Massanutten Vacation 2009, Day One the Second

 

Sunday, June 28, 2009
 

Ahhh…. Can you smell it? That, my friends, is the sweet smell of "Day One the Second," known to some folks of lesser understanding about how vacations work as "Day Two of Vacation."
 

Day One, the Second, is actually the first real day of being away from it all, the first day where you can sleep in and relax and enjoy the fact that you don’t have to go to any meetings or follow your normal day-to-day schedule.
 

So, I began my day of bucking my normal behaviors today by sleeping in. Yes, I got up at about 5:30 AM. Hey! You can call me a slacker all you want – I’m on vacation.
 

Eventually the wife and kids awoke, put together a quick breakfast considering of a box of cereal and some shelf-stable, organic milk we brought from home. There were certain elements in the villa who wanted to be in bad moods, so arguments heated discussions took place about who wanted the particular box of cereal that made the trip south and who wanted another box and the various reasons why one box or the other would have been a better option. Eventually, some kind of PopTart knock off toaster pastries were handed out to the children and some of us ate the poor, neglected, scorned cereal. Coffee and tea were made. Once we were somewhat sufficiently fed and watered, talk turned to schedules.
 

Yes, I know, I know, we’re on vacation and schedules are a thing from normal life. But on vacation, schedules are even more important than they are in regular life. The level of bad moodiness in the villa made it be that schedules were difficult to agree to, so we ended up making exciting plans just for today.
 

Our schedule looked somewhat like this:
 

  • 9:00 – 10:00: argue about cereal boxes, food, drinks, clothes, sunscreen and schedules
     
  • 10:00 – 11:00: go to the pool at the bottom of the mountain, the one with the giant mushroom.
     
  • 11:00 – 11:30: dry off and change into real clothes
     
  • 11:30 – 12:30: go into Harrisonbug and argue about an eating establishment in which we will eat lunch
     
  • 12:30 – 2:00: go to the grocery store and buy a lot of groceries while taking advantage of the fact that beer and wine are sold in grocery stores in Virginia
     
  • 2:00 – 3:00: back to the villa to unpack and put away the groceries
     
  • 3:00 – 4:30: go to the pool up here high on the mountain, the one none of the kids likes
     
  • 4:30 – 5:00: go back to the villa to argue about dinner and/or other things that need to happen
     
  • 5:00 – 8:30: eat dinner, watch a movie, kids go to bed
     
  • 8:30 — ?: parents watch the nationally televised Mets game while Rob frets over an author bio he needs to write.
     

Believe it or not, we largely stuck to the schedule today.
 

The morning view outside of our villa is quite nice. This is the view out of the kids’ room:
 


 

And this is the view out the back of the villa:
 


 

Having completed our arguments over cereal and PopTart wannabes, we got swimsuits on (well, everyone except my wife, who, if you ask me, only chose to not put on her swimsuit before leaving the villa because she was in such a cross mood that she had to do something different from the rest of us. Don’t tell her I said that, though.), then we headed out to the car to go down the mountain. Incidentally, I mentioned in yesterday’s report that the parking spot was kind of crooked. This picture doesn’t really do it justice, but it gives the idea:
 


 

My car is the blue Saturn with the New Jersey plates that looks like it is going to roll down the mountain. We climbed into the car, despite the protests of certain individuals who either couldn’t open the door that was uphill (i.e. passenger side) or couldn’t handle the fast action of the door on the downhill (i.e. driver’s) side of the car. I decided to try a different route down the mountain that was not indicated on the map but felt like it would be shorter and easier, so I headed downhill in this picture and ended up on Turkey Drive, which has some kind of sinkhole thing at the intersection of our road which I didn’t see but certainly felt as we glided over it. A quick turn onto a road that had no identification but I assumed was the one I wanted and we were on our way. As it turns out, my guess was correct that this route is faster and easier, so we take it for that reason (though my wife thinks we take it for the silly reason that we get to go on a road called ‘Turkey Drive’ every day. Don’t tell her I said that.).
 

Anyway, we got down the hill and went into the indoor pool to begin with. It felt cold, despite the fact that the water temperature was allegedly 82 degrees in the indoor pool. The air felt like 86 or so. But we got in and swam for a while, until we decided to go to the outside pool.
 

Outside, the air temperature was in the low 70s. But the water was 80, so it actually felt warm. My wife doesn’t know this except from the anecdotal evidence of my kids and I talking about it, because she chose to sit on a lounge chair and read instead of playing in the warm water with her loving family. The kids and I swam laps and wrestled in the pool and sat on a little ledge that is in one area. Then the kids wanted to play with the magic mushroom so we went over to it. We don’t have a good picture of the mushroom, maybe we’ll get one on another day, but here’s one that gives the idea of it:
 


 

In the foreground, that’s The Girl, happy because she just splashed me or something. The Boy is that dark spot under the spray from the mushroom. I have no idea who the other kids are, so don’t ask – they’re not mine.
 

Anyway, we swam and swam. My wife claims that she was paying attention to us while she read her book, but if that’s the case, how did she get the following picture of the view from the pool?
 


 

The disembodied head here is unknown to me. My wife might know who she is, since I’m sure permission was granted before the picture was taken. Even on vacation, we’re a family of rule followers.
 

So, swimming accomplished, we dried off on the towels we brought with us because we forgot that this pool supplies towels. We took out the list to take a look at what was next. In order to make it easier, we crossed the completed items off of our to-do list for the day and the list now looked like this:
 

 

  • 9:00 – 10:00: argue about cereal boxes, food, drinks, clothes, sunscreen and schedules
  • 10:00 – 11:00: go to the pool at the bottom of the mountain, the one with the giant mushroom.
  • 11:00 – 11:30: dry off and change into real clothes
  • 11:30 – 12:30: go into Harrisonbug and argue aboutan eating establishment in which we will eat lunch
     
  • 12:30 – 2:00: go to the grocery store and buy a lot of groceries while taking advantage of the fact that beer and wine are sold in grocery stores in Virginia
     
  • 2:00 – 3:00: back to the villa to unpack and put away the groceries
     
  • 3:00 – 4:30: go to the pool up here high on the mountain, the one none of the kids likes
     
  • 4:30 – 5:00: go back to the villa to argue about dinner and/or other things that need to happen
     
  • 5:00 – 8:30: eat dinner, watch a movie, kids go to bed
     
  • 8:30 — ?: parents watch the nationally televised Mets game while Rob frets over an author bio he needs to write.
     

So, we headed the rest of the way down the mountain to the lovely Route 33 and hung a right turn to go back into town. Twelve miles later, we were in the lovely Harrisonburg retail district. There are malls and car dealerships (including a Saturn dealership that I had to visit the last time we were down here, but that would be a different story) and gas stations and restaurants here, like real civilization. We decided to eat at a Chilis, since we knew there was stuff that was vegetarian friendly there. The kids had pizza, the parents had black bean mushroom swiss burgers. Apparently, the waitress wrote it in such a way that the new cook thought we wanted a regular burger with a side of black beans. Luckily, she fixed that for us.
 

Anyway, fed and watered once again, we traipsed off to the Kroger’s to get our week’s supply of groceries. It was noted that there is a brand of dog food here that just did seem somewhat, well, wrong. Disney’s Old Yeller dog food. Here’s a picture if you don’t believe me:
 


 

Not pictured here is the fact that on the front of the bag is a picture of the dog and the boy from the movie. Seems kind of macabre to me and to the family. Not sure that I’d feed this to my dog. So, not needing any dog food this week, we continued our shopping extravaganza. $300+ later, we had filled a bunch of reusable grocery bags that we had brought from home just for this occasion (one cannot only be green when at home, of course) and came back to the villa. First, though, we stopped to help the local Harrisonburg oil barons with their bills and filled up the gas tank. It was quite interesting to see a dude harvesting string beans from the big buckets next to the gas pumps. There were a lot of beans there and he seemed very happy to be harvesting them. It seems like this would be an easy place to make some kind of funny comment about beans and flatulence, but I think I’ll just let that go for right now. Instead, I’ll add this picture which seemed like a good answer to a question we were discussing on the ride down. The question was, do they sell wine and beer in vending machines in Virginia. Here’s the picture:
 


 

So, the brand is Cheerwine, I guess, but it sure made me feel like I might be able to grab a cold one in a vending machine one of these days. I was also happy to see the pay phone, which I thought had already gone extinct but is only endangered in these parts.
 

Anyway, we headed back to the villa with our full gas tank and our trunk load of groceries. We put everything away with mostly no arguments, though I think there was some disagreement as to whose fault it was that we forgot to buy ketchup. I believe that it turned out to be my fault, but I may have simply been the easy target.
 

So, wepacked up our swim bags, this time leaving our towels at the villa since we had learned that the pools supplied them, and we headed out again to the pool everyone claimed to hate. I should note that my daughter, stubborn smarty pants that she is, decided to take her towel with her, just because she had taken on the role of being contrary. So, we headed down to the pool, parked and wandered down to the check-in desk, only to find that the pool we were at was not the one we were supposed to go to, since, in fact, we weren’t allowed to use it. So, back into the car we trekked, and headed up the mountain a little bit more to the correct pool, where we wandered in and found that towels were not supplied at this pool. Luckily, my wife had thought ahead as we packed the car before leaving New Jersey and we had two extra towels sitting in the trunk. Combining that with my snotty daughter’s towel, we had three. So we were good, thanks to my wife’s great ability to think ahead (don’t tell her I said that).
 

Well, mostly. We arrived just as "adult swim" time started, so we had to sit and wait for 10 minutes, since, of course, we adults cannot swim without our children. The ten minutes that felt like hours completed and we got into the pool that was the coldest 80 degrees or less that I’ve ever felt. We swam and dunked and swam and wrestled and then we went and the kids had a cannonball competition. The Boy has some way of doing cannonballs that allows him to get two splashes from each jump. I really can’t figure it out, but it is amazing to see. After an hour that felt like ten minutes, it was adult swim time again so the kids had to climb out. We were all tired, so we decided to call it a night, but not before the parents had to race from one end of the pool to the other (simple freestyle). Like the bookies they are bound to be, the kids took bets about who would win. And, well, the results were not surprising at all.
 

I WON. I WON! I WON! I trounced her, left her in my aquatic dust.
 

Ahem.
 

Don’t tell her I said that.
 

Back in the villa after we caught our breaths from the Great Race of 2009, we made dinner (mostly my wife) and argued with the kids (mostly me) and then settled down with veggie burgers and fries (sans ketchup thanks, apparently, to me) and watched "Bedtime Stories". "Bedtime Stories" was a good movie, by the way.
 

I continued fretting over my author bio into the evening as I also fretted about yet another Mets loss. Fretting (and Mets losing completed), we went to sleep, knowing that we would need to get the rest of the week’s schedule figured out in the morning.

 

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