I haven't blogged in a while because I've been on a road trip with my twins (Yay!), mother, grandmother, and brother. I understand this would not normally evoke feelings of terror or dread in most people, but then most of you have never traveled with my mother. I love her dearly, but something dramatically dangerous always happens. ALWAYS! She regularly has near death experiences while on vacation. I have been going on vacations with my mother for quite a few years now and, unfortunately, I can not report that these instances are not fabricated. She is just that accident prone.
This is a list of the top mom near death stories!
1. My mother and I went to Peurto Vallarta when I was 19 with my baby brother, then aged 8, and my friend S, aged 18. One of the days spent in Peurto Vallarta was not overly booked with excursions around the town and we simply swam at the beach. I am a decent swimmer, but this is not because of any advanced training, just native skill. I'm not bragging, I just may have had the most common sense out of our group. That is really not saying much. Trust me. I'm an airhead. Really. Really, really. So we were swimming at the beach and S and I hear my mother screaming for help because they had been caught by the current and were drowning. S and I swam out to my mother and brother. I grabbed my brother, told him to float, and hopped back up to the beach. I looked back, expecting to see my mother and S right behind me, and they had not moved one stinking inch! I swam back out to them and yelled, "What the fuck are you doing!?! Get up to the shore!!!" (I was 19. My cursing is much more advanced now. I was just a beginner then.) They began babbling about the current and not being able to move. I grabbed my mother's hand and lead her on a diagonal to the shore. She lived through that vacation and treated me and S to manicures and facials.
2. My mother and her older sister have a propensity for planning overly adventerous vacations. Never mind that they were both in their mid 50's at the time. Or that they were not in fantastic physical shape earned by vigorous physical exercise, or really, any regular exercise at all. So my mother and aunt planned a vacation so crazy that the two of them could not convince any of their combined four children to tag along on the trip. There was a train trip from Texas to San Francisco. (Which was reason enough for me to refuse the invitation.) There was a stay in a hostel. A bus trip with a bunch of hippies through the Yosemite mountains. The near death experience occurred during a hike through the Yosemites. Mom and auntie went on a hike with another member of the bus trip on a beginner course up into the Yosemite Mountains. This should seem simple enough. Follow the green course markers. Don't leave the trail. Don't give your sister ALL of you bottled water just because she's thirsty after drinking all of her own. Don't give your sister all of your toilet paper after she uses her own roll. Don't tell the other hiker to go on ahead and leave the two of you because you are just holding them back. Really. Neither of them can follow a map on hard paper and have gotten lost in their own major metropolitan cities. My aunt has gone three hours south when trying to visit my mother who lived to the north. These two women who lack any sense of direction at all told the only person with them to leave them. They, naturally, were unable to follow the directional signs for the trail and ended up headed into what they were told was an uncharted part of the Yosemite mountains. My mother by this point ended up dehydrated and having diarrhea, hence the importance of the bottled water and toilet paper. By some miracle, my mother and aunt were found by a couple of very experienced hikers who followed the trail based on a hunch and found two exhausted, dehydrated, and stinking women who needed every ounce of help they had to offer.
My mother told us this story as soon as she got home. She got every bit of the cussing she was expecting and more.
3. When I was 13, my mother, stepfather, and brothers, aged 11 and 2, went skiing in Colorado. I started out the trip aggravated with my mother because she was not putting my 2 year old brother in ski lessons. Olympic skiiers start learning how to ski at age 2. Why couldn't my brother? (The Olympics must have been on, or I don't think I would have possessed this tidbit of knowledge.) So, my 2 year old brother and my mother spent 6 of the 7 days when everyone else went skiing just playing in the snow. (Now that I have children who do not live in mountainous states, I can understand her reasoning, but don't tell her that.) My stepfather watched my baby brother play in the snow one day so that my mother could ski. Before you think my (former) stepfather overly cruel and overbearing, this day was probably day 3 or 4 of the trip. My mother managed to take the beginners course in the morning and ski the bunny slope 2 or 3 times before she had her fall. According to her story, it was really more of a tipping over. She decided the fall hurt enough that she began to scoot down the mountain slope. The snow patrol drove by and picked her up, delivering her to the bottom of the slope on the back of a snow mobile. Mom's nerves were understandably frazzled after the fall, so she refused to try her hand at skiing again, choosing instead to spend the rest of the vacation playing in the snow with my brother.
Fast forward 10 years. Mom has said for years that she has arthritis in her hip. She has a bone scan to check for osteoporosis. Lo and behold, she had a healed fracture in the hip she fell on while skiing.
Not really a death defying story, this one just illustrates my mothers bad luck.
4. My mother and her older sister (you might notice a trend here) went on a road trip to the most haunted hotel in Arkansas. I was (and am) married, so I decided not to go on the trip. My two brothers, probably aged 24 and 15, along with my cousin B, aged 19 or 20, agreed to go on the trip because it sounded fun, but with the stipulation that they could take their own vehicle and not wait for their mothers. My mother and aunt are infamous for their inability to get within 20 miles of the posted speed limit. This is understandably annoying to teenagers and twenty-somethings. So off the brothers and B went, leaving my mother and aunt to slowly make their way into the mountains of Arkansas. (I really just liked the way that sounded. I have no idea where in Arkansas this hotel is located.) My aunt announced somewhere along a mountain pass that she had to go to the restroom. Immediately. Right then. My mother stopped the car. It was a fairly open stretch of highway. They left the car door open to shield my aunt's face from oncoming traffic. My mother, caring soul that she is, turned her back on my aunt and opened her jacket to shield any unsuspecting passers-by from the sight of my aunt's ass. My mother was expecting my aunt to urinate. Who wouldn't announce voiding intentions other that urinating to the sweet person shielding their most private function? My mother was shocked when she got sprayed with diarrhea all over the back of her legs. Her car got sprayed too. My aunt's response: "Oops!"
Just a side note, if I ever am on a road trip with you and you spray the backs of my legs with diarrhea, I will leave you where you stand.
This was more a death from embarrassment story, but belonged with the mother stories.
5. When I was 12, my mother and I went to Big Bend National Park with my 10 year old brother, my older aunt, and my 6 year old cousin, B. Big Bend National Park is in one of the southern most points of the state of Texas, right across the border from Mexico. We all went on a horseback riding adventure, lead by several park rangers. The horseback trip was uneventful enough, at least when it comes to my mother and aunt and their adventures being uneventful. My mother and brother and I had had our fill of my aunt and cousin, so we did as had been reccommended and walked along the trail that went out towards the west from the hotel. I remember it being west because the sun was in our eyes that evening and the glow of the sun across the desert plants. The train was winding. We walked as far as we thought we could and still get back to the hotel with enough daylight to see any snakes or spiders that might be lurking about. Naturally, we misjudged the distance and were rushing to get back to camp with the sun dipping below the horizon. At one point in the winding trail, there was a short cut that skipped a curve and all you had to do was jump down off of a rock. I remember the drop being about two feet. My mother remembers it being four feet. My brother and I made the jump without any problem. My brother demanded my reluctant mother attempt the jump. She attempted. She failed miserably. Mom jumped, rolled, cut her knee, and found herself rolling in horse manure. Her cut knee was caked in horse manure and we had a good 30-45 minute walk back to camp with her limping all the way.
Because nothing just happens to mom without something dire also happening, mom and her manure caked knee turned into Mom with a raging infection requiring antibiotics to heal the knee. She didn't almost die, but what if there had been a snake or tarantula underneath that rock?