Today we were on an almost four hour road trip to see my family, and I had been exercising for days to lift the mountain of luggage into the boot. Usually the car creaks under the strain and I am bent over double with my wife on comedy patrol announcing “Only a few more essential bags and we should have it.” On our last road trip I made the statement that the boot was full as was the back seat to be told “let me have a look!” As she opened the boot the contents of our house fell out! In fact if you robbed our house you would have been disappointed as everything apart from the washing machine was in our boot.
Imagine my shock when just four bags came out for an overnight stay. Had we been robbed or was it official we could survive with portable potty’s, eighty eight changes of clothes and more wash kits than a supermarket combined? After all the kids are still at the stage where they don’t need to wash, so why worry? Apparently we had everything so I was not hanging about for someone to change their mind! I lit up the tyres and was leaving the house in a puff of smoke in case the kids decided to change their minds.
We all arrived at my family’s place where we met my new nephew who promptly produced a chemical experiment in his pants! At this point we decided to walk down to the seafront. As we passed the ice creams my kids were overcome with hunger pangs and began pleading with me claiming I was the best Daddy ever. Funny, ten minutes ago I was a big old meanie for saying no to the second bag of crisps for lunch. I told them that we would have a little play on the beach and then we would see. In case you’re wondering this is parent code for almost certainly no, but emotional blackmail will usually bring me down.
As soon as we stepped onto the beach my little girl needed a wee, so I ran with her like we were shoplifters to the nearest loos and told her I would wait outside. Unbeknownst to me my little girl was waiting outside behind a wall and as I waited outside the ladies loo’s I became worried and started to pace up and down outside. Ok, I admit not the best move as ladies started to give me evil looks like I was a weirdo. I approached a security team and spoke to the female and asked if she could go in, to which the male volunteered and asked “What does she look like?” By now I was in blind panic and all I could say was “She is a little girl.” Security now got the hump and asked me to narrow it down and as I was panicking I told them to just go in and scream her name. As the cubicles were in use security came back and said she could be in one of those. Hang on tiger, my little girl is lost! What’s wrong with going in and screaming her name like you’re thirteen and at a pop concert? Fast forward five more minutes and my little girl appeared from behind the wall and asked “Where were you?” I hugged my little girl and thanked the silent security team and left.
As we stopped at the ice cream stall I joked with my wife saying in my day it was called a ’99’ because it cost 99p and that it should be renamed the £3.50. My kids both then announced they wanted a brightly coloured lolly make of seaside rock. Ok, they were very small lollies so I agreed to them. I handed them over to the cashier to pay for them when he morphed into Dick Turpin and robbed me in public by asking for £5!! What!? Sorry but I was overestimating at a pound each so where did you get five from? Did the Queen personally escort the lollies in the royal helicopter? I would not mind but two minutes down the road my little girl announced that they tasted funny! Yes that’s the taste of Daddy’s wallet sobbing his little heart out!!
My son then cheered us up by loudly proclaiming that his bladder was about to burst so we had to hide in some bushes like we were being chased by police. Nanny was outside the bushes keeping guard while I was prepared to give my account to the local police. We had our long walk back with the world’s most expensive lollies. My son began talking and it was at this point we realised his tongue was now bright green! Oh fab, with this much colouring and sugar he was going to be bouncing off every wall for days and we were not disappointed. Captain Chaos was now on top form and the mere mention of hotel sent him into a frenzy.
I could take it no longer! My sister and her husband needed some peace so we left for the hotel. As we arrived I opened the doors and both my wife and myself told the kids to stay in the car whilst we got the bags. No sooner had I got my head in the boot than my little girl appeared and asked me how was I doing. Oh you know, my little princess, just carrying more bags than a desert camel and hoping you both could follow orders but after ‘Lolly-gate’ I understand why you cannot sit still. As we arrived in reception to check in there was someone in front of us so we had to wait but the effects of the lolly were still going strong. Inside the hotel Captain Chaos was jumping up and down on the chair and then began swinging from the moon and stars logo which was just about still hanging from the wall. It was at this point I realised I could not afford to pay for the reception to be refurbished so I shouted for my son to stop swinging from the company sign. This got the attention of the hotel receptionist as she sped up the standard speech fearing the sign was coming off the wall on her watch. My son had now slowed down and was just running between walls bumping into them. I signed for anything put in front of me, pleaded for the hotel key and opened the door to a scene from Alice in Wonderland with the myriad array of doors. My kids shot off like rabbits out of the trap and began standing outside the wrong doors. We both frog marched them to the right door where my kids still continued running around in our hotel room like people have used as rabbit hutches in their back garden. Now don’t get me wrong this was brilliant for the price, but not for two kids to use as a 100 metre race track!
I then made the assumption that the sugar effect had worn off as both my kids went from running to slumped over their bed. My wife ever concerned asked what was wrong. My kids then proceeded to give a demonstration of the very best soap acting ever saying “Daddy got the wrong bag of toys out, and I cannot survive without the right bag.” I got the look from all three members of my family in the room, so I picked up the cardboard key, and set off down Alice in Wonderland for the car. It was funny as I came back you could tell which were the family rooms because as you past by the doors all you could hear was parents screaming, “Don’t do that!” and “Where’s the talcum powder?” I came back with the essential bag, which apparently they could not survive without. I must be getting old, because as long as I am still breathing and have shelter I could survive the night. Apparently if you’re under the age of ten you need two bags of toys, food, television, and colouring books for my son with more felt tips than a multimillionaire painter.
My sister text me and I lay on the bed, just saying how much I had missed her. (Sorry, probably should not mention that in this blog it’s not very manly but what followed rocked my world and as I type this I am still not sure what I am going to say to the receptionist.) My little girl took a sharp intake of breath and announced “Mummy and Daddy are going to be so cross!” As I looked over at his bed, the white bedding had been coloured in with felt tip. Yes, a bright green felt tip and this was not little, this was more like a modern artist making a very bold statement. Apparently the felt tip just ran over the pages! To me this was not ‘run over the pages’ it was more like it took off and had a field day. My wife said not to worry as it was a pen that was washable, but even with the comfortable bed I lay awake thinking how much tomorrow morning would be added to the hotel bill for breakages.
Getting ready for bed, my wife, then on comedy patrol, whipped out a new pair of very sensible pyjamas, the sorted you could get mugged at a care home for! I did ask what shop was responsible for selling them, to which she said “What if there was a fire? I would have to stand in the car park, so now I will not be embarrassed.” Ok, so I will just stand in the car park in my old t shirt and shorts, but as we were in my home town it would be with pride! Based on the arguments from every other family room, I don’t think other parents will be conducting a fashion parade, but suffice to say if anyone over ninety years of age is in the car park, then I am fairly certain my wife could be mugged. Me, I am as safe as houses during the fire in my old t shirt.
As usual we awoke super early, to the words “Can we have the television on, a snack in bed, and a drink?” I kept pressing the button but realised we didn’t have servants and the kids must have been referring to us. As we turned the television on and got drinks I mentioned how comfortable the bed was. My wife asked what size the bed was that we had slept in. I did apologise that I left my tape measure at home, and what followed was me yelping in pain! I ended up saying that I wasn’t sure, but boy, was this hotel chain’s beds comfortable and I could seriously take this bed home. I have to presume other people had this conversation because when I went to the bathroom, the towels had big signs stating they were electronically tagged! Good grief, what has this world coming to when you had to tag the towels? Have people left thinking the budget hotel included taking anything not bolted down? Family rooms should be as safe as houses because our car boots are crammed full and I could not get a towel in for love nor money. In fact if I was driving a huge delivery van my kids would still fill it with ‘essentials’. Every other family in the hotel was in the same boat, with all of us pushing on the car boot ramming it shut. If this wasn’t bad enough most of the time it’s us dads that have to carry it, and usually we are all scraping the bag on the ground in pain with the weight, unless you’re a rich family and have bags on wheels. I am personally all for setting fire to the clothes and going home with the clothes on my back to save my back! In all seriousness, I think my only criticism would be the family rooms need to have bigger coffee cups and stronger coffee, after do they not realise how stressful it is in a shoebox with two wired children after brightly coloured lollies full of sugar?
After a quick shower I came out to find my little girl standing dressed clutching her luggage loudly announcing she was ready to go. I tried to explain to my little keen bean people throw things if I drive the car half dressed, and maybe we should wait until I had put on some more clothes, especially as Captain Chaos was back in bed with breakfast number four watching a 42 inch television. I was a little excited as my wife said she could see the TV without her glasses, so I seized the moment and asked whether we needed a 42 inch too! My hopes were dashed when I got the ‘look’ and told our television was sufficient. Yes my little hope dasher, 32 inches is sufficient but 42 would increase your family’s smile by another ten inches.
My wife went into the shower and immediately Captain Chaos turned all the lights out and sat in bed with breakfast 4.5. My little girl again picked up her luggage and announced she was ready. My wife came out and asked why we were in darkness holding luggage. Ok princess, you have been with us long enough to know why ask questions when you know we all ate stupid pills for breakfast, and it’s all the rage to watch children’s television in the dark while slumped over your coffee cup.
My wife cheered me up by trying to use the hotel hair-dryer. After an eternity she managed to get it going to a pace I can only describe as an asthmatic wheeze. Being the ever helpful husband I asked to borrow it, and demonstrated how to turn the hair-dryer on, and got it going to a much faster pace. My wife however, announced it was running like a 1980’s classic car, so she whipped out her own hair-dryer. I offered to demonstrate how to turn this on, but this was met with ‘the look’ again.
We packed up and I was like a schoolboy attending an exam as I met with the receptionist to hand in the keys. She was very nice and enquired if everything was ok. What I said was “Oh yes you know, just peachy.” What I wanted to say was “Oh apart from the wonky wall lights that my son managed to create, the green felt tip on the bed, and the beds looking peaky from two kids jumping up and down, and the light switch on last knockings from Captain Chaos turning the lights on and off like a disco, just perfect.” Needless to say I left the hotel smoking my tyres in case they tried to make me pay, and had a great day with my family.
The drive home was well painful! Just imagine four hours of tantrums, objects thrown in the car, and arguments over which television programme to watch. By the time I stopped my bladder was numb, and the kids were really going for each other, so I did the best thing I could, and that was to offer to drive the rest of the way, while my wife refereed the arguments. Oh well Dorset Dad Monday tomorrow, you know things will get better, promise!