It looked REALLY good…on paper. The 4 of us (plus Wickette) fly to Branson. Mark’s family drives to Branson from their homes in WI to meet us. They bring Motor homes, boat, jet skis, canoes and LOTS of “stuff” to have fun with. It had all the makings of a family vacation for the record books. And it was…but for all the wrong reasons:

1. Pack for family of four plus a puppy who’s never been on a plane before and screams like you’re removing her claws when you put her into a travel crate. Get said crew to the airport parking lot; onto the shuttle bus; check bags, get through security; find gate then hear announcement that the plane is delayed an hour and we will NOT make our connection to Branson. Board plane; ignore hateful stares and assure everyone puppy is not being tortured; get off plane TWO hours late; find place for puppy to pee; ignore hateful stares; repeat (in my stern voice)to supervisor that I will not leave counter until they pay for a hotel for my family; spend 2 1/2 hrs. with luggage rep. trying to locate our lost bags while playing “I spy” with the boys for the billionth time. Take shuttle to hotel; smuggle puppy into room; order $32. pasta (x 4) from room service because we can’t go to a restaurant with puppy; sleep for 3 hours, get up and start ALL OVER AGAIN!

2. Branson had a record-setting heat wave that week. 106 degrees in an RV filled with 6 of your inlaws feels like 175 degrees. I should have stayed home and set myself on fire. It would have been cheaper and more fun.

3. I searched desperately for air conditioned establishments. I somehow convinced the family that spelunking in a cave (that’s 62 degrees) will be the thrill of a lifetime. I spend the entire tour with a death-grip on my boys’ hands so they don’t fall down the cave “steps”. Repeat 10 times, “No, you may not buy an $18 cave rock in the gift store.” Leave store, pick up 2 rocks outside and hand them to boys. “Here’s your souvenirs. You’re welcome.”

4. Buy tickets to a show called, “The Legend of Kung Fu” because it has the longest running time (in air conditioning) of all the shows in Branson. Suffer the consequences of my oldest falling in love with the show:

5. Transform RV’s dining table and couch into beds every night, then back into table and couch every morning. AAAGGGHHHH!!!

6. a) Spend 3 minutes on the back of the jet ski with my husband, then 2 hours in the boat waiting for the “men” to untangle the inner-tube rope (my husband ran over) from the jet skis’ engine.


b) Uncles let 4 yr. olds drive jet skis.

7. Make “swatting the flies” into a scored game between my sons.

8. Driving over an hour with my hot, tired and bored sons to see Papa’s new building on his property. Finding out there’s no plumbing yet:

9. Hearing your sons say, “The best part of my vacation was finding the Praying Mantis with Uncle Mike.”

10. Finding out that even under the absolute WORST conditions…I love hanging out with my inlaws!

PS How about next year we take a cruise to Alaska?