It was fun receiving the postcards and viewing the Facebook posts of people who were able to “get away from it all” during the nine days in April affectionately known as spring break.
Whether sunning in Mexico, sand castle-building at Myrtle Beach, or standing in line for rides in Orlando, everyone appeared to be having the time of his/her life spending time and money in parts other than Michigan. If I hadn’t been so busy working, I might have found the time to be envious.
“Let me guess, we won’t be going anywhere again,” my son observed the week before our traditional spring non-break. “So what’s this year’s excuse for not vacationing? Money, time, catastrophic illness or transportation?”
“I came up with something new,” I informed. “We can’t vacation because I’m starting a new job after spring break and I’ve got to work more this next week to close out the job I am leaving.”
“Sure, likely reason,” his smile said. “I’d at least hoped we’d go to Elkhart to CiCi’s Pizza, like we did last year.”
There’s something pathetic about your kids’ favorite memory of spring break centering around a half-day trip to a chain eatery, where the only line that got crossed was the one separating Michigan from Indiana. Hard to top, unless maybe we drove to Ohio to pick up some Yuengling brew. We’d say it was a homeschooling field trip following studying the “Bring Yuengling to Michigan” community on Facebook.
No, I’d need to come up with something better. And that’s exactly what I did while visiting our dentist the first weekday of spring break.
“Guess what?!” I quizzed my daughter while her mouth was still numb. “We’re doing a unique version of a vacation this week.” She regarded skeptically and said she knew what I was about to say. “You’re going to have us stay home and call it a ‘staycation’ instead of vacation.”
“Nope. I’m sending you and your brother on a couch potato trip of sorts where you get to color outside of the nutritional lines all week long. I’m calling it a ‘decaytion’ because I intend to let you eat whatever kind of junk food you want – this week only. Rotten stuff to rot more of your teeth!”
“Really?! You can’t mean it,” she said, her eyes welling up with tears of joy. “We get a steady diet of crap all week? You’re the best bad mom!” Then she spontaneously threw her arms around me.
Together, we compiled a list of normally “no-no” foods as I drove to one of the largest chain supermarkets, to stock up on typically taboo foods of the processed, overly-sugared and -salted, fat-saturated, gluten-laden, caffeine-contaminated and nutritionally-shallow variety.
By the time we finished, we looked like a couple of Little Debbie debutantes, our cart piled high with low-life junk: multiple varieties of Pringles, Heath Klondike bars, crispy crunch ice cream bars, two flavors of ice cream, nutty bars, Cheez-Its, candy bars, Hot Tamales, cold fried chicken, chicken fingers, hot wings and Tator Tots! For breakfast, I bought some of the gooiest, cream-filled, chocolate-covered sweet rolls and a bottle of spray whipped cream to swallow straight from the can.
All this was topped off with two-liter bottles of highly-caffeinated blue, red and orange Mt. Dew, and a 12-pack of sickeningly sweet cherry Pepsi. I couldn’t have done more nutritional damage if I had erected a gingerbread house in the back yard. And it was only Monday!
The kids spent all day Tuesday eating like there was no tomorrow. There shouldn’t have been, given those empty calories. But by Wednesday the novelty of a steady diet of junk food was losing its lustre.
“I’ll trade you some of your bagel for a sticky bun,” my daughter offered me that morning. Later, I caught her brother feverishly brushing his teeth to rid them of the sugar he said he could feel seeping into cracks and crevices. On Thursday, I caught them snacking on apples and sneaking rice cakes. By Friday, they asked me to cook something from scratch and to include a vegetable with the meal.
Dear friends: our decaytion turned into something to write home about!