Wednesday, August 13, 2014

"If I were in charge of the lottery..."

"...instead of giving $5,000 a week for life, I'd give $4,000 a week for life, plus $1,000 a week worth of bacon. That way people would eat all that bacon and die faster, and I'd save a lot of money."

--Ethan Tarpley

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Our budget summer vacation, Days 4 & 5

Day 4:
We packed up our tent and drove to Delaware. We were supposed to check out of the KOA at 11, but we didn't get out of there 'til noon.

Then it was supposed to be a five-hour drive, but due to traffic, potty breaks and missed exits, it took seven. It was not the most fun day of the trip.

We checked into a Comfort Inn at 7pm. Ethan joined me for a sunset swim, which put me in a better mood.

We had a nice dinner at a Mexican restaurant, then came back to the hotel and crashed.

Day 5:
We went on a "treetop adventure" at a place called Go Ape! It entailed climbing trees, walking across rope bridges from tree to tree, swinging into giant nets, and zip-lining across a pond.

Guess what?

Ethan loved it. He was yakking away and whooping it up the entire time. We had to keep saying, "Shhh!" Even though we were in the middle of a state park.

So I would say we ended on a high note.

You know, if we'd had the money to go to Atlantis, there probably would've been a hurricane, and I would've complained about that. If we had a summer house in the Hamptons, I'd complain that it wasn't close enough to the beach.

Our little budget mini-vacation was just fine. We had fun. In the end, like life, it's not where you go, it's who you go with.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Our budget summer vacation, Day 3

We had an all-day outing to the Lost World Caverns in Lewisburg, West Virginia.

Samuel and Jennifer took the four-hour "Wild Cave Tour." Ethan and I stuck to the regular thirty-minute tour, as Ethan's not crazy about small spaces and darkness and spiders and bats.

While Jen and Sam were gone, Ethan and I poked around town, drove over to a fancy resort called the Greenbrier at the next town over, then came back and basically sat around waiting for Jen and Sam.

It was a long four hours, which stretched into five because the cave tour ran long.

Ethan was not happy.

We had dinner at a Pizza Hut, then settled in for another night at the KOA, where we were the only tent in the entire campground. I guess Monday nights aren't a big camping night.

I will say this: I was a New York snob when it came to my preconceived notions of West Virginia. I thought it would be all hillbillies, coal miners, and moonshine. Maybe we were in the non-hillbilly part of the state, but I didn't see a single Bloodhound. Unfortunately.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Our budget summer vacation, Day 2

Today we took a five-hour tubing trip down the James River.

Two hours would've been ideal.

Ethan sulked. "This is the worst vacation ever. I'd rather be back in school than be on this vacation."

Then I accidentally dropped our rental car keys into the river.

I had just taken these photos and was putting my cell phone back into the plastic bag that held our valuables, and out dropped the car keys, right into the river. They sank like a rock.

I jumped out of my tube and frantically tried to find my footing against the current in the four-foot-deep water. Then I tried walking slowly back and forth feeling my way along the bottom with my toes, hoping for a miracle. After fifteen minutes I was shivering and I needed to get out of the water. Two locals in kayaks came by and helped us look for another fifteen minutes, but we finally gave up.

We called Thrifty--they told us to call a locksmith, and that there was a $200 charge for lost keys. Not including the cost of the locksmith. We were on the phone with a local locksmith when the two kayakers paddled back up to us.

Guess what? They'd found our keys.

So we survived our tubing trip.

That evening we checked into a KOA campground (remember: budget vacation), set up our tent, then headed back to Lexington for dinner.

We hit a deer.

An adult deer came bounding across the road, and I saw him in time to brake; then right behind him came a smaller deer, who ran smack into my front bumper. I hit him at probably ten miles an hour. He spun on his back across the road and into the grass, then slowly got up and bounded away. So maybe he was okay. The car was fine.

We had dinner at the only restaurant that was still open at 8:45--a rather fancy restaurant called the Southern Inn. Ethan had fried chicken strips and said it was the best part of the vacation so far.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Our budget summer vacation, Day 1

It's a budget year. Seems like it's always a budget year, huh?

We drove seven hours from NYC to Lexington, Virginia, making stops at Arby's and Cracker Barrel. If I didn't know better I'd say the exact same fifty old people were at Cracker Barrel the last time we visited one; it was like that Jim Carrey movie, "The Truman Show."

We pulled into the Sleep Inn in Lexington at 7pm, took a quick dip in the pool, then drove into town for dinner at a local cafe, where we were the last patrons at 8:15.

Not sure how she pulled this off, but Jennifer managed to squeeze in a trip to the local WalMart for "necessities" at 9:30.

So...not as exciting as a vacation in the Bahamas, perhaps. (But how would we know?)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Ethan says...

"I've calculated Dad Time and Mom Time. When you say you'll be home in fifteen minutes, it means twenty. When Mom says she'll be home in fifteen minutes it means forty-five."