Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Day at the Sand Dunes: Holy Shit I Can't Move

So, I had the awesome opportunity to go on a field trip with my 13 year old son on Friday.  I’ve been excited about it for weeks. I mean, way more excited than I should be for a 39 year old mother of three.  You could say I don’t get out much.  (But you won’t, because you’re not an asshole.)

My son, of course, is WAY too cool for field trips and asked me if he could skip the whole thing and just stay home and play X-Box.  I said “Hell no.  We are going to the mother fricking SAND DUNES, mutha fucka!”  (I didn’t say the ‘mutha fucka’ part out loud but it was implied).   Are you kidding me?  Miss out on the fun, sun and a day off work to goof off and act like a kid?  We are SO going.

He actually seemed somewhat excited for me to go with him once I convinced him it was going to be the most awesome thing in the entire history of ever.  I was happy we would get to spend a day together doing something fun.  We don’t do that as much as we should because I get busy with his sisters and he is in the middle of that awkward male adolescent thing.  I either say the right thing to him or the exact wrong thing and it’s a bit touch and go.  (But, that is the subject of another blog.)
Where was I?
Oh yeah…

Dunes Day arrived. 
*cue dramatic music*

I won’t lie:  I was pretty excited.  I mean, a day off work -  a day off that does not involve  any of the following:
  1.  A child vomiting
  2. Me vomiting
  3. Me moving boxes into a new home
  4. Me cleaning - ANYTHING
  5. Yard work
In other words - a day AWAY FROM EVERYTHING?!?!?
Fuck yeah.  Just what I needed.

We were set to go to the State park and Sand Dunes about an hour from our house, along Lake Michigan.  I have to be honest and say that, although I did take a look at the website to see what the dunes and the vehicles looked like and the history and all that stuff, I didn’t exactly think about what was going to happen once we got there.   I just KNEW it was going to be FUN.

I packed up lunches, an umbrella, sunscreen, ponchos (we had a chance of rain), Gatorade and any and every other damn thing we may need.  I did manage to leave the kitchen sink at home…

We arrived at the school and joined the other students in the classroom.  The FIRST thing I noticed when I got to the classroom that there were four “dad” chaperones there and zero moms.  I was the only mom there .  And the dads who were there ranged from Extreme Sports Guy to Hipster Dad, to Gym Rat.  For the most part, they looked like they were ready for adventure and in pretty good shape.  What was I getting myself into? 
Uh, I may be exaggerating, but whatevs... It's MY blog..
After doing the role call and an explanation of the rules, bus assignments, etc, a mom or two showed up and I breathed a little sigh of relief.    I was not going to be destroyed or out-muscled.  Hear me roar.  Yeah...

We went to the gymnasium for head count and to put our lunches in the travel box.  I handed my son our lunches and said “Here you go, honey”.  He didn’t take them from me, so I looked up and realized he looked somewhat mortified (only completely) and so I had to make it better by saying “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m not supposed to call you that in front of your friends.  I’m sorry, honey!”  Damn, I did it again. 
My son:  “Mom, stop talking..”

This was starting out great!

I sipped on my coffee and eyed the kids and other chaperones, mentally noting which of them will warrant honorable mention as characters in my book.  I was making inappropriate jokes and dropped my first “f” bomb before 9:00 a.m.  Fortunately, my son was the only one who heard it.  This  time.

[Note to self:  Don’t say ‘fuck’ in front of the teenagers.]

We loaded up on the bus and spent the majority of the ride telling jokes and listening to three of his friends in the seat in front of us singing One Direction or some crap like that.  I popped my head in and requested some Taylor Swift, which was met with blank stares and my son’s elbow in my ribs.  *sigh* 


We got to the Dunes and I took a look at the vehicles we were supposed to ride in.  They are four –five rows deep with huge tires on them -  basically Monster  Jeeps with extra rows.  I started to get a little nervous seeing how tough they were built.  I mean, obviously, we were going to hit some serious hills and sand and who knows what.  How fast will we be going?  Hmm… Probably not THAT fast.  I mean, it’s a field trip for kids, right?  Psh, big whoop.
Exhibit A:  Vehicle of Death
I went into the gift shop and bought a little bag to throw over my shoulder and keep my phone and wallet in (not a place you want to bring your purse) and I got some sunglasses.  This was gonna be sooooooooooooo easy. 

Then we loaded up.

Kids piled in four to a row and, as I climbed up into the Vehicle of Death, I heard “We need a chaperone in the back here!” and I was starting to buckle in as the kids all turned to look at me.  I said “Oh, that’s me, isn’t it??”  *raises hand*  “Uh, I’m the chaperone!  Do I go in the back seat?”  The Evil Driver (you will find out why later) said wryly, “Yes, that would be ideal."

So, I got into the back row with three of my son’s friends and they made a HUGE deal of yelling up to the front to tell everyone they were with D’s MOM!!  Haha! 

I don’t see why that was so funny.

So, Evil Driver starts up the engine and revs it up a bit, giving us some instruction about not grabbing tree branches on the way through when we get to the wooded part.  He says something about how he’s only flipped one of these things one time and not to worry.  Okay Funny Boy.  You. Are. Hilarious.  Then he bolts out of the drive and I immediately feel like I am going to throw up.  Or pass out.

Me:  “Holy shit is he going to drive really fast on these things? Oh, damn I said shit, I’m sorry.  Jesus.”

Kids: “Haha!  D, your MOM just cussed!!”

Other kids: “Is this your first time on the dunes?”

Me: (gulp) “Yes”
Kids:  “Oh man, are you gonna puke?”
 Me:  “Maybe.  Look,  I will try to puke behind me okay?  Also, I may pee my pants.  In fact, I may have already peed a little bit.”

Kids:  “D!  Your MOM is back here wetting her pants!  Hahaha!”

My son:  “MOM!”

Me: “Sorry!  I didn’t really think this through. …”

Evil Driver:  *slams gas pedal and takes the first sharp turn*

Me:  “Sonovabitch.  Sorry! Oh god.  (Squeal!)  EEK!    (giggles hysterically)  Holy shit.  Sorry!  (squeak!!!)”

Kids:  *laughing their asses off*
My son:  “MOM!!!”
His friend:  “Put your hands in the air!  It’s awesome!!”
Me:  “NO!  I am NOT letting go of this bar!”  *squeals hysterically*

Evil Driver takes us up, down, around the dunes, tossing us around like crazy.  My son’s friend who is sitting next to me decides it would be a FINE idea to try to slam into me every time the jeep turns the opposite way, so I return the favor.  (I am too old for this shit, however, my brain does not process that information yet as I am in severe competition with my son’s friend to see who can knock whom from the jeep first - As every perfect chaperone should do on a field trip.  Duh.  Safety first...)

We stop at our first scenic spot and get out.  My legs are wobbly and I am nervously laughing as the kids go running around and up and down the sand dunes.  I wonder to myself if we are even halfway done yet.  I talk myself out of hyperventilating.

After about 20 minutes of watching the kids roll down hills and run back up, we get back into the Jeep and I slide under the seatbelt and my son’s friend says “You’re supposed to hook that rope thing next to you so we don’t fall out.”

Me: “Damn, really?  I didn’t even see that last time.”

His friend:  “Haha, yeah you were supposed to do that before we left.”

Me:  “Oops.  I am the BEST chaperone ever.  Wait, what hook thing?  I can’t find it..”

I fumble around and look over the edge of the jeep, trying to find the rope that goes in the hook thing.  How did I not see this before?  I am pretty sure Evil Driver didn’t tell me I was supposed to do this.  Or, he did and I was too busy focusing on not throwing up to remember to do it.  I keep looking for the rope and then Evil Driver comes up, reaches over and hands it to me, giving me the eyeball.

Me:  “Uh, hehehe, thanks? “

Evil Driver:  *pats my shoulder*  “You’re doing a FINE job.”

Me:  “Oh, I know!  I’m, like the BEST chaperone ever!”

Evil Driver:  "Yes, yes you are!" *shakes his head and chuckles*

We take off again and I squeal at the top of my lungs as we slowly climb to the top of a very tall hill.  Evil Driver stops at the top and tells us we are required to put our hands in the air due to the steep nature of the drop and I shake my head and grip the bar tighter and squeeze my eyes shut.  (Yes, I am a bad ass).  Then…we  plummet to the bottom, taking an immediate turn and then slowly entering the wooded area.   
Finally!  We get to enjoy the quiet nature that surrounds us...
As we are slowly driving into the beautiful wooded area and looking at the trees and I personally am enjoying being able to take a breath, Evil Driver decides to stop under a huge tree and say out of the blue “Oh look!” and points at something hanging from the branches.  Of course, we all look up and ONE of us SCREAMS at the top of her lungs “OHMYGODASNAKE!!”

And then all the kids LAUGH hysterically.
The “snake” is a tree branch that has wound around another branch with a part that dangles down and looks exactly like a snake. 

Hilarious, dude.  Really.

Me:  “Does anyone have a diaper?”

Kids: “Ha!  D! Your MOM needs a diaper!”

My son:  *shakes his head and slides down in his seat*

Evil Driver:  *laughs*

Me: *grumbles*

We jostle and hurtle the rest of the way back to the point of origin and when we slowly pull into where we started the whole thing, my son notices the sign above the parking area that says:

“If you are pregnant, have a heart condition, or back problems, please be sure to sit in the front seat.”

My son:  “MOM!  You were supposed to sit in the front seat.  What about your back??”

Me:  “Chillax bro, I am totally fine, plus they needed a chaperone to sit in back with your crazy friends to keep an eye on them.  SOMEBODY had to be the responsible one.”

My son:  *sigh*

Evil Driver gives us the requisite thank you for riding speech, ending with “If you’ve had fun today, my name is Ian.  And, if not, my name is Dave.”

Me:  “Thanks, Dave!”
Kids:  “Haha!  Yeah – thanks DAVE!”
Evil Driver:  "Hey!"
Me:  “We are just KIDDING.  Can we go again??”

Everyone looks at me like I’m crazy. 

Basically, I had an awesome time.  I mean, who doesn’t enjoy being scared half to death?  What a rush..
After we were done with the dune rides, we took the bus over to the State park and had lunch and walked down to the beach of Lake Michigan. 

In order to get to the beach, we had to take several sets of wooden steps.  Approximately 1200 I would say, give or take a few.   We spent about a half hour playing in the sand and enjoying the view and then…………..had to climb all the way back up.  Like, 1200 steps.  I really thought I might die for a few minutes there.  My legs were burning.  And judging from the looks on a few of the other parents’ faces, I was NOT the only one. 
Those specks at the top are the rest of our group...

I knew the day sort of took it out of me, but I had no idea just how much it took out of me until Saturday morning.   I woke up and stretched in my bed and my muscles, from head to toe, felt like a rubber band getting ready to snap.  Oh. My. Gawd. 

I used to play a lot of sports in high school so I remember the pain of starting to train for, say, basketball in the Fall after a summer of not training.  Particularly, the pain in the back of the calves from when our coach would make us run up and down the bleachers.  Anyone remember that pain?  THAT is the pain I woke up with Saturday morning. 

 And my back.  Holy.  Shit. 

NOTHING is sexier than a woman waddling into the kitchen in the morning to make coffee.  I mean, nothing. 

My teenagers laughed at me.  For about ten minutes.  Until they realized I was going to have to make them my bitches for a day since I could BARELY move.  That will teach them.

I can move a little more today, but I know it’s going to be a few days before my body doesn’t hate me anymore. 

And, you know what?  It was TOTALLY worth it.  I can’t wait until next year’s field trip. 

I think we’re going to Chicago!

Bring it.