When one of my best friends offered us her Catskill Mountains ski house for President’s week, it took all of a nanosecond to graciously accept. The plan was for the girls to be packed and ready to go on Saturday night around 5 p.m. That way, we’d wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed on Sunday morning, ready to be first on the mountain!
I should have known better when they said, “OK, Mom.”
They never say, “OK, Mom.”
I can’t even remember the last time they said, “OK, Mom.”
And now I know not to trust those two words together in the same sentence. It’s code for, “I am going to be an entire day late, but it’s not my fault and oops! Um… like… I… uh… didn’t… like… totally… like… put a suitcase together yet.”
This is the point at which you can make or break the vacation. You can tell them how disrespectful they are of other people’s time; how there are starving kids in other countries would give their eye teeth for an opportunity to go skiing; and how hard I worked to get ahead of schedule in order to take a week off.
I am working on becoming a new and improved Mom. Just call me Mrs. Gandhi. I’m learning to let experience be the teacher. This was the perfect opportunity to enjoy the journey to the destination, Grasshopper. Be strong like mountain. Or as the girls say, “Chill out, Mom.”
I even treated them to egg and bacon sandwiches and coffee when we finally left on Monday morning. As we headed toward the Tappan Zee Bridge, la, la, la, happy, happy, happy, I suddenly realized we had to turn around. Someone ahem! forgot to pack the dog!
Things went kinda downhill from there. Not the car ride. Anyone with teenagers knows the only time you see the whites of their eyes is in the car– when they’re good and trapped.
That’s why I liked driving around in our RV so much. Forget the quest to spread my husband’s ashes from coast to coast. I got to spend more time with my daughters during those 30,000 miles than most parents do in a lifetime.
Car time is family time where we have conversations with real words and everything! Right girls?
Here’s a snippet of conversation:
“Mom, why is Susannah so stupid?” my 16, not six year old asked when her 14, not four year-old sister accidentally poured coffee all over a blanket.
“Shh… she was born that way.”
‘That’s so mean you two,” Susannah called from the back set.
“Oh Susannah, we’re just teasing you, ” I said.
“It’s not funny!” she cried.
“Stop making funny of me,” Nell whined in mockery, knowing it would send her sister into orbit. It was something Susannah used to say back in first grade.
“Shut up,” Susannah said.
“No you shut up.”
The real challenge came when we piled into the house and all eyes were on me to “Fix it Mom!” We’re talking no heat. No water. No gas. No skiing.
photo credit: Parade
Forget Mrs. Gandhi. It was time to channel Laura Ingalls Wilder from Little House on the Prairie.
The girls and I spent the next day and a half researching and figuring out how to deal with Mother Nature’s wrath on the house including defrosting the frozen water pipes; dealing with the propane tank, stopping water from dripping underneath from the ceiling above the water heater, relighting pilot lights, flipping master switches, and fixing toilet tanks.
Sure, we could have gone to a hotel, but what fun is that? How else would the girls have learned the invaluable skill of cooking tofu dogs by candlelight?
Photo credit: 123Rf.com