Family Magazine

So There Was This Thing Called Home Leave

By Sherwoods
Every time we go on vacation or home leave I always make myself a solemn promise that this time I will keep up with events and actually record them.  And every time I get back to the States and non-stop party with relatives for weeks on end, that promise goes to the winds.
But this time I'll at least make an attempt to acknowledge that yes, we went on home leave, and we went some places and saw lots and lots of snow.  Lots of it.  Too much, really.  I smugly thought that I had escaped the worst of winter with its polar vortex and could slip in at the tail-end and show up for spring.  Wrong.
We started our home leave in southwestern Missouri and where we mooched off visited Brandon's parents for two and a half weeks.  When you have four children and finish your tour at the end of January there's really only so many places you can go that don't cost at least $150 a night, so we were very grateful that Brandon's parents would take us for so long.  My deadbeat parents are in South America for the next three years, so they'll get their turn to host us next time.
So There Was This Thing Called Home Leave
The weather started off promising, giving us a beautiful sixty-degree Sunday to get our hopes up before dashing them with twenty-degree days and snow.  I had arranged for a three-day getaway to Kansas City several months before we got to Missouri and Brandon's parents were kind enough to watch the children.  As the day got closer and closer the forecast got more and more snowy.  Eventually I had to move our reservation back a day to avoid the foot of snow that was dumped on the city.
So There Was This Thing Called Home Leave
We managed to miss the snow but arrived just in time for a -15 wind chill.  We managed to survive, but I don't remember being that cold since I went night skiing in college.  It didn't help that the city was such a snowy mess that we walked pretty much everywhere.  Next time I visit Kansas City, it won't be in early February.
So There Was This Thing Called Home Leave
After saying goodbye to Brandon's parents, we headed next to his brother's house in northwest Missouri where there was more snow waiting for us.  Thankfully his brother's six children had enough snow clothes between them that everyone was able to find something to keep them warm for several days' sledding fun.
So There Was This Thing Called Home Leave
When we wore out our welcome at their house, we moved next to his sister's house where the snow was thankfully melting.  Brandon's sister and I are due within two weeks of each other (her sixth, however), so we compared notes on backaches, Braxton-Hicks, and hospital stays while watching the Olympics and eating ice cream every night after the children went to bed.
Then, having no more relatives within driving distance to bother, we broke down and spent a few nights in a hotel.  I had gotten a Groupon deal at an indoor water park in Sandusky, Ohio, so up to the frozen shores of Lake Erie we went for some mid-winter water slide riding.  The water wasn't nearly warm enough for my thin blood, but the children enjoyed themselves anyway, which was the whole point in the first place.
So There Was This Thing Called Home Leave
And finally, on the last day of home leave, we drove down to Falls Church and checked into our luxurious Oakwood accommodations.  Where we got snowed on twice in the first week.  Next time, we're taking home leave in July.

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