Saturday, July 26, 2014

Lots Of Smiles In Branson

Our hotel was really nice.  The rooms were large and the morning breakfast was great.  My only complaint was the small bathrooms in the rooms.  One had to maneuver their bodies safely between the toilet and the tub to close the bathroom door for some privacy.  If not done correctly you were certain to face a bump from the door as it tried to close behind you.

We ate breakfast as a family and my plan was for us to go to the fish hatchery, the dam, and Moonshine Beach because they were all free.  I had researched the area for free and inexpensive things to do, discussed them with Darryl, and put them in my trip planner.

This morning after breakfast Darryl reverted back to Mr. Grumpy.  “Why are we going to the lake?  Didn’t you check to see if the hotel had a pool?”  I assured him that I was aware that the hotel had TWO pools but I had decided upon the lake so we could do something we normally wouldn’t get a chance to do.  I also reminded him that I had planned for a picnic at the Lake. 

He let out a long, audible exhale.  I just didn’t know why we just don’t go to the pool.  Did you ask the kids if they want to go to the pool or the lake? 

To this I replied, “No I didn’t ask.  I told their father we were going to the lake and he and the kids sounded like they were looking forward to that.  Is it that YOU don’t want to go to the lake?  You know I asked you if you wanted to go to the lake.  I asked you if you would swim with me at the lake.  Do you want me to call them and ask them to choose?  I find that it’s far easier to make the decision and tell them that this was what I had in mind rather than giving kids too many choices.”

Darryl sat there.  “So where else are we going?”  Once again I read him the same list we had discussed at home.  We are going to the Fish Hatchery and the Dam because they are free.  Everything else is pretty expensive. “ 

“I thought you researched this place.  Now we are wasting all this time trying to figure out what we are going to do today.” He said with his favorite new addendum to statements like this.  “I thought I could trust you to do this.  I thought you were going to research Branson before we came but now we are wasting time while I have to get on the internet to find something to do.”

While he waited for his tablet to connect to the internet I told him exactly how much several of the more popular attractions were going to cost but he was now determined to prove to me that he was correct.  He could do what I could do and find less expensive fun things to do because I had not planned well.
“Look here’s a link right here that lists free and inexpensive things to do in Branson, “ he said.  He was obviously very proud of himself having discovered one of the same links I had used.  I kept silent because being right was not important.  I just didn’t want to hear his mouth as he once again croaked that I should have checked out this sight instead of wasting everyone’s time.

After 20 minutes or so of listening to him tell me how expensive this attraction or that attraction was and remark about how he didn’t understand how the average family can afford to vacation here, he asked me once again about the items on my list. 

He agreed to go to the Table Rock Dam and the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery.  He asked about the beach and I made one last appeal for the trip.  I wanted to go just because I hadn’t been swimming in a lake in awhile but also because I was looking forward to having that picnic at the lake.  I also needed to take some photos for a couple of contests.  He told me that the grand kids and I could go swimming and he would just sit it out.  Obviously he did not want to go to the lake.  Fine, I gave him the out and said, no let’s go to the pool instead. 

We did visit the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery.  The hatchery serves as the primary source of rainbow and brown trout in Taneycomo Lake.  You can learn the process of rearing trout for conservation purposes.

After our visit we ventured into downtown Branson to have lunch.  We decided to try the Branson Cafe.  Great choice really.  It was established in 1910 and once you ate there you understood why they've continued to thrive.  Everything we ordered taste great and it didn't bust our budget.

From there we went back to the hotel to swim for about an hour or so before we got ready for the dinner cruise.

The dinner cruise was held on the Princess Landing vessel.  The Princess landing offers an hour and a half sight-seeing cruise on the beautiful Lake Taneycomo.  

It was very nice.  We got to see some family members of Darryl's that we hadn't seen in quite awhile.  

Dinner was great.  We were served Texas Beef Brisket and Roasted Chicken with Garlic Mashed Potatoes, and warm Cornbread Muffins.  Dessert was a delicious bread pudding.  

After the cruise I needed to go back to the room and get packed for our return trip.  I was also very tired so much so that when my head hit the pillow I fell right to sleep. The words my husband and I had exchanged earlier seemed like a lifetime ago and certainly no longer important.  

Friday, July 25, 2014

Branson Bound

Today's lesson in Murphy's Law 101 is: "If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something."

Dan and the kids left right after a hearty breakfast of french toast and turkey bacon.  I, on the other hand, ate a healthy breakfast consisting of two scoops of Brahm's Birthday Cake ice cream.  Perhaps you are saying to yourself that ice cream doesn't sound like a good choice for breakfast but I threw caution to the wind and suffered no ill effects.

Putting to use the Trip Planner I bought from All About The House on etsy, I felt I had planned this trip better than many of the other ones we've taken. Every thing was going like clockwork. There were just a few last minute chores I had to take care of before Darryl arrived home at 10:30.

Any time we travel my husband finds something, actually many somethings to complain about.  I was not about to be disappointed this time.

"What's up with all this crap?" he asked.

The simple answer, of course, is that we NEEDED all of it.We had to have the suitcase with our clothes.  We also needed the cooler for drinks on the trip and later for the picnic I had planned the next day.  Then there were towels for lake as well as paper products for the aforementioned picnic we planned to have at said lake.

My husband rolled his eyes and mumbled something about how we didn't need half the stuff we were taking.

Once we were on the road, Darryl began complaining about the way the tires were riding funny.  Did I feel it?  Why hadn't I noticed it?  The daily recounting of how great the car used to drive and how he's going to replace it one day.

I let him rant for a little while before I finally asked him if he wanted to listen to the David and Goliath book I had checked out of the library.  Generally we both love books by Malcom Gladwell but that certainly does not mean that we agree with all his conclusions. I find that Gladwell tends to over generalize, relies heavily on anecdotal evidence, and conveniently selects and interprets scientific studies.

Things were actually going pretty fine for most of our trip.  As a matter of fact I even found a $5 bill in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven so I felt it was a very lucky day.  Then it happened.   The front tire blew out and we found ourselves stuck on the side of the road in Arkansas.

Darryl tried for an hour to get the air compressor to get the tire pumped enough to take us to the nearest town.  After an hour he finally decided to mount the spare tire.

We stopped for about an hour in Fayetteville, AR to get new tires at the local Walmart.  Darryl had told me all week that he was going to get new tires because the other ones were defective but he'd never gotten around to it.

The rest of our trip was uneventful but I was dead tired when we arrived so I fell asleep pretty quickly after unpacking the car.