I took a week off to drive to Alabama to see my brother in law and his family. It was interesting to say the least. Clifford, a.k.a. El Cunado, is quite a good cook and so I abandoned any thoughts of eating healthy while residing at his home base. That is not just a saying, he lives on an Army base and I must say I don’t care for it.


We drove eleven hours only to park a few blocks from the base where we waited for El Cunado to come and drive us into the fortress, because I do not have an Army ID. Once on base things got worse because the speed limit was an average of about 20 MPH and I was told repeatedly that a mile over the limit would get me into trouble. You can’t set your cruise control to 20 MPH, it is maddening and takes a lot of concentration to drive that slow. Also I was warned against pulling into the base gas station the wrong way, I couldn’t leave the base because I could not get back in and while I could go to the stores on base I was not allowed to purchase anything without a chaperone that had an ID. So basically I was never by myself.


I grew up as an only child, my brother and sister lived with my father, and as such I spent a lot of time alone and now as an adult If I don’t get some alone time every now and again I start to lose my mind a bit.


I began to get claustrophobic after the first day on base and was finally taken to get my very own ID on day two so that I could leave the base and get back in. Crisis averted.


Before we left I was told that we were going to drive two hours to Florida every day and go to the beach. This sounded like a threat to me but I went along and tried not to take it personally. As it turns out we only went once thanks to the magic of aerosol sunblock. I don’t trust regular sunblock so when my wife started spraying me with with sunblock from a can I dug through my grandson’s diaper bag and found his tube sunblock, which I applied myself.


All the adults got terrible sunburns, everyone except me. However, I applied the sunblock myself so I could not reach most of my back so I got a weird splotchy sunburn, but the good news is that I didn’t have to go to the beach.


On the third day we went to a giant flea market where I tried the Alabama delicacy of boiled peanuts. Almost every store and gas station advertised their boiled peanuts. My curiosity finally got the best of me at the flea market where they were giving out free samples. I reached in and pulled one out. I know they are called “boiled peanuts” but for some reason I was surprised that they were wet. I think this started out as a dare. Boiling nuts is a crime against humanity and needs to be stopped. It tasted like a wet, gritty, burnt, pinto bean. I’m not a fan.


Claustrophobia, sunburns and peanuts aside It was a great family vacation and I enjoyed spending time with family but If I never see another air mattress as long as I live it will be too soon.