This past weekend my family finally celebrated end of summer with a staycation in Daytona Beach and yes, I am chuckling with you.
You see for the last several years we have been causally collecting all our coinage under the premise that it would go towards a vacation. My son would diligently and unselfishly put in his spare money, while I would donate usually after cleaning out my car and both Papa Bear and Lil P would add any monies found in pockets or the couch. We finally arrived at the top of our oversized high dollar wine jug and began the arduous task of seperating and rolling money. This was something I have done many times for my father, as he saved his coins in a pickle jar and I would get to keep a percentage of what was counted. My children have never been blessed with an experience of counting and rolling change because the money machines at the grocery store are much more convenient and so noisy and exciting. However, to keep our balance as high as possible I tried to demonstrate that a few hours of work would be worth their time and patience…that lasted for about fifteen dollars.
We ended up netting a little over three hundred bucks, which in the scheme of things is great when its just collected change, but when you start trying to plan a great adventure it sure puts life into perspective. We spent an afternoon brainstorming several scenarios that would suit everyone’s needs while trying to avoid major disappointment as my kiddos continued suggesting tickets to large theme parks. The reality of costs trumped their visions of wild and exciting good times as I tried to explain that we needed to keep within our budget of the money saved. This was doubling as a life-learning lesson on how long it takes to make and save money, and then how quickly it can disappear. Finally after a few tears and scowly faces I made the executive decision that we should just get a room in Daytona and hit the boardwalk, tourist style.
You might wonder why would we waste money on a hotel room when clearly we could drive the quick 30 minutes south. My four year old has never stayed in a hotel and it’s been almost 5 years since my son has. There’s something fun about riding up and down an elevator, cruising through a neatly decorated lobby, swimming pools, ice machines and of course room service. The big fail was that I had mistakenly made reservations at a place much further away than I originally intended (seems those red arrows on Google maps aren’t as close as they look 🙂 Nonetheless, after our celebratory dip in the pool and ocean, we cleaned up and drove off to an endless supply of people watching.
The Daytona Bandshell was loaded up with folks for their Saturday night entertainment. We made our way through the crowd to the part of the boardwalk that is reminiscent of scenes from the movie Lost Boys. My kids bee-lined for the carney rides. Standing on line for tickets, we decided which ones we should attempt first or not at all. The go-cart track kicked off the night as wide smiles could be seen through the hazy gas fumes and then it was over to the roller coaster. My screams were completely authentic as I kept envisioning us flying off the track at every turning moment with devastating results. Luckily no harm ever came and as I attempted to quiet my mind I inexplicably scrambled it up on the never ending dizzy spinner. Good Stuff- now it was time to consider the next move.
It had been mentioned before and was like the elephant in the room…the ride next to us. I had ridden it once before on my 30th birthday and now it seemed that 8 years later I would be riding it again… and by it I mean The Slingshot. It’s not a terribly scary ride but watching folks get catapulted towards space is more than most people want to tackle. The fact that my four year old was the most adamant in our crew about riding The Slingshot I found comical. So we made sure she was tall enough to ride, got in line and paid our tickets. It was decided that Papa Bear and Special K would go first. I wanted to make sure that Lil P could really see what she was signing up for and had the extra time to change her mind. She never did… I have it on video:)
So that pretty much sums it up.
We had an awesome time…best part- it only took 30 mins to get home (and we never even had to cross the bridge:)