I had a great idea for Thanksgiving this year. Not only would I be able to take a vacation for a few days, it would be our first “empty nest” Thanksgiving. So Donny and I rented a beach house in Panama City for a week, big enough for us, our three sons, their ladies and my parents. I had a party in my head with happy thoughts of sitting around with my family, relaxing and reminiscing about the good old days. We could play charades and Trivial Pursuit. Well, that wasn’t reality and I should have known better.
Instead, I found myself arguing with the boys about the matching Christmas sweaters we would wear for our annual family picture. Of course, the only day all of us would be together at just the right time for sunset on the pier was a very short time span. I prayed for good weather and sunlight! God answered, because that day happened to be the hottest day of the week. The weather in Florida was beautiful, temperature in the high 70’s, and we went to the beach wearing our matching Christmas sweaters. My daughter-in-law and I bought the sweaters the year before on Black Friday just for this our yearly Thrasher Christmas pictures. Around us people were sunning in bikinis and kids were swimming in the warm ocean.
But that was not going to stop the Thrasher family! We had already walked past all of the restaurants with people gawking at our matching sweaters, laughing and pointing at us as we walked down the boardwalk in our ugly Christmas sweaters;.but we proudly paid to get on the pier and had our pictures taken. I’m not entirely sure how it will look this year, as the boys were sweating and I, of course, was hot flashing. I think the one with Noah being thrown over the pier is the winner for the Christmas cards…we really didn’t throw him…but we did all think about it!
After the picture ordeal, I asked 19-year-old Noah to drive me in his car to pick up a few things at the grocery store. While on the way, I smelled something really fishy (not the normal beach smell) and wondered if Noah had a dead body in the trunk. “What in the world is that terrible smell?” I asked.
“What smell?” Noah was clueless!
When we stopped at the grocery store, I did some detective work and found several pairs of Noah’s soccer shoes in the trunk. So that’s where the smell was coming from! Looking deeper into the trunk, which was filled to capacity with dirty laundry, I thought, “What have I done? Where did I go wrong?”
When Noah and I returned to the beach house, I decided to look in the car of my other son, 22-year-old Zach. It was worse than Noah’s! Zach had dirty clothes, candy, cups, shoes, deodorant, and towels-not-clean. It appeared that Zach had been living in his car.
I immediately made a command decision and told the boys, “clear everything out of your cars. You are taking them right now to be vacuumed and washed.”
I looked in the local phone book and called a car wash place and talked to the person who answered the phone. I could hardly understand her, but from what I understood she said, “bring in cars and my brother give good price.”
I instructed the boys to talk the car wash people down on price. “Don’t pay more than $40 a car.” Knowing how much the cars smelled and how dirty they were, I hoped that would be enough.
The boys had been gone about 30 minutes when my phone rang. It was Zach. “They wouldn’t give us a price because the ‘brother’ wasn’t there, so we left the cars. They said, ‘just pay when pick up.’”
“WHAT?” I yelled. “Weren’t their prices displayed somewhere so you had an idea?”
Zach replied, “all I saw was $140 for a detail and that is what we told them to do; but they said they would give us a good deal since we had two cars.”
“Turn around right now and go get your cars. I can’t afford $280 for a car wash!” Where oh where did I go wrong raising these two sweet boys?
When Zach and Noah returned to the car wash, Zach called again. “They’re already working on Noah’s.”
And then the haggling began while I was on the phone. Finally Noah got the man down to $65 for both cars. Noah is a lot like me and won’t take no for an answer. Why does a simple trip to the car wash have to be so complicated?
After that fiasco was finally over, I ended up with five extra loads of laundry. So I’ve been doing my sons’ laundry ever since they arrived at the beach house. I guess they don’t have washing machines at college and they save it all for me when they come home.
My relaxed and lovely vacation at the beach turned out to be anything but. Even so, on Thanksgiving I still thanked God for His goodness and abundant blessings and for my very loving, but somewhat dysfunctional family.