Monday, May 16, 2016

Captain's Log, Day 168: Family Vacation, Part 1--Houston, We've Landed....

          Dad looked up from his bag, which he was busily digging through looking for something. (Probably Mom's camera.) "Yeah?"
          I pointed. "That lobby doesn't have any walls."
          He chuckled. "Well, there's not that many bugs here, and it's not like it snows..."
          "That is so AWESOME!" Nemesis and I yelled.
          "Shh! You'll look like tourists!" Mom scolded.
          "We are tourists," Quill pointed out, clutching her notebook. Mom had given us all notebooks in which to write our vacation experiences down in (as a homeschooling mother, Mom felt it her duty to suck all the fun out of everything by requesting essays on any and all life experiences). Quill was the only one who took it seriously and had already written about our airplane flight while Nemesis and I were fighting over the camera and smearing up the windows with nose prints.
          Mom suppressed a smile. "Then we don't want to annoy everyone else."
          "We already--mmph!"
          Dad managed to suppress the rest of my comment. "Well, we shouldn't," he warned me, tone indicating that even the paradise of Hawaii (Oahu at the moment, to be specific) would not be devoid of ass-whuppings should I act out in public. Even hyped up by the airline sodas as I was, I took the hint and became the model of silence, if not of stillness.
          For about five seconds. "Guys, come on!" I suggested, and starting running back and forth across the rather abrupt transition between carpeted lobby and paved pavilion. The novelty appealed to my siblings, who joined me. The parental unit let out a mutual sigh of mildly strained patience, but decided that was probably the least annoying/destructive thing we could be doing with our pent-up energy and went to go check in.
          When they turned back around, we'd ceased running back and forth through non-existent walls and were now trying to catch pigeons. The birds, while tame enough to let us get within inches of them, were nonetheless wily enough to skedaddle when we grabbed for them. Ma arrested our game and ordered us to help bring the luggage up to the room. We made the journey in record time.
          After situating the boys in one room and the girls in the other, and after hanging up certain of the nicer articles of clothing, Mom decided it was time for a lesson in travel. She convened the Midway family meeting in the boys' room.
          "Who remembers what the time difference is between here and Minnesota? Radar, stop hitting your brother!"
          I discarded the pillow. "Um..."
          "Five hours," my time-conscious brother declaimed proudly.
          "Very good. Ahead or back?"
          "Back. I already reset my watch." He held up his wrist for inspection. "Oh, and I also set Minnesota time on the world clock. That way we can see what time it is back home."
          "I showed him how to do that," I felt compelled to add.
          Nemesis stuck his tongue out at me. "Yeah, but you didn't remember the time zone!"
          Dad snatched the pillow out of my hands as I tried to clobber my brother with it. "Don't even think about it, or we'll leave you here when we go to the beach!"
          "Are we going to the beach today?" I asked eagerly.
          "Tomorrow," Dad said firmly. "We're probably all too tired to go today."
          All of us kids just looked at him.
          "Okay, I'm too tired to go today," Dad clarified.
          Mom cleared her throat. "When you travel across time zones, you sometimes experience something called 'jet lag.' It means your body thinks it's time to go to bed when it's not. So right now, it's 3pm here, which means it's..."
          "8:14 at home!" Nemesis announced.
          Quill grinned. "We're up past our bedtime!"
          Squirrel giggled. Then her face fell. "Are we going to have to go to bed now?"
          "Well, we should all probably take a small nap so that we're not too tired for dinner..." Mom began.
          A chorus of groans greeted that announcement. Mom and Dad exchanged looks, silently admitting that we had been pretty good on that eight-hour-long flight and we probably needed to burn off a little steam.
          "Why don't we go for a walk?" Dad suggested.
          He made the mistake of standing in the hallway to the door and was almost flattened by his over-enthusiastic offspring. To be fair, we were pretty excited to visit somewhere that didn't have mosquitoes the size of canned hams...

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