Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mother/Daughter Trip #5... it's almost here!

Since this blog is newish, I haven't yet had the occasion to write about my famed--make that infamous--annual mother/daughter trips. But trip #5 is a'coming next week so... get ready, people.

BACKSTORY (Cliff's Notes Version):
My mother and I have always had a strained relationship. I can't go into details as to why, because I'm saving it all for my brilliant and humorous memoir about these trips. Basically, five years ago my mother suggested (or rather, her therapist suggested) we start taking a trip alone together once a year so that she and I would have forced time together to work on our relationship. Forced being the key word. The carrot she dangled to get me to agree to said trips was this: "You can pick the place. We can go anywhere or do anything you like within reason."

Now, I loves to travel, and I have a pretty big bucket list of to-be-seens. Conversely, I have a pretty small travel fund so... I wasn't about to look a gift horse in the mouth (what does that mean, anyway? hope I used it correctly. it sounded like it should make sense there).

The past 4 years have been quite a journey--a journey I plan to exploit by writing that memoir I mentioned. The whole thing is a bit like a country line dance or a lame Paula Abdul song, a series of two steps forward, one step back.

TRIP #1 - World's Longest Yard Sale.
If you don't know about this, click the link. It runs through four states and is insanely fun if you like flea marketing, the thrill of the hunt and southern drawls. Taxidermy'd beavers and old tin toy collections abound. Two steps forward.

TRIP #2 - Night in Old San Antonio.
I was born in a VERY small town just southwest of San Antonio, TX. This trip was my first visit back to the neighborhood/home in which I lived for the first six years of my life. Unfortunately, due to a grossly uncomfortable scene at Lake Austin Spa, one step back.

TRIP #3 - Southern Cooking School at The Mansion Forsyth in Savannah, GA
Cooking. Eating. Strolling a beautiful city. A teary breakthrough and a long-overdue hug. Two giant steps forward.

TRIP #4 - The Kentucky Derby.
Exhilarating and visually stimulating. Just not with mom. No amount of mint juleps could dull the pain. Three giant steps backward.

and now.... TRIP #5 (drumroll, please....) Banff and Lake Louise, Canada.
Canada has been on my bucket list for some time. I have always heard great things, and I do love their exports:  maple syrup, Michael Buble and Ryan Reynolds. I am hopeful this trip will put us forward a few steps. Or at least back to where we started.

That said, I am wary for this reason:  my brother lives in Seattle. My mom offered to fly both him and his girlfriend out to stay with us in Banff for two days--all expenses paid--so we could all spend some time together. I haven't seen my brother in two years, and I don't know when I would again, since neither he nor I can afford to fly across the country (Seattle >< Florida).  And what did my financially-challenged, untraveled brother say to this free vacation to a beautiful place with his girlfriend, sister and mother? "No thanks, I'm good."

Hmmm. Troublesome. Does he have some crystal ball for what awaits me in Banff? Sweet cheeses, I hope not. We'll all know soon enough. I leave for Canada on Friday.

Monday, August 22, 2011

MOM FAIL #1: Notes from a Gas Station

I'm writing this post based on a prompt from Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop.
One of the 5 writing prompts she provided this week asked for a mom fail moment. I have the perfect one. It starts with a few notes to self...

NOTE TO SELF: Never let a seven-year-old pump gas, even if he claims to know how to do it. Even if he tells you "Gram let me do it before." He is not trying to be a gentleman or a "good little helper." He is lying. Believe him, let him do it, and you will end up with a kid soaked head to toe in petrol.

2nd NOTE TO SELF: A seven-year-old boy is unpredictable. He may, without warning, pull a pump out of the gas tank while still squeezing down the handle, then wave it around—eyes wide with surprise—as gas showers upon himself, his mother and their car in a Zoolander-esque "gas fight" montage.

3rd NOTE TO SELF: Do NOT scream at your son to get him to stop spraying said gas. You will frighten him enough to drop the pump, but then he will only start crying and reach to rub his eyes, and you will be forced to scream again, even louder, attracting unwelcome attention, “NO! DO NOT TOUCH YOUR EYES! You’ll BURN them!”

4th NOTE TO SELF: When you get home, do NOT attempt to wash gas-soaked clothing in washing machine. It makes your washing machine (and all future loads) smell like gas.

5th NOTE TO SELF: Do NOT put just-washed-but-still-gas-soaked clothing in the dryer. This may start a small fire.

6th NOTE TO SELF: When you Google "how to get gas smell out of washing machine" and it tells you to put a vinegar and baking soda mixture into the wash, use caution when adding the baking soda. It will cause a chemical reaction of foam to shoot up rapidly into face--burning eyes, and peppering the ceiling and floor with Eau de F'ing Vinegar.

7th NOTE TO SELF: Give up and open bottle of wine to block out home and child that smells of gas and vinegar.

True story.