My Peepaw had a way of viewing life through rose colored glasses. His glass was always
half-full, and when a stranger asked how he was doing; his face would light up and he’d sing out,
No matter what cards he had been dealt. If the bluebird of happiness had just taken a dump on his shoulder, my Peepaw was Fantastic!
I can’t say I accentuate the positive as frequently as my long-ago passed grandfather, but I try. Those of you taking up residence outside the Midwest may view this outlook on life as delusional or a form of escapism.
But at a time when this country is so bloomin’ angry, I was needing to pull out the ole Ouija board and channel my Peepaw (“Pee” for short) to remind me how to fill my cup, when most of the media and population is successful at sucking every cup in this country dry.
After channeling my inner “Pee”ness, my family decided to go on a fun-filled vacation, away from the crazies – to escape from politics. So we of course drove to our state capitol. Topuka. Topeka, Kansas!
This was to be a test of wills for my husband and me since we grew up outside this armpit gem of a city, and spent the majority of our lives trying to avoid spending ANY time in that town; but because of my new outlook on life (at least for the next couple weeks), we planned to stretch our imaginations and make the best of the situation.
Imagine exiting the interstate and not getting lost for one nanosecond because our hotel is lodged right there underneath the roadway. How lucky were we not to drive around wasting gas money looking for our lodgings? Big savings already for us. Cha-ching!
When we pulled into the parking lot my new super girl reader, boasted to the rest of us, “Look Mom! Our hotel is next to ‘Hoot-ees!’” The “R” was not illuminated at night.
Yes, Hooters was all glittery and sparkling with its outdoor bar and TVs facing us to distract us from the roaring cars and semis speeding overhead. Perfectly designed to draw in the children.
“They even have Christmas lights on their trees!” exclaimed my youngest daughter, appreciating the splendor of the bar, which I surely was going to explain in the near future why there was no way in Hades we were going to eat at such a pretty establishment.
Like a good mother who knows how to lie to her children, I informed them that Hooties had a parliament of owls flying overhead in there (hence, the name…) so to alleviate poop in our food, we should make a better choice.
I figured this lie was not any worse than the blasted Elf of the Shelf we have been dragging out for years – and at least when they learn the truth about “Hooties,” we will all get a good laugh!
When we entered the dump majestic hotel, the hillbilly concierge announced we were staying in the King Suite (loosely translated: a room barely big enough for a king bed and a roll-out couch). Now if you are on our “Exceedingly Optimistic Trip” (better known as traveling dirt-cheap due to hotel credits), the girls heard the word “King” and guess where we went with that one?!
Oh, yeah! Kings and Queens had stayed in our room!! We were on a roll.
What?! They could have. It’s right off the highway and a convenient stop for royalty traveling across the state of Kansas. I didn’t FactChecker it, but the mere thought of the prospect thrilled our princesses; PLUS, there was also a murky indoor pool they could jump into at anytime during our stay. We’s fancy!
The remainder of the weekend turned out successfully. (Yea! No bedbugs!) We went to the Kansas Children’s Discovery Center that knocked our socks off! Our girls actually wanted to go back several times during the remainder of the trip. Top notch and we’ve been to a-plenty of these. Nurse Mommy gives this kid interactive museum the highest rating of 5 lollipops and 2 stickers!!
Then a hop and a skip down the street and over the highway to Grandmother’s museum we went. Grammy had recommended the Kansas Museum of History which was 2 blocks away from our hotel Chalet Grimet. We were really pushing the limits on travel here. Dragging the girls whining, kicking and moping through the doors, they were surprised to have a fabulous time. They climbed aboard a real train (imagine Polar Express), saw an old airplane (one with pedals), and learned what it was like to live in the medieval days when TVs didn’t have remotes and you had to get up to turn the volume or one of the four channels. Poor, poor parents!
To finish off our weekend, we hit the Topeka Zoo. Boy, are those animals close to you. If you want to see some animals incredibly up, close and personal, this is the place folks. If you didn’t have the glass in between you and those cats, you could be their Little Friskies by one tongue length.
Needless, to say…it can be done. Cheap vacation and tricking your children into thinking their trip is just as special as Disney World. The best part is…it can only get better from here on out!
And for the love of Pete – next trip better be cleaner or I’m bringing my hip holster of 409 spray!
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© 2012, Stacey Hatton. All rights reserved.