I actually dislike summer vacation. The kinds of summer vacations that I conjure up in my mind involve all the things a pale ghost of a girl like me loathes: The hot sun with its threats of skin cancer; the sobering reality that there are creatures in the sea that will take a bite out of human flesh, especially when the skin is supple like mine; the fact that playing around on a beach essentially amounts to spending time with fancy dirt. I'm just a big old Grinchette when it comes to summer vacation. However, as I have gotten older I have realized that no one finds the ramblings of a pale white girl to be attractive as everyone else prepares for summer vacations on the beach. So I grin through the dreadfulness of hot summer vacations and try not to be eaten alive by giant sharks.
However, all bets were off when I was a kid. Oh goodness, the torture I put my parents through whenever summer vacations would roll around. Growing up we were never far from the beach. The shiny rays of summer were at the very least 45 minutes away, usually an hour or so. I come from a big Italian family, like hardcore Italians. Everyone has nice glowing olive skin and thick luxurious hair, and I'm just... pale. So every summer we'd all travel to the beach and stay at a hotel. Days would be spent at the beach, at the pool, or some combination of eating and/or shopping. It was really a great deal of fun, I always had a blast with my cousins.
There were certain things though that I would refuse to participate in. If I was going to be at the beach, I would not be expected to dip so much as a toe in the water. I also had it in my Bratty Child Contract that I would abstain from eating any form of seafood. I was just a pleasant person to vacation with. (My parents deserve a medal or something for putting up with my crap.)
Anyways, one particular summer we were all set to go on our annual family vacation and enjoy the company of all the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. The night before we were to leave, my dad was talking with me about what we were going to do on vacation, particularly the part about spending time at the beach and in the ocean. I was standing my ground about the whole ocean bit. It just wasn't going to happen. He kept insisting that I would go into the water. I kept telling him no way. Having had enough of the back and forth, my dad pulled out his bag of tricks, "If you go into the water, I will get you a new toy at K-Mart." Well, I clearly had no concept of sticking to my guns, "Ok fine. I'll get into the water, but we go to K-Mart first thing in the morning." I'd long had my eyes on the Mermaid Shimmers set at the local K-Mart and I knew that this would indeed be the perfect chance to own the lovely set of mama and baby mermaid. (I am aware of the irony that I am obsessed with mermaids yet loathsome of the beach.)
The plan was all set. We'd stop off at K-Mart for the Mermaid Shimmers, and then we'd be on our way. There was only one problem to this whole sordid family drama, we hadn't let my mom know. According to my dad, "It will be best that we tell her in the morning." We both knew she was going to be a hard sell. My dad has always been an instigator. He lives for secret plans and trickery. So I went to bed with lovely dreams of Kenner's Shimmers all the while a storm was brewing.
Literally, a storm was brewing. We woke up that next day to a monsoon. Oh my goodness it was like the worst rain possible. My mom was freaking out and trying to make sure that everything was in order. She wanted us to get to the hotel in time, but she also wanted us to be careful. So we finally got everything packed in the car ready to go, when my dad dropped the bomb, "We need to stop by K-Mart on the way out." My mom was confused, "Why? K-Mart is out of the way." My dad could only hang his head, "I promised M a toy." I can still envision my mom turning her head around to the back seat with a look on her face that would rival that of Linda Blair from the Exorcist, "What do you mean a toy?! We're going on vacation! She doesn't need anymore toys."
Our ruse was up. She knew the nature of our deal and was not having it. Luckily we reasoned with her just enough to get the side mission to K-Mart on track, all with the hope that the rain would maybe subside. The rain only got worse which made my mom even more mad as we all ran out into the pouring rain to get into K-Mart... for a toy. (Are you starting to see why my parents deserve an award for putting up with me?) Of course, this is how I came to own Seaquin and Baby Splashy, the ultimate items to have for a summer vacation to the beach!
Not for nothing, that trip to K-Mart had turned out to be wonderful as my mom realized she also needed to pick up some sunscreen. So you see, the moral of the story is that being a brat about toys can sometimes be a good thing. And for those wondering, I stood by my word and got in the ocean. Even though I could have sworn something tried to eat one of my toes. I'm just saying.
There was another cool toy connection that summer trip too, my mom and I were swimming at the hotel pool (I may hate the beach, but I do love to swim) when we made polite conversation with a family that had a girl around my age, and her name was Teela! I remember thinking she was so cool, like, "You share the same name as Teela from the Masters of the Universe! You are so cool!"
Of course, summer vacations are always memorable for me when they involve toys. One summer vacation I decided to bring all my She-Ra items with me for entertainment value. This was obviously way before smart phones and such. Anyways my brother wanted in on the fun and refused to let go of Frosta's wand all trip long. Well, he ended up leaving the spinning wand behind in the hotel room. After that, I learned the painful lesson that some stuff is better left at home.
Also, does anyone else ever insist on visiting the local Toysrus or comic shops when out of town on vacation? I always drag folks with me when I am out of town to the local Toysrus or comic store. I like to see what's on the aisles in other cities! One time when I was an evil pre-teen, we were on vacation and I was sick with food poisoning, but I still persevered as my parents located a Toysrus in a city they weren't familiar with for the Ellie figure from Jurassic Park. Again, my parents deserve an award. I've put them through some stuff.
Anyways, those are just some fond little memories about summer vacations that I thought I would share. Now I am off to enjoy my dreams of the perfect summer vacation: a trip to a shiny resort at the Crystal Falls on Etheria. One day we'll be able to visit there, I just know it!
For now, enjoy some other picks from the League:
Chris talks summer fishing and the biggest black drum I have ever seen!
Lee and Linz plan their summer vacations full of amusement parks, robots, and pizza!
Also, be sure to check back on Cool and Collected for more posts on summer vacation!
I hope you are all doing well, and don't forget, April O'Neil interviews this month's Bodacious Baddie and it is full of pony smuggling, catty threats, and... Janine Melnitz!?!? Don't go anywhere!