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tricia booker

tricia booker
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, United States
December 20
Tricia Booker is an award-winning journalist and neurotic writer of creative nonfiction. She lives in Ponte Vedra, Florida with her husband, two daughters, one son and a dog. She has written for many publications including Notre Dame Magazine, Folio Weekly, Minnesota's Law & Politics and the Vero Beach Press-Journal. She has taught creative writing to middle schoolers and journalism to college students. She's currently a dedicated domestic engineer.

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AUGUST 8, 2009 10:44PM

Vacation Odyssey #4, or misery loves chocolate and Hiltons

Rate: 3 Flag

It’s the final day of travel to Cape Cod, and we are finally heading in that direction now at 10:29 a.m. We’ve been in the van for 21 minutes, and I’ve already taken the Tyrant to the bathroom at Stop & Shop, threatened to cut off the Pterodactyl’s hand and throw it out the window, and cried because the Diva didn’t like the DVD I bought for her. I’m exhausted. 

It has been a long 15 hours and crankiness has infected everyone at some point. That might be partly because everyone’s a bit constipated as a result of Husband limiting liquid intake to avoid bathroom stops. Except the Tyrant, who is taking the antibiotic Augmentin for her pneumonia. Did you know that one of the side effects of Augmentin is frequent loose bowel movements? The Tyrant has been potty-trained for months. There has been some regression on this trip. 


Yesterday afternoon we decided to stop in Hershey, Pennsylvania for the night. We were all excited to visit Hershey’s World of Chocolate, and it didn’t disappoint. Husband called it the greatest entertainment value in the history of America because....get this: it’s free. Free parking, free visits with the giant Reese’s character who looks like a square brown penis with eyes, free ride on the chocolate car which takes you on a tour of a fabricated chocolate factory. But here’s the catch: while you’re riding on the car, you’re breathing in some sort of chocolate heroin fog which makes you think you might die or kill someone if you don’t eat chocolate immediately. Then you exit through the gift shop. And the whole “free” concept goes to shit. 

But still, it was fun, a little slice of Americana that I can paste in my mental scrapbook of Nice Things I’ve Done For My Kids.

It was after 9 p.m. by the time we pulled into the Hershey Hampton Inn. It was booked. So was the Days Inn, the Springfield Suites by Marriott, the Harrisburg Residence Inn, and the next four hotels we stopped at to beg for a place to sleep. 

We just kept driving and feeding Hershey’s Kisses to the children until they fell into sugar comas and quit crying. We drove until after midnight. 

That’s the bad news. The good news is that the only hotel we could find was a really nice Hilton and the only rooms left had two double beds so I had to get two adjoining rooms and we all slept great. (Yes, cha-ching, cha-ching, if you’re counting.)

We all felt refreshed for about 15 minutes until the arguments began over who could have which complimentary beauty products. The Pterodactyl was nearly insane with envy because the Tyrant had a shampoo and a conditioner and he only had a shampoo, and only calmed down slightly when I found a shower cap for him. 

Husband and I realized the boy was probably hypoglycemic and needed to eat. We all did. So before we left the hotel, we spent $36 in the gift shop for breakfast, not including the adorable heart-shaped mirrored compact the Tyrant stole. 

We sat in the luxurious lobby living room and ate blueberry scones, a cold muffin, some fruit, potato chips, two pats of butter and a packet of mustard. The coffee was delicious. We watched guests arrive for some sort of fancy Indian wedding and admired the women’s colorful sparkly saris. 

Finally we caravanned through the hotel to our car, lugging the recyclable Publix bags in which our stuff was packed and leaving a mustardy trail of potato chip crumbs behind.

Now we’re driving through New York City. We’re really, truly on the last leg of the first part of the journey. We should be on the Cape easily by dinner. What could go wrong?

Okay, here’s a glitch. It’s a gorgeous day in NYC, and every single person who owns a car is trying to escape via I-95. We will never get out of Connecticut. I’m on the verge of exiting the highway immediately, renting the first house I see and enrolling the kids in school. The Tyrant only sleeps when we play Poker Face by Lady Gaga so I’ve heard it 300 times in a row. The 3-pound supply of Hershey’s chocolate from Chocolate World is dwindling. If my trainer is reading this, consider me a major renovation project to undertake 10 days from now.


Okay, glitch #2. Sister-in-law just texted to me to say she had just arrived at the Cape rental house. She wrote: It’s going to be a long week. 


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I went back and read all the installments. This is indeed an odyssey with a bad omen from sister-in-law. I hope things pick up soon.
I enjoyed your post and after a long and tiring day, lost myself in laughter. Thanks!