Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Chick Lit Cheerleader: On the Road Again...

Introduction by Melissa Amster

Last year, we took our kids to Disney World for the first time. We wanted to make a video of us presenting this information to them, since we had kept it a surprise for so long. We had a whole plan in place, which was to let them think they were going to Chicago and then we'd tell them there was a blizzard but that their grandparents and aunt got out of there and were meeting us somewhere warmer. Then we were going to tell them how we were all going to Disney World. In theory, we imagined them jumping up and down and screaming with joy. In reality, my younger son was more concerned about getting something to drink and my older son was so confused and got annoyed because he already told all his friends he was going to Chicago. He was even more bewildered to learn that Chicago was never in the plans to begin with! Thankfully our Chick Lit Cheerleader, Jen Tucker, was able to pull off a big surprise for her kids. However, she didn't get to capture their reactions on video. Hopefully, this month's post will suffice!

The Land of Coasters

I’ve been able to pull off a few surprises for people over the years. A solo limo ride for my best friend, Nancy, where she found me and two other friends at a restaurant waiting to celebrate her birthday, and a surprise party for my hubby, Mike (who abandoned me to globetrot throughout Spain while we were in college), really are my shinning secret party planner moments. Yet I now present to you, the ultimate in surprises—a secret destination for the Mini Tuckers in my life. I called it vacation. My offspring called it torture.

We picked up our anchor and set a course for North Wildwood, New Jersey from landlocked Indiana. Escaping for four days to the beach with one of my longtime girlfriends and her family was heaven sent. Lazy days with sand between my toes, adult laughs on the scenic deck of the beach house with a clear view of the ocean, along with the sounds of our five children betwixt us laughing and bonding. That’s not the torturous part for my children I’m referring to. It’s what came after the ocean side days I want to tell you about.

I looked at the routes we could travel home from vacation knowing we had a little over a week to get away. With four days spent bodysurfing in the waves that would provide four remaining days to play with on the return home. I fidgeted with a few ideas: take the kids to Washington D.C. and do the American history things, head to Hershey, Pennsylvania and see if the streets are lined with Hershey Kisses (some things should remain a fantasy), or take the Toll Road to Ohio to see my best buddy from high school and pop by Cedar Point, the amazing Roller Coast. Decisions, decisions.

I had a nice outline planned to present to Mike with our options. First I suggested D.C., where we could not only check out monuments and Barack’s house, but also hug friends (like the ├╝ber cool Melissa Amster). Next, I mentioned driving through Ohio and spending a day at Cedar Point. I never had the opportunity to mention visiting the land of chocolate kisses. “Forget being patriotic, let’s go ride some freaking coasters!” I love that man of mine.

We planned the trip, booked the room and conspired with our friends in Ohio to keep the second leg of our journey a secret. I almost fumbled the ball a few times and revealed what we were up to, yet our lips remained sealed. Here’s the caveat to this whole surprise. My children know I’m a planner. How you might ask? I’m the girl who posts our menu for the week on the refrigerator. My closet is color coordinated, and that has carried over to the books on my shelves (You should try it! I can’t find anything specific I’m looking to read, yet it’s a beauty to look at.). I am organized. So when we waved goodbye to our friends and hit the road, it was chaos in the minds of our children.

I made the announcement. “Hey, Team Tucker. Dad and I decided we’re going to just take a few days to drive home; stop when we feel like it and see where the road takes us.”

L to R: Ryan, Snoopy, Wil, Gracie
Here were their responses:
Wil-“So we’re just going to get in the car and drive? For no reason? I don’t understand.”

Gracie- “How will you know where we’re going if you don’t know where you’re going? Will we die?”

Ryan-“Okay, who are you and what have you done with my parents? What are you now, hippies? Are you taking us to live with your hippie friends in Canada? Mom, you are a planner. You don’t just drive for fun! This makes no sense. I don’t know you anymore.”

This was going to be great. Even with the constant queries of how much longer, are we there yet, and what will we do if all hotels are sold out, we stuck to our lines like great actors do.

I’m the first to admit I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer at times. I’m working on raising my children to be smarter than the average bears. It’s obviously a work in progress. None of them noticed the GPS, whom Mike affectionately refers to as “Bitching Betty,” spout directions to a destination…for nine consecutive hours! Within an hour from Sandusky, Ohio, the Cedar Point signs emerged. Not one peep from the backseat about the neon billboards featuring screaming thrill riders. Not a single one word. Last but not least, as we exit the highway, Ryan commented, “Hey…we’re in Sandusky? What’s here? I think I know this city.”

He does know this town. He’s traveled to it every fall for Cedar Point’s Halloweekends in October since the fifteen-year-old was in Pull-Ups. He never connected the dots. None of them did. I’m beginning to think bad parenting is to blame.

You know you're cool
when you get a social media
shoutout from your kid! 
The final reveal came when Mike pulled out his phone and recorded the big reveal. I’d been wearing a Cedar Point T-shirt under my hoodie the entire day, unzipped my jacket and yelled, “We’re going to the land of coasters!” There were hoots and hollers; praises lifted towards the skies that we were the most amazing parents. I’d love to share that video with you now. However, Mike forgot to actually hit the record button on his phone.

We had an amazing time as a family. Except for one little glitch. It was revealed one of our children might have been switched at birth at the hospital. Gracie danced and cheered waiting to ride the oldest coaster on the property, The Blue Streak. It’s tame compared to the negative G’s, heights, drops and spins of today’s giga-coasters. She cried. She wailed. She begged me to stop the ride as her stomach felt the force of gravity take over. She dwells among thrill ride seeking enthusiasts who cannot relate to her. I’d stick with my earlier analysis of the switched babies theory if she did not resemble a female clone of my husband. Again, bad parenting is most likely the culprit.

Jen Tucker is the author of the funny and true stories, The Day I Wore My Panties Inside Out and The Day I Lost My Shaker of SaltIn September 2012, she had her children's book, Little Pumpkin published as an e-book. She also blogs monthly for Survival for Blondes. She currently lives in Indiana with her husband, three kids and two dogs. You can find her at TwitterFacebook, her blog and on her website. And in case you missed them. check out her previous Chick Lit Cheerleader posts here.

1 comment:

Janine said...

I'm glad y'all had a good time. the land of coasters sounds like a nightmare to me. I'm a big chicken when it comes to rides.