In the Woodward Family, the relationship between Kim and Stephanie is considered especially contentious. In Solidaridad, Mexico, the dedicated women who care about each other but often can't stand each other were known as the awkward squad of "annoying american women." These are our stories:
Friday, Aug 25. 3:55am
I just called Mom to ensure she was awake since the plan was to pick her up at 415am. She picked up on the 5th ring - not a good sign. Her voice sounded groggy - even worse. "Wake up!" I said after her raspy "hello?"
"What time is it?" She asked.
Awesome. This is going well already.
"4am. I'll be there at 4:15."
With sudden energy in her voice "What?! Why didn't my alarm go off?!"
"Not my problem. I'll be there at 4:15."
Friday, Aug 25. 4:16am
I just called Mom to tell her I'm 60 seconds away from her house.
"60 seconds?!" She says with surprise, like we haven't planned on a 4:15am pick up for weeks.
"It's 4:16." I tell her, "I already gave you extra time."
Well, this is a splendid start.
Friday, Aug 25. 4:25am
We are in the car on the 10 minute drive to the airport. Mom is digging through her purse for a mint because, as she puts it, "being in cars makes me feel sick."
We'll be taking an hour long shuttle ride from the airport to our hotel in Mexico.
Lord help us.
Friday, Aug 25. 7:40am.
We are on our first plane. I am tired and recently found a tolerable position on the plane to fall asleep in. I just dozed off when Mom woke me up. I assumed she had to pee or the plane was crashing, as those are the only acceptable reasons to bother a sleeping person on a plane.
"The drink cart is coming. Do you want a drink?"
She woke me up for a damn drink.
Because I am tired and because I am petty, I plan to get her back for this.
Friday, Aug 25. 7:57am
She's begun to dance to the Bruno Mars songs in her headphones and shove her phone in my face to take pictures.
Make it stop.
Friday, Aug 25. 8:06am
I cannot go back to sleep so I am sitting here listening to a book. Mom keeps sporadically trying to shove her left ear bud into my right ear insisting that listening to music is "better than a book."
I have previously taken for granted all the times I've traveled alone for work. Never again.
Friday, Aug 25. 10:28am
We are on a layover in ATL. Kim just came at me with this breaking update: she doesn't know if she's going to watch The Voice this year.
Friday, Aug. 25. 1:10pm
Our seats were just upgraded from the very back of the plane to first class. Is this what good karma is? Is this my perk for being nice to my mom? I'll take it. I'll also take this mimosa the flight attendant just handed me.
Friday, Aug. 25 1:56pm
The pilot just introduced himself as Rusty Wood. Not sure if it's the mimosa or if I'm overtired, but I'm pretty sure I laughed more than I should have when he said that.
Aug 25 10:04pm
We arrived in Mexico.
We arrived in Mexico.
My bladder is not pleased.
Aug. 26, 11:16am
We found the beautiful pool off the ocean today. It's a relaxing pool connected to the ocean and filled with ocean water and sea life. I snorkeled for a bit in this relaxing pool and then asked mom if she'd like to try it.
First, I put the face mask over her eyes and nose. She immediately announced she couldn't breathe.
"Try through your mouth, mom" I explained. She seemed confused.
Thankfully the lifeguard/snorkel instructor intervened and took over the lesson.
I suggested she jump in the pool from the area we were sitting in. She insisted on taking the stairs into the ocean pool. I watched as she slipped on the stone steps going into the pool. I didn't laugh, though I wanted to.
She then announced "ouch! My foot hurts now. No one told me the steps would be slippery!"
No one told my mom that the stone steps into the pool with salt water, algae, and fish would be slippery. What is the world coming to?
Aug. 26, 12:02pm
Aug. 26, 1:23 pm
We are eating lunch in the dining area near the beach. "My foot hurts. No one told me the steps would be slippery" Mom reminded me.
Aug 26, 7:13pm
We decided to take a cab to Playa del Carmen to do some shopping. Mom really likes to take her sweet time in every store. When we got away from all of the “fancy” stores and into the area with a lot of street vendors, many people were calling out for us to check out their store. I just rolled by them until mom stopped me to introduce me to a man I’ve never seen in my life.
“He was our waiter!” Kim announced. “He just stopped me because he recognizes us from the hotel!”
The man smiled and said “Yes, remember me? From the buffet?”
“No.” I said, “Sergio was our waiter. You are not Sergio.”
“Yes, but I helped you at the buffet” he insisted.
“He recognized us and that’s why he stopped us!” Kim told me.
I didn’t have the heart to tell her that he was full of shit, so I played along and went into the store he said he “helps grandma” with and where his “cousin” showed me a poncho that he wanted to charge me $80 US to buy. I laughed and left. We went to another store, and then back down the road with the vendors where another “waiter” stopped us and my mom happily greeted him. He tried to get us to go in another store. I played along.
Finally, when the third “waiter” stopped us and my mom chatted along with him, I had to break it to her.
“Mom. They see our resort bracelets. They’re not our waiters. They’re lying to get us to go into the stores!”
After that I felt no guilt about buying a $65 bottle of tequila. I earned it.
Aug 28, 11:02 am
Mom has no wheelchair etiquette. She keeps touching my chair without my permission. She knows damn well not to touch my chair without my consent, but she keeps doing it. When we go up a slight hill, I suddenly feel her push me. I finally turned around, gave her a dirty look, and said “Stop it!” today, but to no avail. She did it again an hour later. I may need to cut off her hands.
Aug 27, 3:21 pm
Mom and I went to the Xcaret Eco Park next to the hotel. It was a ton of walking and it was outrageously hot. We came back for lunch but now Kim is napping in the hotel room. It’s midday. I did not pay for this woman to sleep in the hotel in the middle of the damn day. I’m gonna wake her ass up and make her sleep by the pool instead.
Aug 27, 6:24 pm
She did it again. She touched my damn chair when we were going up a ramp. I lightly told her “You have no wheelchair etiquette. It’s rude to touch a person’s chair without their permission. “I know,” she said. “I just do it cuz it looks hard to push up the hill, so I push you.”
It took everything I had not to lose it.
“I know you want to help, but unless we say we need help, do not touch our chairs Mom.”
I don’t know where the “we” came from. I doubt my mom is randomly pushing strangers in public, but just in case, she has now been fully educated (for the millionth time).
Aug 27, 9:36pm
Aug 27, 9:36pm
Mom and I went to a show at the XCaret Eco Park and it was amazing. It was a 2 hour performance showing the history of Mexico, from Mayans to the Spanish coming to Mexico to the cultures that emerged afterwards. It was filled with so many great performances, from people actually playing old Mayan games (including playing a hockey like game with a ball that was on fire!) to dancing with pineapples to songs.
Afterwards, while we were at dinner, mom announced that she loves the culture, the music, and the people of Mexico. She also said she regrets voting for Trump.
Five minutes later she announced that it’s hard to wear clothes in Mexico.
Five minutes later she announced that it’s hard to wear clothes in Mexico.
Aug 28, 10:03am
I just want to peacefully read my book by the pool. Kim has decided to narrate our relaxing vacation to Facebook Live. Somehow this is not as relaxing as I had hoped.
Aug 28, 11:44am
We decided to switch from the regular pool to the fresh water pool on the ocean. When we arrived at the pool, we were sitting on the edge dipping our toes in the pool. Another girl was walking down the steps into the pool and slipped. Mom looked at me and said “No one told her the steps were slippery. I could have told her that.”
Aug 28, 6:23pm
We are eating dinner in the buffet tonight. Mom just came from the bathroom.
“Let me tell you what I did” she says with an embarrassed giggle.
“Okay?” I respond.
“Remember yesterday you asked me where the bathroom was after I went to the bathroom to wash my hands?” she asked.
“Well, I just went in to wash my hands yesterday, but today I needed to go to the bathroom, so I walked past the sinks towards the stalls and I saw urinals.” She tells me.
“What?” I ask, surprised.
“So there’s a kid there and he’s a boy. So I ask him ‘am I in the wrong bathroom?’ and he said ‘uh, yeah!’” my mom explains with a red face.
“So you used the men’s bathroom, not once, but twice?” I ask.
I’m still trying to decide if I think this is more funny or more proof that we don’t need gendered bathrooms. I’m going with more funny right now.
Aug 29, 6:47am
We woke up at 4am to get to the airport to catch the first leg of our full day journey home. When we got past security, I noticed we needed to go through a duty free shop to get to our gate. I stopped before going through the store and explained “Mom, we need to go through this duty free shop in order to get to our gate. Your one and only goal is to walk through the store and not stop. If you stop I will leave you.”
She looks at me and casually says, “Okay, I’ll follow you.”
Three seconds in I hear “OOOH! THEY HAVE PURFUME!” and I turn and she is gone.
One. Damn. Job.
Aug 29, 7:13am
Mom found me in the food court. We got breakfast sandwiches and hashbrowns. Kim informs me that they haven’t changed the fryer oil and she can taste it in her hashbrown. I open my ketchup packet, squeeze it into a beautiful tomato pond on my plate, dip my old oil hashbrown in the ketchup, and eat the whole thing.
Aug 29, 7:05pm
This morning we flew from Cancun to Mexico City and then Mexico City to Detroit. I haven’t been able to sleep much. This is the last leg of our trip before getting home. We have 20 minutes to get through customs and security and to our next gate. The Delta employees still haven’t brought my chair down the jetbridge and are trying to convince me to use their chair to get me off the plane. I have already read them the riot act once. I have told mom to get off the plane and start going through customs since we have a short layover and this is taking a while. She keeps saying that she’ll stay with me. I think she thinks she’s being polite. She doesn’t seem to grasp that in order for us to have a chance at making the flight, I need her to go now since she moves slow and once I get my chair I’ll catch up quickly, so she should get a head start.
Aug. 29, 7:42pm
After I read the Delta employee the riot act, he had the nerve to come to me again and tell me he could bring my chair planeside for me and that I should just use their chair and go to my chair. I may have lost my cool. I may have said something along the lines of “If you can’t get the people downstairs to answer the phone to bring up my chair, do you know what that means? THAT MEANS YOU RUN YOUR FUCKING ASS DOWNSTAIRS AND GET MY FUCKING CHAIR NOW! You have 3 minutes before this becomes an FAA complaint or worse!” Magically, they got my chair planeside and I found they broke it so I couldn’t even sit in it.
This is where I stopped using my screaming voice and started using my calmer, but more unnerving “I will burn you all voice.”
First, I lost all patience with my mother and told her to go to customs. When she hesitated I may have been rude – and by may have, I mean I definitely was – and made her go. To her credit, while I was losing my shit, she kept hers together and did not bring up how nasty I was later on when things calmed down, nor did she add fuel to my sky high flames.
Then I unleashed my fury on the Delta staff. After a few choice words and some legal citations, they quickly called the next plane to tell them to hold it as long as necessary to ensure I got on my connecting flight, and then they rushed me through customs and security and to my gate.
We got on the plane home and then I looked at my mom. I remembered that she was actually quite great while I was flipping out on everyone and I almost apologized for being mean to her, but then I remembered that on the way here she woke me up over a beverage cart. Instead of apologizing, I took my headphones, put them through her loop earring, and then in my ear to get back at her for waking me up.
Aug 29, 9:30pm.
We made it home. Both of us are alive. I don’t have a functioning chair, but the technical aspects of this goal are complete. Mission accomplished.