Off-season vacation at the beach was not too hot, not too cold, not too crowded. It was, in a word, perfect. Except for the 70MPH hills of West Virginia where, like a roller coaster without the safety of a track, semis zoom, and all the various insane drivers flock to experience the thrill of real danger. (Those roads were not meant for that speed.) And no...I don't have any action shots from the road. My hands were firmly at 10 & 2 on the wheel. But, I officially have proved that I possess nerves of steel.
We had the opportunity to visit a magic land called MagiQuest. I thought it was gonna be a cool diversion for the kids on the day it rained. Turns out, its a mecca for geeks like me. I loved it. (Go ahead, print out my picture and draw nerdy glasses on my face.) It was so cool we went back again. We are all Master Magi now. *Except for the seven-year-old (above pic) who declared the place "stupid" after fifteen minutes on day one. He did not return for day two's fun.* I have been advised that perhaps he is the only normal one in the family....
Let me say here that Garmin GPS is evil. Don't ever let let a GPS hear you say it's stupid, or that you hate it, or that you think it's voice is condescending. "Recalculating. Recalculating." She (Garmin) visually showed us as being in a field of green...while we were on a 6 lane highway. I remarked that Garmin was stupid and needed to upload new maps. An hour later, we were on a dirt road. I'm NOT kidding. She did not recognize the mega highway, but she knew about Bob's Road that has never been paved. And, to express her mastery of maps, she meant for us to experience Bob's Road.
The ten-year-old (above pic) is ever cool. He and the bestest soon-to-be sixteen-year-old (who expertly avoids cameras) decided to spend a day being British. They spoke a good rendition of Cockney until the youngest was so annoyed he shouted, "WE ARE AMERICAN!" at them. We ate lunch at a touristy restaurant before the 3-D Imax adventure. (Why does the wait staff feel obligated to dance in the aisle every ten minutes at touristy restaurants? I'm sure it was not just for us...though we were practically the only ones present.)
Then there was aquarium day. Horseshoe crabs, blek. Sharks swimming overhead, cool. Took the soon-to-be sixteen kid to see a comedian. Turned out it was a hypnotist. The kid promptly volunteered. He sat on stage with 3 pretty 20-something girls who also volunteered and, at various times during the show, they decided that he was the best thing ever. Yeah. He had a fabulous time.
The beach (and the 85 degree heated pool) were favorites of the two little ones. In fact, it would not surprise me to discover gills at their hairlines. They couldn't get enough. This they do NOT get from me. I do not swim and I do not want to get into the ocean. (I mean all sorts of scary things are out there, like whale poop--and speaking of whales, do you know how big the boy whale's things get? I don't want to swim anywhere where there could be things that big lurking around, y'know?) hahahahaha
But alas, I am more exhausted than before the vacation. Taking kids on a trip means no relaxing for the parent. (I didn't even get a single margarita while I was gone....) But we made a ton of memories and had fun, shared lots of hugs, smiles, laughter and all around goofiness.
And, just for fun, Garmin took us off of a real road and put us on another dirt road on the way home. GPS's have egos. (They tell you what to do but never, not once do they say, "Good Job" or "You did it!" when you follow the directions.) They could be the first Artificial Intelligence. And...like an ex-friend with a god-complex, the GPS exploited our ignorance of the area, she told us where to go and we, at her satellite mercy, obeyed and found ourselves in the dark of night on a narrow road in danger of being flooded--seriously, there was water about two inches below the road level on both sides--and there were people milling around like zombies in the dark wearing hats with little lights atop the bill while they stare into the water as if waiting for gators or krakens or whatever those crazy people were waiting for. (I was just glad they didn't mumble, "Brains, brains," and weren't carrying pitchforks.) And then, as we came to the end of that road, certain that it couldn't get worse, Garmin directed us onto a road named CEMETERY ROAD and we knew then that Garmin was indeed palm-sized evil incarnate.