Thursday, December 10, 2009
I Heart Andy Williams
With Andy Williams. . .a cardboard version, anyway.
OK, I've left you dangling for a horribly long time. I'm so sorry. Since I last saw you, I have: kept up with (sort of) my regular client work; worked at my mountain job twice; worked four days at the World Cup ski races in Beaver Creek; watched my computer succomb to a virus and go off to someone to fix it; cleaned the house; enjoyed spending time with Eamonn's sister who arrived Monday during a snowstorm in which we received a foot of snow; cut down a Christmas tree (OK, I didn't actually cut it myself--Eamonn did that); decorated the house for Christmas (and the tree); and I don't know what else. I felt like I would never get to blog again. But at last, photos are uploaded and I'm ready to write. I actually have to go get the kids in 15 minutes, so we'll see how much I get written.
So. Andy Williams. I love him more than ever.
Here's the long version. . .
The drive from Colorado to Branson is a pretty hefty one and I didn't realize how hefty until we were driving across Kansas for what seemed like three weeks. Did that state grow between now and 2006 when we last came across it? It was really only a day, but it was like being in the Twilight Zone--The State That Never Ends. And let's be honest here--there's not a whole heck of a lot to look at along I-70 in Kansas. Although that windmill farm was pretty cool.
The last time Eamonn and I went to Branson, it was a whirlwind trip. We drove in at dusk, spent the next day there and then left at dawn the following morning, so we didn't see a whole lot. The Branson Effect was lost on me. Not so, this time. Holy cow. There is a lot of stuff there. I think it's what Vegas might be like with a slightly older (and heavier) target market. And, just a word about heavier: you've got to love a state where I am amongst the thinnest people there. No lie. And may I remind you, that's saying something. I felt positively svelte the whole time we were there. I plan to go back every year to boost my self-esteem when I belly up to the all-you-can eat buffets. Which I didn't feel so good about when I saw some kid sneeze on it at breakfast. Suffice it to say, we didn't make any return trips through the breakfast buffet that morning, but it does make you wonder, how often that happens. It makes me wonder at least. Because I'm sick like that.
Branson was, of course, very crowded. We nearly missed our exit twice because we were waving at the Andy Williams billboards along the interstate. The billboards feature the dates of Andy's shows and have the same picture of him in a different sweater on each sign. So Finn was constantly calling out, "Andy in a white sweater!" or "Andy in a red sweater!"
The big excitement of the trip was my Dad flying in from Florida to surprise us. I had been hoping he would come, but he said his work schedule wouldn't allow for it. But then he decided the day prior to when he absolutely needed to leave to get there that he would just go anyway and he was hiding out at our hotel when we arrived. He came into our room while we were unloading the car and I had one of those moments where you know what you're seeing, but your brain doesn't register it so I stood there catching flies while the boys shouted, "Hi, Grandpa!" like it was no surprise to them that Grandpa should just turn up in Branson any old day of the week.
My Mom had planned to meet us all along so we had a fun few days of the boys having both grandparents all to themselves.
We arrived on Wednesday night. The boys went straight to the pool. Eamonn swam with them. I sat in a chair and read Diana Gabaldon's new book and then Twilight. It was to be a recurring theme on the trip (and now that we are home, I can't get a single thing done, including finishing this post because I cannot tear myself away from the Twilight Saga. I've finsihed Twilight and New Moon, started Eclipse, watched Twilight twice and am going to see New Moon. I stayed up until 1 a.m. two nights in a row watching that darn movie and oogling Robert Pattinson like a lovesick teenager. It's depressing to realize I could be his MOTHER. Anyway, perhaps another few reasons about why this post is so long in coming. And why you may not hear from me again until 2010).
That brings us to Thanksgiving Day. What else would you do other than drive go-karts in Branson, Missouri? Another recurring theme.
We ate Thanksgiving dinner at Andy's Moon River Grill. Excellent food that Andy says is made according to his mother's actual recipes. The hostess was rude, but we'll overlook that.
And then it was off to the show. There is a lot, and I do mean A LOT, of tacky stuff in Branson. Andy's theater is not one of them. It is really lovely and the walls in the lobby are decorated with pictures from his television show. It's fun to see all of the famous people he's worked with over the years.
The show. Ah, the show. So good. I hope I'm still tap dancing when I'm nearly 82. Of course, I don't actually tap dance now, so I'll need to work on that. Andy's Christmas Show is a throwback to his variety television shows and Christmas specials of the 60s and 70s. In addition to him singing some of his classic Christmas songs, he has a group of dancers/singers who join him onstage. And then he also has additional acts, usually dancers and singers, who perform in between his own "sets." This year he had a Russian couple who danced and the woman somehow changed her costume at least six times during the routine. The man would swirl a cape in front of her or sprinkle confetti on her and suddenly her outfit would be completely different. The boys loved that part. There was also a dance routine that looked like a couple dancing together and they would perform these amazing leaps and twirls and acroatic moves. In the end, it turned out that under the costume was one guy bent over, dressed to look like two people dancing. Very fun also. Then Andy performed with these four sisters and they did the Do Re Mi song from Sound of Music. This was when he tap danced with them. Finally, Andy had this guy on who impersonated all of the "old" guys--Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr. . .Andy Williams. He was hilariously excellent, especially when he was staggering around the stage like Dean Martin.
Now, for those of you who asked, I didn't get to meet Andy. Apparently my Dad had written to Andy, but so many of his family were visiting, it wasn't possible. So, I am destined to die without meeting Andy Williams. Ah well, I'm still his biggest fan and my Dad told him so in the letter, so at least he knows. If he saw the letter, which may not be the case, but I'm going to pretend it is. It was kind of funny--when my Dad was talking to the people at the theater, they said, "Can she come back next year and meet him?" And I'm thinking probably not because of an incident at the hotel pool one evening. . .
We stayed two nights at a basic (read: cheap) hotel and then for the next two nights, moved to the Lawrence Welk Resort. It had a huge indoor pool with a big, twisty slide that I knew the kids would be so excited about. So on Friday, we moved over there and the kids (and Eamonn) spent hours in the pool. My Mom and I sat and watched, and chit chatted (gossiped), as usual.
One of the features of this indoor waterpark was a giant spigot that you could turn on and off. The water flowed down through this series of platforms and the kids could set up barricades to stop and start the flow of water. Eamonn and the boys were playing with it.
At one point, I heard raised voices and looked over to see a great big guy and his wife standing in front of Eamonn, shouting and poking at his chest with their fingers. Eeek! I dashed over and asked what was going on. The man and woman were flailing their arms around and shouting incoherently, "You can't do that to my kid! I don't know who you think you are!" Blah, blah, blah. What???
So the man walked away and this woman, who had huge fake boobs (yes, I am that petty) and a very bad Jon and Kate Plus 8 haircut, just kept raging at Eamonn. I still wasn't clear about what happened. Finally, Eamonn got a word in: "Are you going to let me explain what happened?" And she replied, "No!" And then kept raging. So I stepped forward and said "Then we're done here." And we turned our backs to her.
Turns out that she had two ill-behaved children who kept turning off the water to the water game the boys were using. Eamonn asked her kids several times to please leave the water on. They refused and at one point, Declan tried to turn the water back on while her kids were holding the wheel. One of the kids ran and told his mother that Declan hit him. The mother jumped up, went over to Finn, who wasn't even involved in all of this, and said, and I quote, "Don't touch my f*ckin' kid."
Declan stepped in front of Finn and said, "He didn't touch him."
Crazy woman: "So you touched my f*ckin' kid?"
At that point, Eamonn realized what was happening. So then she confronted Eamonn and was literally having a freak out in the pool.
Now, I may be crazy, but wouldn't it have been more logical, if your child had told you another child hit them, that you would approach the parent, ask what happened and discuss it like rational adults? Not go and verbally assault someone else's kid? But we actually didn't know about the swearing part until the next day when Declan finally told us what she said.
Anyway, it was a little tense in the pool there for awhile because the Swearers apparently told their version of the story to their other friends who had lots of tatoos, long ZZ Top beards or shaved heads, and looked like they were from a motorcycle gang and/or a neo-Nazi group. If I had known about the swearing then, I'm not sure if I would have approached them or not. Just not sure about that. Because that's just not OK in my book.
Fortunately, we didn't see them again for the duration of our stay.
Dad flew home on Saturday, Eamonn took the boys to see The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Mom and I returned to historic downtown and the Moon River gift shop for one last look.
And, because the Rooneys can't go anywhere without someone getting sick, Finn threw up on Saturday night, which Eamonn then came down with on Sunday night when we were in a hotel on the eastern Colorado plains. Truly, I thought we'd have to remain trapped there for a day or so, but he gamely got in the car and I drove the rest of the way home. It can't have been pleasant, so my hat is off to him for his bravery over the mountain roads. And I'm also grateful he didn't hurl in the car. There's nothing worse than hurling INSIDE the car.
And that drive across the plains that seemed hefty before? Nothing compared to when you've got a stomach virus, I'd imagine.
You can see a pictorial of our Branson adventure HERE.
I'll be back in a few days with more pictures from our Christmas tree chopping adventure and a holiday construction project gracing our foyer. It's what every woman wants for Christmas.