How NOT to be Spontaneous


September 13, 2010 by Marj Hatzell

We’re getting back into the school routine and it feels good.  Kinda like a bad song.   Reunited and it feels so gooooood. Ahem.  What I mean to say is, thank goodness summer is over. See, my kid?  Needs routine. Needs schedule.  Summer is neither of those. I mean, sure, there’s camp, right? But it isn’t all summer long.  And it isn’t terribly structured. And a kid who thrives on structure and speaks in military time needs a schedule, yo.

The last week of summer before school started we had Polite Boy over for a sleepover.  I was watching Polite Boy and his sisters for much of the summer and this was the last day I had them so we planned a sleepover. I thought we’d hang at the pool, order a special dinner, watch a movie. But the Husband was home and was itching to do things.  Plus there was this pesky little hurricane thingy we were dealing with so it was windy and slightly rainy and the pool wasn’t gonna happen, since from Philly to the ocean was one giant green blob on accuweather.  I devised a plan.  Know what’s good on a rainy day?  Going here. Giant hunting and fishing store. Fun things to look at, huge indoor fish tanks, large game dioramas (REAL STUFFED ANIMALS. EW.).  The kids love it there. It’s like the zoo, but the animals are dead. Plus, there’s a cool buffet and everyone gets what they want and everyone goes home happy. So I figured we’d take a ride up there, since it was a little under two hours away. Cool day trip, right? Kids were agreeable, husband was agreeable…

And then the husband had a BRILLIANT! plan.  Let’s go to the sweetest place on earth, instead!  It’ll be great! And let’s let them think they are still going there!  Except we’ll arrive and they’ll see the Kiss street lights and Chocolate Ave and Cocoa ave and then they’ll be all, “WAIT A MINUTE!  OMG!  COOL!” Why not, right?  Last official day of summer!  We’ll go at twilight, since the admission is half and it’ll be cooler.  It’ll be fun!  The kids will love it!  So I called Polite Boy’s mom (who was all OMG! YES!) and invited The Actress from across the street and then threw a bag of clothes together for Bugaboo in case he wet his pants and packed a few snacks.  And off we went.

Bug Boy did his usual, “BLAH BLAH BLAH CHAT CHAT CHAT” the whole way there and Bugaboo was great in the car.  We got off the exit near Sweet Place and they weren’t even suspicious. But then we saw sign after sign after sign and they were all, “Oh wow!  Hershey is near Cabelas?  COOL!” And we got closer. And closer. Then we ended up in town and the street lights and Cocoa Ave and Chocolate Ave and Polite Boy sorta figured it out and The Actress sorta knew and then suddenly Bug Boy screams, “WAIT A MINUTE. WE’RE IN HERSHEY. ”  And the Husband and I were all, “Surprise!  Isn’t this great?  We’re gonna have so much fun! Aren’t you excited?”  And Bug Boy sputtered and stammered and got purple with rage and yelled, “YOU LIED TO ME!  I THOUGHT WE WERE GOING TO CABELAS!  YOU LIED TO ME!”

I really don’t know why I didn’t suspect that reaction. I mean, I am NOT a spontaneous person by any means. I cannot handle surprises. I  cannot operate without a list (wonder where the kids get it?) and must know the goings on at all  times.  Nope, no flying by the seat of the pants in Chez DG. Around these parts we do everything very methodically.  We plan.  We plan to plan. Well, I do. The Husband can just DO THINGS. Me? Must have advance notice. The boys? The more we plan the more smoothly our life runs.  So a spontaneous trip to an amusement park?  Not usually a good idea.

So naturally, when Bug Boy had this reaction, I’m all, “DOOD. WE’RE AT HERSHEY FREAKING PARK.”  And he’s all, “BUT! BUT!  I wanted to go to Cabelas!  Polite Boy has never been there!  And!  Cabelas!  We were supposed to go there!”  And I’m all, “But don’t you want to go here?”  And he’s all, “GO TO CABELAS NOW!” And when we explained that we were too far away he was not amused.

Which is about the time we pulled into the park parking lot and Bugaboo saw the roller coasters and was clapping his hands and was all, “SQUEEEEEE!” and thrilled to be there.  Until we drove past the coasters towards the parking area and entrance to the park and then he was less than thrilled to be driving away from the roller coasters so we had to pick him up and carry him screaming and thrashing and biting himself through the gate.  Good times.

Thank goodness there is a carousel immediately after the entrance. And they rent strollers. Phew.

Once everyone ate and we found the park map and the kids picked some rides we were good to go. We had a lovely time, Bugaboo even went on the log flume and a few roller coasters and we got on one last ride before the rain finally reached us at the park.  As we left, we asked Bugaboo if he was happy we surprised him with the trip and if he had a good time.  And his response (predictable) was, “Yeah. It was REALLY fun and I loved this ride and that ride and I loved the part where we did this and the snow cone was awesome and I loved driving the bumper cars!  But don’t EVER LIE TO ME AGAIN.”

And this is about the time I’m glad that we don’t “do” Santa or Easter Bunny or The Tooth Fairy. Just sayin’.

I’m sooooo glad to be back to the old routine. Also just sayin’.

8 thoughts on “How NOT to be Spontaneous

  1. Laurie M. says:

    HA! I hear ya, sister. Aidan has activities scheduled out through March 27 (when we will go to Bubbleland, which he plans to build…!)

  2. Tex Azuarus says:

    I enjoyed your narrative and would like to subscribe to your newsletter. And also, more detail about the chocolate. And maybe add some bacon in there somewhere.

  3. Nicole says:

    Love how you write!
    When we were in school and I managed to be on the board (lucky me) I had to take a cocktail in my coffee flask to the meetings, which were at noon to assure the safety of some of the control freaks I mean Moms that were there.
    Now one lives in my neighborhood and is a walker, I have to resist the urge not to go looking for her to run her over!

  4. This would totally be us. Except it would have happened at Dutch Wonderland.

  5. punkymama says:

    No spontaneity here either. It would be a mess.

  6. annie says:

    I applaud you for being brave enough to even try this surprise! I probably would have reacted like your son, if it were me. In fact, my parents threw me a surprise birthday party once, and I DID react that way. I felt LIED TO! Hated it so much. But I am glad everyone had a good time in the end! Who wouldn’t, when there’s chocolate?

  7. Amanda says:

    That would so be my kids. FYI, there’s a Bass Pro that sounds a lot like your Cabela’s, minus the food (but there’s an awesome Mexican joint just a few doors down from the mall) on the north end of Harrisburg. I kind of giggled at the whole Cabela’s thing because we do the Bass Pro here. DH and I usually use it as an excuse to go get Mexican since that’s the only decent restaurant of its kind within an hour of our house.

  8. She Started It says:

    I don’t like surprises, either. Except when the surprise is chocolate!

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