and said that his bed was wet. Thinking someone had had an accident, I went to investigate and as I felt around the sofa bed, I felt something lumpy, almost like a plate of chili. Apparently the Littler Dude’s earlier bout of GI distress had returned and he must have eaten too much for dinner, as he lost his lunch, dinner and seemingly every other meal he’d ever eaten, all over the bed.
The calm before the barf
Moments like these remind me how grateful I am to have a wife who is calm and organized under pressure. Also, I was thankful that these were not our own barfed-on sheets and pillows. I called for replacements and went to scrub whatever I could as I waited for housekeeping to deliver fresh sets, knowing deep down that I had a greater chance of winning the presidential election than of us going to Legoland the next day. We cleaned up the bed, the boys and ourselves and once again collapsed in our room, hoping that had been the last sleep interruption of the night. Or forever.  


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