Friday, August 24, 2012

Vacation Part III of IV – Even Though We’ve Been Home For A Week

Day Four – Operation Dinner Out

I can summarize this day pretty easily.  Beach in the morning.  Naps after lunch.  Then, the main event of the day: our first sit down dinner as a family at a restaurant with a server.  Most everyone knows how I feel about eating in public when my children are misbehaving.  For those who don’t, the scale ranges from slight embarrassment to utter mortification to wishing I could be teleported onto the island from Lost.

We dressed ourselves as if we were appearing on The Today Show.  In other words, no suits or anything like that but I wasn’t wearing my Reese’s tee shirt.

We didn’t know where to go, so we just headed towards North Conway.  I was feeling anxious about how the kids were going to be.  I just cringe at the thought of ruining another table’s meal by having my kids screaming, hucking food, spilling drinks, leaving their seat, pulling tantrums, or doing what they normally do when we eat dinner at home. 

Suddenly, Applebee’s appeared on the horizon like an oasis in the desert.  (Never in my post-college, pre-children life would I have ever believed that I’d be typing those words.)  We pulled into the parking lot and put our name in at the dais.  We sat after a short wait, then ordered the kids’ food and margaritas immediately.

Turns out our waitress was a mom, which made me feel a little bit easier.  But then I immediately felt worse about the mess we were about to make.  (My neuroses are unlimited.)  I made a mental note to leave a good tip regardless.

About forty-five minutes later, our food had come and gone.  We managed not to offend anyone or cause a big scene, as far as I can tell. 

All in all, the kids were pretty well behaved.  Our server and the other staff were great.  We were in and out of there in a pretty efficient amount of time.  And the dinner was ridiculously inexpensive.  (I thought I was in Prague circa 2001.)  While the food was absolutely unhealthy (I think even the salads come fried there) and tasted terrible, I’d rate our experience as a B+ overall. 

To reward the kids for their acceptable behavior and to perpetuate the poor nutrition, we capped the night off with a stop at Smitty’s for ice cream.  High fives all around.

Day Five – Painting the Town Red

On Day Four, we met a family of five at the pond whose oldest son has DS.  Of course, we introduced ourselves and swapped histories.  It was great to hear from each of the family members and the young man himself (Brady) who is now 19.  We met one other nice family at the beach, and another local family who were out for ice cream at Smitty’s.  Just great peeps all around. 

 Anyway, Brady recommended that we go to the Christmas Loft as an activity for the kids.  The weather in the morning of Day Five was a bit sketchy, so we decided to follow his recommendation.    

Before we arrived at the Christmas Loft, I was imagining a local retail competitor to the Christmas Tree Shop.  Once inside, though, it was more like a low budget “It’s A Small World” with a yuletide flavor and holiday knick knacks for sale everywhere.  It was indoors.  It was free (minus the ornaments THE WIFE “had” to buy.)  And the kids loved it.  We killed a good hour or so in there.  By the time we left, the sun was shining. 

Next, we went back to Schouler Park for the playground and a picnic lunch.  This time, we were prepared for the splash area with bathing suits and a camera.  How much did Gus like this excursion?  So much that he fell asleep while sitting in the swing.  Eventually, we got Gus and Tilly home for proper naps at the house.  Greta and I got ready for a big night out on the town.

Our first stop was Cranmore, which is a small ski mountain (see that contains an outdoor adventure park in the summer.  I thought it was ambitious for us to go here because I assumed the activities were a bit on the intimidating side for Greta.  She was also tired from all the action of our week.  I knew there was a bouncy house so at least one activity would be a hit.  Everything else was up in the air.  Mini golf was our back-up plan. 

Long story short, mini golf was unnecessary.  I was floored by Gigi’s adventurous spirit.  (I should’ve known when she insisted on being the only kid in the park wearing only her bathing suit throughout the entire duration of our excursion.)  She went on every attraction where she was tall enough and even a couple more when the operator looked the other way: both of the bouncy houses, soaring eagle zipline (short but sweet with an unsettlingly loud whoosh noise at the end,) giant swing (I thought I might puke for a second,) mountain coaster (she wanted me to go faster the second time,) and chair lift (we held hands and chatted away on the ride.)  She wanted to do the bungy trampoline too but the park was about to close.  I was blown away at how she seemed to have no reservations about trying any of the activities.  I was so proud of her.  No sign of any timid little girl that afternoon.    

Afterward, Greta and I went to dinner, strolled for ice cream, relaxed at a coffee shop, and perused a toy store.  All things said, it was seriously one of the greatest dates in my entire life.  

No comments: