The dear hubby and I have never had a Real Vacation together.
Well, okay, not exactly true.
We spent one night at a B&B in Stockholm, Wisconsin for our fifth anniversary, which was nice. We saw an eagle, strolled through a couple art/craft/'antique' stores, lusted after a few really lovely Amish quilts, and ate some very nice ice cream. We highly recommend Stockholm, WI to anyone interested, although the quilts are no longer there.
For our 'honeymoon' we went to Madison overnight to visit a friend who turned out to be too busy to spend time with us, so we shared one night in the guest-room twin bed (I was 5 months pregnant and still had all-day morning sickness, so you can imagine how thrilling that was) and then we high-tailed it back home, with a brief stopover at House On the Rock (see below). Whee.
We once spent a few days at Rose Lake with Scott's relatives. Bren loved being with his cousins, which is great. But it was very hot, the relatives understandably wanted to spend all their time with their coolers and the beautiful lake, and I'm allergic to the sun (really - I get hives). So I was stuck alone inside the small 2-room (tv-less, a/c-less) cabin-without-a-view with not much to do except read, sweep sand off the floor, and frown at crossword puzzles. Scott would have kept me company at least part of the time, but early on he jumped into the lake with his keys in his pocket... well, they were in his pocket when he went in. Naturally he had to make the 6 hour drive back home in a borrowed car so that he could break into the house and get my keys*, then drive another 6 hours back again. So the next day was taken up by his being exhausted and cranky.
Naturally, that was the day our nephew stepped on Scott's lost keys while diving off the dock, and kindly retrieved them.
We drove to Chicago for a couple days when Bren was 6, to visit my grandmother. We 'camped out' on her living room floor, naively looking forward to seeing the Art Institute, the Science & Industry Museum, the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, and the Adler Planetarium (the last two were closed for some reason, I don't remember why).
Unfortunately, I can't count that as a vacation. Just as we started the trip, Bren entered his exciting 'Rules Don't Apply To Me' stage, and evidently the Rules included the ones about not hitting, biting, screaming, throwing things, or tearing things apart. So the entire trip involved hurriedly and forcibly dragging our miniature Berserker through museums/parks/stores while every security guard in the place followed us hissing 'Don't Touch!! Don't Touch!!' (loudly, so as to be heard above the shrieking) whenever we strayed close enough to a display to actually see it. We also took a boat tour past Navy Pier, but the only thing I remember about that is struggling with the temptation to just let the kid fling himself over the side and pretend I didn't notice.
Less 'vacation' than 'parental trial by fire'.**
We once went to the Wisconsin Dells with our darling boy, off-season. He was 7 or so then, and something more approximating a Human Being. Everything was closed except for one PuttPutt Golf course, a horse-drawn cart tour, the Ducks, and (Best Of All) the tackily-yet-fabulously fascinating House On The Rock. Even those were closing that week, but we got in under the wire. We spent a day at HOTR (it takes most of a day to really appreciate it), a half day in the Dells, with the night at a motel with a small indoor water park where the slides were under construction, but there were some floating 'islands' and a basketball hoop in the pool. The kid was thrilled, we were happy... good times. But not a lot of vacation time for 20 years of marriage and parenthood.***
But that is the sum and total of vacations that Scott & I have had in our nearly 30 years together. My birthday is coming up, as is our 20th wedding anniversary, and the future is looking a bit more scary and unknowable than it did a year ago. So we decided that we would go to the Black Hills (Bren has already been there with my parents, so he won't feel too deprived), have a week of relatively cheap fun, then get home in time for me to zoom off for the Infinite Boundaries retreat.
Yup. A week of vacation for us both, and then an extra few days of a sort of spiritual/emotional/vacation thing for me alone. Not easy, probably, but something I needed, and I felt really lucky to have the opportunity.
It's been a long time since we've had something fun to look forward to. We were pretty excited.
Until this weekend, when the car imploded.
Just the sound of it started a leak in our bank account. I have a sneaking suspicion that it's going to be a choice: either car or trips, but not both. And we are practical people at heart, so of course the car is going to win.
*Yes, I HAVE learned to never save myself the trouble of dragging my keys around on vacation. Thanks for asking.
**This stage was blessedly short, curtailed by our agreeing that we would all stop living by Rules until Bren decided to reinstate them. This quickly led to his realization that it was rules that make grown up people cook meals and go to the park and share with smaller, weaker persons. Rules started looking pretty good, after all...
***Do not feel sorry for the kid. He is an Only Grandchild on my side, and so he has seen a great deal of the U.S. and Europe with his doting grandparents. We feel very lucky, both for the wonderful opportunities those trips gave Bren and for the bit of Peace and Quiet it gave us once in a while.****
****To be fair to Bren, the Chicago Experience was an anomaly, which is why we were so ill-prepared for it. He's been a challenging kid in some ways, as most children are, but we feel we've been very lucky, kid-wise. He's mostly been a joy to have around, and a great traveling companion. We don't plan on bringing him back for a refund any time soon.