Hello all! As promised, here’s what happened before, during, and after our little weekend excursion to Branson, MO.
Thursday evening, I got off work and got home about 6:00 p.m. The kids had gotten their assigned tasks of washing and drying laundry, folding and packing, etc., about halfway finished. I finished the rest of it, got all my own packing done, and after spending a surprisingly low-stress evening goofing off together in the living room, we all got in bed.
Mom’s plan was to pick us up in the morning at the UNGODLY hour of 6:15. Assuming she was quite serious about this plan, I informed the kids that they would be awakened in time to get dressed and be ready to throw their stuff in the van, leap in, and hit the road by 6:16 or so. They did great. I woke them up, they collected their stuff, and were standing outside by the mailbox, looking hopefully and excitedly down the street, watching for Grandma’s approach at approximately 6:10 a.m.
Well, you guessed it. Grandma didn’t make it on time, as per usual. I say this not at all in a mean way. It’s just a fact. The women in our family are incapable of getting anywhere on time. If a Findley woman says she’ll be there at X, look for her at X-thirty!
So finally they got here, and we loaded up and headed to my sister’s house to pick up my neice. They too were waiting impatiently, and after her cargo of big blingy cheer bag the size of a bathtub, stuffed toys and portable DVD player were loaded, and Middle Sis had explained once again to Grandma that bedtime was at 8:30, Miss Neice was to eat healthy foods only, and take this medicine, this medicine, and this medicine…. and this vitamin, we were off.
We drove….. and drove…… and drove some more. It was Hhhot! This was due to the fact that the back air conditioner of the miniature ark- um, van, we were driving was NOT WORKING! So finally when we decided that just the front air was not going to be enough, we gave up and opened all the windows. So here we are, driving down the road, windows open, a toaster oven on wheels, a mobile sweatlodge with headlights, and a bad hair day waiting to happen.
About the time we hit Joplin, the back air mysteriously starts working, and we roll up the windows as fast as we can and try to remain completely motionless thereafter, for fear of bumping and un-connecting whatever loose wire or connection caused our blessed relief from roasting like marshmallows!
Before the air had started working, we stopped at the World’s Biggest McDonalds, which is situated over and across the middle of the westbound lane of whatever highway it is that goes from Tulsa to Joplin to Branson. We got the quickest food we could and jumped back in the van and scarfed it on the way, before it could get any hotter. Dad was driving and I was riding co-pilot. Daughter S. was sitting in the seat behind me, and she had to hold my hair to keep it from blowing in my face so I could eat my salad!
Finally we got to Branson. Those hills going in were a trip, as usual. No matter what poor vehicle you’re driving, it’s going to make a sound like it’s straining its guts out. That much is a certainty. And whatever you drive, you have to drive it as though it means absolutely nothing to you, and you would not so much as bat an eye if somebody happened to plow into you, because traffic in Branson is ABSOLUTELY INSANE!!!! We’re talking bumper to bumper on the main strip, one of those places where you have to just nose out there and wait for somebody to just stop in the middle of the road and let you in.
So the first night, we had to go to about three different places to check in to our rooms. Mom and Dad were staying at a different property of the resort company than me and my kids were, and you had to check in at separate offices that were in completely different locations than either of the actual hotels. We finally made it to Mom and Dad’s room, and the kids were hot and tired and all they wanted to do was swim. So we went to the indoor pool of Mom’s condo and we all swam for a while. (Dad sat in the hot tub.)
Then Dad decided to get out and Mom got out with him and they went back to the room and then Mom went to go get groceries to fix supper. We fixed spaghetti and we all ate like pigs. It was insanely good, because this was about 8:00 at night and we had eaten lunch that day at like, noon!
Then Mom was going to take us to our room, but she thought we should first go check out Branson Landing. I had no idea what this was, but it’s a little area down by some water where they have these pyrotechnic and water displays. There are all kinds of lights and restaurants and that night they had a pretty good band playing some great cover songs down there by the water. Mom let us climb out of the van while she went to park. We had to use our cell phones to find each other, because there were people EVERYwhere! We went down into this little amphitheatre type area, and stood there and listened to the music. I could have listened forever, but The Boy started complaining that the music was hurting his ears and that his feet were tired and he wanted to leave. And it was way past Miss Neice’s bedtime. Mom went to go get the van, but at the time, we weren’t sure exactly what she was doing, so instead of following her, we just stood there and kept listening to the music. Finally I couldn’t take The Boy’s nagging anymore, and we headed up out of the crowd to go find Mom.
She was not a happy camper when she discovered Dad and Daughter J. were still down by the water, and was just about to go get them when they appeared out of the crowd. We were all a little disgruntled at the time, but unfortunately we were about to be even less gruntled, because Mom got turned around trying to find our room. She made loops and loops around the strip, couldn’t figure out how in the world she got from a parking lot on one side of the loop to a street on the other side, and finally stopped the van and refused to drive another inch. Fortunately, the tiny little dead-end parking lot she’d ended up in was where we were supposed to be. But Dad had to back up and drive The White Beast because Mom was so frustrated she got out and started walking! The kids and I dragged all our stuff in, settled down, watched TV for a while, and finally went to sleep. (To Be Continued…)
Until next time,