Things We Broke While On Vacation
June 22, 2012
1) The shower. Okay, first of all, you need to know something about our Ocean City vacations. We stay for free with Jason's great-aunt and great-uncle, who retired there. Who are very nice and gracious and welcoming, but also COMPLETELY KIND OF TERRIFYING. I mean, first, they're in-laws. Distant in-laws. That's baseline intimidating already. And all my in-laws have this quiet, measured, Germanic stoicism about them, which is the complete opposite of my family. We're a bunch of hand-talking Irish drunks with voice immodulation syndrome.
Plus...well, they are very particular and set-in-their-ways and they keep their condo impeccably clean and organized, having mastered the "living in small quarters" thing to an enviable degree.
And then we show up. And basically wreak havoc and disaster all over the damn place. Every year the amount of STUFF we have to lug there grows exponentially. Not surprising, given that every other year we seem to show up with a whole new family member in tow. More suitcases, more bags, more toddling towers of childproofing terror. Now with bonus lightsabering pool noodles!
They like children, at least. And they especially like babies a whole lot. But they don't particularly like said babies and children to touch anything. So then we have to move everything that our children might possibly touch, but then that sets off a chain reaction of Cluttered Surface Everything-Not-In-Its-Place Eyelid Twitches, so I start not moving things and instead spend our time inside chasing after children and prying remotes and coasters and decorative baskets out of their grubby fingers, panicking that they're still somehow tracking sand inside, spreading tea towels on upholstered chair surfaces and picking up stray Cheerios off the floor before anyone else sees them.
Basically, it's like bunking with the Imaginary Authority Figures. Only they are real and trying to assure you that "oh, it's fine, we understand" but YOU KNOW BETTER. You know you are racking up Imaginary Bad Houseguest Citations LEFT AND RIGHT, girlfriend.
So naturally, I'm the one who broke the brand-new shower head in the guest bathroom. In my defense, I was trying to hose two children off at the same time, while also being naked and slippery myself, and I didn't pull up on the detachable handle thingie-thing before pulling down, and then heard a sickening oh-now-you've-done-it crack as the plastic bracket that held the shower head snapped in two.
I hid the evidence with a strategically-draped towel over the shower door for three days while we waited for the new shower head we ordered to arrive from Amazon.
2) The chair. Not just any chair. Jason's great-aunt's favorite porch rocking chair, the one that has been there for as long as I can remember. We were sitting out on their balcony by ourselves when suddenly Jason yelled "HOLY SHIT!" and started flailing wildly backwards.
Being the quick thinker and devoted wife that I am, I instinctively grabbed the bottle of wine off the table in between us while Jason frantically tried to not like, crack his head open on the glass door behind him and die.
Two bolts on the underside of the chair had up and cracked solidly in two. Jason tried to spin his confession in the best positive light, like "I'm just glad it happened to me and not <great aunt>."
That went over about as well as expected.
3) The window screen. After applying a little more wine to the situation, everyone quickly forgot about the chair (except me, because I was still trying to find the right moment to drop the shower head news on them and was starting to reach Telltale Heart levels of guilt). We were all enjoying a nice chat and people-watching session out on the balcony together. That's when a little Noah-shaped silhouette appeared in the living room behind us.
"We need to go home!" he whispered. "We need to go home right now!"
He was clearly terribly upset about something, and after some hushed questioning I got the bone-chilling answer: "I broke the window, Mommy."
I looked over and indeed: The screen had ripped from the frame and was merrily flapping away in the ocean breeze.
"Are you mad, Mommy?" Noah asked.
I actually wasn't so much "mad" as "wanting to grab a few loose belongings and drive off in the dead of night in abject mortification," but...well, I went with "mad" because it was easier. He'd been warned about leaning on the screen several times, especially since we were in a high-rise building, NOT TO MENTION all the times I've barked up at him from the backyard to stop mashing his face against the screen in his bedroom because if you rip that it will cost all the dollars in your piggy bank SO HELP ME.
At the same time, it was also mostly an accident. And he'd come out and promptly confessed. Instead of like, pitching the good silverware out at the parking lot 12 stories below.
Still, though, I made him go back out and tell everybody else what happened, the heat of my secret shower-head hypocrisy burning through my cheeks as Noah dutifully apologized to his great-great uncle and I was like, "oh God, just add it to our tab."
4) The dog. Our pet sitter called on Tuesday to report that Ceiba was having bloody diarrhea all over the place, plus vomiting, plus not eating or drinking, so....yeah? Should probably take her to vet? Or something?
So from that point on, several times a day, we attempted long-distance pet crisis management over the phone, blindly approving charges for X-rays, blood tests, IV fluids, antibiotics, medical boarding and I don't even know what else, because every time I attempt to read the itemized bill I pass out:
The official diagnosis? Gastroenteritis, the catch-all name for Your Dog Probably Done Ate Something Stupid. Again.
We have no idea what she got into this time (the stress of being left with a pet sitter for the second time in a month probably didn't help anything, though) (LIKE OH SURE DOGS ARE TOTALLY ALSO WELCOME AT THE CONDO HA HA HA), but by yesterday she was fully recovered and ready to come home. We were planning to stay the full week, but you know what? Sometimes you just have to listen to the Vacation Gods and know when to pack it in.
We packed it in and came home to pick Miss Thing up ourselves. She seemed very grateful.
I confessed to the shower head crime before we left, hoping that the fact that we were packed up and leaving and (almost) guaranteed to NOT BREAK ANYTHING ELSE would soften the annoyance. The new one is being delivered today and our check for a replacement screen is in the mail too. I should probably send a fruit basket or gift card or case of wine or something too.
MOST EXPENSIVE FREE VACATION EVER FTW.
Mullet-hat baby don't care. Mullet-hat baby didn't break a damn thing, and doesn't know what y'all's problem is.