Thursday, May 17, 2012

Our Griswold Family Moment

For Mother's Day weekend, Shawn and I planned to take our girls to a cabin in a local
state park for a 3 day long getaway in the woods.  We have visited this state park
 on numerous occasions, hiked up to the cabins and anxiously awaited our time there.
I made the reservations online, securing our spot 3 months in advance because this place
 is in such high demand.  We packed our sleeping bags, board games, ingredients for
s'mores: all of our camping necessities.  I could hardly contain myself as Friday
quickly approached and our dream of a weekend away became a reality.
I am sorry to say, friends, that our camping trip was a bust.  We woke up on Friday
morning to torrential downpours and the weather man warning us that
severe thunderstorms were expected for the next 48 hours.  Shawn and I decided to
forge ahead, though, knowing that we could keep the girls busy with games and books
 and head out for bike rides and exploring whenever the rain let up.  We were
determined not to let a little rain ruin our trip.
We got to the park early Friday afternoon, checked in at the main gate, and followed
 the map to our cabin site.  As we drove up to the secluded cabin, we all looked at each
other in confusion.  This place was NOT like one of the cabins we had previously seen and
it was most certainly NOT what was advertised on the website.  This place was a
glorified storage shed and I wondered how we would all even fit inside.  But we kept
our smiles on, determined to stay optimistic as the rain came pouring down and we
all squeezed into the questionable cabin.
As soon as we stepped inside, we were bombarded by the smell of something old, moldy,
and reminiscent of a dead animal.   The fridge didn't work, the air conditioner sounded
 like a helicopter was landing inside the cabin, and we were afraid to set any of our
things down. Now, let me be clear here: we are not above roughing it.  Shawn and I
are experienced campers who have gone on countless adventures.  But this was different:
 we paid a certain amount of money to stay in a certain type of accommodations.  This
was not the cabin we had reserved and we were completely confused as to what was
going on.
Shawn went back to the front office to question the clerk.  She admitted that this
problem "happens all the time" and that the website is "misleading".  She was
extremely nice and told us that if we stuck it out through the night, she would try to move
 us to the "nice cabins" in the morning.  If nothing was available, she would refund
our money for the second night.
We were thankful for this woman and her kind and understanding nature.  Frankly, I was
a tad bit pissed off that this is a known problem and people are booking cabins not
knowing whether they are "nice" or, in our case, horror movie style.  What was this luck
of the draw situation all about?  But we stuck it out, making the most of it, riding out
 the storm in our teeny tiny stinky cabin.  We woke up super early on Saturday morning 
and headed back to the front desk, hoping for good news.  Sadly, the clerk from the 
previous day was gone and in her place stood a woman who was much less sympathetic.  
She scolded us for not calling ahead and "clarifying" what type of cabin we were 
booking.  Well, I do apologize, state park employee, for not calling ahead and 
clarifying whether my cabin was suitable for a family themed weekend or better 
geared towards a frat party locale.  But thanks for the heads up!
Shawn and I put our heads together, looking outside at the unrelenting rainstorm,
knowing that this weather meant we would be stuck inside this nightmare all day.  And
then Isabelle spoke up with her usual gusto: "Can we just go home, PLEASE?!!".
And we knew what we had to do.
We packed everything into the truck at record speed, drove the 30 minutes home, and
took the longest showers ever.  Though we were disappointed with how things worked
out, we knew we just had to make the best of it.  And so we built a fire outside on our
porch, roasted hot dogs and made s'mores.  We rented a movie and lounged around
the living room.  We took long naps and cuddled all together over a plate of brownies.
 We didn't get to have our camping weekend the way that we originally planned, but we
did spend our whole weekend holed up in the house, enjoying every moment together.
We also shared a million laughs over our Griswold family-like experience: from the
busted up BBQ grill on the rotting porch of the cabin to Brees running around with
 black, dirty feet and not caring one way or another.  For Mother's day, I got to sleep in
until 8, received two handmade cards, and enjoyed my husband's amazing cooking for
all 3 meals.  It was such a treat to be doted on all day.
Sometimes, life is what happens after you realize that your original plan was a bust.
It's about making the most of every moment and laughing at those that are less than ideal.
 I really hope we can someday go back to the park and stay in a "nice" cabin.  Until
then, we'll try our best to avoid the alternative.  At least until our girls are big enough
 to ward off bird-sized mosquitoes on their own.






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Andrea said...

Oh man!  What a bummer.  As awful as it was, I think sometimes things like that are when the best family memories are made <3

Vanessa said...

What! No photos of the horror movie cabin? I am disappointed. ;-)

Olivia said...

HA!!!  I know!!  Shawn said he knew I was miserable when he realized I had not pulled my camera out even once.  I really wish I would have gotten a couple of shots, though, just to give a visual.  Did I mention there was also a used condom on the hiking trail adjacent to the cabin?  Nice...

Olivia said...

So true!!!  We will never forget this experience, that is for sure!!

Vanessa said...

That's the icing on the ... omg, I almost made a really bad pun.

Deanna Fike said...

oh man! you held your composure very nicely though. i am definitely more passive in situations like this, but peppy would have probably verbally ripped the rude employee a new one. 

Lucy The Valiant said...

Wow, and it's a state park? For shame!

Olivia said...

Shawn is a big dude with a really deep voice and he really has this way of getting his point across without having to say very much.  The rude lady backtracked after her "call ahead" comment after he politely reminded her that patrons should not have to call ahead to clarify if they want a "nice" cabin or a dump.  She wasn't so big and bad after that:)  

Olivia said...

I know!!!!