I just got an invitation to a family reunion. I don't know-- I'll have to think about this.
Oh, who am I kidding. It's in Utah. It's in August. I won't have my kids to show off because they'll be with their dad in Cleveland. I'm not going.
This year, we both have a plane ticket, different airlines. And so we were trying to figure out where to go, what to do.
Well. We started too late. The beaches of North Carolina and Mexico beckon and glisten, but we waited too late.
It's too expensive. We wouldn't be able to use our tickets to go to Mexico. There are things money must be spent on: a new minivan to replace the one whose door persists in coming unstuck while I am driving around with three kids. It doesn't open, but it buzzes at us like an angry hornet, which is very distracting. That can't be good. I need to have the TrashMobile detailed. That is expensive. Then all of savings will have to go to a down-payment on a new one. Sigh.
And all of savings cannot go anywhere yet this summer because my salary is lower because of the summer furlough.
And I cannot have car payments this summer because my salary is lower because of the summer furlough.
And I don't want more credit card debt. That's really what this all boils down to. I could slap a week-long trip to the beach on any ol' credit card of my choosing, and then spend the next six months anxious about paying it off.
So, no. No family reunion (even though it's a cheap date). No glistening white sands and cool blue tides. Instead, we will go camping in the sweltering heat and humidity and mosquitoes of western Kentucky. We will drive several hours and apply sunscreen and bug spray and pitch our tent, light our fire. I will sit at a picnic table smoking, drinking beer, and we will cook dinner and wait for the sun to go down. We might find a place to swim or rent a boat and we will bring our books and magazines, and when the stars finally emerge, we will lie quietly and look at them and talk and slap our arms and thighs and pray for sweet breezes. We will not be able to sleep because of the heat for a long long time and will lie on top of the sleeping bags, barely touching because of the heat. The next morning, we will emerge bleary-eyed and bitten and happy and make coffee on the fire and breakfast. We may do this for a couple of days.
And then we will head to St. Louis. Instead of boarding a plane for an exotic destination like Cancun or New Orleans, we will go and join the throngs of other fat, sweaty, sunburnt hillbillies with bad haircuts and colorful tattoos (notice I said "other hillbillies" implying that we are indeed two of them, and yes, we are, bad haircuts, tattoos, sunburns, and all, though we are not fat, and I will have a fabulous haircut after next week)at 6 Flaggs. And we will scream ourselves hoarse on the roller coasters, lie in the rivers of the water park, and eat cotton and candy and funnel cake and drink warm beer until we are feverish with heat stroke and sticky and sweaty and then we will go collapse in some cheap, air-conditioned, questionably clean hotel somewhere in St. Louis, and drink stale hotel coffee in the morning.
Invariably, we will try to get Fulcrum Monkey and his Crew to go with us. And we might even end up on his floor instead of at the hotel. And instead of collapsing after 6 Flaggs, we will end up in East St. Louis, which is actually not in Missouri at all, in a skanky strip club, watching strippers who have more stretch marks than I do. And we will emerge later, cheapened and drunk and smelling of baby powder.
And in the morning, we will hoist our hangovers down Delmar Street, walking past all the great houses along the way, and we will sit outside and eat from a great breakfast buffet, and while away the hours until the heat chases us into a videostore where cheap thrills, a darkened living room, and air conditioning beckon and we stare at the screen until we slowly fall into comatose naps.
Then, we will slowly make our way into the showers, come down refreshed, crack open bottled beer or make gin and tonics, and either grill out in Fulcrum Monkey's back yard (with his new table, complete with umbrella) or we will hie us out to dinner on Thai or Indian, or the best Italian restaurant I've ever seen, complete with tuxedoed waiters, fine red wines, grilled red pepper bruschettas, ah, it haunts my dreams...
All in all, not a bad way to spend a summer vacation.