A week ago I was contemplating how many wipes I would need to remove four days worth of dust and grime from a two-year-old camper running through the wild blue yonder of Yosemite. I set out a Costco-sized box. Then, the night before we were scheduled to leave, we got a phone call that David's Grandmother was doing poorly and was expected to die any day, which meant the last minute cancellation of his family reunion. I admit, while I was very disappointed not to see David's family (and a bit of Mother Nature at her very best), I was relieved not to have to spend four days covered in sweat and dirt. Though I actually do want to see Yosemite someday. You know, in a movie or an Ansel Adams photograph or something. Okay, okay, I'll settle for a view from a cabin window as I'm enjoying my bubble bath and flush toilet.
But since we were scheduled to fly out to San Francisco the next morning regardless of Grandma's heavenly promotion plans, and had no clear idea of funeral arrangements, we stuck with our original itinerary and headed out to stay with my sister for a few days, take in the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Lombard Street, sourdough bread and all things San Francisco.
Before we knew it, we found ourselves at Tuesday night with Grandma still going strong (relatively, anyway), no camping equipment, and no desire to fork over $250 for a one night stay within hiking distance of Yosemite.
So we did the only sensible thing. We drove to Anaheim and went to Disneyland.
Thanks to Priceline we landed a killer deal on a hotel within a ten minute shuttle ride to the theme park (which was still free for the under-three contingent of our group - hooray!). We checked in with plans to have dinner and spend the evening entertaining our little fish in the huge swimming pool. But somehow we ended up taking a slight detour when David was roped by his inner frugality into signing us up for a time share presentation. "We can get $100 Disney Bucks to spend, Bonnie!" he said, as if that would convince me to engage in an activity so torturous it would make Guantanamo detainees shake in their boots. It would only be ninety minutes, and they had a play room for Michael, etc., etc., David told me. Pretty much the only thing that convinced me to head to the presentation was the fact that we would lose a $20 deposit if we didn't show up.
Muttering curses under my breath and trying to stifle bad memories of a time-share presentation gone horribly wrong (which ended in us having spent nearly two hours of our lives in a horrific state of boredom and leaving with no gift), we set foot into the vortex of hot air and snake oil. The presentation lasted three hours and fifteen minutes and only ended because they ran out of higher-ups and higher-higher-ups to try to convince us we were ridiculous for not wanting to spend $28,000 "investing" in a lifetime of vacations.
But, we survived, if only marginally, and very nearly not matrimonially. We headed out with $100 Disney Bucks stuffed in our tight little fists, eager to spend our hard-earned dough erasing the bad memories of the overly touchy sales manager who greasily tried to worm his way under our financially practical skin.
Luckily for David, all was forgiven the next day as we found ourselves in a position to buy Michael a $7 Mickey Mouse balloon and enough cotton candy and churros to work ourselves into a sugary oblivion. Michael delighted in nearly every ride, responding in growly satisfaction to our questions of "Are you having fun, Michael?" with "YEEEESSS, MOMMY!!!".
He was even tall enough to take a ride on the Matterhorn. Reaction? "Scary gorilla, Mommy!". Well, yes, I'm sure the Abominable Snowman is a rather forbidding sight to a two-year-old. He loved most of the rides, and liked "It's a Small World" so much that I could even block out the fifteen minute loop of the irritating song just to take him again. (It must be some sort of childbirth induced brain asphyxia).
We wrapped up our vacation with a lazy Saturday, and then a six hour Sunday drive to San Francisco and a five hour red-eye flight to JFK. Having suffered a week of fun-induced sleep deprivation, Michael was a screaming mess on the plane and alternated a few snatches of sleep with wailing, kicking tantrums. I have decided I'm no longer opposed to drugging small children on planes. I'm also not opposed to telling off the overly vigilant seatbelt-Nazi flight attendants who made the rounds with flashlights each time the "fasten seatbelt" sign was illuminated, poking snoozing passengers and urging them to buckle up.
But, we made it home, at last. Grandma is still hanging on as of this writing, so who knows when she will decide to check out. While we feel a bit like the undead ourselves, after a seven hour nap (yes, you read that right) holding tightly to his newly beloved Mickey Mouse, and the delight of being home, Michael seems to be his cheery self again. Of course, he is currently watching "Toy Story" at 11:30 at night, but I'm not complaining. At least there is no wailing going on.
If only every week could be this much fun.