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Vacation in Utrecht

December 29, 2014

Please ignore this post if you are at all squeamish or otherwise appropriate. I fully intend to offend people like you.

OK, so here’s the thing about family vacations, at least for me. They make you lose your genitals.

Seriously, I’ve misplaced my vagina, and for the life of me I can’t find it, or even remember when I last had it. I can barely remember anything at all about it.

This has happened to me before, on numerous occasions. It’s nothing new. It happened a couple of days after I landed in Orlando with the family for spring break a few years ago, and it happened within seconds of entering Great Wolf Lodge about a year ago.

Have you been there? It’s an indoor waterpark, and something about the chlorinated air and hundreds of dripping wet and screaming children made me instantaneously lose contact with my genitals. I know I’m not the only one, I polled the other grownups there and I got serious resonance with this sentiment.

In fact, I walked around for a day and a half (in order to get the most out of my one expensive overnight room) asking people if they’d seen my vagina anywhere. The reactions were mixed and were not always good. In fact once or twice the stares I got were so weird and intense that I was forced to blurt out, “Oh, here it is! In my purse! Just where I left it.” True story.

Conclusion: family vacations are the ultimate birth control.

Honestly, there should be a law that anyone who is thinking of getting pregnant should spend a couple of days at Great Wolf Lodge. If they are still horny after that experience then they deserve whatever they get.

Why, oh why, did we decide to have so many kids? And how can it be so incredibly expensive to pay for them to complain about every moment of the day that doesn’t contain wifi?

Here’s another reason there’s no physical joy in family vacations. The food. The disgusting food you end up eating when with your entire family prevents you from feeling sexy. Never mind sexy, it makes you borderline suicidal.

Yesterday we had pannekoeken for lunch, poffertjes as a snack, and sausage wall frikandels, loompjes, and french fries for dinner. Just in case you are wondering if anything I just listed isn’t fried, the answer is no.

Seriously, it was hugely disgusting, although temporarily delicious. I now know exactly why people declare diets for New Years, it’s because of the food situation in the week beforehand. It’s not that you want to lose weight, it’s that you never want to eat again.

And yes, I know that you can technically eat better food here in Utrecht, but not, as it turns out, if you’re traveling with a 6-year-old. In that case, you have a tiny little hunger striker on your hands, and the longer the strike goes on, the more crying and whining you’ve got, which, since you’re sharing a small hotel room, is a huge hassle. It’s a cost benefit analysis, and the costs always outweigh the benefits. In other words, you decide to forgo actual food for one more day and give in to warmed up waffles with smeared nutella. Breakfast this morning, thankyouverymuch. Kill me now.

Dear readers, please do not judge me. Or at least, if you judge me, then be compassionate. Or at least, if you’re not feeling compassionate, keep an eye out for my vagina, I know it’s around here somewhere.

Categories: musing
  1. December 29, 2014 at 8:10 am

    hmmm, reminds me, uncomfortably, of this old news report:


  2. Mitch
    December 29, 2014 at 8:59 am

    Ahh, Great Wolf Lodge. Luckily, they have a special program for grandparents: you can check your genitals and all other non-essential body parts (like your brain) at the desk, and pick them up when you leave.


    • December 29, 2014 at 9:07 am

      Wow, I didn’t know about that service! Is that free? Do they keep them in those little lockers?


  3. jdmarino
    December 29, 2014 at 9:11 am

    You know how some movies are made for kids, but there is something there for the parents too? (Think “Shrek”, not “Winnie-the-Pooh”.) And then there are movies that really interest you, but kids find dull so they whine and fidget? Well, Utrecht sounds to me analogous to the latter; you need to find the former. I recommend Disney, or better yet a beach vacation at a Club Med type place. We rented a house on the beach one year (in a sleepy town on L.I.): the kids dug holes, fished, splashed, and played video games/watched cartoons. The only time we really had to be on top of them was when they were in the water, otherwise they were mostly free to enjoy themselves and we ourselves.


    • December 29, 2014 at 9:13 am

      You had me til “Disney.”


      • jdmarino
        January 2, 2015 at 11:10 am

        Then skip that part. (I’ve been on many D vacations, with kids and without, and enjoyed them all. At the time I was making a lot of money on Wall St., so I didn’t mind the prices: I felt as if I got what I paid for.) Focus on the beach parts.


  4. Min
    December 29, 2014 at 9:46 am

    I guess we should all take our family vacations at nudist resorts. 😉


  5. Min
    December 29, 2014 at 9:50 am
    • Min
      December 29, 2014 at 9:55 am

      Oops! Never mind. 😦


  6. December 29, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Dear Mathbabe,

    Just as you and your brood were boarding that plane to Utrecht, I hopped a flight to Rio de Janeiro, where I have been lolling about on the beach for days. The weather is great here, the people are beautiful, and — finally, finally — I am the center of attention where ever I go. I wasn’t even here a week before they elected me to be Carnival Queen. If it weren’t for the Brazilian wax requirements, I think I’d move here permanently. I know you miss me, though, so I’ll tear myself away from the good life and hitch a ride in some tourist’s purse back to NY to meet up with you once you’re back from your world tour of fried food. Have fun with your family, sucker!

    Your Vagina


  7. V
    December 29, 2014 at 2:51 pm

    Nice post! I actually live half an hour from Utrecht, in one of the most beautiful cities in The Netherlands, ‘s-Hertogenbosch. Do visit that place when you have the time, and make sure you try the “Bossche Bollen”. They’re a real treat, and… they’re not fried.


  8. Iraqi in America
    December 29, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Years ago I had a few opportunities to travel on business with a colleague who’d always do shopping for his kids, and I’d accompany him. When he asked me why I do that, I said it’s good for my memory. To his puzzlement I explained that it helps me remember to use condoms.


  9. December 29, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    I must admit I’ve never had a vagina misplaced or stolen. Frankly I’d be more concerned about the clitoris, vulva and labia, but what do I know?

    Nor have I had my manhood Lorena Bobbitted. In fact, it’s like a good soldier – always ready 24/7 to stand at attention and salute.

    Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, my favorite memories are from family vacations we took with our kids. Definitely shared a room when they were little, but occasionally had separate rooms when they were older. Disneyland, Disney World, San Diego, Escondido, Yosemite, Seattle, Vancouver, Grand Canyon, Vegas, Utah and more.

    (Cancun sucked, but that’s because it was colder than usual and the hotel had no heat.)

    Food issues? Dinner was at a mutually agreeable restaurant, but breakfast and lunch were often done by supermarket shopping, and everyone got to choose what they like.

    Intimate time? Are there any activities they can attend in the hotel unsupervised by the parents, where the kids can watch each other? Can you lock the shower or the bath from the inside while they are sleeping? Be creative.

    Hope you find your missing parts, and I suspect that in a few years time you will look back at these family vacations with nostalgia.

    Happy New Year!


  10. Rene
    December 29, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Hi mathbabe!

    how is life?

    I have a cousin in LA. When she visits her family in Holland, she rents
    an apartment on one of the Amsterdam canals for 2 weeks and
    operates from there.

    I think that’s an easier life than living deep inside
    the extremely Dutch parts of the Netherlands.

    Happy 2015 and greetings (from Amsterdam of course 🙂

    PS. In Dutch one would say “t’is gewoon kut” and that would solve your problem.


  11. Sally
    December 30, 2014 at 3:03 am

    You could have ordered the delicious uitsmijter. 🙂


  12. Deane
    December 31, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    Right after my older son was born, we traveled to Europe, and it was hell staying in small hotel rooms and eating food we didn’t like that much in restaurants. But at the end of the trip we got to stay in a house at IHES, and that was pure bliss. So we swore that if at all possible we would stay in an apartment or house in each place for at least a week whenever we traveled. Luckily as mathematicians we can actually arrange this rather easily.

    As for sex while traveling with your family, that’s obviously a pure fantasy. But at least it’s one more thing to look forward to when you get back home.


    • December 31, 2014 at 12:50 pm

      For some it’s a fantasy.


      • December 31, 2014 at 1:54 pm

        Abe, stop bragging, I’m still in Utrecht.

        On Wed, Dec 31, 2014 at 12:50 PM, mathbabe wrote:



  13. sglover
    December 31, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    If you get a chance, see Rotterdam. When I was there I felt like I’d walked into a science fiction novel — the *good* kind, where people finally figure out how to live together on this planet.

    Can’t you have your kids spend a few hours under their own steam, wandering around some very safe Dutch neighborhoods? You’ve often advocated a light-fingered parental touch, right?


    • December 31, 2014 at 1:58 pm

      I’ve done my best, and I did get them to wander about for a bit, but the language barrier makes it harder for them. Plus it turns out I’m really fun and they’d rather be with me. Or at least that’s how I interpret everything.

      We didn’t get to Rotterdam – although I’ve been there multiple times – but we got to Hoek van Holland today and saw all the massive cargo ships coming in and out of the harbor. Very impressive and beautiful.


  14. sglover
    December 31, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    There’s a language barrier in Holland?!?! I thought everybody there spoke English more fluently than native English speakers! Are your kids hobbled by speaking Noo Yahk?

    Yeah, the Hook is awesome, eh? Shipwatching is what drew me to Rotterdam. I was floored by the scale of that vast industrial principality just across the Maas. With all the engineers and logisiticians and process control types beavering away over there, I keep wondering if it’s going to become self-aware in the next 10, 20 years….. 😉


  15. Savonarola
    January 2, 2015 at 4:54 am

    Yeah, at least you are going on fairly nice vacations. We’re perennially ridiculously poor, so our family vacations tend to consist of me cooking and cleaning in a different venue. For example, tent camping. Or staying for free or cheap in a friend’s beach house or condo – which requires that I treat everything very carefully and keep very clean. The kids have fun, and I enjoy watching them, for the most part. But I have yet to ever enjoy my husband’s company on any of these vacations in the least. He is kind of a workaholic, and feels adrift if he spends more than two days away from the office (long weekends make him difficult), but doesn’t extend that attitude to anything having to do with childcare and housekeeping. In short? Complete torture. He spends the whole time extremely surly, or taking off for long walks by himself. When all the kids were small, therefore, I considered vacations about the worst thing that could happen to me. The very opposite of sexy in every possible respect.

    Great Wolf Lodge is a horror. But man, do they know what a 5-9 year old wants. My youngest worships that place, and we’ve only been once.


    • January 2, 2015 at 5:21 am

      Sounds terrible! Let’s ban holidays.

      On Fri, Jan 2, 2015 at 4:54 AM, mathbabe wrote:



      • Savonarola
        January 2, 2015 at 5:13 pm

        Agreed! From now on, I should abandon them and leave with several of my wildest friends and spend some time doing something ridiculous. Someplace with maid service. I also keep thinking about joining up on Womanship or something and just going out to sea for a week and leaving them all home to fend for themselves. The kids are teens now, different set of challenges entirely. 😉 Now, at least, we don’t make my husband come along when we go camping. Poor guy truly cannot relax.


  16. January 5, 2015 at 5:22 am

    very funny stuff…


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