Browsing the archives for the Griswald tag.

National Lampoons Camping Trip

My kids, My life, Parenting

Never before have I had more of a respect for Clark W. Griswald as I did this past weekend.  I am always trying to make sure my family and I have a good time but sometimes life gets in the way.

The husband, kids and I packed up the camper/travel trailer, the SUV and our expectations for fun and headed north to Speedway, Indiana.  The racing capital of the world?  Where they race the Indy 500?  So, you’ve heard of it?  Good.  This Sunday was the first motorcycle race at the legendary speedway in almost 100 years.  Since my husband would watch ostriches race at the IMS we had to go.  Being the sport I am I looked at it as a time that the family can get away, maybe hit the zoo or Children’s Museum and have the picturesque camping adventure as seen only in the RV brochures.

PASHA!  The first two days were the closest to hell I think I have experienced.  First off, it was humid, hot and oh yea, OUR GENERATOR DOESN’T WORK.  This is not that big of a deal except it rained and rained and RAINED (thanks to hurricane Ike).  Imagine being stuck inside a hot camper where you can’t open the windows due to the rain, no TV, no microwave, and toddlers who seem as if their shoes have springs.  Not my idea of a good time.  Jim, being the dutiful husband and father headed out in the rain and bought another generator!  I hated the idea of spending the money but I have to admit, I was beyond happy when the air conditioning hit my face and I heard the theme song from “Word World.”

Second day, more rain but that’s ok.  Jim is going over to the track to watch practice and I am taking the kids and meeting a friend and her son at the Children’s Museum.  What a great day this will be.  When I arrived at the museum I turned into a parking lot that was only for school buses and handicapped vehicles.  As I am attempting to leave said parking lot a woman who obviously takes her job as security very serious flags me down.  I roll down my window and she says,

“You are going to cause a WRECK!  You went the wrong way all the way through this parking lot!”

Playing a sheepish stupid girl I say, “Oh, I’m sorry – I’m just trying to get out of here and over to the parking garage.”

Angry rent-a-cop: “Well, back up, go down THIS aisle and exit THAT exit.  Cross the street and you will find the entrance to the garage.”

Me:  “Oh, OK.”

Rent-a-cop:  “Be careful and don’t cause a wreck!”

I back my big ol’ Excursion up and try to do the right thing.  Evidently I didn’t see the curb and ran right over it as I went down “that” aisle.  I didn’t even look back at the evil woman and I felt my face flush in embarrassment.  I can only imagine I looked like Big Foot crawling over cars as my head just about hit the ceiling as I bounced around inside.  I should have seen this as a omen of things to come…..

Once inside the museum, Val and I watched the boys run around the Dynosphere looking at the skeletal remains of a T-rex.  Sam was showing Jackson all the cool cubby holes and hidden treats.  About 40 minutes into this dreamlike outing I turn to get the stroller (where Alex was) to head to the train exhibit and Jackson has disappeared.  My heart stopped.  I just knew this was not good.  That kid is the fastest thing this side of the Ohio.  I was right.  Frantic searching by both me and Val yielded nothing.  As each second went by I could feel my level of anxiety rising.  Val says, “Follow me.” and I’m try my best to do just that.  But, let me qualify this by saying Val is one of those sick people who actually run for “pleasure” so the speed at which she twisted through the Egyptian catacombs exhibit left me panting behind her and trying to just catch a glimpse of her shadow so I didn’t lose her trail.  She leads me to a security officer who has the bright idea to help me search for him.  At that moment I wanted her to call the head of security, have all the doors locked, and have every single person in that place look for the “little boy with a grey shirt that says ‘my Dad rocks.'”  But, we searched the floor AGAIN and she finally called head of security.  Now this is where my memory gets a little foggy – maybe I was in panic, shock, whatever.  But, the head of security who has an ear piece in his ear says, “There is a code Adam matching this description.  I’m with the mother.”  Silence as he listens to the other end.

Then he says, “Is your little boy wearing a grey shirt, blue jean shorts and loves race cars?”

“Yes! Where is he???”

“They are going to bring him to the concierge desk.  Follow me.”

I get there and wait, wait……head of security again is obviously listening to someone talking in his hear and then he turns to me and says, “It seems they are having a hard time getting him to come with them.  I’ll just take you to him.”  I’m confused by what all this means but at this point all I want to do is see my son, hug him, smell his sweet hair and ring his little neck!  We go up to FLOOR 4. That’s right, the little monger got 3 floors away from me!  We step off the elevator and what do I see?  Jackson sitting inside an Indy car.  It seems he wouldn’t let any of the security take him out of “his” Indy car.  When he sees me he says with the utmost excitement, “Hi Bobby, I in a racing car….a Indy Car!!!”  So proud of himself.  I scoop his butt up out of that car hug him so tight and hold back the tears then through clinched teeth I say right in his ear, “Don’t you ever run away from Mommy again or I’ll spank your butt so hard your head will spin.”

After all of this it was hard for me to relax and enjoy this wonderful museum.  It was fun though.  I just had that adrenalin rush and such a rush is hard to come down from.  Val stayed with us for about another hour.  We saw the rest of the “kid friendly” parts of the museum.  Jackson saw it all from the safe haven of the stroller, much to his chagrin.  Then Val and Sam left when it became painfully obvious it was time for Sam’s nap. LOL.  I went ahead and stayed at the museum and saw the rest of the museum..another hour or so.

The trip back to the camper was uneventful – no curbs were harmed.  No rent-a-cops angered.  Kids all safely strapped into car seats.  I did get lost for a bit but a call to Jim got us headed in the right direction.  At the camper Jim and I realize we are about out of milk and other such staples.  He heads to the grocery store while I stay back with the kids to feed them.  While I am trying to microwave their chicken nuggets the NEW generator pops a breaker.  I head outside to flip the switch.  While I’m out there our neighbor comes over and says, “I thought no one was here so I turned your generator the other way – it’s just so damn loud.”  I explain how it was an “emergency” buy.  How our “quiet” generator went out and this was just the one they had at Lowe’s.  He was nice about it but made it clear that he didn’t like the noise.  I turn, flustered and embarrassed for the 3rd time today when my hand pops off the door handle.  It is LOCKED.  Jackson was able to reach the door from him high chair and just my luck, LOCKED ME OUT.  No keys, no cell phone, no patience.  I just sit down on the step and hold my head in my hands.  You would think I would just sit there and cry but all I could do was laugh.  I hang off the hand rail and do some sort of contortionist back bend to see into the trailer.  Jackson sees me and smiles, “Hi Bobby…what cha doin?”  “Unlock the door Jackson.  UNLOCK THE DOOR!”  He fiddles with it a bit until finally, success. I am inside.  When Jim got home he and I had one hell of a fight.  I cried, he apologized and we both agreed tomorrow would be (had to be) better.

It was.


  • Why I Write this Stuff

    My children called me Bobby when they were toddlers due to not being able to prounounce "Mommy." They are now 7 and 8 years old and I am Mommy. But my real name is Mandy. I just do this so I can keep in touch with the REAL me. Being a Bobby is a dream I thought I may never realize and I do not take it for granted. I homeschool (more specifically unschool) my two children and it's easy to lose yourself in the tasts of the day. I just want to make sure that after 19 or so years have passed,and my kids have moved out, I'm not stuck looking in the mirror and squinting in hopes of seeing Mandy again.