Last week, for the Fourth of July, just like every year since we started dating almost 16 years ago, we went to my in-laws' house. I know it sounds dreadful, but I assure you it's not.
For starters, my in-laws have a pool. Above ground, so it's always warm. We don't have to share the pool with anyone except family (which is really small so it's not really a crowd), they don't mind if the dogs swim, and the deck surrounding the pool has just enough shade and sun. Also, there's no annoying lifeguards, screaming children that I'm not related to or terrible music poisoning me ears (or horrid aromas polluting my nose). It's pretty blissful. And free.
Then there's the accommodations. Their house is small but it's big enough for the two of them and the three of us (and two dogs). It comes equipped with a fully stocked kitchen, laundry facilities, a king sized bed, monogrammed towels, and breakfast every morning. The air conditioner works wonderfully (handy during a heat wave) and the bathroom is just delightful. It has wifi, cable, and babysitting services. All of this? Is free. Perfect for the vacationers on a budget.
And the location? The location is just spectacular. It takes less than 2 hours to drive by car, half a tank of gas round trip and only $2 in tolls ($0 if we go the longish way). Their house is fifteen minutes to Ocean City, MD and roughly thirty minutes to the Delaware beaches (both places, incidentally, have outlet shopping. And ice cream). We can go to the beach, the movies, play mini golf, go out to eat or a variety of other activities without having to travel far. There's even a YMCA in Dewey Beach so I didn't have to skip Zumba for the whole week. The little bit of driving we need to do is totally worth it for the free accommodations.
Since it was the 4th of July, there had to be fireworks. For the fireworks, we drove 10 minutes to a causeway, sat in our air conditioned car, free from bugs and other people and watch 3 different shows all from that one location. The husband even uploaded some fireworks appropriate music to his iPod. Then, when the shows were over, there was no fighting with traffic to get back to our free resort. There is no better way to experience fireworks.
And lastly, there's the entertainment. Hanging out with my in-laws is an endless source of entertainment. It's hard to explain why so I'll show you in a picture:
If you see an ear of corn in the bottom rack of a dishwasher, you win a prize. Kind of like my husband did when he was unloading the dishwasher and found it (let's not even discuss the fact that my in-laws, who have real dishes, insist on using plastic ones and then running them through the dishwasher). That's right, friends. My mother in law put an ear of corn through the dishwasher. I have so many questions as to how that happened but I feel compelled not to ask.
Instead, I just laugh. A lot.
Best. Free. Vacation. Ever.