Thursday evening, after the kids had eye appointments (including dilation! So, thorough. Also, no needed corrections and we don't need to have them checked again for 2-3 years), we drove out to Danvers where we had booked a stay at the DoubleTree and its associated indoor water park. There used to be another of these in the area (Leominster? Fitchburg?), but it is closed for renovations. This place was wall to wall people and, indoor water park, duh, inherently noisy. The kids had fun. We ate at the hotel restaurant a lot, so I swelled up (I have sodium issues, altho not hypertension -- I just inflate. Bleah). We took a drive through fog and rain over to Salem to let our houseguest have a look around; the kids were not about to cooperate with an actual visit to Peabody Essex or House of Seven Gables or anything like that.
Because we had booked the room a ways in advance to ensure access to the water park, and the houseguest decided to fly out after that, we only had space for the four of us in the hotel. She drove back (about 45 minutes each way) to stay at the house. Fortunately, I had previously driven her through the Concord rotary a couple of times with snarky commentary on how ridiculous this thing was as a traffic "solution". She was thus somewhat prepared to survive it upon the return trip.
The waterpark and hotel were basically clean, altho by the end of the day not so much as at the beginning, obvs. We may go back, altho we might drive up to Conway to try Kahuna Laguna. I wasn't actually planning on any kind of hotel stay this vacation/school break, but T. really desperately wanted to book a hotel and this one was close enough to bail out on if it was for any reason unsatisfactory. They have nice "family suites": a king, and two kids beds. Kinda tight, with a mini fridge and a microwave, and a coffee maker. I infinitely prefer things like the Residence Inn, which have full kitchens, but this was fine, and it was nice that there's a Whole Foods in Lynnfield, which we visited and got prepared stuff at.
We got out before 9 a.m., because I didn't want to eat another hotel breakfast. Thus we were home by 10 a.m., in plenty of time for R. and T. go out to Starbucks to get T. a hot chocolate (they were out of chocolate syrup at the hotel's Starbucks -- this was really a theme, running out of things because of the crowds), and then over to Circle Furniture to pick up T.'s new desk. We then had to get the desk into the house, unpacked, and up the stairs. It fit okay between the bookcase and the dresser (not great -- it blocks some of the shelves a bit), so we didn't have to put the bunk beds together. Then it was off to open gym -- at this point, an almost normal Saturday.