He Disagrees, But I Insist — So Of COURSE Disaster Ensues!

He Disagrees But I Insist, So Hilarious Disaster Follows 430x

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So then…he snorts. “The ‘Park After Dark?’ That doesn’t make any sense,” says my husband David, skeptically.

“No, no,” I say. “This will be great! Instead of dragging the kids through the 90 degree heat of the day, we can visit the wild animal park at night, when it’s so much cooler!”

“Amma-mals?” asks toddler Chloe.

“Yes, honey, we’re going to see the animals,” I say.

David scoffs, “Are you sure we’ll ‘see’ them?”

“Yes, yes!” I say, laughing. “I just talked to the park on the phone. The guy said there’s lighting all over the place – and it’s so cool to visit at night!

David raises his eyebrow dubiously – but finally relents.

So we pack up Chloe, age 2; Tucker, age 5; the stroller and supplies, and drive the minivan 2 hours over to the wild animal park, just as darkness descends.

The kids are so excited.

The tickets are $50 each. David is so not excited. “Fifty bucks? Seriously?”

“Yes, it’s the special Park After Dark price.” I say. “It’s even more during the day!”

More?” he says. “Geez, what kind of animals do they have here? Unicorns and dragons?” he says.

“Dragons?” asks Tucker, wide-eyed.

“No, no,” I say quickly, shooting David a look. “No dragons, but lots of cool wild animals – rhinos, hippos, zebras, lions — you’ll love it!”

We board the caravan bus and there’s only one other family on board. And I could swear that husband exchanged an exasperated look with my husband. Like “you got roped into this too, huh?” There may have even been a shared rolling of the eyes.

As Mom the Cheerleader, I enthusiastically say, “Let’s grab seats by the windows, so we can see all the wild creatures!”

So we look out the windows — but the jungle foliage is thick; the lighting’s poor; and we can’t really see anything.

We look left, right, front, back — I’m desperate to see something to point out to the kids – an animal, a movement, a shape, a shadow…something.

David stares at me with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns.

Chloe stands up on the seat next to me and presses her face against the window. “Where da amma-mals at?”

David swallows a guffaw. “Yeah, Darcy, ‘where dose amma-mals at?’”

I stare at him with the icy glare of a thousand glaciers.

“Excuse me, sir,” I say to the driver. “We’ve been riding around for half an hour and can’t really see anything. Where are the animals?”

“They’re sleeping,” he says.

“SLEEPING?” I ask.

“Yeah,” he says impatiently. “It’s DARK out.”

Oh my good God.

David practically chokes, he’s laughing so hard. He tries to suppress it so the kids don’t see, but he can’t help himself.

I shake the park map out in front of me. “Don’t worry, kids, we’ll find something fun to do!”

(But I notice that many of the attractions say “closed at night.”)

Finally! “Oh! Look, kids – there’s a Bird Sanctuary! It says you can feed the birds and they’ll land right on your hand!” I say brightly. “Let’s go there!”

So as soon as the “Sleeping” Animal Tour docks back at base camp, we head off to find the birds.

And thanks to the pitch black night, dim lighting, and poor path signage, we get lost.

The jungle air is thick with resentment.

We finally arrive at the Bird Sanctuary, which is packed with people. We buy little tiny paper cups filled with bird seed and stand there, holding our little cups up to the birds in the trees above us.

But they don’t land on us. They don’t really land on much of anyone. Every so often a bird lazily floats down.

Chloe’s running in circles, holding her cup as high as she can. “Come here, birdies! Come here, birdies!”

Tucker’s inspecting the bird feed in his cup and looks as if he might try it out himself.

I don’t get it. These birds are not flitting and flying like energetic little whirlwinds. These birds seem very lethargic — and disinterested in feeding.

“What’s wrong with these birds?” I ask one of the staff workers. “They’re not eating any of the food our kids are offering.”

“Oh, they’re full,” she says.

“FULL?!” I ask.

“Oh, yeah,” she says. “People have been feeding them all day long. By the time night comes, they’re stuffed.”

I squeeze my eyes closed tightly. Oh please, don’t let David have heard that part. Oh please. Where is he? Is he…is he…yep, he’s right behind me, biting his lip, grinning like a madman.

Oh for God’s sake. I whip out the map again, desperate for something to salvage this trip.

“Hey, look kids! There’s a Tribal Dance performance in the African outpost! Doesn’t that sound FUN?!” I say, infusing my voice with the enthusiasm of a thousand cheerleaders on crack cocaine.

We bundle Chloe in the stroller and grab Tucker’s hand and make haste to the outpost.

It’s much farther than we thought, and the directional signs lead us astray twice.

So I’m trying to push this frikkity-frik stroller over the ruts in this “authentic” dirt path, sweating – and swearing (under my breath) – through the massive jungle vegetation.

We’re walking forever. David’s ready to abandon ship.

I swear I think if a golf cart magically appeared, he’d immediately hop aboard and ride away, with a tender wave goodbye: “Farewell dear family, I loved you well and will think of you kindly when I’m back in air-conditioning chugging a cold beer.”

He’s just about to insist we turn back when we see another family coming toward us on the path.

“Do you know where the Tribal Dancers are?” I ask desperately.

“Yeah, they’re right through there,” they say, pointing behind them.

“Come on, kids! We’re almost there! Oh, oh, I think I hear them!” I say, picking up my pace.

All we see is jungle, but we hear the faint thrum of the drums and low rhythmic chanting, so we run toward the sound.

Just as we turn the bend, huffing and puffing, we spill into a big clearing with lots of people – and the announcer says, “So that concludes our last show of the night, folks! Hope you enjoyed it!”

Cue applause.

Cue laser daggers shooting out of David’s eyes into my cerebral cortex.

I want to slump into a sweaty ball of surrender. Just give myself up to the jungle gods right here and now. Let the baboons feast on my flesh; let the hyenas laugh at my folly.

I am done.

But I have two disgruntled kids and one fuming husband to transport back to the park exit and put an end to this disastrous night.

David doesn’t say a word on the trek back through the jungle, but I can hear his thoughts in his head as though they are screeching from a megaphone: ItoldyousoItoldyousoItoldyouso.

The longer we walk, the madder I get at the park guy on the phone who told me that this was such a great idea.

When we finally reach the exit, I say to David, “This is ridiculous! I’m gonna march right in that ticket office and demand our $200 back! We couldn’t see the animals – the birds were full – the dancers were too far away – there’s nothing to do at this stupid park at night!”

David shoots me a cynical look and crosses his arms. “Really? You think they’re gonna give you your money back?”

“Yes,” I say firmly. “Just you watch.”

I stomp into the ticket office, full of fire and brimstone. I rant and rave and rail.

Moments later, I emerge with an envelope.

“So,” he says, grinning. “What’d they give you?”

I hang my head and say, “Four free tickets for another night at Park After Dark.”

— Darcy Perdu

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(Yes, yes, this whole disastrous tale is true! Now it’s your turn – share your funny experiences with zoos, theme parks, and other family excursions. Any brilliant ideas YOU’VE had that your spouse was oh-so-right and you were oh-so-wrong? Do tell!)

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40 replies on “He Disagrees, But I Insist — So Of COURSE Disaster Ensues!

  1. It would have been nice if you were the only family and got to walk around instead of being driven. I convinced my wife to “go for a stroll” one night in the jungles of Costa Rica. We were nervous at the outraged screeches of howlers monkeys and terrified when we heard the roar of a jaguar. We didn’t walk out so much as run at a “not caring what you look like” pace. I’m not saying that we leaked bodily fluids during that sprint, but I’m not saying we didn’t either.

    • Scott, that’s hilarious! “leaked bodily fluids!” Jaguar roars and monkey screeches? I would’ve run like a banshee too!

  2. Oh, my Lord…my Lord!

    You got 4 MORE tickets for animals sleeping and stuffed to the gills birds?!?

    HAHAHA!! I’m sorry but that is too much!

    “Hey…so you didn’t really get what you were looking for at Park in the Dark, so we’re gonna give you MORE tickets for Park in the Dark!”

    That, is priceless! =)
    Carrie recently posted..I’m a jackass. And that’s ok because God thinks He’s funny and agrees. So now I don’t have to start smoking or share a cell in the pokey.My Profile

    • EXACTLY! And I couldn’t even GIVE the tickets away to a friend or relative, in good conscience, for fear they’d encounter the same disaster!

    • OUCH! I can’t even imagine the look on your face when you realized it was closed! Or the look on your family’s faces! Whoops!

  3. Priceless! I dragged my husband and 5-year-old to a “quick one hour time share presentation” to score free tickets to Disney. They held us prisonor there for 5 hours, while we kept saying “no, we’re not interested.” We didn’t get to the park until about 3 o’clock. My husband was not thrilled with me. But in my own defense, I had no idea we would park and be taken by golf cart to another location, where we would be held captive while every manager called on their manager to give us one last pitch. And after all of that, they tried to offer me a stinking totebag, instead of Disney tickets. I raised hell and got what I wanted. Nobody said those tickets were only for people who dropped $10,000 on a timeshare. NEVER AGAIN!
    Parri Sontag (Her Royal Thighness) recently posted..I’m Saying Goodbye to the F WordMy Profile

    • Oh, we attended a Time Share presentation one time.
      Key phrase: ONE time.
      Never again, never again! I’d RATHER go to prison than a Time Share presentation! :o)

      • My Dad was always on the look out for “the deal” so I got dragged to more timeshare presentations than I would care to admit. I’m into “the deal” too, but I draw the line at places where I have to encourage the animalistic nature of my children to escape.

        • Ha! I love that your Dad was always hunting for a deal. I remember my Dad constantly lamenting that none of us 5 kids would eat the heels of the sandwich bread — and turning out all the lights in empty rooms – or even full rooms if it didn’t look like your activity required light! — and insisting that we eat our airplane meals back in the days when they still served those –“hey, we paid for that mush, so eat it up!” And now that I’m grown, I have to admit that it’s possible that I say similar things to my kids! Ha!

  4. Paul said:

    I have to think on this for a few minutes Darcy, but meanwhile I heard this morning that you were chosen as one of the VOTY winners in BlogHer14. Congratulations! I can now say I know a Darned Important Person (please do not abbreviate this as DIP – it is just a coincidence, really). That’s a heck of an achievement to be chosen from what I understand was over 1,000 applicants. You’re the best, Darcy!

    • Ha! Thank you, Paul, and I’m delighted to be a “DIP!” I’m so excited to earn a Humor VOTY from BlogHer again this year! I’ve entered twice and won twice — but I won’t let it go to my head. Excuse me while I go hire a human umbrella-holder, instruct people not to look me in the eye, and re-name my children trendy celeb-worthy names like “Kiwi” and “Duvet.”

    • It was like a laser beam scorching everything in its path! :o)

  5. Julie said:

    Oh so funny! It sounds like something that I would definitely do! Unfortunately I got nothing to share. Maybe cause I never took my kids anywhere…

    Kudos on the award Darcy! You are very deserving! I can’t tell you how much I enjoy reading!

  6. Ha! Very Funny! My husband still takes crap about the time that he threw a canoe and sleeping bags into the back of his truck and surprised me with a spontaneous trip down Duck Creek. Let’s just say that I have not called it Duck Creek since, and I am pretty good with rhymes.

    • A surprise canoe trip? Hilarious! And I love your new name for that creek!

  7. I hate it when that happens. So much that when I *know* I’m about to do something that he would tell me is a bad idea, I “forget” to mention it to him until disaster strikes. Lol. Why do they have to be so reasonable??
    Stephanie recently posted..Because Good Decisions Are My SpecialtyMy Profile

    • Ha! I love your strategy to just “forget” to mention bad ideas. Or you could try the ever-popular “oh, I told you about this a long time ago; don’t you remember” or the sometimes-successful-but-very-risky “what’re you complaining about? remember this was YOUR idea!” ha!

  8. hahahaha this is especially hilarious to me because I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do those evening zoo tours! I did go to a wedding that was at a zoo, and it was totally awesome, we could have free reign of the zoo! We walked all around, and just like you, saw NOTHING.
    I still think it’s cool to be in the zoo after dark, but I’ve never had the $50 per ticket to actually do it. If I did though, I would TOTALLY go!
    Joy Christi recently posted..My Thoughts On Mother’s Day: A Work In ProgressMy Profile

    • A wedding at a zoo? That’s wild! And I think that’s so funny you didn’t see any animals either — where do they all go? It’s like they’ve all gone underground to secret lairs to play poker, drink beer, and sing karaoke! Now THAT’S a tour I’d LOVE to take!

  9. Margarita said:

    LOL I can so relate… I “scored” tickets for the Potted Potter show when it opened in Mexico City, and I dragged all 3 kids (2 teens included). In all fairness, I didn’t buy tickets for my husband as I know he loathes theater performances…
    But we are all huge Potter fans, so he said he would come with us…
    Ugh the show was sooo bad, we were laughing hysterically at the bad jokes, awful puns, etc. maybe something was lost in translation, but in all fairness it was sooo bad I don’t even think English would’ve improved it…
    The teens weren’t even mad at me, because it was so BAD and I was even regretting my own decision… LOL I still miss those dollars dearly, though!

    • Omigosh, what a disaster! But it sounds like your family got a kick out of it because it was SO over-the-top bad! You have a good crew there, that can laugh instead of complain! Love that!

  10. Wow. $200!?!?!!? That must have been the most expensive night of nothing ever.
    It was interesting hearing your voice. You sound so much like a girl I lost my virginity to…I mean, a girl I dated in high school (didn’t mean to sound so crass).
    Cary Vaughn recently posted..I Was Such a Stupid ChildMy Profile

    • Cary, I WAS the girl you lost your virginity to! Don’t you remember? And you PAID me $200 to do it. Talk about the most “expensive night of nothing ever…” hahahahaha
      OK, I WASN’T that girl, but that’s so funny you think my voice sounds like her!

  11. Well, at least you can use those free tickets to see the Tribal Dance performance! Haha!

    And congratulations on winning Humor VOTY award from BlogHer, again! You deserved it! *confetti everywhere*

    • Wann, you’re an absolute doll! Thank you for the confetti shower! :o)

  12. Oh, gosh! I would be aaaangry. There’s nothing worse than going to a zoo or exhibit only to realize it’s closed or out of sight.

    Also! You have a great voice, Darcy!

    • Ha! Thanks, Aussa! Let’s Karaoke at BlogHer! Ha!

  13. Did you go back the next night to use the free tickets?? At least the birds didn’t poop on you. Lol.

    I LOVED hearing your voice on the audio. Made me feel like I was back in OH. Sniff, sniff.

    • Ha! You’re right! Non-eating birds are better than pooping birds!
      Glad you enjoyed the audio!

  14. Oh Darcy this is HILARIOUS! We have a park very similar to what you have described here—it’s outrageously expensive but thank gawd it’s not open at night. If it was, I KNOW I would have endured a similar experience. This is one of my favorite posts of yours. The ending is BRILLIANT!

    • Thanks, Marcia! Your comment had me grinning and blushing!

  15. I bet this is one your husband will never ever let you live down! Too funny.

    Unless there were rides and roller coasters I hated the animal parks when I was a kid. Most kids nowadays find them boring and would rather play video games. I know I would of!

    At least you tried.

    Hope you had a terrific Mother’s day!
    Phil recently posted..An ode to Mother’s Day. The Good, The Bad, and The Embarrassing.My Profile

    • Thanks, Phil! I think I now prefer my animals in HD on a Discovery channel TV special rather than in hot, sweaty, real life! ha!

    • Sort of like a fierce frozen smile plastered on my face and wild eyes, hissing, “We WILL have fun, #*&dammit!”

  16. Lizzy said:

    One of my most embarrassing moments in life happened at a zoo.

    My husband and I took our 2 daughters (4&2 years old) to the zoo right at opening time. The elephant exhibit is right in the front, and there was a huge crowd of people there as they were just letting the elephants out.

    So as good parents my husband puts the 4 year old on his shoulders, and I put the 2 year old on mine, so they can see.

    The elephants start coming out. And my cute little speech delay child points and starts screaming “Hor! Hor!”

    And now every adults head in hearing distance has whipped around looking at me. And there was judging going on, lots of judging.

    So in a loud voice I say “Yes, that’s a Horton!” And everyone slowly turns and goes about their business, while I start planning on going home and destroying every Horton movie, book and stuffed animal we have.

    • That’s HILARIOUS!! And who knows? Maybe that was a REALLY promiscuous elephant — who was a Horton AND a whore!!!
      LOL! Love your kid!