This July marked my in-law’s 50th wedding anniversary. The fact they have managed to hang in there for that long together without ever once having yellow police tape surrounding their house is impressive to me.
They decided to celebrate by having the whole family join them on their dream holiday.
To the Mall of America.
I’ve only been married for sixteen years, but if by some miracle we manage to make it to the 50 year mark, Minnesota is probably not going to be our celebratory destination of choice.
Nothing against Minnesotaians; they are our American doppelgangers who know exactly why we have a plug dangling out of the front of our cars and have transitioned ‘eh’ into the popular lexicon in the way god intended.
But the Mall of America? For the golden annivesary? After 50 years of marriage you’d think my in-laws would want to up their game a little.
However, I figure an anniversary of that magnitude buys the right to boss everyone around so I just rolled with the punches.
The punches being a 14-hour drive with three children.
Here is the problem - my husband has five siblings and NONE of them have small children. They either have teenagers, young adults or no children at all. So when they plan group events they don’t take into consideration stuff like asking our kids to sit next to each other quietly for the entire waking day is kinda like asking Hamas to lead the campfire sing-a-long at Hebrew camp.
I addressed this situation by buying enough candy to lull them into a diabetic coma and purchasing so much liquor at the duty-free store I was able to build a booze tower between the kids so impressive they couldn’t see or touch each other for the majority of the trip.
And all that liquor came in handy as a week with the extended family was a pretty tall order. Some of the highlights:
- My brother-in-law telling racist and homophobic jokes in public places to the horror of servers and patrons alike. I started writing little notes on slips of paper I could pass to random strangers that read, “I have nothing to do with this guy – I just married into this family and am being held hostage by tradition and obligation to my mother-in-law. She’s actually pretty nice. She makes cabbage rolls and plays the pan flute”
- Staying in a hotel that served gravy for breakfast and smelled like chlorine and old lady.
- My father-in-law barking at my 70 year-old MIL after she fell on the steps coming into the hotel - “If you think you need to go to the hospital, get in the car and drive straight to Canada”. Which, by the way, is a six hour drive from Minneapolis. NICE. You’d think someone THAT cheap would have sprung for travel insurance.
- Paying $9.00 for a slurpee at Valley Fair
Alright, it wasn’t all bad. We did get to meet up with my BFF from Winnipeg who just so happened to be passing through. We had lunch at a Burger King attached to gas station in some small town I can't remember the name of now. I had a Whopper Jr. with cheese.
And I discovered I'm not too fat to ride a roller coaster. That was good news.
But not even ONE time did we run into Prince. I spent all that time practicing my interpretive dance version of 'Raspberry Beret' for nothing.