Road trip day two: Four crazy red-headed boys and a boat

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After the long journey the night before, I thought my boys would be tired. I thought there just might be a chance they’d sleep in. (I know, who am I kidding?)

However, no luck there. Mama just wanted a few hours of shut-eye, but the boys were super excited to see their cousins who are also the same age.

At 6 a.m. my sister, who also made the drive in to our parents’ house, had fun dealing with four rambunctious boys all chasing each other and seeing who could come up with the best bodily function comments. (I swear that my sister and I teach our kids manners!)

After wrangling them all in and getting them fed, my sister and I decided that we wanted to take our parents on a boat cruise/luncheon in downtown Cleveland – with the all of boys – as a belated Father’s Day celebration and a birthday celebration for my mom.

photo 1Both of my parents have had a rough year battling cancer so we wanted to do something special. We piled them all in a couple of cars and told them they could earn money if they read books the whole way downtown. They did.

We made it downtown, parked and headed toward the boat, The Goodtime 3. On the walk there, though, of course, all the boys started running in different directions! When we began to board the boat with our boys who were being crazy and talking loudly, I noticed that everyone coming for the lunch cruise was either dressed very nicely and probably intended to have a nice lunch date or couple’s day out or were geriatric. I’m talking nursing homes and wheelchairs.

Yep, there we were with four crazy red-headed kids – and then there was everyone else. We saw a few other kids, but not the posse we brought. (We probably looked like a circus with four red-headed boys and two women with reddish tints. My hair is brownish-red/auburn and my sister’s is more of a strawberry blonde.)

Some people gave us looks of disapproval and disgust. Others looked amused. Still others gave us looks that I think might be sympathy. But we were determined to make this a special day out for the grandparents with all the grandkids.

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And then we were off. The boat set sail down the Cuyahoga River and later to Lake Erie. Lunch was being served. We managed to make it through lunch without too much of a scene being made. Success!

After lunch, the kids wanted to go to the top of the boat. But only the very top of the boat would do. I, of course, had to keep my youngest from climbing overboard. I think that rock climbing camp he did a couple of weeks ago must have stuck with him. He apparently though the side of the boat was a rock wall or that he was Spiderman because he kept climbing up the wall, and there wasn’t much of a rail to keep him from falling.

Then my oldest decided he wanted to do the Gangnam Style dance.

My nephews were amused and then began running around and wanting to go to the various levels of the boat. Chaos (chaos for everyone else but just what my sister and I consider a typical day) ensued.

While everyone tried to listen to the recording (apparently budgets have been cut so there’s no live tour guide anymore) of the tour describing buildings and bridges along the river, our boys were creating their own soundtrack.

photo 2I tried to show them some old bridges and talk about them, but it was a lost cause. The only thing that finally caught their attention was when the boat came to a drawbridge that we had to wait until after a train finished passing over it before it could be raised. They, of course, came up with all the scenarios of how we could challenge the small sailboats next to us when the bridge was raised or how cool it would be if the bridge was raised while the train was still on it. At least they were amusing themselves and coming up with creative ideas.

After several minutes, the bridge was finally raised and no trains or other boats were injured in the process, despite all the scenarios our boys created.

We cruised down the river and on Lake Erie for a while and even met Captain American and Wonder Woman who happened to be aboard this ship.

We finally made it back to the docking pier without anyone overboard.

I considered our little trip a success. You’d think the boys would be tired…and they were. There’s no comparison to how mentally exhausted the grownups were from taking out the troops on this vessel, but my folks were happy, so it was all worth it!

P.S. Thanks to the reader who posted this comment from my first road trip day blog post:

Audio books!

For boys that age, try the Brian Jacques (pronounced Jakes, to confuse you) Redwall series. They are full of action, adventure and humor. They are dramatized with multiple voices and a few very enjoyable songs. The book “High Rhulain” has the song “Laddie Buck,” but don’t start there. Start at the beginning of the series with “Redwall” or “Martin the Warrior.”

Try your local library. If they know anything about kids (especially of the boy variety), they will have several Brian Jacques books on CD.

When you reach your destination — “NO, MOM, DON’T TURN IT OFF YET!” — you’ll have to sit and wait till the end of a chapter before getting out of the car. (Or minivan, in your case.) The hours of driving will go by quickly.

We have gone through “Harry Potter” and several other audio books so I appreciate the suggestion! I have another road trip coming up this summer. We’ll be sure to check out this series!