It was a case of the Girl Who Cried Barf — but, as usual, I start ahead of myself. Rewind: We were in the final stages of a vacation, the best ever. Our condo was 28 stories above the Boardwalk, with an incredible view of the ocean and the shoreline. We spent beach time every day.
There was a 40-inch high-def TV and more cable channels than you could count. These were luxuries, compared with home.
We managed to get through seven days without any major meltdowns (tantrums by the 6-year-old don’t count).
We dined at buffets (twice). We went to Steel Pier and the Ripley Museum. We shopped the outlets. We played Glow-Golf. We walked until our soles ached.
Perhaps best of all, the municipality set up its July 4 fireworks display on the beach below us.
Fireworks viewed from the 28th floor, almost close enough to touch. We sat on the cool, wide granite ledges, close enough to put our noses against the window. In fact, I spied what appeared to be several nose smudges matching the young one’s height.
OK, OK. No more vacation talk. At least you’re not sitting through six racks of slides. “And here we are standing in front of … that’s where Billy was crying about missing McDonald’s.”
It’s time to leave our Valhalla on the Boardwalk. I head to the parking garage to get the wife’s 2012 Ford, where it’s been gathering dust since our arrival.
Backing out, tight next to one of those massive concrete columns. “Man, look at all those scrape marks,” I’m thinking to myself.
Ooops. Scrape. Crash. Tinkle.
I have backed the driver’s side rear-view mirror into the column. The assembly survived, but the mirror was spider-webbed with cracks.
You ever see those old Lockhorns cartoons where the wife comes home and tells the husband she dented the fender because a flock of geese pooped on the car?
She took it with remarkable calm. It doesn’t hurt to remind her you didn’t do it on purpose.
By now you’re wondering, “”So where’s the barf, windbag?”
We’re on the way home. Young one begins complaining that her tummy hurt, which is not an unusual complaint coming from her. Like every time the little hypochondriac climbs in the car.
“I’m going to get sick.”
Have some birch beer. The Native Americans made cures from birch bark or root.
“I’m going to throw up.”
Have a mint. It’ll help.
“I’m going to throw up.”
I’ve heard this threat a million times. It’s as hollow as Donald Trump’s cash box.
You’re not going to throw up, I say.
Wow. I’ve never heard someone throw up so quietly. We didn’t know it actually had happened until she began to cry.
Pull over on one of the most insane roadways ever. I hope passing traffic doesn’t hit what’s left of the rear-view mirror.
Scrape. Passenger side door roughly kisses the concrete barrier. uh oh.
Clean-up. My bag of pretzel nuggets is dumped and serves as a trash bag. The kid actually did a great job of centralizing the damage.
Ten minutes later.
“I feel like I’m going to throw up again.”
Another risky pullover. Wait. Not even a dry heave.
I need air, she says. We roll down all the windows (ever notice how we still use that quaint little term?)
Back on the road.
Home. We walk in. It’s stifling. The cats eye us with practiced indifference.
The ancient central air has failed. As in dead in the water. As in Fourth of July weekend and a stifling heat wave.
We did learn one thing on the way home, though.
We’re going to start packing a barf bag in the back seat.