If you’re anything like Laura who went to public school her whole life, including college, you have no idea about private schools and what their vacations are like. In fact, you have no idea that private schools aren’t called private schools anymore but are now euphemistically referred to as “independent schools.” Anyway, Laura learned that this year, along with the fact that “independent schools” have a two-week vacation in the spring — in March — instead of one one-week vacation in February and one one-week vacation in April like the loser plebes in public school do. This works out well if everyone you know goes to “independent schools” too, because that way you can all have your two-week March break together and make plans to go to warm sunny sandy places with umbrella drinks and laugh at all the public school kids stuck in school in between their two shitty-mini breaks.
Laura doesn’t know anyone else in “independent schools” — except for the kids Ben knows in his “independent school” — and lucky for Laura the economy sucks otherwise she’s positive most of them would have been away on real vacations instead of the usual “staycations” that Laura has become famous for during all the years that her own personal economy has sucked. Ben was actually able to have some playdates — mostly skateboarding playdates with his other friend Ben — Laura calls them “The Bens” — and except for having a thousand Jewish-mother-you’re-going-to-die-on-that-stupid-fucking-skateboard-even-with-that-helmut-on moments which are really completely unnerving and unrelaxing, especially since The Bens were skateboarding while Natasha Richardson was tragically dying of blunt trauma to the head due to a fall on a bunny ski slope. But Laura did what any modern mother would do to allay her fears — she made calls and checked her email on her Blackberry and tried to ignore the fact that skateboarding is an incredibly dangerous sport that she wishes she’d never let Ben try, let alone do.
Let’s just say, too, for the record, that two weeks is a long time for a kid’s vacation. A lonnnnnnnnnng time to have a kid home from school — a kid who is an only child (except for a puppy) — a kid whose neighbor friends are not on vacation — a kid who has (wait a second — Laura’s counting) — 16 days on his hands. Which means 16 days to fill up with planned activities and interesting things to do and see and learn. Laura’s good friend Jenny can vouch for the fact that Laura is not the planned-activities-and-interesting-things-to-do-and-see-and-learn kind of person, not just with kids but in any situation (Laura cites her friendship with Jenny, her oldest and bestest friend from 7th grade, because of all the times Jenny has come to visit Laura and Laura has only wanted to sit on the couch and talk, as opposed to all the times Laura has visited Jenny and Jenny has planned tons of amazing activities and interesting things to do and see and learn). So she’s been hitting the Klon a lot the past week as she tries not to panic about boring Ben to death and having him finally realize what a fraud of a parent she is because she is so, for lack of a better word, lazy.
And so, in order to combat the possibility that Ben would finally look behind the curtain and see Laura for who she actually is — Big Sitting Bum (what she would be called if they were Native Americans) — Laura and Ben went on a mini-long-weekend-with-a-few-extra-days-attached road trip. They were going to meet up with her aforementioned friend Jenny and her boys and husband, and visit a few other people and places along the way. This is actually Laura’s favorite kind of trip because one huge element of fear and phobia is absent: airplanes. Laura will go anywhere — drive anywhere — she doesn’t care how long or how far — happily and without complaint as long as she doesn’t have to stop foot on a flying deathtrap.
Just like with any trip, packing the car came first, and so they packed the car up with the bare essentials (Laura likes more than anything to travel light), only this time they added the puppy, which threw off the whole packing-light thing. Laura realized as she was packing up wipes and plastic poop bags and treats and food and plastic containers to serve the food in if they were on the road during meal time and chew toys and squeaky toys and rawhide twists and the dog bed and the crate and a thousand other fucking things this one small 9-lb animal needs — that having a puppy, or any kind of animal, is just like having a baby. Laura’s sure this is one of the least original thoughts in the history of human thought — people for thousands of years have been forgetting to put their pants on when they get in the car for a road trip because they’ve been too fucking distracted by making sure that their dog has their special organic low-fat biscuits and faux-sheepskin chew kitty — but it’s a completely new and earth-shattering realization for Laura. Not to get gross or anything, but she seriously can’t remember the last time she pooped — that’s how obsessed and concerned with and conscious of Friday’s bowel movements she’s become.
[Brant-erruption: A quick thought just popped into Laura’s head — the phrase Vet-Scam. She thought of this last week when she and Ben brought Friday to the vet for a routine appointment — you know, the kind where there’s one last vaccination and maybe a heartworm pill involved — meaning the kind where Laura didn’t expect to be asked to fork over $204 fucking dollars upon departure. Call her crazy — and she knows for a fact that the vet place they take Friday to is highly reputable and one of the absolute best — but WTF?!?]
One of the biggest and most exciting things that happened during the initial part of their Staycation — before they even left! — was discovering a pizza place in nearby Watertown — Stella’s — that serves — are you all sitting down? — Fried Dough Babies. Eagle eyed brant readers will remember a previous entry about fried dough — Laura actually making fried dough in her kitchen the night before Ben’s testicular-correcting surgery this past December and almost setting the house on fire. This means that instead of risking death by fried dough you can walk into this pizza place, order a slice of pizza, and then for dessert, a grease-absorbing paper-plate full of little pieces of fried dough covered in powdered sugar. No mess, no carnie atmosphere, no waiting until the middle of July or August for some crappy state fair or festival until you can walk around in the muggy buggy heat and humidity while shoving a greasy piece of fried dough the size of a Dumbo’s ear into your mouth. As you can see from the photo at the top of the brant, Ben could not believe what an amazing thing this is: to be able to get fried dough whenever he wants. Of course, Laura is now terrified that she — the original lover of fried dough — Big Sitting Fried Dough Bum — will start visiting Stella’s with frightening frequency, even without Ben…
[more about Laura’s staycation in the next installment….]