the intention was there. it began as a seed of excitement. and. blossomed into an avalanche of expectation. this was going to be the best christmas yet. we had done christmas with chicken pox. family feuds. detestable long distance driving. we even tried absence one year. so……surely we had pretty much experienced every kind of christmas affliction. misery. torture. and. purgatory.
or so we thought.
it began like this……we had booked a chalet away in the mountains. a bed for each of our four kids. a balcony with a view. the breeze in our hair. the sounds of the birds. the smell of the forest floor………
i like to dream big……..
in reality. we arrived. our 1970s chalet lent itself to lush browns and yellows. the back to nature feel. we were close to the wildlife. the ginormous crack in the floor allowed us to meet quite a few of the 6-legged variety face to face. it was homely though. and. maybe the hand prints on the wall were just some kind of arty design. it had a kitchen. the last person to stay even left us some samples from their holiday in the fridge. how kind. at least the toilet was clean. and. there was a shower. ok. at this point i was starting to wonder if cheaper was a dumb idea (lower price = no service – it is only as clean as the last person left it).
and. it only got better. we sent the kids out to play in the lush green grass outside. they loved squelching around in the wet grass. rolling. jumping. laughing. playing. and. it wasn’t until we all showered that night. that we smelt. a horrible sewerage like smell that wafted in through every crack and crevice. it became quickly apparent that our chalet was proudly located next to the septic tank. and. the lush green grass below. that wonderful green playground. all sloshy and squelchy…… well. yes. you guessed it……we were up shit creek. especially our kids after playing in the septic over flow all afternoon. but i wouldn’t let this beat me. i was still going to enjoy it. we didn’t have to let that get us down. we would have fun.
hmmm. famous last words you say.
ok. yes. we got to day 4. and after realizing our 10mth old had caught hand foot and mouth disease (and possibly infected the rest of the extended family). our autistic 11 yr old had cried every night until 12am. because we forgot to bring her ‘girl’s are great pop songs’ CD. and. run away on several occasions. and. even bit some one. and. the tenants in the only other chalet left early one morning and never returned. and. child services hadn’t turned up……..yet. and so. we were looking at eachother on day 4 (through the bottle of whisky that sat between us) ready to chuck it all in and go home the day before christmas.
absence was ok. family feuds…..just a bit of festive frivolity. chicken pox…sheesh a breeze. a 3 hour traffic jam…..a nice way to see the sights. purgatory…..a day at the park.
we had finally arrived in hell.
no. we didn’t leave. we held our breath. covered our ears. and. lalalalalaed. yes. we survived. i dry wretched as i scrubbed the toilet bowl (i left the hand print wall mural for the pleasure of the next guest). and. christmas with family made it worth living through the nightmare accommodations.
at last. we arrived home. threw on our bathers to head for our glorious local beach. to try to salvage some of what was left of the holidays. we hit the spraying surf. embraced the frothing foam. and we were all about to dive right in when……
waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
OH. i give up.