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Vacation Saved... I Think... (it's pretty long, fyi)

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Another possible blog title... "Columbus Can Suck It!" After some thought however, I decided that's a bit harsh. Parts of our vacay were ruined, and yes, I blame the WHOLE city. One thing in particular was my own doing, but we'll get to that. We don't take grand vacations, but we try to plan these little 2-3 day mini vacays and take the kids to places they've never been. This year we decided to go to Columbus, OH and visit COSI (a science center) and the Columbus Zoo. We've been to the zoo, but it's been years, and it was only a few miles from the hotel, so why not?

We left Saturday around 6:30am so we'd be at COSI around 10. Yep, it's a 3.5 to 4 hr drive depending on traffic. We were all super excited, and I had planned everything out online. Hours, prices, and activities at COSI and the Zoo, DONE. Decent hotel with a pool, fitness center and FREE hot breakfast buffet, DONE. Suggestions for dining from those in the know, DONE. GPS ready to go with all of our destinations programmed, DONE.

We got to COSI about 10:30, got tickets and signed up for "Adventure" which is this Indiana Jones type thing, which was just fantastic. My son was so excited he was vibrating. They give you a map and these clues to find codes to get these symbols, to unlock the "Observatory of Knowledge".

It was a LOT of fun! The entire building was full of activities and hands on things for the kids, and tons of stuff for the adults to be engaged as well. We all really enjoyed every aspect of it, and I highly recommend going.

They also had a unicycle on a highwire that I was DYING to do. Seriously... I saw it on their website and knew immediately, I was going to do this. You are strapped onto this unicycle that has a counter balance and then off you go. You go backwards and then pedal forwards on a tightrope that's on the 2nd floor, while those on the ground floor watch. The only requirements were having a 25 inch inseam and weighing less than 250. I was able to meet BOTH of those, so I was going to do it... I said WAS. Hubby had the camera on the floor below, the kids were ready to cheer, and I was in line waiting for my turn. Until... FAT Holly got in my head and took over...

I watched person after person jump on that thing and take off. Young, old, kids, grampas, everyone... but me. I was about 10 people back, and I started second guessing whether or not I was going to make it. What if I got out there and couldn't pedal myself back. How was I going to get off? There was no tether of any type, and no one to reel me in. Oh, yeah, that'll be great, totally newsworthy too. "Tonight on Channel 5, see how the Pennsylvania Fatty (that's what they'll call me) got stuck on the highwire unicycle. She's been there for 3 hrs so far, and we have no idea how we're going to get her down. Stay tuned." UGH!!! I was near tears when I motioned to hubs and the kids to meet up up there. They came up and of course they wanted me to do it because they know I can. *I* know I can... I'm pretty sure... FAT Holly NEEDS to DIE!!! She's ruining my fun = (

After I got over my freak out, we enjoyed the rest of the science center and moved on to the hotel. We thought we'd go to the hotel, get freshened up, and head out to one of the recommended restaurants and ice cream shops. We got to the hotel for them to tell us they have no power and cannot check anyone in. No power and no computers ment no check in list, and apparently the email confirmation that I handed them was NOT good enough. Had our reservations been for Friday night we could've stayed, but since we didn't get there until Saturday, we were out of luck. WTF!!!

Apparently they had a HUGE storm on Friday that knocked down trees, and left tons of people without power. Well, don't you think a phone call or email may have been in order? I looked at the two barely 20 somethings behind the desk, asked if they knew of any other hotels in the area that had a room, and I was met with, "ummmm, we heard there may be rooms at XXX, but we're not sure." I asked for a phone book, and again, they just stared at me and said, "If you have a phone, you could probably google it." NO, a phone book will be fine. I then hear snickering, and look at Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber when they say, nearly in unison, "I don't even know how to use a phone book, hehehe." Good God what's going on? Anyhow, 22 phone calls were met with "NO, sorry, no rooms." The closest one was a 2 hr drive south, might as well go home.

Now it's 4:30pm, we haven't eaten, and we're facing a 4 hr drive home... AFTER I have to tell tell the kids we can't stay. Obviously it did NOT go well. However, my son, the sweetie that he is, said "it's ok mom, sometimes you have to change your plans." Hmmm, SO wise for 9. So, do we go somewhere awesome to eat, get the world's best ice cream, and go home... or do we spend the next few hrs at the Zoo, eat at a chain restaurant, and forget the ice cream. We gave the kids their choices, and even without the ice cream, they voted for "ZOO!"

We drove to the zoo, saw that we could have 2hrs, and decided to spend most of it at the Aquarium. The kids were THRILLED with being able to touch stingrays, and see manatees and all of the other aquatic creatures up close without a billion other people there. Plus at that hour it was "only" 90 degrees instead of 96, lol! Despite the rushed trip through the zoo, we had a lot of fun.

After eating, we drove home and got here around midnight. Yep, we were in Columbus for a grand total of 10 hours. We decided that just because we were home early, our vacay doesn't have to end. Today, we ate breakfast on the floor, picnic style. Then, we took the kids to see Madagascar 3 and let them have snacks there, which we never do. After that, we went to the Hibachi Japanese Steakhouse, where the kids have never been, and watched our dinner being cooked right in front of us. After that we went to a local ice cream shop for some pretty good ice cream ; )

So it wasn't exactly what I had planned, but honestly, I think everything turned out ok. It was shorter than I would have liked, but we still got to the science center, the zoo, and had ice cream. I guess you can't ask for much more. Except maybe a ride on a unicycle. Next time!

Oh, and when we stopped at a rest area and hubby wanted some crap out of the vending machine, he put his money in and got 3 candy bars... It was the universe paying us back = )

Because several people commented... We were at the hotel around 4pm and found all of this out. When I got home, I had an email AND a phone call time stamped at 4:46 telling me we couldn't check into the room. How's that for service?!? One hour and 46 minutes AFTER the 3pm check in time, lol! They also assured me I wouldn't be charged. I should hope not!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I enjoyed your blog so much! I know many things didn't go as planned but you probably have unique skills of story-telling because you made it sound like an awesome family adventure! I'm glad you had fun at your mini vacation and I hope that next time everything runs according to schedule!
    2168 days ago
    Sounds like a great time even though things didn't go as planned!!! Your kids sound like they are really great kids!
    2168 days ago
  • JENNA54
    Sorry things didn't go quite as planned, but the good parts sound fantastic. I love the fact that you carried on the holiday after you got home. I'm sure your children will remember this holiday and laugh about it in years to come. You have created some very special memories - I love seeing families having a good time together - it's what it is all about!
    2170 days ago
    Sorry thigs didn't go according to plan but it sounds like you made the best of the situation. I hope our weekend works for us. We usually don't let "setbacks" bother us we just make Lemonaide out of lemons. emoticon
    2170 days ago
    I am sorry your plans got messed up. It seems whenever my husband and I go somewhere that something bad happens. It never fails, so I get nervous when we are supposed to go somewhere. It sounds like despite all that you had a fun time! I always love going to zoos. :)
    2173 days ago
    Oh Holly! At least the kids had a good time and you got through it. I know a year from now you'll look back at this and laugh. (Just keep telling yourself this...)

    Some situations that appeared to be disasters at the time are now just fond memories, or laugh out loud ones.....

    Before my husband and I got married I managed to cover him head to toe in mud. We were washing his car in my back yard and the ground got really soft. He told me to get in the car and give it some gas, while he and his sons (7 & 13) pushed/rocked the car. I gave it gas when he told me to and I heard some yelling, so I thought he really wanted me to gun it. My mistake! He was directly behind one of the back wheels and he looked like Swamp Thing. I thought for sure I was dead meat (we had just met about 2 weeks before that) and that he would explode, but he just stood there and looked at me while his kids were rolling on the ground laughing. I did help him get cleaned up though, I got to hose him down.. lol

    2174 days ago
    Sorry for your travel mishap believe me when I say I feel your frustration. But way to make the best of it!!!!!!
    2174 days ago
    By the sounds of it you had a WONDERFUL time. Sometimes when things go different than planned that is the BEST memories when you are older. As for the Fat Holly kicking in, I have a hard time seeing you as the FAT Holly anymore. I had you 36 years ago and have seen you at your heaviest, but I have to look at your Spark page to remember how heavy you were. So shake off the FAT thoughts, as you are NOT THAT ANYMORE. Proud of you and love ya MOM DAD
    2177 days ago
    I am really sorry about those stupid (hotel) people! But I am glad about the rest of your mini vacation. And sounds like "you" pulled it together to not lose the fun! I have to say 1 thing. I am sure that in the years to come as your kids grow up they will always remember how you made sure that a vacation (hotel stay, that went bad) couldn't have been a better time spent as a family. Because you did all you could to make sure! emoticon emoticon
    2177 days ago
    Adaptation is the key to overcoming life's craziest moments - and you did great. For many reasons... While vacation was saved, you also have a son who was probably more mature about the disappointment than you were (hugs!!) - that's pretty awesome!!! What a bummer.

    That hotel owes you more than an apology... I'd try to get a free night or at the least a 50% off coupon or something (for your next weekend excursion).
    2177 days ago
  • TEMPEST272002
    So glad you guys were able to be flexible and enjoy your mini vacation even when you had to change the plans.
    2177 days ago
    Sounds like a good vacation. The spoiling, love, and support of the family made it a great one!
    2177 days ago
    Your son is right - sometimes you gotta go with the flow and change your plans! It is REALLY hard to remember "in the moment" but if we could all learn it a little more, it would make us so much happier wouldn't it? Sounds like you guys ended up having a good day afterall!

    Personally, I'd write the hotel about all of that. They are a SERVICE industry and it sounds like theirs was a little lacking. You may end up with another free weekend soon!

    Hope you are staying cool!
    2177 days ago
    Nothing like a 'quick' road trip emoticon -- glad to hear you had a sense of humor about it! emoticon
    2177 days ago
    Holly I am so sorry that plans had to change but your vacation sounds pretty fun. I love how you continued it at home.
    2177 days ago
  • -POOKIE-
    Jeez... I guess NOTHING is on paper anymore!

    At least you salvaged something :)
    2177 days ago
    So sorry things didn't work out as planned but like someone said, you need to make a plan to return and show that unicycle who's boss. And you showed your kids lots: switching to plan b, perseverance, bouncing back, etc. and you had fun so the vacay was still a good experience and glad you went to Hibachi, that is a fun place isn't it? You have got to KILL Fat Holly though. She is causing too many problems lol. Thanks for sharing. It brought back memories of some of our vacay catastrophes and I remember how 20 some years later, those are the trips we talk about.
    2177 days ago
    I can't wait to read the blog about when you DO ride the unicycle - because you will! Go, Holly!!
    2177 days ago
    Wow... I wish you would have rode the unicycle! Fat Holly is dead emoticon . But, I totally understand and since it is only a 3.5 hour drive.... maybe you can do it sooner than later!! What an amazing lesson from your son. I know how frustrating it is just to have everything planned and then it all falls apart.... sounds like a really great time with a really great family!! Good job at hanging in there!! Your kids and hubby are so blessed to have you. What a great MOM!! emoticon
    2177 days ago
    It sounds like you had quite the adventure. I'm sorry to hear that it wasn't the one you wanted.

    That said...

    As a hotel worker myself, I agree with Tracy. That hotel owes you big time. A letter to the general manager of the property is definitely in order. I will hope for the best outcome for you. (At our hotel if anything like this happened you would have been invited back with our apologies and your stay would have been complimentary at the VERY least.)
    2178 days ago
    It sounds to me like your family made the best out of a bad situation, and you still got to have a lot of fun together!
    2178 days ago
    I would make sure they don't charge you! Or if you paid for it since you reserved the room online, call and demand your money back. They should also give you a free night at the hotel another time, if you ask me. NOT cool! I would also have spoken to a supervisor after those two nitwits were so rude. That is completely uncalled for. Ugh! It makes me mad for you!

    Kudos to you and your family for making the best of it though!
    2178 days ago
    I hate when things fall apart like that! I'm such a control freak when it comes to that sort of thing that I don't handle it well. I do think you handled it much better than I would have, haha! And I'm glad you had a good time in parts of the vacation, even if it wasn't exactly what you were planning.

    Now, I have to go see what an inseam is...

    ETA: lol - I was completely confused when I read what an inseam is, because I think we're pretty close to each other in height, and I thought you meant you had to be UNDER 25 inches inseam. Jason had to point out to me that I was dumb. :D
    2178 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/1/2012 9:45:52 PM
  • GUNNSGIRL91303
    Sounds like you made the best of a bad situation and had a good time. It was great for your kids to see how to face adversity and a good learning lesson for them. I hope your next mini-vacay goes exactly how you want it to!
    2178 days ago
    Well, it was a lot of driving but it sounds like you all made a great day of it anyway!
    2178 days ago
    Holly this made me smile. I love how you saved it and had the breakfast picnic. We used to do that with our kids when they were little and I miss those days. What a fun weekend. Sorry things went wrong and I can't wait to hear when you ride that unicycle! Love you, girl.
    2178 days ago
    I love that your kids just rolled with it. That's pretty awesome.
    2178 days ago
    Well Holly ....... I send you hugs, as if that is any consolation ........ I am sure you did better than myself ....... I prolly (and for sure DH) would have been @%^$#*&# for the world to hear! That was beyond RUDE of them! I am so impressed what your loving son said ........ Wow! That part you can be proud of! ........ And just reading abt the unicycle made me nearly hyperventilate! emoticon ..... Sounds like you did amazing, considering all you went thru! I do hope you have a good and fun summer! .......... 2B/ jan
    2178 days ago
    What a cool story though! Must have been super frustrating at the hotel but I think these challenges highlight how amazing and smart our kids are! Glad you carried on the holiday at home and did things you wouldn't normally do. It sounds like it ended up being a memorable weekend you will all look back on fondly.
    2178 days ago
  • TRACY31502
    wow...that hotel owes you BIG TIME!!! I was sitting here getting all mad just reading it....that is ridiculous!!!!! I'm so glad you guys were able to make the best of the weekend though...what great kids too by the way to be okay with it all! That is awesome...must be because they have an awesome mom....btw what hotel was it...sounds like there are a couple desk clerks that need some lessons in using a phone book, costumer service, and well....they could use a little slappin up...LOL!!! Hope you have a wonderful week girl!!!
    2178 days ago
    Oh yeah, I would have been furious! Double check that their system doesn't charge you for the room anyhow. If it's a chain hotel, you may try to email us customer service. They might give you a discount or free room! All the same, it sounds like you made the most of everything!
    2178 days ago
    It sounds like the mini vacay turned out better because of the trouble (though it made for a long, frustrating Saturday and at the time seems worse). It sounds like great memories were made. I would be writing a letter to the hotel reporting the lack of service and no e-mail about the power outage.

    Have a great week!
    2178 days ago
    It's ok, Holly. Sometimes you have to change your plans!

    Smart kid you have, there.
    2178 days ago
    What a bummer on the hotel. Good for you for being so positive and turning it into an adventure. Glad the kids had such a great time. I loved feeding the rays too lol!
    2178 days ago
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