Family Vacation


It started when we visited a friend for a long weekend.  This friend offered to let us use their lake house for a family vacation.  The weekend mutually agreed upon was the last long weekend of the summer.  Throw in a football game, a dead battery, lost keys, several hours of driving and a couple of Wal-Mart’s and you’ve got a family vacation.

I under packed — which is pretty amazing considering I always pack for several families even if we’re going to be gone for 3 days.  I should have packed flip-flops, shorts or capri’s and maybe a tank-top or two; I did remember to pack a bathing suit, several pair of underwear and a couple of books as well as all the electronic paraphernalia needed to overthrow a small country.  I also packed a coat, rain coat and fingerless gloves.  And appetizers.

I’ll back up a bit.  Friday of Labor Day weekend is the first football game of my last child’s last year of high school.  We just changed divisions, so many of our games are at distance — including our first game of the season which is a 2 hour drive from our home.  So we need to pack for a long weekend trip, organize travel arrangements, juggle vehicles, plan for meals, and figure out how to get into the vacation house.

I drove my husband to work on Friday morning so I could pick him up on the way to the game Friday night; AND so son could drive car over on Saturday morning and then back home on Monday to make practice.  As we were driving to Chelan directly after the game, this was a perfect plan. We had planned to tailgate with other families before the game, but I got *lost* in Everett which took extra time to get to husband’s work, then extra time to get out of Everett, arriving just a few minutes before game start.  So, appetizers in my car with ice bags went to Chelan instead.

A football game we lost by 6 points, then a 3 hour drive (for us) to Chelan.  We arrived at 1:30 in the morning; the plan was to use the key box code to get into the rental so we didn’t wake up the ENTIRE HOUSE.  Fail.  Key code will not open the box so we call 1, 2, 3, 4 adult children (who don’t answer right away because it’s 1:30 in the morning).  The lock box sticks we find out (see leaving day).  Trudge into the house, fall into bed.

In the morning, we wake up to the giggling of grandchildren (which is really better than any alarm clock) and I stumble out to the kitchen to get coffee.  My son-in-law tells my grandchildren not to look at me before my coffee.  Because they don’t see me every weekday morning before I’ve finished a cup of coffee.  Giggling and kissing ensues.  Breakfast cooked by the older kids, lazing around for the morning, a late-morning dip in the hot tub.

My son-in-law brings me wine in the hot tub at 10:30 am because “something just didn’t look right”.  It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, right?

Somewhere between Redmond and Arlington and Redmond Son #2 *lost* the keys to dad’s car and had to walk home after the game.  He called several times but we were on the pass so there was no coverage.  Irritated, tired, anxious teenager is not a good combination, so when he finally reached us on the phone to tell us the news there was some temper involved.  We revised the plan, problem-solved the key situation which necessitated driving the Suburban over the pass instead of his dad’s car.

We’re waiting around for the youngest to arrive — Son #2 rode home from the game with the team, spent the night at home, then he and his brother made the trip to Chelan in the morning. After a dying battery and more traded phone calls, the 2 youngest arrive in Chelan.

Now it’s time for lunch and then a trip to Wal-Mart.  Yes, there are Red Apple and Safeway markets, but I under-packed.  So we pack 9 of us in 2 cars (2 stayed home) and make the trip to Wal-Mart.  Beer, veggies, shorts, fruit, cereal and a few other necessities later and we drive back home.

I feel like I’ve crossed into some alternate reality as I’ve now physically been in 2 different Wal-Marts in 2 different counties in under 24 hours.  Usually I try to keep my Wal-Mart visits to under 1 a year.  Friday night after the game I wanted to use the restroom and get a coffee; both completely practical requests before a 3 hour road trip; we missed the coffee (nothing open after 10 pm) but my husband dropped me off in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart outside of Arlington and then parked and waited.  (I will not comment in writing about the fact that he dropped me off in the parking lot…)

After the shopping trip to Wal-Mart #2, a nap is in order for me; the guys are going to work on the car and play pool; the kids are going to walk down to the beach with the moms.  Tough duty, this vacationing with family stuff.

Weather is sunny, people are relaxed.  After a delicious dinner of marinated flank steak, mashed potatoes and a spinach salad there was another hot-tub trip, bed time for the kids and a game of Cards Against Humanity.  This is the 2nd time I’ve played this game and at 53, I’m nowhere nearly adult enough to not be embarrassed by almost every aspect of this game.  I’ve learned things about my adult and almost-adult children that I’m not sure I want(ed) to know.  And laughed harder than I’ve laughed in a long time.  Of course there’s adult-beverage consuming (for the over-21’s) and more laughter.  I’m not sure it’s a good thing that I won.


Sunday is not so sunny, we walk to a local coffee place (some of the kids went to church). After coffee and lunch, we rented a boat and took turns bouncing across the choppy water with water and wind everywhere.  A couple of hours on a boat is never a bad way to spend a day, regardless of the weather.  Followed by hot-tub soaking and a fantastic dinner, we decided to save our sanity and play Ticket to Ride instead.  I don’t remember who won.

On the ride back from the boat, the conversations ranged from cup size to etymology of civil-war words and everything in between.  And then there was the discussion about asses, burros, jumping over dead donkeys being good luck and feral burros.  There was always a game or two of cribbage going on, laughter and more food.

Monday is the drive home.  Should be about 3 hours but it takes 6.  It’s the downside of a long weekend away that there are multiple accidents and there’s no good way to go home.  Originally the plan was to drive home Hwy 97 to I-90, stop at North Bend and then home in time for the JV football game.

We get the house cleaned up, pack the cars.  Son In law attempts to put the key back in the key lock box and slices his hand open.  Find the first aid kit and bandage him up.  A few photos of the packed cars and start the drive home.  Youngest son left about 8 am because he wanted to get home in time for practice.  He calls at 10 (as I’m in the drive-thru at Starbucks) and says he’s turning around because of an accident closing the highway for 3 hours.  We decide to take the other route, Hwy 97 to 2 through Leavenworth.

It is the first time I have ever been in Leavenworth and eaten at McDonalds.  It is also the first time I haven’t bought cannoli, a hat, T-shirt or taffy while in Leavenworth.

Everyone else is going this way too, so although it SHOULD have been easy-peasy to get home by say, 1 PM; we pull in the driveway about 4:45.  Seriously the deer on the side of the road were moving faster than we were.  We have enough time to unpack the car, change clothes, grab our football volunteer gear and go to the game.

WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND SCHEDULES A FOOTBALL GAME ON A 3-DAY WEEKEND MONDAY?  Oh KingCo, that’s right. So, off to the JV football game we go.

So, to recap the vacation was 2 football games, 11 people, 4 cars, 1 boat trip, no cannoli, great food, 2 Wal-Marts, 4 days, 3 nights and only one injury.

Aren’t family vacations fun?