Cuz'ns Trip 2012 - Ozark Style

Lucky for me, Cuz likes the camp the same way I do.
You might have noticed that this weekend I was fairly quiet.  That's because I was in the Ozarks having a mini-vacation with my cousin and my kids.

My cousin is a young, single, childless professional and she had meetings at Big Cedar Lodge near Table Rock Lake.  The resort is a family-friendly place and she doesn't have kids so she invited us to come as her "family."

We had never been to Big Cedar Lodge, so of course we said "Yes please!"  We packed our bags and off we went.

We arrived early Friday afternoon so Cuz could go to her meetings.  The kids and I hit the putt-putt course and the pool.  That evening we were invited to a private dinner for all the conference attendees and their families.

What an Ozark-y experience!

Just imagine a ballroom full of taxidermied animal heads and my kids asking where the bodies are.  We were served a buffet dinner of bar-b-que complete with red gingham napkins.

When the band got going, I hit the open bar.  Nothing makes me want to drink more than a 14 piece rock-a-billy band consisting of 50 plus men in Hawaiian shirts (WTF?) and Tevas.  Cuz had warned me this would be quite the party.  She summed it up as a hillbilly wedding reception and she was not off the mark.

On the plus side, the ballroom overlooked the lake and the view was spectacular even if the music sucked.

After an hour or so, the kids were ready to head out and hit the movie at the pool.  Yup.  You watch a movie on a big screen while you lounge in the pool.  Pretty cool.

Cuz was still working the room so we took off.

The movie in the pool was fun if you've seen the movie.  If you haven't, then you have no clue what's happening.  Kids are screaming and splashing and jumping in.  There is no one just lounging on pool floats and watching the movie.

We lasted about halfway through and then I decided to call it a night.  I was being eaten alive by the bugs and I was bored to tears since I couldn't hear the movie.

By now the grounds were pretty dark and we had a bit of a walk ahead of us.  We didn't have a flashlight, because we were "glamping" and I didn't really expect to be roaming outside much after dark.  I also expected there to be streetlights.  Silly me.

There were lots of cars on the narrow road so I thought we'd do better traipsing through the grass to get up the hill to our lodge - less chance of being run over by a drunk band member in a Hawaiian shirt.  We started across an open space when something light caught my eye.  It was low to the ground and waddling towards us.  It was an animal of some kind.  At first I thought it was an armadillo or a possum (yuck - giant rat) and then the moonlight hit it.


I swear like a truck driver on this blog, but I really never swear in front of my kids.  That night I couldn't hold it in.  I believe I said, "Shit!" when I saw that white stripe.

"What did you say, Mommy?" Gomer asked.

"Skunk," I replied.  "That's a skunk.  Crap.  Stay still.  Let's see where he's going."

We stayed perfectly still while the skunk waddled about 5 feet in front of us and crossed the road to the closest trash can and started digging around for left over s'mores.  

"Crap!" I said again.  "We'd better get back on the road.  There could be more of them in the woods here and we might startle them and get sprayed."

"We'll need a tomato bath," Adolpha said.

"No.  Tomato juice bath," Gomer corrected her.

"Tomato juice comes from tomatoes, so I'm right," Adolpha argued.

"Shhhh!!  The skunk might spray us because you're both so annoying.  Be quiet!" I said.

We got back on the dark road and started moving as quickly as we dared.  "Another one!" Adolpha cried pointing.  Sure enough, here was another one just off to the side of the road.  I looked around for a trash can, but I didn't see one close.

"Let's go.  Keep an eye out," I said watching the new skunk. "Son of a bitch!" I muttered under my breath.  I was sure I was going to get sprayed by a skunk.

We got to our room without any mishap or attack, but I was a bit on edge to say the least.  I texted Cuz and told her to be on the lookout for the skunks and she let me know that she knew about them, because people from her conference were diving head first over 4 foot high fences to get away from them.

I got my kids to bed and I started thinking about how close I came to stepping on a skunk.  I was a bit irritated.  I realize I'm supposed to be out in nature at this place, but come on!  I don't want to be THAT CLOSE to nature!  Rooms in this joint start at $250 a night and go up to $700.  I hardly doubt someone paying that kind of cash wants to have a tomato juice bath after a run in with a skunk!

I was secretly hoping that these were hired skunks.  You know, the kind that the resort keeps and takes the "stinker" out of them so that they can release them on the grounds and make idiots like myself feel like they just had a "close call" with nature and now they can go home and blog about it.  Yup, I think there might be a skunk wrangler laughing at all of us jumping over fences and running for our lives when we see Pepi Le Peu coming our way.  

Bonjour ma cherie!  I enjoy long walks in the moonlight and left over s'mores.

The more I think about it, I think I'm right.  I actually think they might do just that.  This morning just before we left we walked across an open space where butterflies, dragon flies and big, fat, lazy bumblebees all hung out.  They were diving in perfect circles, bopping from flower to flower and just messing around.  They were picture perfect.  I'm pretty sure there's a skunk wrangler and an insect wrangler on the payroll.

We had a great time playing putt putt golf, shuffleboard and swimming in all 5 of the resort's pools.  We never made it down to the lake for paddle boats.  You may recall the last time I went on a lake with my children it didn't go so well, so this time I didn't encourage it.

Cuz was a good sport to bring us along, because I know we totally cramped her style.  When she stayed out "late" (10 PM) on Friday night hanging out with her colleagues, my kids were ready to organize a rescue mission, because they were sure she was lost in the dark somewhere.  When her friends rented a boat and went on all day booze cruise on the lake, she chose to risk her health and hang out in the lazy river with us.  We had a room with double beds, so I told Cuz she should sleep with Adolpha.  Yes, Adolpha sprawls across the bed, but Gomer is a cuddler and a bit handsy and Cuz wouldn't know what to do if she got felt up by my son.  By Sunday she was ready for some "alone time."  She couldn't find a decent cup of coffee and a weekend with my kids had convinced her that children were probably not in her future (sorry Uncle and Auntie).

On the ride home as Gomer asked us his 100th question about our favorite movie/book/tv show/game/friend/teacher/neighbor from our childhood, she told me that she finally understood why this clip from "Family Guy" is so funny:

"It's funny, because it's true!" she exclaimed.  "Oh my God!  They really are like that!  How can you stand it??"

I just smiled at her and said, "Eh, it's not so bad.  You get used to it."  Then I told Gomer, "Star Wars/Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret/Little House on the Prairie/Clue/Angie/Miss Jipp/didn't have one even then."

I got her home in plenty of time to decompress and relax and hopefully today she's not too exhausted by us.  Thanks for taking us, Cuz!  We had lots of fun!!


Anonymous said...

Just got back from a beach weekend with teenage girls--would trade you for the skunk! I was so worried that they would drag some creepy tattoed surfer dude in from the public beach I warned them that if they did I would kill them in their sleep! Great post--BTW, my 16 year old has that Mom thing on her phone as my ring tone. Great.

jennie k daniels said...

my vocally emerging 4 year-old is like stewie in that sense, and it's cute to a point because she could barely say mom, mama, and mommy nearly a year and a half ago. it can still get grating though.

Kp said...

thank goodness your kids aren't like me as a kid- i would have run up to pet them.

JennInAustin said...

Yeah. Nothing like seeing your family through the eyes of a childless family member. Your cuz sounds like a great lady. I will say that what's REALLY fun is being judged harshly by the childless family member, then getting to snicker a few years later when they have their own bundle of joy. That's when they start to get it. ( ALL toddlers are demanding and tempermental? Who knew?)

Marta said...

That definitely sounds like the kind of glamping I would be all over minus the possibly skunk attack of course.

StephHC said...

Hahahaha!! I live in Springfield and I have heard that Big Cedar is like that. It is owned by the same guy who owns Bass Pro and I think he makes everything he owns like that.
Next time, I would stay at Chateau on the Lake. It is fancier and I don't think they have any taxidermy there. Just live birds in the main lobby area.

Jenn @ Something Clever 2.0 said...

"The skunk might spray us because you're both so annoying."


Silvina said...

LOL, su funny, but its Pepe Le Pew.

TNMom said...

Yeah.....the " might spray us because you are both so annoying" line made me snort! That is exactly like something I would say!
This is cute and I think your Cuz is a great lady to invite yall and accomidate you. She will probably sleep for 3 days straight after that adventure. (sometimes kids are worse than skunks!)

Anonymous said...

Funny stuff, really enjoyed it.

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