I guess we were overdue for a craptastic vacation. We’ve had many good ones. The last bad one I remember was in 2011. I think this one was worse. This was the first time I’ve spent a vacation letting my constipated daughter squeeze my hand while she screamed bloody murder on the pot, while staunching another kid’s bloody nose with my other hand. First time I left a Friendly’s in shame after my boys left spilled juice under the table and bloody nose tissues on top while I was in the bathroom with my daughter while she screamed “I DON’T WANT TO POOP!” for all patrons to hear. (Just kidding, of course that wasn’t the first time I’ve left a Friendly’s in shame.)
Yes, those were the lowlights of our two days at Great Wolf Lodge in the Poconos this week. The night before we left, my younger son came down with croup. I suppose the smart thing to do would have been to cancel right then. But we had just decided to go, a few days before. And croup is funny. It can be a one-night, quicky thing. So we went to the doctor’s for a steroid and pressed on with our plans. (The doc visit meant I had to cancel plans to hear a lecture by a lady organic farmer, which was a bummer.) My daughter’s constipation struggle started soon after we got there and lasted until the next afternoon. That was really worse than anything else — constant bathroom visits and crying and complaining. That night, croupy son had a fever again and my older son started coughing. In the close quarters of the suite, nobody really got any sleep. The next night, every one of us except my husband had a fever. We all passed out early, then were all awake from 4 am to 5 am getting our next doses of Motrin, then slept late. Even though we had paid for a late (2 pm) checkout, we were out of there by noon the next day. I had to drive home because my husband was too tired, and I’ve never hated the Northeast Extension more. I felt so crappy.
It’s a shame; it’s definitely a fun place for kids. We had some fleeting good times, in the water park, in the arcade, and when my daughter joined in the nightly dance party in the lobby. The lodge was at capacity, this being spring break, and the lines were long. But even for all that, it didn’t seem that crowded. The service could have been better (I think only kids work there). The food that we had was pretty bad. Overall, I was reminded on many levels why I’d rather rent a house and patronize small businesses in a town somewhere than support Big Vacation Industry. I always feel like a guilty schmuck walking past hotel maids, wondering how much they’re making. But, it was nice to feel in the middle of the action — to know that food and entertainment and 600 potential new friends were just down the hallway and downstairs, if we wanted them.
Last night and today we have all continued to feel pretty terrible. My older son just clocked in at 103 degrees. I have all this congestion and am worried I will get pneumonia, which my husband had last week. And the coughing has triggered this headache I get behind my eye from time to time. The kids are somewhat congested too. Meanwhile it’s a beautiful spring day outside. 😦
We managed to drive to and from the Lodge without stopping; I packed a lot of snacks and drinks. But the frugality ended there. In every other way that place was a huge moneysuck. And I didn’t even spring for the little wolf ears and the wands for the MagiQuest game that all the other kids had. My kids, to their credit (or maybe they were too sick to care), didn’t ask for them, and they didn’t seem to notice the giant gift shop either.
I just want to get better and get back on track. Thankfully I feel well enough to clean up and do laundry today. It hurts my throat to talk, though, and the kids are not responding to my impromptu sign language.
This morning, from the window, I noticed what looked like light purple patches in the grass at the very back of my yard. I went out to investigate and found these (I think) wild pansies. They must have always been growing there, but I never saw them because there used to be a fence there. Pretty little surprise.