The Trip That Finally Made My Wife Haul Off And Slug Me In The Face (COMPLETED 10/2)

Captain_Oblivious

DIS Dad #257
Joined
Nov 10, 2008
Chapter 11: The One Where My Wife Punches Me In The Face


*Author’s Note: The following is based on a true story. Although the author has taken very slight license—notably with the dialogue and the addition of a machete—the rest of the story is told exactly as it occurred.


It started like any other day.


We arose early, got dressed, and headed to breakfast. It’s always nice to stay in an Embassy Suites and get my ham, cheese and onion omelet cooked to order. A bit of a step up from crusty bagels. It was a Sunday morning, bright, sunny and warm. And yet, as I contemplated our itinerary for the day, I couldn’t help but feel an involuntary shudder.


On this day, we would be setting out on an expedition deep into the heart of Everglades National Park. The Everglades are a wild, untamed, unforgiving land. Death awaits beyond its borders…with sharp, pointy, nasty teeth. I should know. I’d been there before, and narrowly escaped with my life.


It was November of 1985. I was 11 years old. We were on a family vacation—you know the type: Mom and Dad pack everyone into the station wagon, we go driving for hours on end in the middle of nowhere, eating crappy PB&J sandwiches for lunch and fighting with your brothers for the tail-gunner seats that face backwards in the back of the wagon. You know, the kind of trip nobody takes anymore. But back then it was all the rage.


My dad had the idea of taking us all down to explore the Everglades. He’d set it all up—we’d be taking a little cruise out in the bay, and then spending the night at the lodge in Flamingo, Florida—the little outpost right at the tip of the state, where the Everglades meets the ocean. We would see one of America’s most famous national parks, and hopefully catch a nice sunset on the water and maybe some wildlife.


We weren’t prepared. How could we have been? We were planning on a sightseeing trip, not a 24-hour battle for our lives against those…monsters.


The attack had begun as soon as we’d arrived in Flamingo. No sooner were we out of the station wagon then they were on us.


Mosquitoes.


Giant, mutated, bloodthirsty mosquitoes. The kind of mosquitoes that eat DEET for breakfast. They were everywhere, swarming, attacking every inch of exposed skin. Even though it was November, the temps hadn’t dropped yet, and we were all in t-shirts and shorts. But by the time we got on the boat, we’d put on jackets and pants just to try and avoid the relentless onslaught. Once the boat was out in the bay, the breeze helped a bit, but eventually we had to return to land. We resorted to mad dashes between cover, hoping to finally get a break when we got to our room in the lodge for the night.


It was not to be. The monsters were already inside.


We dashed inside our room and closed the door, only to be met with more unspeakable horror—swarms of mosquitoes covering the walls and ceilings of our room. My lasting memory of that night is my mother attempting to get me and my brothers down to sleep while my father stood on the bed with a bath towel, swatting dozens of mosquitoes at a time like the last man standing at the Alamo. I remember the mosquitoes constantly buzzing in my ear, the relentless attacks, the cries of people being carried off by the swarms in the middle of the night...it was a trauma that an 11-year-old boy should never have had to face.


In the morning we fled, barely conscious from the blood loss. Having escaped with our lives, we’d vowed never to return to this godforsaken place.


And now I was back.


My family had come to me, looking for an adventure. I’d been minding my own business, sharpening my machete, when they came to me with a request: they wanted to see an alligator. In the wild.


Sure, we’d seen them before. In the zoo. In the Animal Kingdom park. But now that wasn’t good enough. They wanted more.


I’d tried to talk them out of it. I gave them all sorts of possible destinations, but the siren song of seeing wildlife, collecting passport stamps and Junior Ranger badges proved to be irresistible. They wanted to see the Everglades. What’s more, they’d needed a grizzled guide to get them there—a veteran. Someone who’d been there before, and had returned alive.


“No!” I’d cried. I flat-out refused. “You don’t understand what you’re asking me to do. That place is death!”


“We’re going, with or without you,” they declared. “We want to see alligators in the wild.”


“These aren’t just any mosquitoes,” I said. “These are mutants. Bloodthirsty. Soulless. Bleed a man dry in six minutes flat.” I shifted the wide brim of my hat. “What you’re proposing is suicide.”


“We’ll make it worth your while,” they said. “We know a place. A place just a ways north of here. The happiest place on earth, in fact. They have Dole Whips.

Be our guide. Take us safely through the Everglades. Show us a gator. In return, you’ll have more Dole Whips than you could ever imagine.”


“I don’t know,” I said, running my hand over the stubble on my chin. “I can imagine quite a bit.”


“They’ll even serve it as a float on pineapple juice,” said Julie.


I closed my eyes. “D--- you,” I whispered.


Every man has his price. Mine was pineapple soft-serve.


Traffic was light as we navigated the freeways around Miami that morning. By 10:30, we were at the gates.





We pulled into the parking lot and entered the visitor center—the last outpost of civilization. We explored the exhibits and the kids took special note of the gator displays, hoping the information would help them spot the animals in the wild.





It wasn’t the gators I was worried about.


Another room had a mosaic model of the Everglades laid out on the floor.





The Everglades is network of 1.5 million acres of wetlands. You can almost consider it a giant river. It drains Lake Okeechobee to the ocean as one huge swamp. The ecosystem is unique in the world, and very fragile—development and canal projects hurt it in the early 20th century, so the park was established in 1934 to protect the Everglades from drying up and disappearing.


The visitor center wasn’t very large, so we could only stall for so long. Soon, it was time to pack our gear and our PB&J sandwiches and enter the Unholy Death Swamp.


“Where is the insect repellent?” I asked.


“Right here,” Julie said. She began applying a small dab of a clear liquid to everyone’s feet.


“What the $%&@ is this?” I asked. I grabbed the bottle. Some kind of Snake Essential Oil.


“This is better than insect repellent,” Julie replied. “This changes your body’s chemistry so that it smells differently to mosquitoes, and they don’t want to feed on you.”


This was a terrible idea. Worse than introducing Jar-Jar Binks to the Star Wars universe. Worse than New Coke. Worse than the time I played goalie in street hockey without wearing a cup. It was obvious they had no idea what peril awaited them. I tried to subtly change Julie’s mind.


“You might as well wear tinfoil hats,” I said.


Julie’s faith in Snake Essential Oils was unfazed. “This stuff is $80 for a 3-oz. bottle; it has to work. It's guaranteed*!” she said confidently.

*Not guaranteed in any way whatsoever.

We shut the doors on the van, strapped ourselves in, and entered the Swamp.


We passed several miles without incident. We stopped at one overlook to scout the territory, and hopefully spot some gators. I eyed the pathways warily as we climbed out of our all-purpose utility minivan.





“Keep your eyes sharp,” I warned. “You might not see the enemy, but I guarantee they know where you are. These things have eyes everywhere.”


We saw no gators. In fact, we didn’t see much of anything. Although the Everglades is one of the more famous national parks in the U.S., I think it’s wise to temper your expectations when visiting. This is not really a park for scenery. It’s more of a park for nature/ecology geeks. Most of the park looks just like this:





We drove on, mile after mile, encountering no signs of life anywhere. Every so often, there would be a pull-off or an overlook, and we’d pull over, futilely searching for our prized alligators. But we saw nothing. No gators, no crocodiles, not even birds or squirrels.


About 20 miles in, we reached the end of the road. Flamingo.


In the years since I’d been here, they’d closed the lodge. Ostensibly, it was for hurricane damage, but I knew the truth. It was a cover-up. They didn’t want anyone to know of its horrific past.


I got out of the van first, machete at the ready. I carefully scanned the perimeter before giving the rest of the crew a nod to dismount. It was quiet. Too quiet.


“Is it safe to come out?” Julie asked.


“Aye,” I said.


“Wrong character.”


“What?”


“You’re supposed to be the grizzled explorer guide. ‘Aye’ is something a grizzled sea captain would say.”


“Roger that,” I said.


“No, that’s what a pilot—forget it,” said Julie.


We saw a handful of brave explorers wandering around the docks. A Japanese couple here, a Swedish (or maybe Norwegian) family over there. Some of them were pointing at the water. I started to wander over. Maybe they had spotted our elusive alligators?


We left the parking lot and walked further and further away from the safety of our van, trying to see what was in the water. We crept closer to the edge, not knowing what we’d see below. Although certainly not as fearsome as the mutant mosquitoes, an alligator could be dangerous on its own. Best to proceed cautiously.


What we found was…magical. Something even more rare than alligators.


We’d found a family of manatees.








These graceful creatures were floating along the docks, lazily grazing on whatever plants they could scavenge. We counted at least seven of them. We stood there spellbound, amazed that we’d actually found manatees in the wild. And, incredibly, a brief thought crossed my mind—in that moment, I was grateful that I’d made the trip to Flamingo.








I stood at the southern tip of the Florida mainland, admiring the shallow blue waters and the small islands of trees out in Florida Bay.








I continued watching the manatees feed, their heads barely bobbing out of the water. They seemed to have no cares in the world. Why would they? They were safe in the wat—


Safe in the water.


The realization hit me with the sudden force of a tsunami. I knew in that moment that we wouldn’t be seeing any alligators that day. We wouldn’t see any crocodiles. No birds. No creatures of any kind.


The mosquitoes had already eaten them.


There was a high-pitched buzz near my ear. Then another. I felt something graze my neck, and swatted blindly at it. They’d found us.


How could we have been so careless? We’d been artfully, skillfully led by a cunning predator into a deadly trap. They’d even drawn us away from the safety of the minivan. I locked eyes with Julie.


“We need to get to cover! Now!” I shouted. The closest refuge was the visitor center. We grabbed the kids’ hands and dashed for the doors, bursting into the lobby and shutting the doors quickly behind us. We paused to catch our breath, knowing we would need to figure out a way to get back to the van if we had any hope of escaping Flamingo with our lives. Knowing we had a long fight to get out of this hellhole, Julie decided to use the restroom.


The visitor center had a large open lobby where we stood, with just a poorly-sealed door keeping the outside world at bay. We could almost hear the buzzing of the swarm outside the door. Upstairs were two other doors—one led to a room of exhibits, and the other led to the park ranger’s office. Through the glass, we could see the park ranger peering out at us. We could see the conflict in her eyes—I knew, deep down, that she wanted to help us and offer refuge. But then they turned cold, as if she’d made the calculating decision that we were already doomed. She wasn’t opening that door for anyone.


I remember thinking once that the Golden Spike National Historic Site in Promontory, Utah was Park Ranger Siberia—where a ranger is sent if they screw something up. Now I know better. It’s the Flamingo Station.


The seal on the outer door wasn’t holding. We could feel the mosquitoes attacking us. More and more bites, more and more slaps. The suffering was increasing as we waited, wondering how much longer Julie was going to be. Then, we heard a loud shriek from the bathroom. This was followed by a series of groans and loud slaps, as if Julie had suddenly started auditioning for Riverdance in the women’s room. All of us were now under siege.


“Are you all right?” I asked.


“Just go!” Julie shouted. “Save yourselves!” I might have added that last part.


The kids and I tore up the stairs, hoping Julie would find a way to escape. We barreled into the exhibit room and shut the door quickly, trying to catch our breath. The Swedish family had also taken refuge in there, and we exchanged the familiar nods of people with shared trauma. I checked each of my kids for injury, desperately trying to think of a way out of here.


A few moments later, Julie came flying into the room. Her eyes were wild, and she was randomly slapping at her arms, neck and legs.


“There were so many of them!” she ranted. “Thousands of them, in the bathroom, swarming on the walls!” She waved her arms wildly in the air, going on and on about the Black Cloud of Death. I’d seen this before. In myself—when I was 11 years old. A human being can only take so much. At some point, they just…snap.


Julie turned towards me, and suddenly locked in on me with a laser focus. She had a crazed, psychotic gleam in her eyes. She curled her right hand into a fist.


Images started to flash across my mind. The first time I rode a bike. The time I struck out the side in a Little League game. My first model rocket. First kiss. Hiking in Hawaii. My wedding. The birth of my children.


Just about the time my life finished flashing before my eyes, Julie let fly a vicious right cross. She caught me square in the left cheek. The sound of the blow reverberated around the room. Sarah, David and Scott gasped, and stood bolt upright, jaws dropped. “Whoa,” said Dave. The Swedish family stared in shock. “WhØa,” they said.


“Good Lord!” I shouted.


“There was a mosquito on your face,” Julie said. That crazed gleam was still there. The Swedish family started snickering at us, in that particular way that Swedish (or was it Norwegian?) people snicker.


“Dad, are you bleeding?” Scotty asked.


“I ain’t got time to bleed,” I replied.


We still had to make our escape. The black cloud was swarming outside now, mosquitoes hurling themselves at the door, testing its strength. Drew reached up and tugged on Julie’s sleeve.


“Mommy, I need to go potty,” he said.


Julie looked up at me. “I’m not going back into that @#%& deathtrap,” she said. I was waiting for the inevitable, “You go in there instead,” but she offered a different strategy. “How about this? I’ll take Drew outside and around the corner of the building. We’ll let him pee there. You take the big kids and run over and get the van. Then drive over and pick us up the moment Drew is done.”


I didn’t have any better ideas. I grabbed my machete and we braced ourselves to make a run for it. We took a deep breath and then, like Butch and Sundance, blasted our way out of hiding.


The kids and I bolted down the stairs, out the door, and across the parking lot. We didn’t look back. Usain Bolt couldn’t have covered that ground any faster than we did. I had the keys out of my pocket, hitting the locks before we got to the van. The four of us jumped inside and shut the van up tight. So far, it was a clean, precise, clinical exfiltration. I started up the van and began to drive over to the visitor center.


But then, some movement outside the window caught my eye. It was Julie and Drew, hauling rear end across the parking lot. I couldn’t believe they had caught up to us. I hit the power sliding door so Julie could throw Drew into his car seat.


“There’s too many of them!” Julie shouted. The crazed gleam was back again. “Just go!”


She didn’t even bother buckling Drew into the seat. I hit the power sliding button to shut the door. It closed at a pace just slower than your average DMV queue. We all saw the black swarm that had been following them approaching the van, mentally willing the door to slide shut faster. But we were too late.




I now know what it must have felt like to stand helplessly on the deck of the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor while wave after wave of Japanese Zeroes descended, attacking from above. The swarm of mosquitoes blew into the minivan, and we were suddenly engaged in close-quarters combat to the death. Everyone in the van was swinging this way and that, smashing dozens upon dozens of vicious mutant mosquitoes against doors, windows, seats, brothers, and sisters. Within a few tense minutes, the fighting died down. We slumped in our seats, drained (literally). The air conditioner pumped out a weak blast of cold. We prayed the worst was over. I put the van into gear and started to drive off, ready to put this wasteland in my rear-view mirror forever.


Drew stood up in his car seat and began to lower his pants.


“What the—?” I began.


Julie started scrambling in a panic. “He never went potty!” she shouted.


“What?”


“There were too many mosquitoes! He never went! We just took off running!”


I stopped the van. “Well, do you want to—“


“No! Don’t open the doors!” Julie shouted. She fished around in the front seat and came up with an empty Chick Fil-A soda cup. She passed it back to Sarah, who held it in place while Drew re-filled the cup. Julie grabbed the cup from Sarah, slid down her window barely enough for an opening, and dumped it out before raising the window again in one smooth motion.


“There. Problem solved,” she declared. “Sarah, pull his pants back up. And for pete’s sake, buckle him into his car seat.”


There aren’t too many radar speed traps in National Parks, so there’s no way of knowing if we covered the 20 miles out of the park in record time. But it was more than enough time to take stock. These kids had entered in search of adventure. They’d just wanted to see an alligator. But now, they’d faced the gates of hell itself. They now had the blood, the sweat, the grime, the scars to prove it. They’ll never forget this place. Someday, they’ll be called to reach down deep, to bring up inner strength and meet a serious challenge. And now they know just how deep they can go.


You might think I’m exaggerating, or that they’re just mosquitoes. That maybe I’m delusional, or we didn’t really face all that much danger. You might not believe me when I say I’ve been lobbying Congress to firebomb this place into oblivion. You might even think I’m making it up.


Yeah? Well, you’ve never been to Flamingo.


Coming Up Next: You know, I’m just now realizing that I never did collect on my Dole Whip. Anyway, we’ll cover the rest of our day, with multiple DIS meets.
 
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wasnotafan

All that fresh air over the years has done me good
Joined
Jul 12, 2010
Chapter 11: The One Where My Wife Punches Me In The Face
Got smacked for a mosquito and didn't get your Dole Whips? I'm not saying you lose your man card, but just leave it on the pizza boxes in the clubhouse and we will consider when to return it.
 
  • SoccerDogWithEars

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 20, 2005
    So I might have to come back for a longer reply, but man oh man. I was nearly crying with laughter.

    Also, my OCD-Disney-expertness feels the need to point out that Disney World is not, in fact, the happiest place on Earth. Disneyland is. When they built Disney World, they realized they couldn't have two happiest places, so Disney World is officially the "Most Magical" place on Earth.

    Ok I'm done
     

    cj9200

    DIS Dad #412
    Joined
    Dec 22, 2006
    On this day, we would be setting out on an expedition deep into the heart of Everglades National Park. The Everglades are a wild, untamed, unforgiving land. Death awaits beyond its borders…with sharp, pointy, nasty teeth. I should know. I’d been there before, and narrowly escaped with my life.
    You forgot to mention one of the preferred choices for locals to dump a body.

    Giant, mutated, bloodthirsty mosquitoes. The kind of mosquitoes that eat DEET for breakfast. They were everywhere, swarming, attacking every inch of exposed skin. Even though it was November, the temps hadn’t dropped yet, and we were all in t-shirts and shorts. But by the time we got on the boat, we’d put on jackets and pants just to try and avoid the relentless onslaught. Once the boat was out in the bay, the breeze helped a bit, but eventually we had to return to land. We resorted to mad dashes between cover, hoping to finally get a break when we got to our room in the lodge for the night.
    Wimp. Suggest you stay in Delaware if you can't handle mosquitos. There are worse things down here that can kill you.

    “We’ll make it worth your while,” they said. “We know a place. A place just a ways north of here. The happiest place on earth, in fact. They have Dole Whips.

    Be our guide. Take us safely through the Everglades. Show us a gator. In return, you’ll have more Dole Whips than you could ever imagine.”

    “I don’t know,” I said, running my hand over the stubble on my chin. “I can imagine quite a bit.”
    Sucks when the family knows your Kryptonite.

    The Everglades is network of 1.5 million acres of wetlands. You can almost consider it a giant river. It drains Lake Okeechobee to the ocean as one huge swamp. The ecosystem is unique in the world, and very fragile—development and canal projects hurt it in the early 20th century, so the park was established in 1934 to protect the Everglades from drying up and disappearing.
    Aptly named, "The River of Grass," from the 1947 Marjorie Stoneman Douglas book. If Julie wants to do something with her students about the Everglades, I'd start there. We have screwed up the Everglades since the '20s and still haven't figured it out yet.

    These graceful creatures were floating along the docks, lazily grazing on whatever plants they could scavenge. We counted at least seven of them. We stood there spellbound, amazed that we’d actually found manatees in the wild.
    The real Florida Mermaids. If you get a chance, try snorkeling with them during the winter months. One of the best spots is Crystal River. Curious and friendly. Great find, I'd rater watch manatees than gators.

    Just about the time my life finished flashing before my eyes, Julie let fly a vicious right cross. She caught me square in the left cheek. The sound of the blow reverberated around the room. Sarah, David and Scott gasped, and stood bolt upright, jaws dropped. “Whoa,” said Dave. The Swedish family stared in shock. “WhØa,” they said.


    “Good Lord!” I shouted.


    “There was a mosquito on your face,” Julie said. That crazed gleam was still there. The Swedish family started snickering at us, in that particular way that Swedish (or was it Norwegian?) people snicker.
    She was just trying to save you.

    The kids and I bolted down the stairs, out the door, and across the parking lot. We didn’t look back. Usain Bolt couldn’t have covered that ground any faster than we did. I had the keys out of my pocket, hitting the locks before we got to the van. The four of us jumped inside and shut the van up tight. So far, it was a clean, precise, clinical exfiltration. I started up the van and began to drive over to the visitor center.
    Rule number one when attacked by a swarm. Find a weaker tourist and nudge them over. They will descend on them like a big cat on a wounded animal, thus allowing you to escape. Seen too many of the resulting "mummified" remains in my life.

    Got smacked for a mosquito and didn't get your Dole Whips?
    Well technically he did not live up to his side of the bargain. After all, no alligators were sighted.
     
  • pkondz

    . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky
    Joined
    Mar 9, 2007
    Although the author has taken very slight license—notably with the dialogue and the addition of a machete
    Everything can be made better by the addition of a machete.

    It’s always nice to stay in an Embassy Suites and get my ham, cheese and onion omelet cooked to order.
    Actually... that's pretty nice.

    On this day, we would be setting out on an expedition deep into the heart of Everglades National Park.
    One place I've wanted to go for a long time.




    I think I'll skip it.

    We were on a family vacation—you know the type: Mom and Dad pack everyone into the station wagon, we go driving for hours on end in the middle of nowhere, eating crappy PB&J sandwiches for lunch
    Thank goodness we've evolved from this!

    spending the night at the lodge in Flamingo, Florida—the little outpost right at the tip of the state, where the Everglades meets the ocean.
    Yes... I did indeed Google map it.

    We weren’t prepared. How could we have been? We were planning on a sightseeing trip, not a 24-hour battle for our lives against those…monsters.
    So you brought your MIL, huh?

    Mosquitoes.
    Oh. A close second. Blood sucking? Check. Constant buzzing around the ears? Check.

    Giant, mutated, bloodthirsty mosquitoes. The kind of mosquitoes that eat DEET for breakfast. They were everywhere, swarming, attacking every inch of exposed skin. Even though it was November, the temps hadn’t dropped yet, and we were all in t-shirts and shorts. But by the time we got on the boat, we’d put on jackets and pants just to try and avoid the relentless onslaught. Once the boat was out in the bay, the breeze helped a bit, but eventually we had to return to land. We resorted to mad dashes between cover, hoping to finally get a break when we got to our room in the lodge for the night.
    oy

    swarms of mosquitoes covering the walls and ceilings of our room.
    Oh, no!!! So... no one got any sleep.... No one.

    swatting dozens of mosquitoes at a time like the last man standing at the Alamo.
    :laughing: I like the imagery.

    the cries of people being carried off by the swarms in the middle of the night...
    Totally understand this.

    we’d vowed never to return to this godforsaken place.


    And now I was back.
    Didn't get hit in the head quite often enough, huh?

    they wanted to see an alligator. In the wild.
    Geez. Take 'em to Gatorland. Close enough.

    What’s more, they’d needed a grizzled guide to get them there—a veteran. Someone who’d been there before, and had returned alive.
    Nice of your Dad to join you.

    I shifted the wide brim of my hat.
    Baseball cap, of course.

    “We’ll make it worth your while,” they said. “We know a place. A place just a ways north of here. The happiest place on earth, in fact. They have Dole Whips.

    Be our guide. Take us safely through the Everglades. Show us a gator. In return, you’ll have more Dole Whips than you could ever imagine.”
    That is not fair. Playing to your weakness like that.... unfair.

    “I don’t know,” I said, running my hand over the stubble on my chin. “I can imagine quite a bit.”
    “They’ll even serve it as a float on pineapple juice,” said Julie.


    I closed my eyes. “D--- you,” I whispered.
    Patently unfair.
    Cruel and unusual, too.

    The last shot of them smiling that day.

    Another room had a mosaic model of the Everglades laid out on the floor.
    Huh. That's actually pretty cool.

    The ecosystem is unique in the world
    Did not know that. Interesting.

    “Where is the insect repellent?” I asked.


    “Right here,” Julie said. She began applying a small dab of a clear liquid to everyone’s feet.


    “What the $%&@ is this?” I asked. I grabbed the bottle. Some kind of Snake Essential Oil.
    :sad2:
    Ruby went through this same phase. What part of "you will die" do they not understand?

    “This is better than insect repellent,” Julie replied. “This changes your body’s chemistry so that it smells differently to mosquitoes, and they don’t want to feed on you.”
    :sad2:

    They feed on everything.

    This was a terrible idea. Worse than introducing Jar-Jar Binks to the Star Wars universe.
    No that's bad.

    Worse than the time I played goalie in street hockey without wearing a cup.
    On a personal level, I suppose that's worse.... for you.

    Julie’s faith in Snake Essential Oils was unfazed. “This stuff is $80 for a 3-oz. bottle; it has to work. It's guaranteed*!” she said confidently.

    *Not guaranteed in any way whatsoever.
    :laughing:

    We saw no gators.
    Snakes ate 'em all.

    Most of the park looks just like this:


    Um..... okay, then.

    But we saw nothing. No gators, no crocodiles, not even birds or squirrels.
    I toldja. Snakes ate 'em all.

    In the years since I’d been here, they’d closed the lodge. Ostensibly, it was for hurricane damage, but I knew the truth. It was a cover-up. They didn’t want anyone to know of its horrific past.
    :laughing:

    “Is it safe to come out?” Julie asked.


    “Aye,” I said.


    “Wrong character.”


    “What?”


    “You’re supposed to be the grizzled explorer guide. ‘Aye’ is something a grizzled sea captain would say.”


    “Roger that,” I said.


    “No, that’s what a pilot—forget it,” said Julie.
    :lmao:

    We’d found a family of manatees.
    No way!!! Nice!!!!


    So...... think carefully now..... worth it?

    We counted at least seven of them.
    Huh!

    in that moment, I was grateful that I’d made the trip to Flamingo.
    How long did that last, exactly?

    We wouldn’t see any crocodiles. No birds. No creatures of any kind.


    The mosquitoes had already eaten them.
    Okay.... just as likely as the snakes.

    Knowing we had a long fight to get out of this hellhole, Julie decided to use the restroom.
    :rotfl:

    This was followed by a series of groans and loud slaps, as if Julie had suddenly started auditioning for Riverdance in the women’s room.
    :laughing:

    She curled her right hand into a fist.
    Oh boy! Here it comes!!!


    er... I mean... oh no.

    Just about the time my life finished flashing before my eyes, Julie let fly a vicious right cross. She caught me square in the left cheek. The sound of the blow reverberated around the room.
    Yesss!


    er... I mean... oh dear.

    “Whoa,” said Dave. The Swedish family stared in shock. “WhØa,” they said.
    :lmao::rotfl:

    :worship:


    I literally (I'm not kidding) had to stop reading, I was laughing so hard.

    “There was a mosquito on your face,” Julie said.
    No there wasn't. But you brought them there... so it's your fault.

    We slumped in our seats, drained (literally).
    Nicely done.

    “No! Don’t open the doors!” Julie shouted. She fished around in the front seat and came up with an empty Chick Fil-A soda cup. She passed it back to Sarah, who held it in place while Drew re-filled the cup. Julie grabbed the cup from Sarah, slid down her window barely enough for an opening, and dumped it out before raising the window again in one smooth motion.
    :laughing: Problem solved!

    Yeah? Well, you’ve never been to Flamingo.
    Nice.

    You know, I’m just now realizing that I never did collect on my Dole Whip.
    Robbed! You were robbed!

    Anyway, we’ll cover the rest of our day, with multiple DIS meets.
    Looking forward to it.


    Dang, dude. That may have been some of your best writing.

    :lmao:
     

    Captain_Oblivious

    DIS Dad #257
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2008
    So I might have to come back for a longer reply, but man oh man. I was nearly crying with laughter.
    Well, I'm glad our suffering produced something worthwhile for someone!

    Also, my OCD-Disney-expertness feels the need to point out that Disney World is not, in fact, the happiest place on Earth. Disneyland is. When they built Disney World, they realized they couldn't have two happiest places, so Disney World is officially the "Most Magical" place on Earth.

    Ok I'm done
    Well, Disneyland has Dole Whips, too. Still works.

    Laugh it up, fuzzball.
     

    Captain_Oblivious

    DIS Dad #257
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2008
    Everything can be made better by the addition of a machete.
    Truth. Adding pyrotechnics also works.

    One place I've wanted to go for a long time.




    I think I'll skip it.
    You have chosen...wisely.

    At the very least, just see it on an airboat. That's probably the only way to go.

    Thank goodness we've evolved from this!
    Yes! Those poor kids of days past, suffering like that...

    Yes... I did indeed Google map it.
    Did a skull and crossbones pop up?

    So you brought your MIL, huh?
    :lmao::rotfl2::rotfl:

    Oh. A close second. Blood sucking? Check. Constant buzzing around the ears? Check.
    Nicely done! :rotfl2:

    Oh, no!!! So... no one got any sleep.... No one.
    Pretty much...that was a bad night.

    :laughing: I like the imagery.
    It felt like the stakes were high.

    Didn't get hit in the head quite often enough, huh?
    Or maybe too much.

    Geez. Take 'em to Gatorland. Close enough.
    That's what I was saying. The things we do for our families.

    Nice of your Dad to join you.
    :rotfl2: I would have gladly sent him in my place.

    Baseball cap, of course.
    Uh...right. Just what I was going for.

    That is not fair. Playing to your weakness like that.... unfair.
    Patently unfair.
    Cruel and unusual, too.
    Just wrong. It put me in an impossible situation.

    The last shot of them smiling that day.
    :lmao: Pretty much!

    Huh. That's actually pretty cool.
    I thought so as well.

    :sad2:
    Ruby went through this same phase. What part of "you will die" do they not understand?
    There are some times when you just know it isn't going to work, and yet you're not allowed to say so.

    :sad2:

    They feed on everything.
    The Everglades mosquitoes are by far the worst I have ever encountered on the planet. It's not even close.

    On a personal level, I suppose that's worse.... for you.
    On the plus side, I made the save.

    Snakes ate 'em all.
    But where were the snakes?

    Um..... okay, then.
    Well, it's called the River of Grass. That's pretty much what you get.

    I toldja. Snakes ate 'em all.
    Snakes are mere child's play.

    No way!!! Nice!!!!


    So...... think carefully now..... worth it?
    Oh, man. Another impossible situation!

    I mean, you don't often get to see manatees in the wild. Even if you know a good place to find them.

    But the mosquitoes were so awful. And yet, that gave me a really good story...

    I'm going to say...yes.

    How long did that last, exactly?
    3 seconds.

    Okay.... just as likely as the snakes.
    Much more likely! These things are killers!

    Oh boy! Here it comes!!!


    er... I mean... oh no.
    :sad2:

    Yesss!


    er... I mean... oh dear.
    :sad2:

    :lmao::rotfl:

    :worship:


    I literally (I'm not kidding) had to stop reading, I was laughing so hard.
    Wow, that's high praise! Thank you!

    I showed this chapter to Julie and she said, "You know what my favorite part was? The stupid little throwaway Swedish thing." So clearly that struck a nerve!

    No there wasn't. But you brought them there... so it's your fault.
    Everything is my fault. I'm the husband.

    :laughing: Problem solved!
    It was either that or get back out of the van...and we weren't getting out of the van.

    Robbed! You were robbed!
    I was! All that suffering, and I didn't get any satisfaction.

    Looking forward to it.


    Dang, dude. That may have been some of your best writing.
    Thank you! I really appreciate that. Obviously, I had a lot of inspiration to work with given the events of the day.
     
  • pkondz

    . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky
    Joined
    Mar 9, 2007
    Truth. Adding pyrotechnics also works.
    Picture this...

    A man wielding a machete throws it at the escaping helicopter causing it to burst into flames.

    Best movie scene ever?

    You have chosen...wisely.

    At the very least, just see it on an airboat. That's probably the only way to go.
    That big fan helps blow the skeeters away, huh?

    Did a skull and crossbones pop up?
    Ah. So you've Googled it too.

    Pretty much...that was a bad night.
    Just... no. one mosquito in the room will drive you insane...

    Uh...right. Just what I was going for.
    Thought so.

    There are some times when you just know it isn't going to work, and yet you're not allowed to say so.
    Correct.

    The Everglades mosquitoes are by far the worst I have ever encountered on the planet. It's not even close.
    I wonder. North Ontario is said to be bad... and the blackflies in North Ontario and Northern Manitoba are no joke. Hmmm...


    Is it weird that I almost want to go, just to compare?????

    On the plus side, I made the save.
    ::yes::

    But where were the snakes?
    Dude. They're predators. They hide really well... until you turn your back.

    Well, it's called the River of Grass. That's pretty much what you get.
    It is? Huh.

    Oh, man. Another impossible situation!

    I mean, you don't often get to see manatees in the wild. Even if you know a good place to find them.

    But the mosquitoes were so awful. And yet, that gave me a really good story...

    I'm going to say...yes.
    Thought so.

    I see your good place and raise you this.

    Wow, that's high praise! Thank you!

    I showed this chapter to Julie and she said, "You know what my favorite part was? The stupid little throwaway Swedish thing." So clearly that struck a nerve!
    I will tell you a true story.
    I was reading at work... I was greatly enjoying and smiling and nodding and...

    I came to that...

    A casual observer would have noticed that my head had dropped down to the desk and my shoulders were shaking.
    I was really trying not to laugh out loud.

    Everything is my fault. I'm the husband.
    Also correct.

    Thank you! I really appreciate that. Obviously, I had a lot of inspiration to work with given the events of the day.
    ::yes::
     

    FreezinRafiki

    Cold enough for ya?
    Joined
    Apr 16, 2009
    .


    The kids and I bolted down the stairs, out the door, and across the parking lot. We didn’t look back. Usain Bolt couldn’t have covered that ground any faster than we did. I had the keys out of my pocket, hitting the locks before we got to the van. The four of us jumped inside and shut the van up tight. So far, it was a clean, precise, clinical exfiltration. I started up the van and began to drive over to the visitor center.
    Your story is 100% believable. I can tell because if it were made up, you would have slid over the hood of your van, Bo Duke-style. Ergo, your entire story must be true. Verbatim.
     

    Captain_Oblivious

    DIS Dad #257
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2008
    Picture this...

    A man wielding a machete throws it at the escaping helicopter causing it to burst into flames.

    Best movie scene ever?
    That would be up there. I'd be buying a ticket, for sure.

    That big fan helps blow the skeeters away, huh?
    I can only think it would help. It might be your only shot of having fun while touring the Everglades.

    Ah. So you've Googled it too.
    ::yes::

    Just... no. one mosquito in the room will drive you insane...
    I recall having doubts that we were going to make it through the night there. Couldn't believe my parents were making us stay!

    I wonder. North Ontario is said to be bad... and the blackflies in North Ontario and Northern Manitoba are no joke. Hmmm...


    Is it weird that I almost want to go, just to compare?????
    Yes. That's very weird.

    I've heard Alaska can be really bad, too. I might even need more than Essential Oils.

    Dude. They're predators. They hide really well... until you turn your back.
    I still think the mosquitoes got them, too.

    It is? Huh.
    Well, that's what CJ called it. And he lives there.

    That gave me a broken link. Sorry.

    I will tell you a true story.
    I was reading at work... I was greatly enjoying and smiling and nodding and...

    I came to that...

    A casual observer would have noticed that my head had dropped down to the desk and my shoulders were shaking.
    I was really trying not to laugh out loud.
    This makes me very happy. Thanks. :goodvibes

    Following along! This epic!
    :welcome: aboard!

    Your story is 100% believable. I can tell because if it were made up, you would have slid over the hood of your van, Bo Duke-style. Ergo, your entire story must be true. Verbatim.
    Scotty was the one who did that. I tried, banged my knee, and snapped the windshield wiper off.
     

    pkondz

    . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky
    Joined
    Mar 9, 2007
    That would be up there. I'd be buying a ticket, for sure.
    How could you not?

    I can only think it would help. It might be your only shot of having fun while touring the Everglades.
    That and a leaf blower.

    I recall having doubts that we were going to make it through the night there. Couldn't believe my parents were making us stay!
    I wonder if anyone has ever died from blood loss from mosquitoes? Is that even possible?

    Yes. That's very weird.
    I don't wanna do it that bad.

    I've heard Alaska can be really bad, too. I might even need more than Essential Oils.
    :rolleyes2

    Well, that's what CJ called it. And he lives there.
    Then he should know.

    That gave me a broken link. Sorry.
    Try this one.
     

    Steppesister

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 27, 2013
    I did not multi quote because I was instantly sucked up into what is hands down the best writing I've seen here in quite a while. Thank you for a very lovely little while of time well spent reading! Very, VERY well done, Mark.

    The "Whoa" made me literally laugh out loud. Masterful!

    I wanted to see a manatee so badly when I was in the Keys and even went out kayaking to do it. Never did. I'm envious!!!
     

    Captain_Oblivious

    DIS Dad #257
    Joined
    Nov 10, 2008
    Again, this is 100% believable.
    I knew you would back me up.

    That and a leaf blower.
    Give me the airboat. I don't want to take any chances.

    I wonder if anyone has ever died from blood loss from mosquitoes? Is that even possible?
    I would have said no, until I traveled to the Everglades.

    I don't wanna do it that bad.
    Whew. I was starting to worry about you.

    Airboats AND manatees? This looks wonderful!

    I did not multi quote because I was instantly sucked up into what is hands down the best writing I've seen here in quite a while. Thank you for a very lovely little while of time well spent reading! Very, VERY well done, Mark.

    The "Whoa" made me literally laugh out loud. Masterful!
    Thank you so much, Liesa! That's really high praise. I'm thrilled that you enjoyed it so much! I think we were all laughing about it, even at the time, because we knew this was going to be a great story for the rest of our lives.

    I wanted to see a manatee so badly when I was in the Keys and even went out kayaking to do it. Never did. I'm envious!!!
    This was just a stroke of good fortune. It definitely redeemed the time we spent there!
     

    pkondz

    . . Dis Dad #797 . . Hoping to get lucky
    Joined
    Mar 9, 2007

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