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Tag Archives: National Lampoon’s Vacation

There’s no place like home

When I was growing up, my two favorite movies were Weekend at Bernie’s and Overboard.  They are similar in that they both take place in the summer….one on a yacht and one in a huge mansion on the beach. I know every word to those movies, and it seemed perfectly logical to me that one day I too would party in a huge beach house (preferably not with a dead guy) and would some day ask my servant, “Are you going to get my lemonade or am I going to have to squeeze it from my hat?”

While these fantasies were not realistic to begin with – they were officially down the drain when I decided to have children.  The hope of one day hopping off a jet ski in a bikini and heading up to party at Bernie’s officially died after I had my first child.

What I hadn’t anticipated was that my life would take such a turn for the worse that I would actually end up attending a “family resort” in the Poconos on a lake……with my in-laws.  Mr. Gaga and his family and friends visited this “resort” every year while he was growing up, and it’s all they talk about it since I met him.

Because I am a great wife and mother – when Mr. Gaga’s sister planned a reunion of sorts at this facility I agreed to go.

If I thought they talked about it a lot before – they really wouldn’t shut up about it now. I would usually just zone out completely when they told the same stories over and over again about the delicious food and the fun nights at karaoke.

I believe it was Thanksgiving when I was hosting dinner for 30 people who my mother-in-law started talking about all of  the “delicious homemade food” that we would be eating at Central House in July.

“Well – like what?” I asked, not fully engaged in the conversation, as I frantically made gravy and stirred mashed potatoes.

“Oh – like for lunch they will serve Swedish meatballs and potatoes…” she said with joy and excitement.

I stopped stirring and stared at her closely to see if she was kidding.

She wasn’t.

I am sure everyone in America except Mr. Gaga’s relatives realizes that “Swedish Meatballs” isn’t a meal at all….let alone one that should be served during July in a “resort.” In fact are they even FDA approved?  I thought they were just something weird that they served at Ikea as a snack, but there’s no talking to these people.

“But – what will I do?  I can’t eat that!! I will starve to death!”  I answered my mother-in-law.

She laughed hysterically…”Oh, I’m sure they have salad or something.”

As we inched past November I kind of forgot about the Swedish meatball resort.  As the school year was winding down and summer was fast-approaching I realized that I was really going to Kellerman’s and I started to worry.

A couple of weeks before we went I told my best friend about it.  When I was finished describing the facility there was complete silence on the other end.

“Hello?” I spoke into the phone.

“I don’t know what to say……You will have to just pretend you are on Survivor.” she answered.

“I know, I am pretending I am going to rehab for exhaustion like Lindsay Lohan, and I am just going to read a lot.”

So that was the plan.

Because this is an anonymous blog, and you don’t all really know me, I worry sometimes that you don’t necessarily have a clear image of who I really am.  I gave you glimpse when I told you that people always compare me to Carrie from King of Queens, and at the very least if you are a regular reader you know that I am Italian and that I take food VERY seriously.  Let me now add to those details – that I am NOT a lover of nature and live in constant fear of bacterial infections and Legionnaire’s Disease, so lakes are not my friend.

So just for a quick recap – I went to an old motel in the woods resort on a lake that served old-fashioned comfort food 3 meals a day that was prepared by a man named Fred.

You do see how this could be problematic?

I decided that only way to survive was to completely go with the flow.  When Mr. Gaga demanded that we be there on Saturday in time for lunch, I agreed.  I figured I would be entering into a scene straight out of Dirty Dancing, and I was mentally prepared for it.

I’m gonna have fun and you’re gonna have fun. We’re all gonna have so much fucking fun we’ll need plastic surgery to remove our goddamn smiles. You’ll be whistling ‘Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah’ out of your assholes!

So imagine my shock and horror when upon arrival we drove in and saw my mother-in-law waving in front of the “North Lodge” where we would be residing for the next 4 days.

I have never stayed in a motel before, but now I had the distinct pleasure of staying in one in the middle of the wilderness in an adjoining room with my in-laws!!

Who needs a yacht or a dead guy’s mansion when you can live like this?!

While I stared at the building and tried to process what happened to my life.  I heard bells ringing in the background.  I shuffled along with the crowd to the “dining hall” as the bells were to alert us that it was lunchtime.

Upon entering the dining hall I was met with this sign:

I mean – I can’t even make this stuff up. What should a human think when they read a board like this? I thought “roast beef” was a sandwich that I hate – I didn’t know it could be a dinner….and what the fuck is a “Bird of Prey?”

We sat at our assigned table and our waitress introduced herself and informed us that she would also be teaching Zumba in the mornings and wearing a poodle skirt and teaching hula hoop lessons on 50’s night.  I accepted this completely because I knew that the staff at Kellerman’s in Dirty Dancing served drinks and food when they weren’t dancing.  I ate my lunch and then made my way with the kids to the pool and hot tub.  It wasn’t fancy but the kids loved it and I figured I could lounge by the pool all week and it would be ok.  As I got settled on my lounge chair I started to read my magazines.  After I read the same page over and over again, I realized something wasn’t quite right about the hot tub.

There was a group of mothers and children in the “hot tub.”

They were all loud.

They were all fat and ugly.

They were splashing and getting water on my US Weekly.

But wait….I looked a little closer….I sat up and pushed my sunglasses to the top of my head so I could really stare at these disgusting people….could it be?

Could they be actually eating ice cream and cupcakes in a hot tub??

What kind of animals am I living in this motel with?

Disgusted, I was saved by the dinner bell.   After eating a nice dinner roll and salad it was time to go watch the “Birds of Prey”show which was basically an insane old man talking about and showing his bird collection.

The next morning, exhausted from the day before I was happily sleeping when I heard bells clanging.

It was 7:30 am.

Oh – did I not mention that there is a daily 7:30 a.m. wake-up bell on this “VACATION?”

So off we go back to the dining hell… see this:

Don’t come to the Swedish Meatball Resort if you plan on eating anything healthy or not straight out of the 1950’s. Please note the time span in between meals – you have exactly 4 hours to digest Thanksgiving dinner before you are eating again…..

After another morning at the pool in the blazing 95 degree heat, before we knew it the fucking bells were ringing again, and off we went in our bathing suits from the steamy heat of summer into the dining room to be met with turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes and stuffing.

That’s normal and appropriate right?

I will tell you right now – If I ever am lucky enough to live in my dead boss’ beach house, I am going to have fresh fruits and salads for lunch….maybe an occasional piece of grilled chicken.

NEVER will I have a full-fledged THANKSGIVING DINNER in the middle of the fucking day in the middle of a heat-wave!!

So off we waddled back to the pool and much to my chagrin – the cupcake eaters were back in the hot tub.

Apparently these people were not participating in the meal plan in the dining facility.

When I looked at them this time -I couldn’t believe my eyes.

They were eating BEEF KABOBS in the HOT TUB.

The “vacation” progressed this way the entire time.  By the last day I was ready to leave for sure.   We left at 5:30 am on the 4th of July to be sure we were back for the bike parade at the beach.

I was so happy to have survived.

The next day my sister-in-law texted me to tell me I missed the best day.

Swedish meatballs for lunch and prime rib for dinner.

As Melissa Gorga would say, “Thank you Jesus.”

It’s not a dead guy’s mansion or a freshly squeezed glass of lemonade from the servant on my yacht….but sometimes it’s the little things in life……

Linking to Only Parent Chronicles


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