Going on your child's field trip isn't always fun. Personally, I am not into trying to corral five kids whilst traipsing around Fort Toulouse with 25 other school bus-loads of kids there at the same time. Yes, I DO watch the children in my charge...but it's not exactly a piece of cake with 14 activities going on and them all thinking they can each go their separate ways...nuh uh, girlfriend...not on my watch. And staying overnight at a trip? Don't even get me started...I have two words that changed my outlook on that: "Space Camp". And didn't change it for the better. So, you can bet I was reluctant when I heard we were doing it again...only this time at Dauphin Island's Sea Lab.
First off, picking up sea-life from the Gulf of Mexico and mucking around in the mud finding things that only an estuary can hold was pretty darned intriguing to me. A nighttime walk on the beach to "hunt" for ghost crabs...well that sounds like fun...and so does looking at minute squirmy things we just plucked from the water under microscopes...so I actually was looking forward to this trip. Driving the 3 1/2 hours with three other children besides my own and staying overnight with public restrooms and showers...well THAT I wasn't. Keep in mind I did stay two whole nights at Space Camp in Huntsville...sleeping six to a room in bunkbeds...lights literally turned out on you at 9:30ish to be turned back on for you at around 5:30ish. This was a "joy" I didn't soon want to relive. But things started to look a little up when they said we'd be staying at the dorms and they sleep two to a room. Now when they said we were going to sleep on "cots"...that kinda didn't sound too appealing, but this was only for one night. I think I'd be able to rough it.
Meeting up at the school at 7:15 isn't exactly a night-owl's dream...and then imagining "can you PLEASE stop singing that same song over and over and over...and by the way, stop kicking my seat" for 3 1/2 hours wasn't exactly helping. But I made it up there, packed up the van, and proceeded to head out for our destination to arrive sometime around 11:30 just in time for "lunch". Oh...lunch..."yummy"...visions of a previous trip's version of "food" dancing in my brain like so many rancid sugarplums.
But, wait...these kids were pretty good...in fact they were excellent. No "I have to go to the bathroom, Mrs. Simms"..."Why didn't you go the last exit when we stopped?"..."I didn't have to go then." antics...no "A million bottles of..." song to drive me completely insane...and apart from my coaxing to get them to stop that one game they were doing and try this other one I made up instead...it was ideal. In fact the worst part of it was thinking that the rest stop I was supposed to meet up with the teacher wasn't the right rest stop and maybe we are hanging around and they are hanging around...15 miles apart. But they finally showed up...so our worries about that were all for naught.
So we made it there...unloaded the van and dropped our stuff off in our room...which, by the way, to my delight, didn't have measly cots but actual "mattressed" beds. The showers had individual little stalls AND curtains...Space Camp didn't. As a plus the bathroom was next to our room and didn't have a clanking door and you couldn't hear anything really thru the wall. The only discernible noise were the boys who occupied the upper level of the dorm and the fact that boys must run wherever they go...and apparently the average 11-year-old boy's weight while in run-mode is comparable to that of a full-grown elephant. And speaking of elephants...it was time to herd up outside the dorm and go grazing at the cafeteria...with no doubt in my mind this shall be about as tasty as an elephant's hide...
...but enough for now...I am going to play Scheherazade and continue this blog tomorrow.
A Bit About Me
- Mariann Simms
- Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".