We are back from our four day excursion in the PA Amish country. And as I sit here with a delicious cup of perfectly brewed Italian Roast coffee, I can thoughtfully reflect on what I learned over this long weekend with the kids.
Now that the kids are older, we get to spend so little time with them. My son thinks that I am an ogre because I insist that he join us for family dinner at least 5 out of 7 nights of the week. I guess it cramps his style to some degree, but dinners together are a rule that I don't want to give up on as it keeps us (loosely) threaded together amidst all the chaos. So imagine my absolute glee at having my children as a captive audience for four days. This little family bonding event this inspired me to write our family's "Top Ten Truths of our Amish Vacation":
TRUTH 1) No ammount of sleep is enough for a thirteen year old. Getting the boy out of bed in the morning proved to be as much of a challenge on the road as it was at home. I assumed that the long days in the sun and all the theme park walking would tucker them out and they'd be asleep before 11:00. And for the most part, they were. However, that did not translate into the boy bounding out of bed at 8:00 am, ready for the next activity. Nope. Explosive rigging on the order of the Bridge over the River Kwai was still a necessity.
TRUTH 2) My daughter is way hardcore. She faced her fear and went on a bunch of roller coasters that twist, turn, spin and go backwards. This is the same kid that cried and yelled at the carnie to stop the ride when she went on a roller coaster that was six feet off the ground at a local fair. I cried for her to stop talking to the carnie.
TRUTH 3) Talking GPS makes my ass twitch. There is only so much GPS yammering that one woman can take. My husband had his GPS voice set to a bizarre digital Australian woman's accent. If I heard "Keep roit on ey tewhundred and seventy six eest" in digiroo one more time, I was going to take an axe to the thing. Thankfully, the narration was shut off, incurring no harm to either the GPS or spousal unit.
TRUTH 4) Theme parks dominate vacations with teens. 3 out of 4 days were spent on line, roasting in the hellacious mid-day sun waiting to get on some whirligig or another. I had wanted to hit the Lancaster Central Market, The Giant Corn Maze and some other Amish attractions, but I was voted down on all counts. Whatever, let's just see what "Santa" brings you this year. I'm sure that he will remember his inability to buy fresh Amish produce and Whoopie Pies when December rolls around.
TRUTH 5) I am not the hardcore shopper that I used to be. I had one entire afternoon to myself to outlet shop and I finished early and ended up sitting in the amusement park parking lot for an hour waiting for hubster and kids to finish going on rides. I know. I know. It's sad. I've lost my edge.
TRUTH 6) The Amish Were Oogling ME. While I tried desperately to be be mindful of not obviously staring at them, I noticed that the little Amish did not stop peering out the back of their buggy at me. These little Am-lettes were eyeing me like a a tiger eyes a steak. I was going to yell out "Take a picture, it lasts longer!" But then I realized, what's the point?
TRUTH 7) There's a Take an Amish to Breakfast program. There must have been some sort of cultural exchange program going on yesterday morning because I kept seeing groups of tourist families ushering a bonneted or suspendered Amish guest into the breakfast buffet. How come nobody told me about the rent-an-Amish program? I'd gladly buy a bowl of scrapple to pick an Amish brain. If I can get just one of them to lose the chinstrap beard, I will have gotten benefit from the sharing of thoughts and ideas.
TRUTH 8) Pervy Amish town names never get old. The origin of our son's Beavis and Butthead tendencies come clearly into focus when we get into Amish country. Here's a list of some of the names that made my husband and I giggle this weekend:
- Chocolate Ave. (in Hershey)
9) You can't over-tip the hotel housekeeper when my kids are in the house. Continuing on the reign of destruction world tour that kicked off at our house when they were born, the kids were complete slobs in their hotel room. The places that I found socks and shoes defied explanation. Needless to say, we tipped generously as we knew at least one wayward garment would be found in the coffee pot or in a bathroom sconce after we departed.
10) You can travel the world over, but the best cup of coffee is brewed at home. I spent a good deal of time and energy on this trip trying to find a decent cup of coffee. For me, a bad cup of coffee is an assault to the senses on the order of licking an ashtray. It's just cringe inducing. But when I ground my beans this morning and poured my clean, cool filtered water into the coffee maker and took my first sip of its warm delicious brew, I felt a rush through my body that I imagine a junkie feels upon finally getting the fix he's been jonesing for. It was heavenly.
I'll miss the Amish country, but it's time to get back to the business of cooking, cleaning and mom's taxi service. I go back to the job tomorrow, so I will spend today baking treats that remind us of vacation and fishing socks out of the bathroom sconces. It's good to be home, I just wish someone would leave me a big tip at the end of the day.