Perhaps some of you skiers (and non-skiers) with small children might appreciate this - or at least relate!
The idea was good. We would go to the Trapp Family lodge in Stowe, Vermont for a few days of post-Christmas rest and relaxation with the kids (ages 11 and 6). Everything seemed fine until Monday when we decided to go downhill skiing with the children (neither of whom loves to ski - so we would go for only the afternoon). The "I hate skiing" chants on the way to the Mountain should have been our first clue. But we persisted. After putting on her boots, our 6-year-old daughter had a total melt down. Everything hurt. Many noble attempts to convince her it would be fun (and some bribing) did not change her mind. We had to abort. She and I would sit in the lodge while the other two went skiing. They went skiing in a blizzard - it was miserable. My daughter and I could not find a seat anywhere in the over-packed lodge. We ate next to the trash can. It too was miserable. At 3:30 (about 2 hours and $150 later) - finally, we could put this not-so-good-day behind us.
But wait. As we were walking to the car, I overheard someone say to his friend, "I guess there was a bad accident on Mountain Road." Uh-oh. This couldn't be good. Turns out there was a perfect storm of sorts: (1) a blizzard, (2) at the same time as the closing of the lifts when everyone was leaving, and (3) a 5-car pileup on the one access road. Needless to say, we sat in the parking lot for almost two hours without moving. We then realized we had very little gas and at this rate we would surely run out before making it to town (we were ever-so-fortunate to have a car that tells you how many miles you have left on your tank; so we anxiously watched it slowly work its way down to almost zero).
My wife kept wisely reminding all of us that things could be much worse. While very true, it didn't seem to help.
After moving 0.2 miles in 2.5 hours, we had to abort again. We turned off at the Stowe Mountain Lodge. It was a zoo. No food - the restaurant was booked and would not have an opening for three hours. My wife begged the bartender for two bags of chips so we could feed the kids. At 7:30, in hopes the traffic had started to abate, I decided to try to make the expedition for gas myself (it was mostly downhill, so if I ran out I knew there was a chance I could glide to the station). But I made it (on fumes). Back up the hill to get the family. Got in a fight with my wife (of course) over some stupid issue. Arrived back at our lodge at 9 p.m. (5.5 hours after we finished skiing) - missed the evening movie. No family member was speaking to any other. Aren't family vacations wonderful!