My wife and I often call the gym a reset button. No matter what stress has it’s grip on you, the weights don’t care. You return home ready to start fresh. However, there’s only so many times you can hit that reset. Sometimes you need to power down and unplug. The only way to do that is with a take-off-from-work, overpack-the-car vacation.
I’m not talking about a staycation. That word should be banished from the dictionary. The idea of taking off from a job to work around the house is silly. That means you’re probably working too many hours. You don’t need to go to Disney World and spend a fortune. Your family and friends invite you all the time. May as well take up their offer. Just make sure you go far enough that people talk a little funny.
We’ve done numerous long weekends, but we finally embarked on our first vacation as a family, a rental house with family on a lake in Maine. Despite visits from the police and a trip to the health clinics, it was both fun and relaxing. Sharing costs and having a full-size kitchen cut down costs. We enjoyed a private beach, rowed the canoe and spent a lot of time by the fire both of the grill and pit variety. Milo, our intrepid border collie, a waterbug enjoyed herding waves as much as he could.
There were some stressful moments made possible by the attendance of three-year-olds. On the afternoon of day one, our two boys were having a heated discussion about a turtle egg toy. Fortunately, I broke up the argument before it turned physical. The little ones went their separate ways. A little later, we noticed one of them hadn’t returned. We called calmly. No answer. We called not-so-calmly and still no answer. There were ten people in the house at the time and we checked every room, calling out with increasing panic. We searched the water and asked the neighbors for help. For twenty minutes, we yelled his name a hundred times. Billboards on the drive up said call authorities immediately if your child is lost, so my wife did.
I went back to search the house for the tenth time. This time when I looked under the bed and happened to notice a toe hanging down from under the box spring. Boy found. Crisis over. Why he didn’t answer his the panicked cries is another story. The police did come, mostly due to the fact my brother-in-law had a little too much Jersey in his responses over the phone, but all was well. This reminds me I need to throw out a turtle egg toy.
I was going to say Maine is a great place to let your child explore their independence, but in light of the above event I’ll only go as far to say Maine is a great place to let your child explore. Here’s a tip. If you happen upon a caterpillar that looks like a porcupine don’t touch it and don’t let your kids touch it. If they do touch it. Don’t google it. If you do google it don’t tell them what it says.
The kids tried lobster and didn’t really go for it. No surprise. They look like aliens and the texture is quite alien as well. The meat is not like chicken, sweet potatoes or cereal. The bowl of butter was very inviting to the kids however and one dipped everything in it and the other thought it was soup.
Shout out to the Walk-In Clinic in North Conway NH. We had a kid with conjunctivitis and they fixed him and got it back in the game. That said, administrating eye drops to a three-year-old is like making a souffle on a fishing boat during a noreaster.
Our house was on Moose Pond, situated in the Sebago Lake region about 45 minutes from Portland. The town of Bridgton is a cool little town that serves a dual purpose of being a ski town as well. We found an awesome Gastropub that’s located quite fittingly in a gas station. With imaginative menu and an incredible lineup of beer, I’d say the Standard Gastropub is the must eat if you’re in the area or are sick of lobster rolls. They only have five or six indoor picnic benches but the food is served fast and good. Plus, they don’t forget about the little ones with a delicious kids menu.
Maine is a tradition in Karen’s family, started by folks who are unfortunately no longer with us. Judging from our own children’s excitement and curiosity it will likely outlive us as well. While there will be plenty of times we vacation alone, making the time to keep traditions important too. My family spent much of our youth going to the Jersey Shore and civil war sites. The problem with Jersey, most of what I enjoyed about it is no longer there. It’s been turned to a condo. What’s nice about places such as Sebago Lake, it changes slower than traditions.