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Mahoney Day

July 25th, 2014

Mahoney maps

It came and passed. My most dreaded of days… Mahoney Day. The NFL has Draft Day my family has Mahoney Day. Mahoney Day is the day we have to fight, tooth and nail, to reserve cabins at Eugene T. Mahoney State park, the most beautiful (in my opinion) and conveniently located State Park in Nebraska. It sits on the banks of the Platte River just a stones throw from Omaha. Every three years it falls upon me and my trusty computer to reserve enough cabins and lodge rooms to accommodate up to 70 some Huebert family members. Simple right? Uhhh, wrong.

Reservations have to be made exactly a year to the date of your arrival and the park is so popular that when the clock strikes 9 a.m. and available cabins go up on the block you’ve got to be quick or those cabins will disappear right before your eyes. In the early days we had to actually drive the two hours to Mahoney at the crack of dawn and stand in line, exactly a year to the date, and hope there were still cabins left. Then one year my sister Kelli and I made the trek up one more time only to be told all reservations were now handled online. This was before smartphones so we were kind of screwed at that point. Luckily one of the Lodge workers hopped on a computer and made our reservations for us. The problem was, we didn’t really get any of the cabins we wanted. We had hoped for at least one of the 6 bedroom deluxe cabins that sleeps up to 20 people. It has become my white whale and still eludes me til this day.

The last Mahoney Day marked the first time we attempted making reservations online on our own. We decided to take a two-pronged approach, Kelli would grab as many cabins as she could from her computer at home and I would do the same at my house. We also decided to try for a Thursday, Friday, Saturday reservation window instead of the typical Friday, Saturday, Sunday. I practiced for weeks. Yes, that’s what I said, I practiced. I found a couple of cabins that hadn’t been reserved the year before and I purchased them over and over and over (always deleting them from my shopping cart after reserving them, I can only imagine the charges that would have racked up on the Old Man’s credit card if I hadn’t hit that delete button). The practice sessions were meant to improve muscle memory and learn how to navigate the website for maximum speed. I told Kelli to do the same, I don’t think she took me very seriously because when D-Day rolled around Dad and I were printing out our confirmation notices when she appeared in the doorway of my studio with a stunned expression on her face, “One!” she said, “I got ONE cabin!” “That’s OK,” I said, “I got the other seven.”

Eventually my Mom showed up at the house as well to see how we had done, a few minutes later I got a call from my best friend Ang, “Are you Ok? Did something happen?” she asked. “I’m fine, why?” “Well, I just drove by your house at like 10:30 a.m. on a Wednesday morning and every one of your family’s vehicles is parked in front of your house.” She, like my mom and sister, often calls to check and make sure that I haven’t died in my sleep. “I’m fine,” I said, “It’s Mahoney Day.” “Ahhh,” she replied, “Mahoney Day.” Poor Ang, she always has to listen to me stress out about Mahoney Day.

This Mahoney day was different. I was on my own. My Dad had passed the mantle of “Huebert Travel Agent” on to me at the last reunion. He was done writing letters, making arrangements and pestering family members for payment, he is old you know. He would however, still supply me with one very important aspect of the job, his credit card. Sister Kelli was suddenly on a weekend trip to Illinois so I wouldn’t have the benefit of her nimble fingers this time around (I bet laptops still work in Illinois) but would that really affect the outcome you ask? Probably not. Sister Kris, who was visiting from Texas, offered to step in and take her place, but then conveniently decided to head back to Texas that morning… hmmm, anyone starting to see a pattern here? “That’s fine.” I thought, “I can do it on my own.” In all truth, I just wanted to get Mahoney Day over with so I could quit worrying about it.

After a fitful nights sleep involving much tossing and turning for fear I would sleep through my alarm (I told you I tend to worry) I arose at 8 a.m. and took a calming shower. I then sat down in front of my computer and started to do some more practice runs. Margre’s Village, Governor’s Row, Running Deer Loop, I purchased cabins in my top three park locations over and over again. Stopping every once in a while to watch a little Sponge Bob (it was Saturday morning after all, and Sponge Bob tends to calm me). The butterflies in my stomach continued to build as I kept telling myself, “Chill out, why are you getting worked up over this?” Suddenly it was T-minus 5 minutes and counting, I sat and did some deep breathing exercises wondering why I had never taken a yoga class, it may have helped at this point. And finally…. there it was… the clock on my computer struck 9 a.m. And I froze…. but just for a second. My brain kicked in and my muscle memory took over. I clicked over to my first choices in Margre’s Village… all reserved. Dang it! There goes the six bedroom, the white whale alludes me again. Click… Governor’s Row… gone, all reserved. Click, click, click… Running Deer Loop… booked up solid. Out of desperation I moved on to the less appealing loops, the ones with smaller cabins, gone, gone, gone. What the H-E-DOUBLE HOCKEYSTICKS?!! How is this possible? All my training down the drain. I continued to click around for another 15 minutes hoping someone would give up a cabin and I could swoop in like a vulture. Nothing. No such luck. At the 20 minute mark I decided to call my folks and tell them I had failed.

Mom answered and proceeded to tell me that Kris and the family hadn’t left yet, still getting things packed up. The girlies were both up and ready to go. Steve’s still bungeeing things down in the pickup…. yada, yada, yada. I listened for a while and then finally interrupted her, “Well, this weekend wasn’t meant to be for next year’s Mahoney Reunion.” I said. “Ohhh, it’s Mahoney Day. I forgot you were doing that.” FORGOT! FORGOT! How could she have forgotten, I’ve been stressing about it for weeks. I proceeded to tell her that everything was already reserved and I couldn’t figure out why I had a little warning note at the top of the screen saying the next available reservation day was on Tuesday. That would mean you had to reserve cabins two days in advance, they must have changed the rules on me. We continued to talk and I continued to say, “According to this, in order to reserve for the 19th I should have made reservations on the 17th… but today’s the 18th…” To which she kept replying, “Today’s the 19th.” And then I would repeat the sentence again and she would say, “But today’s the 19th.” This went on for a while until I finally actually HEARD her say, “But today’s the 19th.” Suddenly I looked at my little calendar on my computer screen… why did it say today was the 18th? Oh holy crap, I was looking at the 2015 calendar. I clicked over to the reservation page…

Date box

see that little reservation box up in the corner? See how it says Sunday, July 19, 2015? Well it said 2014 when I looked at it. OH MY GOSH! I forgot to change the year after doing all of my practice runs!!! STUPID, STUPID, STUPID! I changed it to 2015 and clicked over to Margre’s Village… holy cow, the first five cabins were still available for reservation… and it was already 9:30 a.m.! “Mom, I gotta go!” and I basically hung up on her. I started filling up my cart, four bedroom deluxe, ohhh, another four bedroom deluxe, hey there’s a two bedroom deluxe… I’ll just take that one too. Throw in a couple more two bedroom standards and top it off with four lodge rooms. I sat there in disbelief… I got everything I wanted but that dang six bedroom… hit the checkout button stupid.

Final reservations

And there it was a beautiful list of confirmed cabins. I could hardly believe it. The Sunday, Monday, Tuesday thing saved the day. If I had been reserving for any other day but a Sunday none of those cabins would have still been available at 9:30 a.m. I printed out my precious confirmations and packed up and headed over to the folks’. I walked in the door, stuck my fist in the air and said, “Victory!” “You got cabins?” my sister asked. “I did, and I even got some four bedrooms, despite my stupid screw up.” “Good for you.” and she continued packing. I sat down to tell them of my morning escapades. No one seemed to be listening, just an occasional, “Really?”, “Oh that’s good.” was all I got. Finally I said, “Well, no one seems to be as excited about my accomplishment as I am so I’ll just shut up. But, you’ll thank me a year from now.” You’ll all thank me a year from now I repeated in my mind followed by an evil little cackle… oh crap, I gotta get out of this job, what have I become?

One Response to “Mahoney Day”

  1. ang Says:

    Haaaaa!!!! Victory!!! I can totally see you doing that. Call me next year and I’ll help!! We’ll get that dang 6 bedroom cabin once and for all!!

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