Vacation: The Up, The Down and The Ugly

February 25, 2012

nenenenenennenene…nenenenenenenene…Shhh…do you hear that sound? That’s the sound of the world’s smallest violin, playing for Kitch. I know you’re gonna think it.  Because my husband had a medical conference in the Bahamas and the Minxes and I got to tag along. Which is seven kinds of awesome and only some ungrateful cretin with no salvageable soul would dare complain about that.

Hi, Readers! Meet ungrateful, soulless cretin.

Okay, I have to amend that. Admittedly, there were some amazing, awesome, zing-a-riffic bright spots to our vacation. Spots that I hope the girls will remember, and appreciate, and heck, even this black-hearted turtle poked her head out of her shell to sniff the warm air and paddle in clear water. God, warmth in February is a tonic for all woes.

Well, not all woes. Because we had some. And of course, because I’m a jerkstore, I’m going to bitch about those woes. But I promise to share the good stuff, too, if you’ll bear with me.

I will admit up-front that mistakes were made. Because remember this vacation? After that vacation, hubs and I resolved that a) we would not take the girls on flights longer than 2 1/2 hours total until they were, like, 22 and b) we would remember that when traveling with children, taking the “economical” (aka: odd flight hours/connecting flights) route always bites you in the ass.

And then, just like a woman 9 months after giving childbirth, we got the inevitable amnesia. That amnesia that suddenly seduces the brain to chide, “Awww, c’mon, Caterpillar, it wasn’t that bad!  And truly, wouldn’t this just be a great addition to the mix? Jeez, loosen up a little.”

And somewhere in the back of your lizard brain, you think, “Yes! Sure! Okay, that’s a capital idea! We’re not getting any younger. Let’s do it!”

I am henceforth starting an official campaign: Kill the Amnestic Lizard Brain! That thing is a blight to society, familial peace and parental sanity.  Stupidity should be painful, dammit, and it is, but remembrance of said stupidity should stay with you for the duration. Alas, it does not.

Hubs and I be stupid. Repeatedly.

*Cue awkward segue*

Here’s how things boiled down:

The Up: We scheduled our outgoing flight for 7am (bargain!). Thus, we packed the night before, got totally organized, and set an alarm for 4:30am so we would get to the airport on time to check our bags all the way through to Nassau. We had our shit together.

The Down: I woke up at 3am, thought about just staying awake and doing something radical (like, gee, getting some writing done) but dozed back off. I awakened at 5am, realized no alarm had gone off, screeched through the house like some Nazi Banshee, yelling, “Coats, passports, shoes, pee!” Then I proceeded to order my husband to “Drive like Bourne, dammit!”  all the way to the airport. We made our flight, but only because we sprinted down the concourse like Zola Budd.

The Ugly: After the Banshee Chronicles, we got on the plane, only to hear, “Please excuse the delay, but our pilot has suddenly become ill and unable to fly the plane. A replacement pilot is on the way; we appreciate your patience in this matter.” So we’re patient for 30 minutes and the new pilot arrives, and then we hear, “Hey folks, there’s a light indicator here telling us that we may be having some mechanical issues, so we’re going to taxi back to the gate and check things out. I know it’s an inconvenience, but your safety is obviously our first priority. Thank you for your patience in this matter.”  This matter results in another full hour on the tarmac, but finally, we are assured that it was “nothing, really,” and we can, in fact, make the 3 1/2 hour flight to Ft. Lauderdale.  Awesome. I was Mama Nazi only to sit on a tarmac for two whole hours after pulling an OJ through the airport to make the plane.  Bitterness Quotient: 6.0

The Good: The girls are wiggly and needy but there are no meltdowns on the flight to Ft. Lauderdale. We have a two hour layover, so we’re not overly worried about making our connection to the Bahamas.

The Bad: When we reach Ft. Lauderdale, our flight reads: on time. This is soon to change, since no plane appears. We retreat to an airport restaurant, wait an hour and a half, suck down a cocktail, board and get on with the show.

The Ugly: Surprisingly, none. We reach the resort and the girls are blissed out, because even in the black of night, they can tell that this joint is DisneyWorld with water. Bitterness Quotient: 0.0

The Good: The Atlantis resort is, indeed, DisneyWorld with water. The girls declare it the best of all things.

The Bad: (but not wholly unexpected)–shit is Hella Overpriced at said resort. Conversation heard at sundries shop: Harried mother: “Okay, a single granola bar is $1.25. How can this box of 8 granola bars be 14 bucks? We’re buying in bulk–how can that not be cheaper?”

Cashier: “It just don’ta work dat way here. Not my fault, you know?” Shrug.

The Second Good: After enraged 14-buck-granola-bar mom leaves, I place my emergency sunscreen purchase on the counter (we ran out). I have grabbed the first UV spray sunscreen I’ve spied.

Cashier: “Look, little sista, lemme tell ya something. Gotta look at the tag, see? This sunscreen? 38 dollars.”

Me: “Ack! Seriously?”

Cashier: “Ya. But we got one for 22. Want dat one?”

Me: “Oh my God. Thank you for telling me. Yes.”

Cashier: “No problem, sista.”

The Ugly: I still paid 22 bucks for sunscreen. Bitterness Quotient: 3.0

The Good: We signed the girls up at Dolphin Cay for the Shallow Water Dolphin Experience. Initially,we weren’t going to do this (duh, pay out the arse alert!); however, someone put a little brown-eyed girl on his lap and showed her the Atlantis Resort website a week prior to vacation, and those big brown eyes spied the Dolphin Experience. Naturally, we (and our wallet) were toast.

But the Dolphin Experience was something the girls will never forget. Our main dolphin, Atlas, was one of many dolphins relocated after Hurricane Katrina, and he was lovely. We got to swim, rub tummies and tails, kiss, and hug, although the trainers warned us not to hug Atlas too tight, because it made him a little skittish. The girls did brilliantly, Atlas loved them and we got the cutest photos (pay out arse alert!) of them frolicking with dolphins. They adored every minute.

The Bad: Guess who was the only dorkbutt out of 12 people who clenched Atlas in a death-grip? C’est moi. What can I say? I got excited. And I was thoroughly chastised by the trainers, in front of everybody. Luckily, Atlas forgave me.

The Ugly: 30 minutes after we purchased (out the arse) our adorable photos, we decided to stash our swim bag and ride the River Rapids together as a family. Now let it be said that we never agree on rides as a family; one person or another always balks and sulks on a lounge chair, until the riders return. But this one ride, this one time? We were all in.

The ride takes 20 minutes. When we returned to our station, our bag was overturned. Items missing: an iPad, an iPhone, our digital camera with all of our photos on it, the photos from our dolphin experience and, randomly, one flip-flop from each of the girls. Obviously, a snatch-and-grab. Sunbathers nearby noticed nothing.  Bitterness Quotient: infinity and beyond.

The Good: We immediately contacted security and they assured us that they were on it.

The Bad: After assuring us that they were on it, it took security 3 whole hours to come to our room and take a written statement of the theft.

The Ugly: Security didn’t do jack. Nor did they offer to help us get new copies of our dolphin photos, even as the girls cried and shook their little shoulders, bereft.  Bitterness Quotient: Don’t even ask.

The Good: The next morning, I walked back to Dolphin Cay, found an employee named Tina T., and proceeded to wail and cry harder than Natalie Portman in V for Vendetta.  Oscar caliber hysterics, I’m tellin’ ya.  Thank you, Tina T., for being the only employee to give a beaver’s butt about our family. She immediately agreed to replace our photos, gratis.  Tina T., I am your #1 fan.

The Bad: Airline assholery. Let’s just say that instead of returning home Wednesday afternoon (as planned), we arrived home Thursday night at 11pm.

Insult to Injury to the Bad: While trapped in the airport due to said airline assholery, we decided to drown our sorrows in french fries and Fanta. The restaurant we went to had s-l-o-w service and played the entire soundtrack of Chicago’s Greatest Hits. Pissed off KitchyWitchy was totally not in the mood for Peter Cetera’s crooning, “Does anybody know what time it is? Does anybody even care?”

Actually, Peter, I do want to know what time it is and yes, I do happen to care because it’s my birthday and it is well beyond the time that I was supposed to be the fuck home. And while we’re chatting, Pete, your band blows.

The Ugly: Two full barf bags on the flight home. Enough said. Bitterness Quotient:  a mere 8.0…because we actually did finally get home and Miss D. actually managed to hit the barf bags, unlike the vacation linked above.

The Good: The next morning, after a good night’s sleep, both girls thanked us for the “awesome” vacation. And we have these. Which, along with our memories of the trip, are the only things truly irreplaceable.

*Readers, I’m so happy to be back home! I’ve missed you. I hope to catch up with you soon…well, after all the vacation laundry is done and I get some food in the house and the girls recover from airplane-induced colds…blahblahblah. But oh, it’s good to be home.

{ 55 comments… read them below or add one }

pamela February 25, 2012 at 5:18 pm

And here I was worried about your bum-burn on the water slides. Clearly, there were far bigger things to worry about.

I can’t believe you had to go through all that. You deserve a vacation … er … maybe a staycation??


Abby February 25, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Wow. That is quite a recap, and minus all the bad and the ugly, I truly enjoyed every second. I know you guys have been wading through some serious cow crap lately, so it’s great that despite additional vacation-centered cow crap, you were able to relax and enjoy yourself for a little bit.

The girls will probably forget the puking, the theft and the overpriced sunscreen, but they won’t forget the things that really matter (see photos above.) Glad you’re back safe and sound!


Katybeth February 25, 2012 at 6:20 pm

The pictures are adorable! What else is there to say :-) Except maybe: Welcome back to where you belong! Soon you will be looking swell and feeling fine!


Naptimewriting February 25, 2012 at 6:43 pm

Must. Not. Laugh.

Must not laugh.

Seriously, wouldn’t be nice to laugh. A lot of that sounds like it sucked and…

bahahahaha ha ha.

Dude, you have the shittiest luck! And you always make it sound funny. How do you do that?

I’d be crying into my fries and Fanta to have a birthday full of vomit and crusty, fading dolphin kisses. And 36 hours of time LOST to the gods of shitty airline bastardness.

Totally not laughing.

[omg, I’m still laughing. You’re too funny.]


TKW February 25, 2012 at 7:26 pm


Laughing is the point. Which of course, you got. It’s why I love you, and miss you, and wish that we were back in SanFran, giving the cheese guy a run for his money. Callmemissyouxoxo


SuziCate February 25, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Oh man, that blows that your stuff got stolen. Blessings to the sweet girl who replaced your pictures; they are awesome!


Ink February 25, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Stealing and overpricing and barfing–oh my! Sorry about all the boos but hooray for the yays. PICs with the dolphins = AMAHZING.


bryan February 25, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Every time that you tell us that you are going on vacation I think to myself, “Great another great story of bad luck and assholery is on the way!” I am so happy that you can tell your stories so eloquently for all of us.


Amy @ Never-True Tales February 25, 2012 at 8:25 pm

Oh my. You know I vacation for a freaking living (or at least that’s what my friends think I do), and I am rarely sympathetic to travel whiners, but you my dear, have something worth whining about. Truly. You’ve earned your vacation stripes, and can complain to your heart’s content. I’m shocked at the lack of assistance regarding your theft at Atlantis, and while I can’t say I’m shocked by your airline woes (girl, have I ever been THERE), I’m vey sympathetic, because you had more than your fair share of them all wrapped up in one trip. So sorry…but also so glad you have the memories (good and bad).


TKW February 26, 2012 at 6:50 am


I thought of you while all of this was going down. I was like, “What would Amy do?” I know you would have handled things better than I did.


Annie February 25, 2012 at 10:46 pm

I am so glad that you got photos of the dolphin experience after all. The girls will remember that forever. It is an amazing and moving experience to be in the water with dolphins. So sorry you had round 2 of airline hell.


Privilege of Parenting February 25, 2012 at 11:39 pm

You guys with that dolphin totally captures how worth it the journey ultimately was, and yet I say welcome home as it sounds like you need a little vacation after that vacation.


the curious Cat February 26, 2012 at 3:03 am

Wow- what a holiday – incredibly colourful! So sorry you had those things stolen though but at least you got copies of the photos! Guess you’ll always remember it! xxx


ck February 26, 2012 at 6:23 am

Here’s to hoping that just like new motherhood, if you stare at those beautiful photos with Atlas long enough, you’ll train yourself to remember nothing else about the trip!


TKW February 26, 2012 at 6:51 am

I don’t know, dude. You may want to reconsider that May vacation–we are cursed! But I know you will bring the good mojo…


laura h February 26, 2012 at 7:50 am

What airline?


TKW February 26, 2012 at 9:20 am

Several different ones, but the major assholery came via Continental (now affiliated with the nefarious United Airlines). Of course.


Erica@PLRH February 26, 2012 at 8:32 am

Three things:

The photo of you and your girls is beautiful!

Please remind me to never travel with you.

Happy belated birthday! You deserve a do-over on that one.


Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon February 26, 2012 at 2:45 pm

There really is never a dull moment in your world. The dolphin photos are truly priceless and hopefully in time those moments with the girls will have been worth all the assholerly that surrounded the trip.


Dawn February 26, 2012 at 4:40 pm

SO glad you got replacement pictures!


Tammy February 26, 2012 at 7:09 pm

So at first, I really didn’t want to read another rant about a miserable vacation, but your wonderful writing just pulled me in and kept me there. You had me at Lizard Brain. Read through to the end and definitely feel your pain. Thanks for sharing, and please keep up the wonderful work.

Oh, and PS, just to rub it in: I also took trip with kids on Continental this week — no delays, minimal turbulence, and only one whiny baby (not mine) who chilled out once we were airborne. Yeah. and nothing got stolen. Did I mention the wild (and free) dolphins that swam next to our fishing boat in Florida, leaping out of the water to play for 15 minutes, just 10 feet away? Next time, try the Keys. You don’t even know me and you hate me already, don’t you?


TKW February 27, 2012 at 7:48 am




Sherri February 27, 2012 at 6:13 am

Oh – don’t get me started on people who steal – awful for you to have experienced that. It is a terrible feeling – hard to get over. So glad you got those beautiful photos back – I mean, you guys truly look like you’re having a blast there – captured a mom and daughters moment perfectly. Happy Birthday, btw.


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes February 27, 2012 at 6:13 am

Oh my, I was alternating between gasps of horror and snorts to keep from laughing out loud. Whoever stole your stuff deserves to get a rootcanal with a teaspoon.
Those pictures are just so awesome!


Arnebya February 27, 2012 at 8:41 am

I’m w/Tinne above. I went from face balled the fuck up angry to laughing hard. Late flights, sick captains, warning lights, bad food, all of it can be explained away and go down in awful vacation history. BUT. The theft? Oh, that shit there I cannot unfrown from. To take it is one thing. To see family photos and not return it? That is some callous shit. I’m sorry to have such a potty mouth this morning, but…damn. Even a conscienceless thief should’ve put the pics on a thumb drive and found a way to get it to you. I know, I know, I’m hypothetically making a thief give a damn.


TheKitchWitch February 27, 2012 at 2:05 pm


Curse as much as you want. You have no idea what came out of my mouth that day.


Jenna February 27, 2012 at 9:14 am

Wow, wow, wow. Glad you got the dolphin pics back, but THEFT SUCKS. Especially on vacation. And with a camera full of pictures (my personal theft nightmare). And barf bags–I don’t even want to think about them because I’m starting to get queasy.


Jennifer February 27, 2012 at 12:34 pm

You have the worst vacation luck of anyone I have ever known. But I am so glad that you share all of your travel woes with us because they are laugh out loud funny. (even while I feel really bad for you)

I can totally picture you being so excited about hugging the dolphin that you squeeze him too hard and he gets all pissed at you. LOLOLOL


TKW February 27, 2012 at 12:51 pm


He squeaked out his blowhole at me! I was mortified.


Mary Lee February 27, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Holy moly crapola!

The photos ARE precious. I now love Tina T, too.


Tiffany February 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm

I’m so glad you are back safe and sound. Those pictures actually made me sigh out loud. Totally worth the Natalie Portman tears. I want to kick the thief’s ass that stole your stuff!!!

Miss D looks sooooo grown up!!!!


Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri February 27, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Pics are adorable. I am glad you got them to do a redo.

Theft is a bitch. I had my camera stolen this week at the local car wash. Went back to check with security and of course they didn’t see anything.

Glad you and your family are back safely.


TKW February 28, 2012 at 7:12 am


That’s terrible! The loss of a camera (and all the pure gold that’s on it) is traumatic.


Heather February 27, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Ok, the pictures alone made all the crazy worth it, right??? Honey, remind me to never, EVER go on vacation with you! I can always find my own sense of crazy. Here’s hoping that SOMEDAY… maybe, just maybe… You could have a kick-ass vacation instead of an ass kicking vacation. It could happen… right??? Love ya, sweetie. Glad you made it back safe, even if not sound ;)


Barbara February 28, 2012 at 7:17 am

Now why didn’t you call me in advance?? We go to Atlantis all the time and I could have given (warned) you about everything. Been taking kids and grandkids there for ages and have been through all the goods and bads. BTW: NICE place to have a medical conference. :)
It’s an ISLAND kiddo….and they don’t grow/produce anything there, it’s all shipped in. Going to cost an arm and a leg for anything. To top it all off, it’s a ritzy resort. Prices go up just on that premise. We always take plenty of lotion and just about anything else we could possibly need just to avoid those prices.

We’ve also found many Caribbean islands have a serious problem with theft. In fact, some are so bad, we aren’t ever going back. Put anything of value in a safe.

Luckily we can fly direct from Ft. Lauderdale, short flight, rarely problems, not that we don’t run into your scenerio on other flights…ain’t fun any more, that’s for sure.

In the end, my group adore that place. I have one more grandkid, age 5, to go through this routine with. We aren’t planning to go yet, as he’s not tall enough for some of the slides, so why bother? The slides are what they love. Although my granddaughter used to do Lazy River with me just ’cause she’s a good sport.
BTW: have you ever seen pools so full of kids that (I am certain) contain TONS of urine? I prefer the ocean…more diluted. :)


TKW February 28, 2012 at 2:39 pm


I feared the urine in those pools.


Paula February 28, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Love the pic of you and the girls.


Justine February 29, 2012 at 9:16 am

As I was reading this, my email alerted me to your comment on my blog! Quinky dink! Do we pinch each other or high five or something?

God, Kitch, your vacation sounds both awful and amazing at the same time. Love your report of it and even though you’ve made my spine tingle with the bad here, your girls are only going to remember the good, I’m certain of it. So, there’s the terrific up side to this right?

Sorry about your iStuff though. Sheesh, lady, it would’ve ruined my vacation. Kudos to you for fighting the good fight for your girls.

We’re actually discussing a vacation in the tropics later this year. Probably should refer to your post when it’s time to book our trip…


BigLittleWolf February 29, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Wow, and wow.

Awesomeness of your storytelling? 10.0

How much you were missed? 10.0

How cute kids are kissing dolphins? Off the charts.

Glad you’re back!


Contemporary Troubadour February 29, 2012 at 9:08 pm

I’m with the rest of the indignant readers on theft and its aftermath. That tops everything. I like this Bitterness Quotient, though. Rating systems make everything easier to laugh at.

Atlantis — I remember that place! I was once not-really-a-kid tagging along when my dad had a medical conference down there. At the time, the Leap of Faith was the waterslide to try. I wasn’t going to do it — 45-degree incline, straight shot into the depths of who knows where? No thank you. But I’m imagining your thief now, getting tossed off the backside of it into a lagoon full of very angry jellyfish.


Camille Brightsmith March 1, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Maybe you should reconsider your family stance on Camping? I am here for you if you decide to do so. the photos are AMAZING! god dammnit regarding the rest


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