Monday, September 21, 2015

The Cursed Vacation

Summer vacations are supposed to be fun and entertaining and stress-free. Right? RIGHT???  Well, that's usually how our vacations go, but this summer our simple trip had a few bumps.

It all started the night before we left. I was busy trying to pack and twice found that one of the kids had spilled water on the kitchen floor and failed to clean it up. Needless to say, I wasn't very happy. When it happened again, my husband and I realized it wasn't the kids.  Nope. The icemaker in the fridge was broken.


We shut it down, cleaned up the mess, and finished packing. The next morning, Jeff was loading the truck for our trip to Glacier National Park. Camping with six people can be fun, but it requires squeezing a lot of gear into a not-so-big space. One of our dear children sat in the front of the truck, pretending to drive, and pushing a lot of buttons. We finally got everything and everyone loaded and prepared to back out of the garage. Except the truck wouldn't start.


Apparently one too many buttons got pushed while the dear child was playing make believe and the battery drained. A quick jump later and we were on our way to eastern Montana to visit the in-laws and attend my husband's class reunion before heading to the national park. The weekend was great and we had fun meeting with old friends. But then, the curse struck again. We woke up Monday morning to leave and our oldest child was sick. The kind of sick you don't want someone to be when you have a long drive in enclosed spaces.


We didn't have another choice, so we grabbed some large Ziploc bags and left--or at least we tried to leave. After rolling the window down to wave goodbye to Grandma, the driver's side window wouldn't roll back up. We'd never before had a problem with it. GRR!


Not wanting to head into bear country without a window that closed at night, we took a different route and drove to Billings (almost two hours away) and the nearest mechanic with the right parts. Our poor, sick child laid on a couch in the waiting room for the few hours it took to fix the window. Back on the road, we soon realized we wouldn't make it to the park in time to secure one of the few camping spots. We stopped in Great Falls and got a hotel room.

The next morning, our sick child felt better and we were on the road again. We arrived in Glacier National Park and found a great spot. Despite the record-breaking heat, we managed to get our tent set up and the kids began exploring. All was well until our evening campfire. Dinner was great and we decided to make s'mores. Jeff was chopping wood to add to the fire and a large splinter broke off and flew into his leg in a freak accident. It wouldn't come out. And trust me, we tried everything--including disinfecting a pocket knife to cut it out.

Not wanting an infection, we gave up and headed out of the park and into West Glacier a few miles away. Sadly, the medical clinic was closed for the night so we had to turn around and wait until morning. Apparently mishaps in the park are common place because there was quite the line at the one room clinic when we returned the next day. The doctor decided the only way to get the embedded wood out was to cut into Jeff's leg. He closed a curtain so we were separated from the rest of the line (not that they couldn't hear everything going on) and began the procedure. I became the doctor's assistant, handing him tools and even putting his goggles on him after he'd scrubbed up. Yes, I laughed the entire time. That's just how I am. A few stitches and a giant bandage later, we were on our way. Jeff decided to tell everyone he fought off a bear because it sounded better.

Oh, and did I mention yet that Jeff accidentally/sort-of-on-purpose bear sprayed the kids?

Sad that our trip didn't go as planned, I asked the kids on the way home what they would remember most about our trip. They didn't mention the vehicle problems, or the sickness, or the heat, or the time spent in the clinic. Nope. This is what they mentioned:

And this:

And this grizzly:

And skipping rocks:

And playing in the snow and watching rams: 

And splashing in the clear glacial water:

And the amazing scenery:

Despite everything, my kids managed to look past the chaos and remember the magical moments. I think I'll do the same. I can't wait for next year's summer vacation!

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