Half a lifetime ago, the term "spring break" conjured up a much different meaning than it does today. I never went on a real college spring break unless you count the time two friends and I visited my Uncle Kevin in southern California during our sophomore year at Marquette, planned a day trip to San Diego to throw my uncle off the scent, then raced down to Tijuana for an afternoon of drinking. But, let's just say the streets of Tijuana aren't exactly filled with co-eds on a random Wednesday at 2 p.m.
Still, the idea of "spring break" used to make me think of sandy beaches, warm temperatures, ocean paradises, people not wearing a lot of clothing and lots of drinking. This week, Lucy is on spring break from kindergarten, which means both kids home with me, and we're deep into our version of a week of debauchery.
When it comes to sandy beaches, there is nothing like a local park in 55-degree weather with a slight rain falling - not exactly paradise. The sand comes into play when you have a two-year-old with you. Sure, I noticed Paige dragging her feet throughout the patchy sand area for an hour but didn't fully grasp what had taken up residence in her Velcro-strapped Champion sneakers until we arrived home today and she dumped a sandbox worth of dirt all over the kitchen floor, then ran off. No problem, kid, I'll clean it up - that's what I'm here for.
The ocean paradises came into play Monday. Allison won a free family pass to the North Clackamas Aquatic Center. As we approached the ticket desk you could see into the pool areas. It was at this moment I realized I would have paid for the next four families in line if we didn't have to go into that Petri dish of disease. Kids sneezing. The stench of too much chlorine. People who needed to wear two or three t-shirts instead of none at all. Of course our kids could not wait to jump into the mix. Two hours and countless trips down the kiddie slide later and we made our way back to the hot, humid family locker room area. Not realizing the floors would be wet despite being told repeatedly by her mother and father, Paige slipped and fell twice on the nasty ground soaking up the last remnants of whatever was living on it. An ocean paradise it was not.
Prior to our adventure to the aquatic center is when I got my fill of nakedness for the week. Paige was thrilled to jam her lunch-distended belly into her new princess swimsuit. I said, "Remember, you have nothing on your bottom but a swimsuit, so let me know when you need to go potty." After just a few minutes in my room getting ready, I returned to Paige's and was hit with a whiff. It wasn't full-on barn odor, so I posed the pooping question. "Me no poop, daddy," was the response. I was suspicious. And, as I thought, once the swimsuit came off, a couple of turds landed on the floor. Awesome. Guess we're keeping that swimsuit. Oh, great, and now she's running naked down the hallway while singing "This Girl Is On Fire" by Alicia Keys. Seriously.
Trust me - the drinking is yet to come. It may not be cheap tequila like in Tijuana and it may not be Natty Light like in Daytona Beach, but it's coming in the form of Pacific Northwest brewed IPAs. Tomorrow is my day, Marquette's day, and nothing is standing in my way of watching that Sweet 16 game. By 4 pm PST, spring break goes on hiatus for these kids. I just hope Paige can keep her dirt and poop to herself for a couple of hours, and I'll promise to do all I can to keep my shirt on.