Home Again

The monsters had a blast.  Mom and Dad are broke and exhausted.

Oh, it wasn’t that bad.  It just always costs more than I had planned, and Branson is sooooo expensive!

We decided to somewhat splurge on the hotel and then at most, allow one show.  We carefully picked a hotel with an indoor pool and a full kitchen, thinking we could eat most of our meals at home.  We stopped at Wal-Mart soon after hitting town and stocked up on frozen pizzas, pop, yogurt, cereal, fruit, bagels, etc.  That was probably the smartest thing we did, because each time the monsters got out of the pool, they fell on the food like a pack of STARVING wolves.

The hotel itself scored high on a few items, but not so high on others.  Indoor pool – score.  Master bed – sucked.  Literally, we were both stiff and sore each morning and I’m exhausted.  The mattress was a slab of marble, and the pillow, a pancake.  The master jacuzzi (macuzzi, as the monsters call it) – score.  All of us tried it out, and it was big enough for me plus two monsters at once.  Indoor pool – score.  Only catch, we had to walk outdoors 70 yards or so to reach it, but it really wasn’t bad until we were wet and had to rush back to the hotel to change.  (Remember, it was cold enough they were calling for snow.)  Wi-Fi – sucked.  As advertized, the hotel did have Wi-Fi — but not in the rooms.  I had to go downstairs to the basement “lounge” which I never had time to do.

Other than the beds, I would stay there again.  We had a nice balcony off the master — but couldn’t use it because it was too cold.  It had a lovely view of the covered outdoor pool and the wintered grounds.

The trout fish hatchery was cool (and free!) – except it was sooo cold and wet Saturday.  Our hands were frozen but that didn’t stop us from feeding the fish.  The Table Rock Lake dam was cool, and we made the big loop Saturday afternoon through the Ozark mountains and lakes.  There were red buds in bloom – gorgeous.  However, it was too cold to take any of the trails from the lookout points.

We splurged on one nice dinner out, a sort of tradition the few times we’ve gone to Branson.  Landry’s Seafood is That Man’s favorite place to eat (even though Famous Dave’s BBQ finally came to the Branson Landing).  However, it was extremely expensive, and not that good this time.  The kids’ meals were ridiculously overpriced.  That Man was happy with his food, but I ordered the (hopefully) healthier broiled platter, and ended up eating 2 shrimp, 2 scallops, and a tiny bit of the tilapia that was fried, not broiled, and tasted like muddy catfish.

Saturday night we decided to do one show.  It was between the Acrobats of China and Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede.  Of course, horse-loving Middle Monster was dying to see the “Dancing Ste-pee” as she called it.  They do have the stables open to the public so you can meet the horses, and she went on and on about Nico the gorgeous black Fresian and Midnight, a smoky gray quarter horse.  She dragged us there three times to see the horses, and since that part was free…. We went.  However, the show itself is probably the most expensive show in town because it includes dinner.  We went back and forth, and finally decided to do the Stampede.

We had such a blast.  Middle Monster was riveted from the first horse’s appearance.  The only one who didn’t have the best time was Littlest Monster, who cried at one point because it was too loud.  It didn’t help that Mom was cheering loudly at the time.  (I can have a big voice when I need to.)  The show is loosely based on the Civil War, and we were on the North side.  So each time the gray soldiers galloped by, we were supposed to boo.  It’s a very interactive show, and I missed parts because we were eating DURING the show and one monster or the other had a question or needed help.  They served a massive amount of food – score.  No silverware – sucked.  Try three monsters eating their cornish hen and “drinking” their soup with no silverware.  Ugh.

Anyway, it really was fun.  We were parked in the next to last row (we’d gotten there too early – so Middle Monster could meet the horses again – and the previous show hadn’t let out yet, so the lot was full).  We expected to be stuck in traffic forever.  However, by the time we all hit the potty again and stopped at the gift shop (Mom and Dad are such suckers), the lot was mostly empty and we had no problems exiting. 

[Aside:  back in the “good old days,” exiting a Branson show was a nightmare.  There was only one major road through downtown, called “the strip”, and shows lined up and down steep hills.  All the shows got out at the same time, and all traffic had to pass through the strip to get to the camping areas, Shepherd of the Hills, and Silver Dollar City.  Talk about nightmare!!!  As a kid, I remember sitting in the car (no air conditioning in July) in front of the same show trying to get out of town for 45 minutes without our car moving an inch.]

We had to be out at 10 this morning.  The monsters were hoping to swim one more time, but we just couldn’t fit it in.  They’d swum about 3 hours Friday night, and 1 hour Sat. night.  We’d planned to stop at a “Chuck E Cheese” sort of nightmare place, but it had gone out of business.  (Thank God.)  We stopped at a nature thing on the way home, threw a few rocks in the creek, and finally hit home.

Within 10 min. of unloading the car, we had company and I blew more money on a really good cause.  (Aunt BB and Uncle J have started a new home business to fund an adoption.  I just hope I’m not allergic to the essential oils we bought.  Most perfumes close off my throat and make me sneeze like crazy.)  By the time we did dinner, got the monsters’ baths done, etc. we’re both collapsed on the couch and trying really hard to not see the mountain of laundry waiting in the next room.

Only book I successfully finished was Desire Unchained, which I loved.  We had too many monster-driven activities for me to read as much as I hoped.

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