Seven kids, one van, and 3,497 miles, my April vacation to Florida was going to be “interesting” to say the least. Waking up at 4 a.m., my mother climbed into the passenger seat next to her boyfriend, Steve, while the rest of us sat as comfortably as possible in the back. The twins sat in the first row, each zoned into their own Nintendo DS, which would keep them as quiet and entertained as 5 year olds can be. In the second row, sat the victim and myself, I mean my friend, Caitlin and I. Fortunately for me, I was allowed to bring company to keep me sane. Unfortunately for her, she didn’t know what she was getting into. Lastly, exiled into the far back confines of the van were Ryan, my brother, and Zach and Derek. Derek, 14, had curled himself up against the window and had plugged himself into his iPod. Ryan, 12, and Zach, 9, had already begun their bickering, needless to say there would need to be a new seating arrangement. So there I was, in a car of 5 boys, 4 of which I didn’t need to deal with on a daily basis, my bound to be temperamental mother and her boyfriend, armed only with my best friend. I started the trip off doing what I do best at 4 a.m., sleeping
After several food stops, gas stops, and potty breaks we found ourselves in South Carolina looking for a “rest” stop.
The next morning we continued to Tarpon Springs, which became nicknamed, Tampon Strings by the boys. A half-mile away from Steve’s parents house Steve announces, “Listen up! First, my dad has a rule about the bathroom, if you go number two, wipe and throw your paper in the trash! Secondly, talk into his good ear.”
“You waited until 2 minutes before to tell us this!?” I said perplexed.
Caitlin is in a fit of laughter and I’m just hoping things aren’t as bad as they seem.
Walking into the house I am greeted by the smell of mothballs and the temperature increases by at least 10 degrees.
I slouch onto the couch and wonder when dinner will be done.
Meanwhile, my mom asks to borrow the computer and searches for a nearby hotel claiming she doesn’t want to be an inconvenience. I immediately start doing cartwheels in my head.
After dinner we are treated to Klondike bars. One of the twins decides that he doesn’t like his and throws it in the trash. Steve’s mother reaches into the trash, “Oh I’ll wrap this up and give it to Derek later.”
Derek looking alarmed turns his attention to the soiled treat. “Oh, not you sweetie,” says his grandmother, “Your grandfather!”
Just then, Derek senior comes out of the bathroom and calls a meeting of all the children. “Alright, who flushed the toilet paper down the toilet?” he inquires. I hide a chuckle at the silliness of this question. No one responds. The toilet is backed up and is difficult to get unclogged. Steve heads in and works his magic, sending the tension and hubbub out of the house.
he trip was an over all success with some minor bumps. The Atlanta Aquarium, the Coca-Cola Factory, and Busch Gardens all proved to be great fun. But what I remember best are the hiccups and the lessons I learned. Always have a back up plan, you can always have fun with family, and never give seven kids all the Coca-Cola samples they can drink before a long car ride.
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