Mandatory Fun

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When I was little – four or five maybe – I would guilt my dad into renting a hotel room at the local Holiday Inn so that I could go swimming in the Holidome[!!!] – you can’t write “Holidome” without including several exclamation points. The hotel was a good distraction from staying out in the boonies at my grandma’s house and being bored off of my ass while my dad napped on the couch.

I can remember hiding in the truck’s floorboard so the desk staff wouldn’t know that there was going to be more than one person staying in the hotel room and the thick, warm “pool” scent that you could smell before you ever saw the indoor swimming pool. It was a fun way to pass the weekends and I still look forward to hotel stays. It’s almost like that excitement has been hardwired or something since I should NOT have been looking forward to this weekend.

The military has a habit of believing that when they say “Have fun!” that everyone will have fun. What almost always happens is that the military spends too much money on poorly planned activities, the whole thing falls flat on its face and people bitch about “mandatory fun” and how much they hate the whole affair.

This weekend was Tucker’s “mandatory fun” weekend – please note that the organizers DO NOT call these events “mandatory fun”. The organizers usually coin something along the lines of Family Day or Spring Splash…you get the idea.

We went last year in August when I was still pregnant with Oliver and though we didn’t have a horrible time, I’d be lying if I said we had fun. If your kid didn’t want to bounce for the entire day on the inflated bouncy tent thing then you were pretty much screwed. Also, our hotel room was swamped by the two full sized beds and Cara spent most of the time trying to jump from the bed on the left to the bed on the right without cracking open her head.

This year, with a few reservations, we all piled into the car and drove the four or five hours to Memphis.

I was expecting another tiny hotel room but instead, we were greeted with a mildew scented “suite” with damp carpet. What was weird is that the hotel room reminded me of this apartment that Tucker and I used to have before he joined the Navy and we got married. The suite had its own kitchen and came complete with four twin sized beds – iron bunkbeds that had been disassembled.

The kids ran around like miniture crazy people while Tucker pushed three of the four bed together and we became the proud renters of a HUGE bed.

Family Day was much as we had expected – boring. And it rained the whole weekend so the requisite bouncy thing was deflated and it quickly filled with water. I made note of this from a distance since if Cara had seen this, she would have been in it before we could have stopped her.

All in all, it wasn’t THAT bad since we were all together instead of Tucker leaving for the weekend. But next time, me and the kids will be staying home.

It’s hard to have fun when it’s mandatory.