Seaton: Brain Farts (Summer Vacation)

It’s summer in Tennessee. That means the weather goes from barely tolerable at 7 AM to “Satan’s Front Porch” by 10. When the air outside is so muggy it feels like you’re breathing in chicken soup, you really appreciate what makes this weather bearable: central air and iced tea.

Summer means the kids go from crazy busy schedules involving school to crazy busy schedules involving summer camps. My son has two field trips a week, for example. This means his special camp shirts need to be clean for those days. It also means he needs to actually locate those shirts as needed, which is apparently a Herculean task for a nine year old.

One idea I had to ameliorate this problem was purchasing additional shirts in the same or similar color. Unfortunately the day-glo puke green is a rare find of which the camp director purchased East Tennessee’s remaining stock. So I have no other option than two extra loads of laundry per week. Joy.

At least there’s no horse manure involved. Last year. for part of the summer he was in an equestrian camp that taught kids the virtue of manual labor. Specifically, shoveling horse shit. I don’t know how that small boy handled such a large shovel but he did. He also came home smelling like Mr. Ed’s toilet and that smell’s hard to get out of clothes after a point.

We’re all getting excited as the family’s going on vacation at the end of the month. It’s our first cruise—to Alaska no less. I’m especially excited as I’ve never done a cruise before. It seems like my ideal travel situation. Stay on a boat, see the water, have food and drinks delivered poolside…I see little to dislike about any of this.

My son’s had people filling his head at camp about what to expect and it’s wildly unrealistic. Here’s an example of a conversation we had a few short days ago:

“Daddy are we taking our swimsuits on the cruise?”
“Yes, son. Why?”
leaps into air “The stories are true! There’s pools and waterslides on the boat!”
“Um, there’s a pool for sure.”
“And there’s probably buttons you push at the top of the waterslide so when you get to the bottom someone brings you ice cream and cotton candy!”
Shakes head

My daughter’s had one request for the year we’ve been planning this trip: whale watching. So we’re doing that on her birthday. Eat it, Mattel. We need none of your Barbie claptrap. My girl wants whales, so she’s getting whales. Even if I have to Ahab one of those fuckers and pull it aboard so she can study one up close.

There’s little fathers won’t do for their kids. Within reason. I’ll spear a whale but extra ice cream after dinner is out of the question. Sugar is bad for growing children.

Dr. S and I had a discussion about whether we’ll allow the kids to try the boat’s “Kids Club” activities. Her stance is they’re allowed to try it if we stay in the hot tub outside the Kids Club area in case there’s any issues.

“But sweetie, surely there won’t be an issue with the Kids Club. They’ve got to have trained people in there working with the kids.”

“Cruise ship workers are one step above carnies. Do you want your children left with glorified carnies? It’s like you’re not even their father sometimes.”

This exchange got me thinking about how on my first trip to Disney World with my parents, I’d been encouraged to go on a “Pirates of the Caribbean” overnight “Treasure Excursion” with Disney cast members. I was about my son’s age at the time and refused to stay anywhere overnight than in my hotel room. My parents grumbled but acceded to my tearful requests to stay with them. Had I not protested I could’ve ended up on the back of a milk carton.

At any rate the cruise will be a nice two weeks of not dealing with anyone’s problems and turning my brain off to just enjoy the flow of life. That’s got to be something we all do from time to time just to recharge—turn off your brain, quit worrying about what happened or will happen, and enjoy the present.

So if you’ve hung with me this far I hope you take some time to recharge by staying in the present moment and not worrying about the future. Unless you have to for work or something. Then just hang in there.

We’ll see you next week, everybody!

4 thoughts on “Seaton: Brain Farts (Summer Vacation)

  1. Jeff

    Chris, I’m so sorry to hear about your cruise. I hope I’m wrong, and that my experiences are my own (and not representative of the norm), but I am secretly (not so secretly) eagerly awaiting your review of how awful cruises are in about a month or so. Good luck, kind sir.

  2. grberry

    One of my fondest memories of my Alaska cruise involved whales. This happened just watching from the upper deck after dinner, not on an excursion. I got to see whales bubble feeding – where a group blows bubbles in a ring around a school of fish to pack them tighter together then all lunge up through the school to swallow as much as they can. This was during a scheduled “whale watching from the big boat with a naturalist” evening activity. I’d never seen bubble feeding before on any of the several whale watches I’d been on.

  3. Hunting Guy

    My wife and I came up with the perfect cruise.

    When we win the big lottery, we will immediately fly to Miami and buy matching 70 foot yachts.

    I’ll get an all girl crew, she will get an all boy crew, and we will sail around the world in opposite directions.

    We’ll wave to each other as we pass in mid-ocean.


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