Monday, June 7, 2010
Channeling my Inner Drill Sergeant on Vacation
Vacation fun with the family, marine mammals, and all the free beer I can drink.
Some think I nicknamed my son "Darth Spoilboy" just out of some strange attempt at humor, that my son could not really deserve such a title. Most of the time that is true to a great extent but he truly earned his screen name Saturday. After months of waiting, we finally began our vacation Saturday morning after leaving the in-laws. We left Columbia Friday afternoon to drive up to their house and spend the night just to give the kids some time with them. However, it was already easy to tell that Spoilboy was not enthusiastic about the trip, he was being forced to leave his friends behind and in fact Thursday night had come home around 10:00pm wanting to know if he could stay at his best friend's house.
Now understand this trip had been planned for months with a trip to Discovery Cove in Orlando already paid for which cost the entire family nearly $900. No, refunds were not available since we had bought the package under the 30 day time frame. When Spoilboy was told about the Discovery Cove trip when it was purchased he said "cool, sounds like fun".
Last Thursday night Spoilboy went into a panic about being away from his friends, which was understandable, but he wanted us to organize a way for him to stay with his best friend but with us leaving the house the next morning that was impossible. As far as Spoilboy's best friend was concerned it would be okay with his parents but neither Dragonwife nor I were about to call anyone so late and ask them to take on such a huge responsibility on such a short notice. While I am not the sharpest knife by any means I figured if what Spoilboy's best friend said was true about his parents being okay with their sudden plan I figure they should have called us.
Anyway, while on the road Saturday Spoilboy did everything in his power to make Miss Wiggles, Dragonwife, and myself miserable. After driving all day, we arrived in Orlando late in the afternoon still listening to Spoilboy whine between text messages he was sending to his friends back home. While we were at dinner that night Spoilboy finally crossed the line when he said he would ruin the vacation for everyone. Seeing my daughter, who was sitting beside him, begin to look like she would cry was the straw that broke the camel's back. This trip was all Miss Wiggles had talked about for months with the dolphin encounter she and I would have being the part she was most looking forward to doing.
My inner Drill Sergeant emerged and I went off on Spoilboy saying things that my wife would later claim had put the "fear of God in him." Seriously, I'm not proud of what I said, its not easy to get me enraged and when it happens the anger is soon spent leaving me feeling stupid and foolish. Never the less, Spoilboy has been amazingly easy to get along with since then and is doing his best to convince me he is having a good time, at least for his mother and sister's sake.
As for the picture above, it was taken today at Discovery Cove were I kissed a dolphin, swam with sharks and barracudas, floated down a tropical lazy river, played with stingrays, and watched a multitude of MILFs cavort in the crystal clear water wearing tiny bikinis. As everyone can see above, my wetsuit had a fantastic effect on my body with me turning all the heads in the place, or at least until told that I was wearing the damn wetsuit backwards.
Discovery Cove is part of the Sea World chain of theme parks which are owned by the Anheuser Busch company. Much is said about how they should not be confining marine mammals into small enclosures and putting them on display, there is something to be said about for that point-of-view but what I can say is that the general American public will never win any awards for knowledge of the oceans and the animals that live there. I honestly believe places such as Sea World and Discovery Cove provide an outlet of real education wrapped nicely in a family theme park which massive but delicate American egos will far more readily accept than blunt force preaching. No, it ain't pretty or full of warm fuzzies for the animals but right now we are just not in the position to turn away any possible educational advantage in a country full of Marching Morons.
After our dolphin encounter today I am convinced that the trainers truly care for the creatures under their stewardship and only wish to educate as many people as possible about them and their environment. Our schedule time with the dolphins slipped back twice with the trainers explaining that the animals really ran the show, if they did not feel like working they simply did not work until they were ready. The biggest reason for the delay this morning was that several of the animals felt "flirty" and had no intention of arriving on time. Wiggles was not at all happy with the delay but as long as someone was getting some I figure more power to them. My understanding was further enhanced since the adults were served all the free beer they could drink for the entire day, God bless their golden corporate hearts.