How I spent my Summer Vacation
Bunghole is not a bad word. But, like many of you, I have overused the saying, “Get the bunghole outta here!” in a clever attempt at crudeness. However, as any 17th century seaman will tell you, a bung is a tube-like cork that is used to plug a hole in a barrel. And that’s where the word ‘bunghole’ originated. How it morphed into the present connotation of a dirty word is anyone’s guess.
This is but one of the many fascinating facts that our family learned on our recent vacation to the east coast. Because I have been deluged by requests (stop the madness, folks!) to share our pictures and every detail of our trip, I will humbly indulge – within reason. Because of space and time restraints, I can only give you this blog – the good news is you can order a copy of the extended super huge scrap book and CD I will soon be selling on Amazon.com. I’m also setting up a website.
So, buckle up gang as we revisit our family’s trail to the east coast and maybe, just maybe, learn a little something along the way,
Top ten things I did not know:
1. Niagara Falls sucks. Not the actual Falls, they are incredibly beautiful and to see them first-hand is breath-taking, but past that, the city (on the Canadian-side) is what I call “a cluster-fart,” (or something siniliar).
Think Disney plus Great America plus Las Vegas, on steroids, times a million, with a bad caffeine buzz and a cocaine problem. I have never been on a street with three Ripley’s Believe It or Nots, four dinosaur rides, ten ice cream shops, eight Starbucks, a couple of vertical roller-coasters and a hookah bar. Top that with a gazillion whiney kids, a loud motorcycle gang, cash-strapped parents and a ninety degree day and you have yourself a good old-fashioned cluster-fart.
2. That a ball of Silly Putty, when thrown from the back seat on a minivan at a high rate of speed and gets stuck in your hair, is nearly impossible to get out.
3. It is possible though, while driving and trying to follow a GPS in a foreign country, to reach behind the seat and punish a disobedient child.
4. Not all of the witches in the Salem, Mass trials were hanged. One gentleman, who refused to enter a guilty plea of having a pact with the devil, was pressed to death by large stones, added intermittently as he lay on the ground. Folklore has it that, as he struggled for breath and the local sheriff stood over him demanding that he admit to the crime, he would repeat, “I will not, sir. Add another stone.” He was eighty-one.
5. The “Ivy League” of east coast universities is not named for the green ivy covering the dated buildings in this elite group of schools. It actually began as the “IV League” of four colleges (Harvard, Princeton, Dartmouth and Yale) and the “IV” comes from the Latin number four. Use this fact to stump your fancy Ivy League friends – it will make you feel smarter than them as I guarantee they will not know this fact.
6. There is no such thing as a hotel room with reasonable rates for a family of four. Either you get two double beds or pay up for a deluxe suite which gets you a queen and a pull-out sofa. Maybe some of you have children that can sleep next to each other without biting or kicking (liars!) but this is a very tight situation for most of us. I don’t need a mini kitchen with a stove, or even a couch. I need a king and two twin-sized beds! Hello? Hilton?
7. The expression “learning the ropes” comes from the sailors of the sixteenth century. When ships took on ten- and twelve-year old boys as apprentices, the first thing the kids had to do was learn where the five-hundred or so ropes, associated with the different sails on the ship, went. I wonder in four hundred years if there will be a new expression, “learning the iphone?”
8. Inmates in east coast prisons staged a revolt protesting the all-too-frequent meal of the “sea rat,” a creature of great abundance at that time. To this day, there stands a law in Maine that prisoners cannot be fed the sea rat, or as we know it, the lobster, more than twice a week.
9. Climbing the 300 steps in the Bunker Hill Monument after walking four miles to get there, was not as much fun as I thought it would be. Maybe it was the completely vertical steps with no ventilation? Or the tight, dark, dank staircase? I don’t know, but the kids did enjoy it. I passed them on step fifty – I was going up as they were already on their way down.
10. It’s like so, so great to spend all that time, in a minivan and small hotel rooms with your family. I mean really really great. The language, as well as the bodily function element, of pre-teen boys is not only charming but refreshing and pleasant while driving through the miles and miles and miles of desolate northern Pennsylvania.
I’m not one to honey-coat everything, so I will admit, towards the end of the trip and as we headed to stay the last night at my in-laws in Cleveland, I got a tiny bit grumpy. But I did what anyone would do in my situation: I locked myself in an upstairs bedroom with a bottle of wine and let the boys and Craig sleep in the basement.
Attitude adjustment successful.