Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Spit Vacation

I remember when I was about ten or twelve, Dad took us on a spit vacation. Ever been on one of those? He told us to pack our clothes and we loaded into the van. (How did we fit 9 people into a minivan? I’m still not sure.) Then, at the end of the driveway, after he’d quieted our questions, he announced his plan. He was going to spit into one hand, slap the other hand down on it, and turn whichever way the spit flew. He spit, he slapped, he announced that the spit flew to the left, and thereupon we embarked on an adventure that ended up taking us to some town in Canada, with Dad pausing to spit at each intersection.

Clint and I decided that we wanted to take one last mini-break (I got that word from Bridget Jones’ Diary—isn’t it perfect?) before school starts, without telling the kids. Clint sneakily booked a hotel in Traverse City for Wednesday through Friday of last week, and then on Wednesday morning, he dragged Lauren out of bed and snagged Jonah (who of course had been awake since seven) and took them to his school to help him get some things organized. While they were gone I FLEW around the house packing their suitcases. (Jared helped by dragging an empty suitcase around—he’s fascinated by the handle and wheels.)Jonah was easy to pack for: he doesn’t care what he wears, but for Lauren, I just packed a little of everything. Only snafu: I couldn’t find the bottom piece of her bathing suit!

By the time they got home, I had the van loaded and even had a good excuse to get them all out of the house: a trip to Target for some last minute school supplies. We trundled off, and since it was about lunch time, I bought some “snacks,” ostensibly to tide us over till lunch, but really road-trip snacks. They had no idea! (I’m chortling evilly as I write this and rubbing my hands together like a villain from a silent movie.)

I had to work hard to make up a reason for Lauren to try on a new swimsuit without alerting her hyper-sensitive radar to secret plans, but she bought it. (Hint: a teenage girl will ALWAYS be interested in buying new clothes. There doesn’t need to be a reason. Don’t know how I forgot that. ) Unfortunately, we didn’t buy a suit. She’s pickier than I had expected.

So after a whispered consultation while the kids were buckling themselves into the van, Clint and I decided to take a detour to my mom’s, where Lauren keeps an extra swimsuit for their pool. It was mostly on the way, anyway. After picking up the suit (and imagine their questions when we told them we were just stopping in), we were off.

It took them about an hour to realize that we weren’t anywhere near Jackson. Finally, Jonah said, “Mom, WHERE ARE WE?” and it was my turn to give Clint the eye. I had my spittin’ hand out and ready to create the Genthner family spit vacation, and CLINT SPOILED IT ALL! He told them the whole thing. GONE was my hope of giving my kids one of the memories that I KNOW they’d treasure! DASHED were my grand schemes of FAKE SPIT (yeah, there’s no way I’d REALLY spit in my hand! Disgusting. I had the fake spit and slap routine all figured out).
I fumed at Clint until we got on M-115, at least, giving him sufficient evil glares to finally figure out I was mad. “What?” he said, glancing at me. “What’s wrong with you?”

“The Spit Vacation! You ruined the whole thing!” I said.

“You were really going to spit in your hand? That’s disgusting. I was hoping you were kidding about that.”

I was too distraught to explain my glorious scheme for fake spit. It took too much effort. So I opened my book and looked out the window.

The vacation was fun. The kids loved Traverse City, and I got to visit my favorite bookstore TWICE! (If you’re in Traverse City, you must visit this bookstore—especially if you have children. They’re children’s book section is AMAZING!) We ate some good food and spent time at the beach.

I’ll just have to wait till next year to have my spit vacation. And I WILL do it; that I promise.


Stacy said...

Haha - great story! We had random trips like that as well - but never quite a spit vacation! :) I am sure next year Clint will remember to be on board!

Clint said...

Sure, make me out to be the bad guy.

Quentin said...

haha, the glorious spit vacation! I can't wait to take one myself!

Ron Samul said...

What a great story - I can sympathize with Clint, however, when something is that tight-lipped it can some times backfire on the ones you love. You could write the Spit Vacation series for young adults. It would be AWESOME!

Gretch said...

I have little rememberance of those fun times. Oh I wish to have had a better memory as a child.

ACW said...

My sister always says it's expectations that throw life's little curve balls at us. We have a grand vision in our heads and then one little thing doesn't follow plan and....whammo!

Your story is wonderful because we've all had our spit (or should I say, "spitless?") moments. But if it makes you feel any better, I never actually knew spit took any particular direction when it came out so perhaps I'll experiment in your honor and videotape the whole thing....Clint, you can turn off YouTube if you so desire!