It is my goal through this blog to share with you. I want to confide in you like I do my girlfriends. I want to share the tricks that I have learned that save money or that create wonderful memories with my children. The goal is to be positive. I do not pretend that all of my blogs are positive and uplifting, oh heck let's be honest some of them aren't really even that good. My point is, I try not to spread negativity. The world is full of negativity and negative people, I'm a glass half full kind of a girl, and I look for that in the world around me. I have had several people ask me to write a blog about their store, or them, and unless I have something that is positive to say, I just can't do it. I don't like to hurt people's feelings, but more than that I don't want to lie to you. How can I possible ask you to continue to read my blogs if they are full of lies... do you see where I am coming from?
Now that is all out of the way, here is my story about a not so money saving trip (hint there's a picture of it up top).
Over the past two days I have shared with you what an amazing experience we had at The Great Wolf Lodge. It was not an inexpensive trip, but honestly it was worth every single penny, and I can't think of to many places I could say that of. We went to the Great Wolf Lodge in Niagara Falls. The weather forecast was not terribly favourable for driving on the Thursday we were to travel. My husband came to the rescue by finding us an incredible deal through WagJag for a hotel in Niagara Falls for the Wednesday night. This would allow us to make it to Niagara Falls before the storm, and add a little time to our mini vacation. To top it all off, we got the room for.... get ready for this... $45.00 for the night!!!!! Now ordinarily I would be a little wary of this kind of a deal. I am a little like a princess when it comes to hotels. I am not a great housekeeper (this is code for I am slovenly), BUT and this is a big BUT, it's our dirt. I will not pay to stay somewhere that is not nicer than my own home. Christopher and I have nearly gotten divorced when traveling when it comes to hotels. There have been many times I have walked into the hotel that he has spent half an hour arranging, and then told him to get his money back because we aren't staying. Luckily, we had stayed at this particular hotel before and it had my stamp of approval (which means that it was really nice and spotlessly clean).
We picked the kids up from school Wednesday night and headed for the Falls. The kids were giddy with excitement. The weather was great, the sun was shining, the roads clear. We had made a very smart decision. Not only would we avoid unpleasant weather by going up a day early, we could check into the Great Wolf Lodge earlier, and let the kids see Niagara Falls. It occurred to Christopher and I that Elly had never seen the falls. I'm going to be honest on this one, I felt a little like a bad parent when I realized this. That night before we checked into the hotel we drove past the falls at night. The kids ooohhhed and awwwed. It was breathtakingly beautiful. The spray from the falls had frozen onto everything that it touched creating natural sculptures and looked like something from Elly's favourite movie Frozen. The lights bounced off of the majesty of the frozen falls, pushing through the ice. The kids hopped back into the car flush with excitement. You cannot see Niagara Falls and not feel amazed by it's size, it's beauty and it's majesty.
That night as we lay in our spotless, cozy, cheap hotel room I listened to the rhythmic hum of my children's breath as they slept. I lay with an almost spiritual smile. We were good parents. That beautiful feeling of being a "good parent" is rare in my parenting world. More often I lay awake at night beating myself up for what I didn't do, what I should have done, what I need to improve (sound familiar). I lay there wrapped in a bubble of peace. I turned over to Christopher and quietly asked what he thought of taking the kids to see one of the Niagara Falls attractions. He gave me that scared look that says he is afraid to actually say what he is thinking. "You know they are all kind of a waste of money, right honey?" I was in my bubble of bliss, and so I smiled at my stupid husband, knowing that he was really thick. "Oh I know honey"( said this to humor him. I knew he was thick, but I didn't have to hurt him by pointing it out). "The thing is, you know it's a waste of money because you've seen it, I've seen it. I feel like we would be depriving them of an opportunity if we didn't take them to see at least one" (yup I said 'deprived', like Great Wolf Lodge was not quite enough). He gave me that look, that look that said he though I was thick, but he knew better than to voice this thought. "It's a big waste of money .... but if you really think the kids would like it ......" all of this he said in that tone that said, "this is what I am supposed to say so that you don't take that extra comfy pillow from the bed and hold it over my face whilst I am sleeping, but I think you are slow witted".
The next morning we got up and headed for the tourist trap, I mean entertainment district of Niagara Falls. Christopher and I had decided that maybe we should take them to the Guinness World Records Museum. When I was a child and had come to Niagara Falls with my Grandparents we had gone to Ripley's. It was full of side show type displays, two headed goats in bottles of fluid, wax figures with gross things, I was not sure I could take that again.
I walked up to the little dirty window with the lone attendant. "Do you have any specials for admission today?" I asked feeling hopeful. "Sorry Mam, not today" (I sure hate being called Mam). I paid the $70.00 and we walked in, not before noticing the eye roll from my husband and the "I told you so look". The kids raced in. We were the only people in the whole museum. This would be great I thought. We could look around at our leisure and the kids could have some freedom to explore without me worrying that some pervert might abduct them.
We walked into the first room, only to discover that was the best that the museum had to offer. There was the statue of the tallest man in the world. At that point I still thought we were in for a treat. I got Christopher, the tallest man I know (he's 6'4) to stand beside the statue of the worlds tallest man. He was dwarfed in comparison, a sight I have never seen before. At this point I was still all smiles, feeling like the best mother in the world, prepared to rub Christopher's face in the fact that I was so right and he was sooooo wrong. The kids ran to the funny mirror that made them look distorted. I looked at the sign that said "More upstairs". In my head I was feeling very grateful for that sign because the one lame room was beginning to make it look like I would be the one having my face rubbed in it.
We walked up the endless flight of red carpeted stairs. On the wall was a huge sign that said you could have a "repeat same day visit for only $5". We got to the top of the stairs and the walls were lined with framed articles. We would have saved money if I had just bought a "Guinness Book of World Records book". The kids still raced around excitedly. I was determined to read every single stupid, boring fact from those stupid, boring framed articles... I WOULD GET MY MONEY'S WORTH! It was shortly after we had gone upstairs that I wondered what idiot would pay $5 to see this crap again. It turns out that the most exciting parts of the museum were the bright and colourful statues outside of the museum that you could get your picture taken with for free, yup they saw me coming.
So, it does not feel great to be at the receiving end of an "I told you so", this I now know. Christopher was gracious enough (that is code for smart enough) not to actually say "I Told You So", but he didn't have to give it words, his face said it for him. I totally wasted $70.00, I have been trying to tell myself it wasn't a waste of money because now the kids can say that they have been to one of the Niagara Falls attractions, but we both know that's my pride talking.