Salvaging the Day

In Family, Life Lessons, Pursuit of Happiness on June 28, 2010 at 7:59 am

The kids were looking forward to spending the day at a waterpark and sleeping in a hotel room after traveling two-and-a-half hours to tour a time share resort.  My wife and I had no intention of buying a time share, but we were willing to sacrifice 90 minutes for a gift card, free waterpark passes and a certificate for a 2-night stay at Great Wolf Lodge at a later date.  We had no way of knowing that the presentation would end so badly, or that the waterpark would turn out to be a huge disappointment.

The waterpark (located at the resort) was billed as an “indoor / outdoor facility” with a retractable roof.  As we entered the building, my wife and I were shocked to see that the roof was closed on a hot, sunny day.  If they thought that it was too hot, I would have understood, as long as the building was air conditioned, but it was not.  Quite the contrary!  The glass building felt like a greenhouse.  The heat was stifling, and the smell of chlorine and sweat permeated the air.  To make matters worse, there was almost no seating available.

Regretfully, we had to tell the kids that our time spent in the car, and the time wasted at the presentation (a post for another day), was all for naught.  There was no way that we were going to stay at the waterpark under those conditions, and there was certainly no reason to stay in a hotel in an area that offered nothing of interest to us beyond the waterpark.  And while the future stay at Great Wolf Lodge is something that the kids will undoubtedly enjoy, it wasn’t going to do anything to quell their disappointment in the change of plans.

After taking away something that they were looking forward to, I knew that I needed to do something to salvage the day, so I decided to take the money that we were saving from the hotel and spend it in a way that they would appreciate.

Before hitting the road for our return trip home, we took the kids out for pizza to discuss our alternative plans.  Thankfully, the negotiations with the kids went much smoother than the horrific sales presentation that my wife and I had sat through prior to our lunch.

I started by offering to take the kids to a place by our house that has water slides.  When I saw that they were only lukewarm to the idea, I offered to take them to a store to allow them to buy some new pool toys that we could bring to the pool in our complex.  Again, the response was less than exuberant, so I knew that I’d have to up the ante a bit to bring a smile to their faces.  I also knew that one thing probably would get the job done, so I went with a multi-pronged attack aimed at their “hot buttons.”

Our first stop on the way home was at the bookstore that we go to on a weekly basis.  Since our home is already a virtual library for kids, we usually do not buy books when we go to the bookstore.  But I told them that I would allow each of them to buy any two books that they wanted because we weren’t staying at the waterpark or the hotel.

As the smiles started to come back to their faces, I told them that we could have dinner at McDonald’s, followed by ice cream at a local place that they love, and then go to the pool in our complex until it got dark out.  By the time that I had laid all of these options on the table, the kids were more excited than ever.  Suddenly, the long car ride, the annoying presentation, the disappointing waterpark and the lack of a hotel stay didn’t bother them at all.  In fact, they were more excited about the new plans than they ever were about the original plans.  Their smiling faces would have been more than enough for me, but the jubilation in their voices made it even better as they excitedly shrieked…“thank you Daddy, thank you Mommy, you’re the best!”

All told, we ended up spending about half of what we would have had we stayed at the waterpark and the hotel, and the kids ending up having a great day just the same.  As the saying goes…“when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” Instead of looking back on Saturday with disappointment and frustration, I’ll remember it as a day that we (as a family) collectively shared a refreshing, ice-cold glass of lemonade.

As Edwin McCain sang so eloquently…“these are the moments…I’ll remember all my life.”

  1. Years ago an ex-boyfriend and I went to one of them we no intention of buying just wanted free passes to Universal Studios.

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