A few weeks ago, my husband, the Bug, and I went on vacation with one of my husband's brothers and his family. We spent almost every day bumping back and forth between the beach (a five minute walk) and the pool (a thirty second walk). Tough life. By the end of the week, in an effort to break out of our routine, we decided to do something different.
A day trip to Savannah! "Oh that sounds fun!" "I have never been there!" "Me neither. It is supposed to be great!" "It is only a half-hour from here!" "Perfect!" "Yeah!" "Yeah!" "Yeah!"
After our verbal group-high-five, we got ready for our adventure.
We packed up the Bug, and his cousin, Sweet Dino, into our rented mini-van. I sat in the middle section and looked at guide books about Savannah. About four minutes into our ride, I announced, "Savannah is not a half-hour away. It is an hour away."
I am instructed to find an alternative that is actually thirty minutes away.
The guidebooks point to a town with historic architecture but not much else. Despite the well-known and universal love of historic architecture by toddlers, the answer is no.
The guidebooks mention a nature preserve on a nearby island. The dads up front want more info. I tell my husband to get on his phone and look up the website noted in the guidebook. It turns out the website is simply the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's website, which offers too much info. Again, the answer is no.
I suggest a nature preserve on our own island. The answer is finally yes. We make a U-turn. We get to the gate, and we need to pay five dollars. The dads up front have nothing. I offer my cash only to find I have none. We turn around. (U-turn #2)
Refusing to admit defeat, we begin the search for a nearby ATM. Five minutes later, I hop out of the mini-van and head into a supermarket for some cash. I buy three one-liter bottles of water for myself and get cash back at the register.
We head back to the nature preserve (after U-turn #3, if you count the supermarket diversion as one large U-turn). We pay the five dollars. I drink about a liter of water in eight minutes.
We see a sign directing cars in one direction and walkers/hikers/bikers in another. We choose the direction for cars (because we are in a car). We soon realize that if the sign had been more specific, it would have read, "Left for cars that intend to drive around the nature preserve - Right for cars that will park and whose passengers will walk around the preserve." We correct our mistake. (U-turn #4)
We park. We check the trail map and choose Lake Joe as our destination. I cannot remember why the other adults chose Lake Joe, but I know that I voted for Lake Joe because it had restrooms.
We walk. The Bug rides on my husband's shoulders. And once we are fully enveloped by the nature preserve, Bug hunches low with both arms wrapped tightly around my husband's head. He presses his little face against the side of my husband's face. A true city kid.
Not one of us grabbed a trail map before we headed toward Lake Joe, so we do our best with the forks in the path as we meet them. When I mention to my husband how badly I have to pee, he suggests that I pull off the path and use the woods. I adamantly refuse.
Eventually, we get to Lake Joe. My brother-in-law points across the lake to The Rooftop and suggests I will find the restrooms there.
I leave the group - wanting to run but forced by a fear of incontinence to walk slowly and carefully.
I make it to the other side of Lake Joe. On my left are a bike path and a roadway, and straight ahead of me I see that The Rooftop is not for a restroom. It is for a little hut with trail maps and brochures. I look at the map and see that the restrooms are on the other side of the lake - what would surely be a ten minute walk from where I am standing.
I sit on the bench behind the maps in a vain effort to prevent the inevitable. I notice a small group of trees and bushes ten feet from the bench (which is also, technically, ten feet from the afore-mentioned bike path and roadway). Without a realistic alternative, I go in, and I pee, praying the entire time that no bikers, drivers, or hikers happen upon me. I luck out.
A couple of minutes later, the dads, Bug, and Sweet Dino arrive. We hang under The Rooftop in the hut and get some much needed shade. The side of the hut leaves a gap about two and a half feet high between the ground and the side of the hut - almost perfect for a sixteen-month-old. Almost perfect. About two inches shy of perfect. As Sweet Dino heads out of the hut, the side of the hut stops Sweet Dino short, knocking him down to the ground. Sweet Dino, ever-resilient, lets out a good cry or two and then appears to accept that some Cheerios and water might make everything better. The Bug looks hot, tired, thirsty, and sick of fighting the bugs that keep coming for his face. I admit that I just peed in the bushes nearby. We all admit that we are ready to leave Lake Joe.
We go back to the car and head home for lunch and naps all around. (U-turn #5)