Go Away With … Karen Alpert

Karen Alpert

By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Content Agency
November 15, 2016

Blogger Karen Alpert details the day-to-day humor (and struggles) of raising young children on her Baby Sideburns website. For instance, her son got a painful ear infection during a recent family getaway, “because when you pay thousands and thousands of dollars for a vacation, it’s mandatory that one of your rugrats gets sick.” A New York Times best-selling author, Alpert’s latest book is “I Want My Epidural Back: Adventures in Mediocre Parenting” (William Morrow, $19.99). Stay in touch with her via Facebook.

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?

A. Pre-kiddos, I would have said somewhere exciting like London or Italy or rafting down the Grand Canyon. But, sadly, my answer has changed over the last seven years. Nowadays, I just want to go somewhere we can relax, be warm and step over our children in the hallway when they decide to throw tantrums because they’re thrown off their normal routine. Recently, we went on a Disney cruise and it definitely met that criteria. The pool basically looked like a mosh-pit of loud children. Our experience was truly magical. There were characters, deck parties, waterslides, fireworks, a private island and plenty of frozen blended drinks to take the edge off.

Q. What untapped destination should people know about?

A. Well, I don’t know how untapped it is, but we love Bar Harbor, Maine. The hiking is phenomenal, the lobster is salty when it’s cooked in seawater and seeing 360-degree views from the top of Mt. Penobscot is breathtaking, especially when you’re out of shape like me.

Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?

A. I remember my parents taking me and my sister to Europe, where they schlepped us to museum after museum and we complained the whole time. In reality, we probably went to like two museums the whole time and saw priceless masterpieces like the Mona Lisa and Michelangelo’s David. Ah, money well spent.

Q. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your travels?

A. Everyone is going to hate you when you go through the TSA line with kids, but if you make it through alive and you don’t lose anyone, you did a good job.

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?

A. We love going to Starved Rock (in Illinois) to take the kids hiking. It’s pretty much a guarantee they aren’t going to complain for a couple of hours, and we always get a ton of cute pictures that I will never actually print out.

Q. What are your favorite hotels?

A. We love the Osthoff Resort (http://osthoff.com/) in Wisconsin and try to go every year. There’s no better way to vacation with your family than to sit in a lounge chair with a pina colada and a People magazine while your hubby takes care of the children without you.

Q. What are your five favorite cities?

A. Austin, Boston, New Orleans, London and Kauai. Yes, I know that’s an island, not a city.

Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?

A. An African safari, which is ironic because I pretty much live with animals every day. Granted, they are human, but they are just as wild as any African animal.

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?

A. Frozen alcoholic drinks are non-negotiable wherever we go. And if I don’t bring my tweezers, it’s unibrow city.

Q. What would be your dream trip?

A. Sometimes I fantasize about all the mommies in the whole entire world visiting a tropical island together without any children. Oh my gawd, can you imagine how much fun that would be?

Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you’re on the road?

A. Stealing all of the chocolate off everyone else’s pillows before they notice them. I also love eating whatever I want for the entire vacation. There is no such thing as eating healthy when we go away.

Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?

A. I think my favorite memory was building a new playground at a FEMA trailer park in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. The kids’ faces lit up like you can’t imagine. And I think my worst vacation memory was on an airplane when I caught my son’s throw-up in my bare hands. Fun times.

If you are lucky enough to go on a Disney cruise, I would highly recommend dropping the kids off at the kids club as much as possible, ordering every single item on the dinner menu since it’s all-inclusive, and getting a good bikini wax before you set sail so it won’t look like you’re wearing hair shorts. My apologies to everyone who saw me at the pool.

Q. What are your favorite restaurants?
A. All the ones my children haven’t gotten us kicked out of. So pretty much all of the ones we haven’t been to yet.

Q. Have you traveled to a place that stood out so much that you felt compelled to incorporate it into your work?
A. I’ve written a lot about Disney World and the Disney cruise we just took. My writing is all about showing the realistic side of having kids. There is a lot of realism when your kids skip their naps and down multiple churros in a day.

Q. Where is the most romantic destination?
A. 2008. In case you’re wondering, that was the last year I was childless. If I had a time machine, I would go to 2008 all the time for conjugal visits.

© 2016 JAE-HA KIM
DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

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