For the family archives, I’m recording some of the activities from our first two days of the Griswald family vacation version 1.0. The day of travel up to Edelweiss from Easton doesn’t count because we only arrived, unloaded, and went to bed.
(Quick tangent, I pronounced a “vee” sound for the “w” in Edelweiss because I imagine that is how it’s supposed to be pronounced in German. THE WIFE scoffed at the sound of my diction and said aloud in her imitation intellectual voice as if attending a Harvard faculty cocktail party:
WIFE: Oh I’m sorry, did you just say eye-dill-VICE (emphasis on latter syllable and thinking she’s really funny)?
Me: (annoyed) Yeah. Um, I think that’s the way the word is supposed to be pronounced in German.
WIFE: (short pause while deciding whether to throw a challenge flag) Okay bug, I thought we were still in New Hampshire.
Suffice it to say, we’re staying in Edel-VICE for the rest of the week. And so our vacation begins…)
We decide to check out a free train ride a few miles from where we are staying, which sounds like a cute activity for the kids. THE WIFE and I are stressed because we want to make the 1:00 train as PB&J sandwiches are made and diaper bags prepared. Mind you, this isn’t a Boston-NYC Acela express with an obligatory ticket check-in/retrieval for a trip where we need to arrive in time for a business meeting. No, this train simply pulls into the station where we board without a ticket, before departing into the woods for twenty minutes, stopping, and then returning in the opposite direction to the same place where we boarded. It’s fair to say I need to decompress.
On the drive to the train station, Greta is spitting like an oscillating garden sprinkler on anyone and anything within a two foot radius. Half-heartedly, I ask her to stop. She ignores me. I ask again more sternly. August’s face gets sprayed. This time, I yell at her at a volume that startles THE WIFE and makes both kids cry. Rumor has it, my father of the year nomination is officially revoked.
Fast forward to the train depot. We are officially 15 minutes early. Good thing I yelled at the kids.
The train pulls up. Two open air cars sandwich a small engine. I put G-man on my lap. Gigi, still scarred from the car ride, sits with mom. The train lurches forward and we’re off at a blazing 3 to 5 miles per hour. As the ride progresses, the family loosens up as the woosh of moving air blows the hair of all four heads.
Gradually, G-man becomes fascinated by the passing branches overhead that he sees through the lattice ceiling. We pass by a pond full of beaver lodges and we explain to the kids that’s where the beavers live and sleep. Greta processes the information, though I’m not sure she’s seen many beavers in our animal books or flash cards. Duly noted. Along the way, we see a few herons flying by and Gigi says she saw a purple fish and a purple frog. At some point, an inch worm lands on the rail behind our seats and its methodical movements mesmerize Greta. Finally, we arrive back safely at the depot.
An old train car converted into a small diner invites us in where we take a booth for some ice cream. (See here: http://www.silverlakerailroad.com/thediner.htm.) Everyone’s spirits are high. The first day’s adventure is a success. Now, we’re truly on vacation.
Weather forecast was iffy. 50/50 chance of rain. We are torn whether to declare a “beach” day or not. Screw it, we decide, I’ll pitch the tent and we’ll wait out any passing storm from there. Plus, we’re only a five-minute walk back to Pep’s Place if it pours.
Greta and I head down first while THE WIFE stays behind until Gus’ morning siesta completes. Greta is decked out in her standard swim gear: pink one-piece with ballerina skirt, clear jellies, lady bug flotation device, and single pony. We set up camp and get to work. The place is practically to ourselves as only one other mom with two boys are playing at the other end.
The pond is a quaint and quiet little Eden. No motor boats allowed. The water is flat as glass. Gigi charges into the water. As the sun and clouds flirt for position over each other, the hours pass and THE WIFE eventually arrives. Cue the rain. Good thing I have the tent. But the minute we set up for lunch, the rain subsides and the sun eventually comes out. G-man and his mama eventually get in on the water action. The kids are having a blast.
At some point, Gigi announces to us and everyone else within earshot on the beach that she’s pooping. Glad I’m here to help. We do the change-a-roo and back in action. Two o’clock arrives before you know it, so we pack up to head home for the kids’ naps. THE WIFE manages to catch a couple winks on the couch as I type away next to her. Aaahhhhh, I can get used to this.
To be continued…