Chooch: “What does ‘selfish’ mean?”
Me: “When you only think about yourself.”
Henry, at the same time as me: “Erin Kelly.”
Apparently, we’ve only been doing what I want to do, but hello—if I left our itinerary up to Henry, I’d probably be in a tent right now, unable to update my blog.
We did agree on one thing though—Clingman’s Dome. It’s an observation tower about a 45 minute drive up into the higher elevations of the Smokies. We decided to wake up early to do this in case Bill and Jessi had any plans for us in the afternoon.
This entailed waking Chooch up. When it comes to slumber, Chooch is a little divo. You let him wake up on his own, else you’ll have a snapping piranha on your hands.
Which we did yesterday morning. However, at least we made it to Thursday before our child to returned to his old ways of being a noncompliant asshole. What a great run we had.
The whole way up the mountain, he made his presence known in the backseat as he bucked and kicked at the back of my seat and allowed Satan himself to use Chooch’s mouth as a death threat portal. There were several times I had legitimate chills.
If you’ve ever seen Back to the Beach, think of Bobby in the backseat, only younger and way more sinister than sarcastic. Henry even turned around a few times a la Frankie Avalon and threatened to bust him in the mouth. IT WAS AN AWESOME JOYRIDE UP THE SIDE OF A FUCKING SCARY MOUNTAIN YOU GUYS. My nerves were not shot at all.
We saw another bear though!
“Oh shit, that’s a cub. Bye!” Henry yelled, flooring it.
It only got worse when we reached our destination and freed him from his cage. Thank god there was barely anyone there when we arrived because he was being so loud, so disrespectful, so spoiled-5-year-old that I came very close to making him a permanent fixture of the Smokies.
And this was before we realized it was a half-mile hike uphill from the parking lot to the tower. Oh, how he wept and shrieked, “MY LEGS HURT OMG IM DYING!” after taking two steps.
The elevation was 6600 feet and we quite literally had our heads in the clouds. It was so hard to breathe to begin with, and then you add in the accelerated heart rate that Chooch had given us and we both were sure we were going to go into cardiac arrest.
He finally stopped screaming near the top, only because two hikers emerged from the woods and Chooch is extremely vain just like me. But he refused to go all the way up to the tower because there were about 8 people there, opting instead to hang back on the curved ramp with his arms crossed and the surliest visage I think I have ever seen on him.
And of course we couldn’t see shit through the clouds, but despite that and the fact we have an asshole kid, it was still cool to be there, inhaling clouds.
Chooch was fine after that because we were leaving which is what he wanted.
This will probably be the only thing about this vacation that Chooch remembers when he grows up, creating a vitriolic aversion to Tennessee. I’ll be sure to blame it on Henry.