Saturday, July 17, 2010

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming

We're back. We've come full circle, as it were, starting back in June with a drive up I-5 to Portland and ending yesterday with a drive up I-5 from Sacramento. (Incidentally, poor Sacramento: as the very last stop on an extensive list, that town would have had to have been Paris and Rome and DisneyWorld all rolled into one in order to command our full attention and awe. As it was...hmm. But shout-out to the Embassy Suites Sacramento, which ingeniously carries a line of Bath and Body Works Coconut-Lime Verdana lotions and soaps in their bathrooms. Perked me up considerably, I tell you what.)

As most of you know, we were on an extended national park road trip with my parents doing reviews for my travel site Pit Stops for Kids, and it was an amazing three weeks. But lest you think I spent all  my time away checking in and out of hotels, enriching my children's cultural education, opening my eyes to new horizons, and hunting down wifi, you'll be pleased to hear that I managed my time wisely. Case in point:

1. I diligently slogged through all 608 pages of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Call me a follower, but I couldn't let the rest of the reading world leave me behind. My verdict won't be a popular one though: I finished the last page and turned to say one word to my mom. That word? "Underwhelmed."(Also? "Ick". I've read enough twisted sexual shit to last me a while.) This is not to say the book wasn't interesting (hello...twisted sexual shit!) or worthy of praise, but for me, it falls in the category of 'well-deserved summer sensation that fizzles' along with titles such as The DaVinci Code and every Mary Higgins Clark novel ever written. Plus, did anyone understand a single word of all that high finance exposition? If so, keep your mouth shut; I feel stupid enough as it is.

2. I saw Eclipse. Why, you ask? I don't know, why do we occasionally eat too much chocolate at one sitting or find ourselves inexplicably engrossed in junk TV? My point: we've all done things that are guaranteed to make us sick with self-loathing later. (And liked it. And would do it again.) Or perhaps I was just dropped on my head as a baby. But it was a deliciously fun time waster, and unlike Tattoo, it did not require the use of any of my taxed brain cells. That spells summer blockbuster to me!

3. I ran a total of 18 miles all vacation, and ate a total of 4 bazillion calories. This is a ballpark estimate as I don't own a bodybugg, but I think it's fairly accurate. I'm pretty sure the breakfast burrito I ordered not once, but twice in Grand Teton was 1000 calories alone. Ditto on the mushroom tamales in Zion. I doubt Jillian Michaels would approve. On the homefront, Sam the Dog ran 0 miles in my absence and also ate a total of 4 bazillion calories in the form of Doggy DayCare biscuits. (Yes, I'm one of those people now. Don't judge.) When we ran together this morning, I totally kicked his ass.

4. Thanks to a complicated system of downloading, saving, uploading, and viewing, I finished Season 3 of Mad Men even while in TV-free, internet-free lodges deep in the wilderness. At one point, I even had to prop the laptop up on a bathroom counter to utilize the only electric plug with a third prong. Totally worth the cramp in my back (I was sitting in the tub, of course). Score one for innovation. Also? Great way to pass the time in dark rooms while waiting for kids to fall asleep on vacation.  

5. I worked on my tan. Simmer down, I wore sunblock. But this is monumental for one reason. Can you guess? Here's a hint: what does it take to get a tan on the beach? (And finish Tattoo? And eat fatty foods?) That's old enough to entertain themselves, that's what. Yes people, I'm calling it now: I have perfect 'beach-aged' kids. They're old enough not to drown, but young enough to cheerfully spend the day swimming and running amuck, thinking there's nothing better than the combination of sand, sun, and saltwater. Which of course there isn't.

Unless it's a mushroom tamale. (With a Haagen Daaz bar for dessert. Didn't I mention those?)
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