Magic Mountain, CA — A Tacoma, WA family of five are back at home after a father’s threat became a reality. 42-year-old Terry Gulbranson thought he had planned the perfect vacation for his family. And according to his wife Anna, the entire family was thrilled when he surprised them with a Fall Break vacation to Southern California.
“Terry is very tight with money. We never go out to eat, and stuff like that,” said Anne commenting on her Scandinavian husband’s rather extreme frugalness. “So when he surprised us with a vacation, we were both shocked and thrilled. But when he told us we’d be driving, I knew that would lead to trouble.”
The family set out early this week in their Dodge Caravan towards Magic Mountain, a theme park in Southern California. According to Ms. Gulbranson, the first leg of the trip landed them at the Holiday Inn in Roseburg, Oregon, and the children were well-behaved. That is until they checked into the room.
“David loves to taunt his younger brother. As any 13-year-old would tend to do. But when Jason learned he would have to sleep on the rollaway bed, he began to cry, and David took the opportunity to rub salt into his wound. I thought Terry was going to lose it.”
As the patriarch of the family, Terry knew he not only had to provide guidance and discipline but also an extraordinary amount of patience.
“I had to prepare for over a week, telling myself over and over that I was going to have to be patient. And that this was going to be a stressful experience. Look, I admit I could have handled the Holiday Inn incident better, but in retrospect, it set the tone for the rest of the trip.”
Instead of attempting to consol the 8-year-old Jason, Mr. Gulbranson announced to the family that he “wasn’t going to put up with any of this crap.” A threat, which has traditionally been heard as a non-threat by the kids and his wife, and often dismissed.
Day Two: The Escalation
It was on day two of their adventure that 11-year-old middle child Daphne thought it would be fun to poke the sleeping teenager.
“Yeah, that’s when things started escalating,” continued Anne. “We were outside of Modesto when Daphne became bored or something. For the next hundred miles, chaos broke out in the van about every 15 minutes, with each kids retaliating against attacks. I could see Terry getting angrier and angrier.”
“I swear to god, if I have to pull this car over, there’s going to be trouble,” bellowed Terry, tightly gripping the steering wheel. “And if I have to pull over, I’m going to turn around and go home.”
Then it happened. Terry had enough.
“We were six miles from Magic Mountain when Terry had had enough. He turned the car around and drove us straight back to Tacoma,” recalled Anne. “He started ranting about all kinds of odd things. It kinda scared me.”
“Oh, pirates? Do you want fucking pirates? How about I drive your ass off the coast of Somalia,” shouted Mr. Gulbranson. “We have fucking guinea pigs and dogs back home, goddammit. I bet they’d mind their manners better than you guys. Jason is too fucking short to ride most of the rides anyway, Anne. And besides, half of these rides are probably closed for maintenance.”
The trip back to Tacoma was the quietest ride the Gulbranson family ever experienced. Anne has mentioned that Terry partially regrets his behavior, but not his actions.