Happy Monday

Let’s not forget that today is a solemn holiday here in the U.S.  I never want to disparage that because I really respect those who volunteered for their country and made the ultimate sacrifice.

That being said, I feel like I can simultaneously acknowledge the holiday and share this Monday funny.

About a month ago, my mother-in-law sent an email asking for my kids’ measurements — she had some leftover grey tencel fabric and wanted to make K-Man and Ell-Bell matching outfits with Paw Patrol patches on them.  Lord help me.  Like a good daughter-in-law, I ignored the email.  So she sent it again a few days later.  I ignored some more, and then I delayed, and then I went out of town, but she persisted, and eventually I sent her some measurements.

On Friday, these prison uniforms puppies arrived in the mail.

The mother-in-law never disappoints.  I just want to know why she hassled me so hard for measurements and then ultimately made my son’s and daughter’s shirts the exact same length.  K-Man had to wear a t-shirt under his outfit so as not to expose his belly button.

I guess I’ll just add these to the pile of clothing that my kids will never wear but I still have to keep for the rest of time.

Until next time,

Vee

Oregon Trails (Finally, the Finale)

It’s finally here, the last post about my cursed trip to visit family in Oregon.  At the end of yesterday’s post, I had turned in early at a hotel near the airport in Portland, ready to wake up at an ungodly hour to drag my kids onto a 6 a.m. cross-country flight.

Day 5: Tuesday, May 15

My alarm went off at 3:00 a.m., and I jumped out of bed and started getting ready.  I had a long day ahead of me.  I had booked the kids and I on the hotel’s 4:00 a.m. shuttle to the airport, where we would hopefully have plenty of time to make our 6:00 a.m. flight to Newark.  It was going to be a 5-hour flight, and then we would have a 4-hour layover (gross) in Newark before our final flight home to Upstate NY.

When the clock struck 3:30 a.m., I made my way over to the beds to start waking K-Man and Ell-Bell.  They are slow movers, and I wanted them to be dressed and ready so we could head down to the shuttle by 3:45 a.m.

I whispered K-Man’s name and started to gently shake his shoulder.  But then I was distracted by my phone buzzing.  Who could be texting me at this hour?

I checked my phone and saw the following text:

Your flight to Upstate NY is canceled due to air traffic control.  We’ve rebooked you on an alternate itinerary.  We’ve rebooked you today on our 11:25 p.m. flight via Chicago, arriving in Upstate NY at 9:37 a.m.

I blinked at my phone, completely dumbfounded.  If I’m being honest I had expected some kind of problem with the flights.  That’s just the way this trip was going.  What I wasn’t expecting was a full 17-hour delay in my itinerary, followed by a redeye.  Were they kidding me with this shit? Was there really no faster way to Upstate NY?  Was I really going to have to spend all day at the Portland airport with my two travel-weary children?  Was I really going to have to keep them up until 11:30 at night, and then wake them up again 4 hours later to make a transfer in Chicago?

I couldn’t bear the thought.  I started frantically searching the internet for alternate itineraries, all while dialing the airline’s customer service.  I was finding nothing good online, but I was hopeful that when I got on the phone with an actual person, they could pull some strings and find me something to get me even remotely close to Upstate NY before the day was over.

After 30 minutes on hold, I finally got on with a representative.  He was way less than helpful.  Which, I guess, is not his fault, there just weren’t a lot of ways to get to Upstate NY that day.  When I discovered that it was only the Newark-to-Upstate NY flight that was canceled, I asked if I could still get on the flight from Portland to Newark, and then figure things out from there.  I was hoping that maybe once in Newark I could get on standby or something.  Or worst case scenario, I could rent a car and drive home from Newark, it was only a 4-hour trip.  I just knew I needed to get the FUCK out of Oregon.  ASAP.

The representative on the phone assured me that he had restored my Portland-to-Newark reservation, so I quickly hung up and got my things together.  I woke the kids up and we went downstairs and caught the 4:30 a.m. shuttle to the airport.

We got to the airport at 4:45 a.m., and I felt like we had a comfortable amount of time to get through check-in and security.  We waited in line for a kiosk, and then I swiped my credit card and told the machine I was headed to Newark.  The machine could not find my reservation on the flight to Newark.

“Fuuuuuuckkkk,” I moaned audibly.  I entered my itinerary number and the kiosk told me I was still booked on a flight to Chicago at 11:25 p.m.  So the representative on the phone had just been dicking me around, and he had not, in fact, restored my reservation on the Portland-to-Newark flight.

I needed to speak to someone, and quickly, but it was a free-for-all.  There was no line you could stand in to wait for an agent.  The agents were just free-floating from kiosk to kiosk, helping whoever was the squeakiest wheel.  I kept trying to flag someone down while keeping my kids close by,  but I was having a bitch of a time.  Time was getting tight. Finally, at about 5:15 a.m., I was able to get an agent to tell me that she would help me right after she was finished talking to the travelers she was currently helping.

Relieved, I waited patiently at my kiosk.  But I watched her like a hawk.  I watched her finish with the travelers she was currently helping.  And then I watched her walk in the complete opposite direction to go handle something else.  Quickly, I hoped.  And then I watched some other traveler walk up to the agent and start peppering her with questions.  “Get on with it!” I grumbled to myself, but instead, the agent hunkered down and started having a full-blown conversation with this other traveler.

I’d had it.  I stomped over to the agent and, as politely as I could, reminded her that she had promised to help us next, emphasizing that I was about to miss my flight.  The agent got huffy, told me she was doing the best she could and that she had no control over who walked up to her and asked for help.  And then she told me to go wait back at my kiosk, and that she’d be with me when she could.

I sulked back to my kiosk, fighting back tears.  I knew I had been rude, and I hate confrontation, but I was beyond frustrated with this situation!  I just wanted to get back on the fucking flight that I had made a fucking reservation for.

A minute later, the agent walked over to me and said, “Now, how can I help you?”

I tearfully (ugh) explained what was going on, and the agent hopped on her computer to see if she could help me.  It turned out, the “computer” wouldn’t let me get on the flight to Newark without having a connecting flight out of Newark also reserved.  After 10 minutes of typing and making phone calls, the agent had ironed everything out, and we were on our way to security at about 5:35 a.m.  For the second time this trip, I walked up to an empty gate and boarded my flight under the judge-y and watchful eye of the Final Boarding screen.

I quickly texted Hubby an update of our situation, letting him know I would figure things out once we got to Newark.  Then I put away my phone and hunkered down for our five hour flight.

The flight went by quickly.  K-Man was totally engrossed in his tablet.  Ell-Bell slept on and off for at least half the time.  I mean, Ell-Bell did throw up twice, but we somehow survived it.  The first time she threw up, I had an empty drink cup in my hand, so I managed to catch almost all of her vomit in the cup.  It was super awkward walking her back to the restroom whilst holding a chunky vomit cup in the air, but most of the passengers seemed oblivious.  As for Ell-Bell’s second vomit, well, it all just kind of disappeared into the folds of her neck.  So I let it slide.  Because I had been doing this for four days and I just didn’t care anymore.

As we began our descent, I started to worry about the task ahead of me.  How, exactly, was I going to get home from Newark?  There were like three flights a day from Newark to Upstate NY, and they were all canceled or booked for the rest of the day.  I could try and get on standby.  I could take an hour-and-a-half taxi to another NYC airport for a flight out of there.  I could take a bus back to Upstate NY.  I could rent a car … but wait, what were the chances that I could find a rental company with two car seats available for rent?  It all sounded so overwhelming, but I knew I had to figure it out.

When we were on the ground I turned on my phone and saw a message from Hubby asking me to let him know when I landed.  I sent him a quick text and then started to pack everything up.  Hubby immediately called me and when I picked up, he sounded way too cheerful.  “Hi! How was your flight?  So I’m here in Newark, waiting to pick you guys up and drive you home.”

Oh. my. god.  You guys.  It took everything in me to not burst into tears as relief washed over me.  I love that man so much.  It’s not just that he volunteered to drive 4 hours to Newark to pick us up and then drive another 4 hours home.  This day was his ONLY day off in a stretch of 12 days.  And he had just come off 6 night shifts in a row.  And he had 27 patients notes to do.  And instead of enjoying his single day off or getting his work done, he opted to spend 8+ hours in the car for us.  My hero.

I hugged Hubby tightly when we got to the luggage carousel, and then we headed out for our 4-hour drive back to Upstate NY.  Well, it was supposed to be 4 hours.   You know how driving with small kids can be — numerous stops for potty time and food needs.  And then there was the apocalypse storm that we had to drive through (the reason that my flight had been canceled in the first place).  We hit a few bits of traffic where people were slowly navigating around downed trees in the road.

About two hours away from home, Ell-Bell threw up in the back seat.  Surprise, surprise.  We had just gotten back on the road and were not about to pull over, so I did something stupid.  Something that I’ve done more times than I care to admit.  I climbed into the back seat of our sedan and wedged myself between the two kids’ car seats.  I sat there for several minutes wiping up vomit and then, without thinking much, started to climb back into the front seat.  As I was making the climb, I had a brief inkling that I shouldn’t be doing this.  We were in weird fast but also start-stop traffic and it’s just really not a safe practice.  That inkling made me look up quickly right as I was standing on the divider between the two front seats.  When I looked up, I saw that we were speeding towards the brake lights of the car in front of us.  “Stop!!” I screamed to Hubby, and he slammed on the brakes.  And I flew through the air, face first into the windshield.

Time stood still for a few seconds as I peeled my body off the dashboard, crawled back into my seat, and put my seat belt on.  My whole forehead and nose were numb, and the bridge of my nose was stinging.  I looked up and realized with disgust that my face had put a huge spiderweb crack all over the right side of the windshield.  Holy shit.

Hubby was horrified.  “Oh my god, are you ok?”

“Um, I think so,” I stammered, blinking through the tears that were quickly falling down my face.  “Um, I don’t know, I think maybe I broke my nose.  And my forehead hurts.”  When we could, we pulled off at a gas station and Hubby examined me.  I had a split on the bridge of my nose that he said needed to be glued up — but not stitched.  He couldn’t say for sure whether my nose was broken, but it wasn’t disfigured.  There were no other cuts or notable symptoms, so Hubby (who I will remind you is an ER doctor) didn’t think I needed to go in to the hospital.

So we hit the road again and finished our ride home.  Hubby with his hands clenched tightly around the steering wheel, me obsessively pulling on the seat belt and engaging the automatic lock.  I honestly felt like there was some sort of Final Destination-esque plot on my life at this point.  I lowered my standards significantly and just hoped we would all make it home alive.

Well, after one final hiccup (K-Man pooped in his pants in the car again), we were finally home at about 9:00 p.m.  We went inside, and Hubby cleaned up my cut and glued it back together.  Somehow, magically, we convinced the kids to go to bed, even though they had been sitting all day and were operating on Pacific Time.  Hubby and I ordered a pizza, which I ate with difficulty since my nose was nice and swollen.

And then we went to bed.  And that was the very morbid end to my fucking trip to Oregon.

Thank you so much to all who indulged me and read through my entire 5-day bitch fest.  I really, truly, never want to leave the house again.

Until next time,

Vee


Post Scripts:

  1. I developed a really classy looking double black eye.  It was purple, and then it was purple and yellow, now it is a dull brown.  Nobody has dared ask me where it came from because it looks very sinister.
  2. Two days after we got back, K-Man woke up and promptly threw up all over me.  He would go on to be sick for a full three days.
  3. Three days after we got back, I learned that my beloved 92-year-old grandpa’s health is rapidly declining, and that my entire family is descending upon him in a month to spend some final moments with him.  So I have reluctantly purchased tickets for me and the kids to fly to Missouri — again, sans Hubby — in the middle of June.  Am I crazy?

 

 

Oregon Trails (Part Four)

Yesterday, I blogged about the most laughably catastrophic Mother’s Day I will ever have (hopefully).  Today, the story continues with my final full day in Oregon.  As far as disasters go, it was kind of a light day.

Day 4: Monday, May 14

I don’t even remember what time the kids woke up on this morning, which means it probably wasn’t 3:30 a.m., thank gawd.  And Ell-Bell was vomit free for 20 hours at this point so I was pretty sure the puke fest was over.  It was going to be a beautiful day!

We packed up quickly and checked out, because we would be staying at a hotel near the Portland airport for our final night of the trip.

I made my way over to my sister’s bright and early so that I could say goodbye to my brother-in-law before he left for work.  As soon as I got there, things felt oddly frosty, and I immediately regretted coming over so early.  It was clear that something was up and my sister was in a bad mood, so I figured she was just tired of entertaining.

About an hour into the visit, K-Man — who had refused the cereal breakfast offered to him, and who was generally anti-eating the whole trip — decided that he really really REALLY wanted to eat some goldfish.  I was all about him eating anything, so I said sure.  At home, he’s allowed to roam free with his goldfish because we are a bunch of messy fucks.  But since we were visiting and I have at least one ounce of common decency, I insisted he eat his goldfish at the table.  Apparently, this offended/enraged K-Man to his three-year-old core.  He lost his mind.  For about twenty minutes. He was rage crying on the floor, kicky, with hot tears flowing down his face and drool pouring out of his mouth.  My sister tried to be helpful, but there wasn’t really any helping the situation.  (I will say that her insistence on discussing what parenting books say to do in this situation was less than welcome, but it was coming from a good place.)

(Let me also say, as an aside, that my son K-Man is actually a very sweet, awesome, adorable three-year-old.  This trip makes him sounds like a 24/7 nightmare, but he’s not.  Exhaustion and lots of change can certainly eff a poor kid up).

At some point, the rage cry was finally over, but K-Man had abandoned any effort to eat his goldfish.  So he was still in a state of near starvation.  Eventually, he ran up and asked me for eggs and pancakes.  I knew that my sister had both items in the house, but I didn’t feel that comfortable volunteering her food to him.  Finally, I asked her if I could make him some eggs, and she said yes.  So I told K-Man I was going to make him eggs, but not pancakes.  He wasn’t cool with that.

“I want eggs AND pancakes!” He pleaded.  I wasn’t in the mood for another meltdown, and honestly, the only objection I had to giving the kid pancakes was that they weren’t mine to give.  So I sheepishly turned to my sister and asked her if I could make him some pancakes, too.

My sister hesitated, looked annoyed, and finally said, “well, yeah, but you CAN say no to him.”

Uggggghhhhhh.  Shut. Upppp.  Up until this point, I was trying very hard not to think about how my kids’ unusual behavior reflected on my parenting,  but this particular jab left little to the imagination.

I turned away, rolled my eyes, and started making K-Man some pancakes.

As the day wore on, I was really ready to not be around my sister anymore.  And then the straw broke the camel’s back.  We were sitting around chatting, and she casually brought up what had happened the night before.  You know, when I left dinner early because my kids were in the middle of two distinct and interminable meltdowns.

She went on to tell me that she was actually mad at me about it.  She was Mad.  At me.  I was completely shocked.  I didn’t understand.  Why was she mad?  She elaborated that it was supposed to be our special celebratory Mother’s Day dinner, and that I had ruined it by walking out.  Instead of celebrating the special occasion, everyone was thinking about me and I guess feeling guilty that I couldn’t join?  Honestly, I don’t even know.  All I know is that this revelation totally sank me and I started crying again.

My sister thought I was crying because I felt bad, so she started rubbing my back.  I let her, but I was actually crying because I was frustrated and angry.  Where was her empathy?  Did she not understand that, at this point, I was life-ing at about 5%?  Why else would I have made a scene and walked out the of the restaurant?  Was I really supposed to be thinking about anyone but myself and my two kids in that moment?

Honestly, I can understand why she might be mildly upset about my giving up and walking away from the dinner.  But I can’t understand why she had the need to tell me about it.  Not in my fragile state.  I apologized anyway because I didn’t want to prolong the conversation, and my sister was all, “Good, I feel better getting that off my chest.  I don’t believe in holding things in.”

At that point I volunteered to take my kids out for a drive to give my sister and her son some quiet time together.  I could not get out of there fast enough.  After a short car nap for K-Man and Ell-Bell, I stopped in at my mom’s and hung out with her for a while.

The visit was actually really pleasant.  K-Man and my mom’s dog started to get along and were super cute together.  And my mom was suddenly really social and grandmother-y towards my kids, and I realized that she really just shines better in smaller settings.  So I was able to let go of some of the resentment I was harboring towards her.

My tiny happy bubble burst (of course) when Ell-Bell up and barfed all over me again.  Goldfish and apple juice this time.  What the heck? It had been more than 24 hours since the last puke! Why was this still happening? Would I ever stop smelling like vom? And what would I do if she was still barfing on our long plane ride tomorrow?  Halp!!

After a few hours with my mom, we all met back up with my sister at a playground.  It was after 4 p.m., and we were in Oregon, but I put a little sunscreen on K-Man anyway, because that child has the complexion of a ghost.  I swear he was out in the sun for probably 20 minutes combined, but still walked away with a burn on his arms, cheeks, and neck.  Mom fail # 2,894,567.

As evening approached, my mom, my sister, my kids and I all piled into the small car to head to Portland.  They were going to drop us off at our hotel and say goodbye there, because I had a 6 a.m. flight the next morning.

Right before we got to the Portland hotel, we stopped for some McDonalds.  And as soon as we all opened and started eating our food, guess what happened? Yes, that’s right, Ell-Bell threw up.  Again.  All over my sister’s car, the borrowed car seat, etc., etc.  — you know the drill by now.  We pulled over off the highway for another baby wipe clean up (I’m officially an expert, by the way), and then enjoyed the rest of our dinner all smushed into that vomit-scented sedan together.

After we got to the hotel and said our goodbyes, I quickly got to work readying Ell-Bell and K-Man for bed.  I started a bath and then stripped both kids down.  And then I realized the bath was scalding hot so I waited for a while before putting them in.  And like an idiot, I did not re-diaper Ell-Bell.  So of course, she ran from corner to corner of the room, diarrhea-ing all over the hotel carpet.  Like a sick dog.  I chased after her and wiped up sick poop pile after sick poop pile, thanking my lucky stars that at least the carpet was dark.  Honestly, I almost took a picture of the crime scene, but then I figured that was a bridge too far, even for me.

Eventually I succeeded in bathing the kids and tucking them into bed.  Ell-Bell giggled and flailed and cried and refused to go to sleep until after 9 p.m., but that was just par for the course at this point.

I showered, re-packed the suitcase, made sure the diaper bag was fully stocked, and then I went right to sleep.  I was going to have to wake up at 3 a.m. to start the ball rolling for our 6 a.m. flight.

I know what you’re thinking.  Is there any chance that I made that 6 a.m. flight?  Check back tomorrow for the final post of my Oregon Trails.  You won’t be disappointed.

Until next time,

Vee

Oregon Trails (Part Three)

Okay guys, as painful as it is, we’ve gotta keep moving through this Oregon saga.  Somehow, there is still a lot more to cover! Check back on Day 1 and Day 2 to catch up if you missed those.

So if you read yesterday’s post, you know that Ell-Bell got sick at the end of Saturday, and lots of vomit ensued.  I was really hoping it was just a two-vomit bug (is that a thing?).  Read ahead to find out if my hopes were in vain.

Day 3: Sunday, May 13 (Mother’s Day)

Ah yes, Mother’s Day.  A complicated and emotional day for so many.  And for everyone else, a day of breakfast in bed, mimosas, trips to the spa, and posting angelic pictures of your children on Facebook.

Well, let’s get real.  My Mother’s Day was not of the breakfast-in-bed variety.  Instead, it began with Ell-Bell waking up at 3:30 in the morning.  Again.  Fuuuuck.  There was lots of crying, but blessedly, she eventually went back to sleep and snoozed on until 5:00 a.m.  Of course, her 5:00 a.m. waking was punctuated by her throwing up all over herself, the bed, and yours truly.

“Cool,” I thought to myself.  “Well maybe that time was the last time.”

Twenty minutes later, she threw up again.  Dang it!  So it was going to be that kind of day! Perhaps at this point, we should just switch to bullet points, because I’m exhausted just thinking about what happened next.

  • On our way over to a Mother’s Day breakfast at my sister’s house, we stopped in at the grocery store to pick up some bacon.  K-Man had a screaming meltdown on the floor as soon as we walked in, because I refused to carry him.  I eventually had to bribe him with gummy bears so that I could move on with my life.
  • In the middle of the Mother’s Day breakfast at my sister’s, Ell-Bell let out another warning burp.  I raced her to the bathroom, where an impressive 30% of her vomit made it into the toilet.  This particular vomit was filled with milk curds and smushed up raspberries (you’re welcome).  So yeah, my breakfast was ruined.  Luckily, my sister came to the rescue to help me clean up, and she even lent me a shirt to wear for the rest of the day.
  • Next we drove about 45 minutes away to a waterfall for a nice picnic lunch.  About 5 minutes into the drive, Ell-Bell threw up all over herself and the borrowed car seat again.  I had to pull over and perform another clean up.  Baby wipes to the rescue once more!
  • While we were playing in the little lake by the waterfall, K-Man announced that he had to pee.  I was like, “cool, I’ll take you to the bathroom” and he was like, “nah, I’m just gonna pee in my shorts right here.”  I only had sweatpants for him to change in to, but it was a hot sunny day and he was already playing in a bunch of water.  So yeah, I’m that mom who let her son keep running around with pee all over his shorts.
  • At some point, K-Man ran off to a playground about 50 yards away and, under my not-very-careful supervision, decided to shed his shorts.  I was quite horrified to discover, when I was finally paying more attention, that my son was running around the packed playground in his undies.  He refused to put them back on, and I was not about to pin my son to the ground and force his shorts on in front of 50 happy people.
  • When we all decided it was time to go, everyone headed back to their respective cars.  Except I was left behind with the task of retrieving K-Man from the playground.  And that little buttface would. NOT. COME.  I begged.  I pleaded.  I bartered.  I pretended to leave without him.  Nope.  Finally, I swallowed my pride and army crawled through a damned play tunnel with my sick baby strapped to my chest so I could get within arm’s reach of that little turd.  I grabbed him like a maniac, forced him down the slide with me, and started dragging him away from the playground.  Because K-Man was fighting back and we were making the most horrid scene, I finally just picked him up and carried both kids back to the car.  I reunited with my family and they were all like, “what took you so long?”
  • On the drive back to our hotel, I heard some suspicious noises from Ell-Bell and pulled off the rural highway to investigate.  She wasn’t vomiting, miracle of miracles!  But then K-Man looked at me and said, “I’m just gonna poop in the driveway right there, I’m not gonna poop in my seat.”  Um, what?  I urgently asked if he needed to poop, and he repeated his desire to poop in the “driveway.”  I asked him to hold on and promised we would find him a potty, but then he said very casually, “I’m just pooping right now.  A lot is coming out.”  Are you FREAKING KIDDING ME? So I got back out of the car, pulled K-Man out of his seat, and started the clean up process.  And I’m sorry for the TMI, but it was NOT a healthy poop.  I used another mountain of baby wipes to clean poop out of the borrowed car seat, and then made my poor son stand pantsless on the side of the road while I de-pooped him.  You’re welcome for the show, rural Oregon!
  • After some rest at the hotel, I packed the kids back in the car to head out for dinner with my family.  En route to the dinner, I caught a yellow light that made me hit the brakes a little harder than usual.  And as I did, something flew from the backseat and bumped heavily into the back of my seat.  What on earth? I turned around quickly, completely baffled as to what I had left loose back there.  And as I turned, I saw … my son’s sweet little hand wrapped around my seat.  He was on the floor, looking up at me with shock all over his face.  Oh my god! I had forgotten to buckle him in to his seat!  And he wasn’t hurt, at all, but something seriously bad could have happened!  Holy shit did I feel like the worst mom in the history of everything ever.
  • Dinner, at my sister’s urging, was at a fancy Thai restaurant.  A place with no kids’ menu, and not many kid guests.  I ordered my kids $20 worth of food that I knew they wouldn’t touch, and then tried to play zone defense.  As predicted, when the food arrived, K-Man had no interest.  And he wouldn’t stay in his damned seat; he was crawling all over the restaurant at this point.  Meanwhile, Ell-Bell was also antsy and losing her mind.  Her crying escalated, and other guests started to stare.  I could feel my own family getting tense.  Finally, I’d had it.  Three days of mental and physical exhaustion, three days of trying to keep it together through catastrophe after catastrophe, and I was just done.  I picked up Ell-Bell, grabbed K-Man’s hand, and told my mom that I was just going to wait outside.  I left her my credit card to cover my meal, and then as soon as my face hit fresh air I started to cry.  Embarassing!  At one point, my sister came out and tried to take my place so I could go back in and enjoy my meal, but there was no way I wanted to go back in to that restaurant.
  • Back at the hotel, it took another hour and a half to get my unexplainably hyper kids to fall asleep.  After they eventually passed out, I sat in the dark and finally indulged in my very cold Drunken Noodle dinner.

So yeah, that was my Mother’s Day.  At this point, I was beginning to realize that this was no ordinary trip with two small kids.  There was clearly some cosmic design to crush my soul and discourage me from ever leaving the house again.  And it was working.  On the bright side, the trip was more than halfway over.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a replay of my 4th day in hell.

Until next time,

Vee

 

 

Oregon Trails (Part Two)

Yesterday, I started blogging my way through the shit show that was my solo-parenting trip to Oregon with two toddlers.

As you may recall, the kids fell asleep late on Friday night, and my only solace was that they would be sure to sleep in on Saturday morning.

The saga continues.

Day 2: Saturday, May 12

I had just fallen asleep.  Like, just fallen asleep.  But before I knew it, Ell-Bell was crying in bed next to me.  Cranky, fussy crying.  I grumbled and rolled over to look at the clock.  Somehow, 6 hours had actually passed, and it was already 3:30 in the morning.

I grumpily nursed Ell-Bell, sure that she would fall back asleep after a little soothing.  In my wildest dreams, I had contemplated that she might wake up at 3:30 in the morning, because her body was, after all, accustomed to waking up at 6:30 eastern time.  But when she didn’t go to sleep until 9:30 pacific time the night before, I threw that possibility out the window.

After nursing, I laid Ell-Bell back down beside me and snuggled her, waiting patiently for her to fall back asleep.  Instead, she twisted, turned, cried, scratched my eye balls, giggled, and stood up.  Sometimes, she would lie back down and be still, just long enough for me to start hoping that she was falling back asleep.  It was always a fake out.

Finally, at 5 a.m., I gave up and pulled out the tablet.  I figured I’d turn on Moana for Ell-Bell and catch a few more zzzs as she watched next to me, thinking K-Man clearly had hours more sleep left in him.  But K-Man apparently has Moana spidey-senses, even in his sleep, so as soon as he heard that opening song, he started to stir.

Great start to the day! After browsing my phone internet for a bit to see if there were any other hotels I could book that had a better room arrangement with working wi-fi (there weren’t), I took the kids down to breakfast.

Eventually, my mom and sister started to stir, so we all made plans to meet at the local Saturday Morning Market after a little bit.  Because Ell-Bell was losing it again at this point, I took the kids for a drive/car nap.  Ah, some peace and quiet.  How was it only 9:00 a.m. at this point?

The Saturday Morning Market was meh.  My mom and her husband brought their 20-month-old dog (apparently we’re aging dogs in months now), and she is kind of a total hyper nightmare.  The minute we got there, she scratched the shit out of my sister’s leg, and my sister was understandably unpleasant about that.  Cue the awkward.

We walked around, me carrying Ell-Bell in her carrier and pushing K-Man in the umbrella stroller.  Little dude was in a mood, I think probably because he wasn’t that excited to have some random new dog all up in his face.  He wouldn’t look at me or answer questions.  His sweet little cousin offered him a peanut butter cracker and he just kind of leaned away in disgust.

Finally, we all sat down to eat in the food court area, and this is when K-Man decided that he was, in fact, wide the fuck awake and ready to party.  After refusing to eat any of the $10 quesadilla I bought him, he started sprinting through the crowd, pushing the umbrella stroller in front of him, running over toes and slamming into ankles.  After I finally wrangled the umbrella stroller away, he took off running down the street.  Like, he probably ran about 100 yards before I finally caught up to him.  And then he proceeded to be a slippery little fellow as I chased him/carried him back to the table where the rest of my family was casually chatting and having an all-around good time.  They could see on my face that I was done, so we all packed up to leave.  We made plans to meet up again at a playground after some resting.

Resting, of course, is not what happened back at the hotel room.  Why would Ell-Bell ever agree to nap in her bed with K-Man and I sitting there in the same room? So we hung out for a bit, and then headed to the playground.

After I got to the playground and met up with my sister and her fam, my mom texted that she was not coming because she was still resting.  Well, to be honest, that pissed me off.  She’s not a geriatric, she’s 55-years-old! And I spent $1500 and all of my mental and physical energy to fly my ass across the damned country with two little kids to come see her, and she didn’t even want to spend time with them?  What even was the point of it all?

I buried my resentment and enjoyed the playground, and then we all headed over to my mom’s for a nice dinner in.  Her husband was doing the cooking, which was really nice.  But he also said it would be ready at 5:15 so I could get the kids home nice and early that night.  And it wasn’t actually ready until 6:45.

While we waited, I split my time between shielding K-Man from that damned dog all up in his face, and soothing Ell-Bell who just would NOT. STOP. CRYING.  Dang girl, get your life together!

The crying just escalated and escalated.  We offered her food, water, milk.  I tried to put her down for a nap in my mom’s bed.  Nothing worked.  She was sweaty and miserable.  Wait, sweaty? What? Why was she sweating? I really hoped she wasn’t getting sick.

Finally, dinner was served.  Ell-Bell was set up in a high chair (crying), and then my mom put some food down in front of her (bawling).  I was seconds away from calling it quits and leaving before eating my dinner.  In a last attempt, I pulled Ell-Bell out of her high chair and started bouncing her in my arms in the kitchen.

And then she burped.

“Uh oh.”

Burp. Burp. Annnnd vomit all over my shirt.

“Help! I need an adult!” I shouted, and my brother in-law ran in with some paper towels. I patted myself down, and did the same to Ell-Bell, but the damage was done.  Everyone was doomed to enjoy the rest of their dinner with the not-so-faint odor of barf wafting through the air.  Sorry guys!

When the wretched dinner was over, I ferried my kids back to the hotel.

We parked, I got K-Man out.  I went around the car and started pulling Ell-Bell out of her car seat.  And there she went again, vomiting all over me, herself, the borrowed car, the borrowed car seat, and the parking lot.  How did so much vomit fit in such a tiny little human?

So with the vomit baby on my hip, my other kid standing off to the side, I stood there for five minutes using baby wipes to clean vomit out of the car and car seat.

We headed in to the hotel and I avoided all eye contact as I marched my vomit troupe up to the room.

Thankfully, both kids went right to sleep after a nice, hot, thorough bath.

Stay tuned tomorrow for Part Three.  It was Mother’s Day, so I had that going for me.

Until next time,

Vee

 

 

Oregon Trails (Part One)

A few days ago, I returned from my dreaded trip to Oregon.  You know, the one where I had to solo-parent my way through cross-country travel with two tenacious toddlers in tow.

If you read my last post, then you know I spent a lot of time anxiety-ing over all of the things that could go wrong.  I had hoped that if I planned for the worst, there would be no surprises.  I hate surprises.

So how did it go? Let’s just say that things went repeatedly and horrifyingly wrong at every turn (with, of course, a few scattered saving graces).  So wrong, in fact, that I couldn’t possibly cover it all in one post.  So let’s just dip our toes in, shall we?

Day 1:  Friday, May 11

The first day of our journey was probably the easiest.  At this point, it was not yet undeniably apparent that the whole trip was, in fact, straight-up cursed.

So things started out with a 6 a.m. flight out of our dinky airport here in Upstate NY.  We were to change planes in Newark and then take a 6-hour flight to Portland.

Because I didn’t want to wake the kids up any earlier than necessary, I cut things a little close at our local airport.  I was horrified to find a long line at check-in, and had to be one of THOSE PEOPLE who gets special treatment and cuts the line because they are about to miss their flight.  I always roll my eyes at THOSE PEOPLE because come on, get your life together.

Getting through the security line was a bit bumpy.  I was treated like a terrorist because I forgot to take my shoes off.  I was also treated like a terrorist because I didn’t take my iPad out of my backpack and put it in a separate bin (apparently I’m supposed to intuit brand new security rules).  I was ALSO treated like a terrorist because one of the milk bottles I brought was not see-through.  So finally, after all of the terrorist treatment, I had to sprint with the kids to our flight.  Gotta love that feeling when you run up to an empty gate and see “Final Boarding” flashing on the screen.  Cue heart pounding.

But then, our flight to Newark was kind of a dream come true.  K-Man was adorably narrating everything that happened out the window.  “Are we driving? Is that a plane over there? Are we going faster? Are we gonna take off? Are we flying? Is that the ground?”  I can’t say for sure that the other passengers thought his loud and persistent questions were adorable at 6 a.m., but obviously they did, right?

The layover was uneventful.  Other than the entire mile we had to walk to our connecting gate.  And the trip to the restroom to let K-Man have a pee, wherein Ell-Bell screamed her head off because she didn’t want to be in her carrier.  And the second trip to the restroom, five minutes later, to let K-Man have a poop, wherein Ell-Bell screamed her head off again.

The six hour flight to Portland — the one that gave me nightmares just anticipating — that was actually  pretty good too.  I let the kids watch as much TV on their tablets as they wanted.  I mean, I was a little annoyed that I purchased and downloaded the entire 4th season of Paw Patrol and they both suddenly decided that they have no interest in Paw Patrol.  But whatevs.

And then we landed in Portland and I felt this overwhelming relief wash over me.  We did it, the hard part was over! My sister and mom were there are the airport to pick us up, so I was finally ready to let my guard down and enjoy my trip.

(Let me just say here that my sister was amazingly awesome and lent me her extra car, already installed with two borrowed car seats from her local mom friends.  So that’s like an entire travel headache that I never once had to worry about. Amazingly awesome.)

We casually hung out at my sister’s for a while, and my heart swelled watching K-Man play with his two cousins.

After a bit, my mom announced she was going to go home and give her dog a little attention.  We promised to text each other and figure out dinner plans, and when I requested an “early dinner” for my kids’ sake she nodded in agreement.

After a little more time at my sister’s, I took the kids to our hotel.  I had booked a place that was a good 20 minutes away from everything because it had a suite option with two separate rooms — a sitting area and a bedroom with a wall in between.  Anyone who travels with kids knows that this convenience is pretty clutch, because those little turds will NOT go to sleep if you’re sitting there hanging in the same room as them.

So we check in, I drag my kids and luggage up to our room, and I enter to find … two beds and a sofa, with no wall between.  I was sure there was some mix up, so I called down to the front desk and told them that I had booked a room with a separated sitting area.  And then the clerk told me that I couldn’t possibly have booked that kind of room, because they didn’t have that kind of room at the hotel.

WTF? After looking back at my reservation I realized that the room description was just vague enough that it could be read either way.  So I guess I’m just a big dumbass.

After choking back a minor panic attack in response to the room situation, I decided to pull out all of our devices and get hooked up to the wi-fi.  I am, after all, a responsible data plan user (at Hubby’s repeated urging).

But the wifi, yeah, it didn’t work.  Not even a little bit.  After multiple calls down to the front desk, and repeated attempts over the following days, I never once got the internet to connect.  Which was kind of a nightmare.   Because K-Man lives and breathes those stupid YouTube kids videos.  And WTF was I supposed to do with myself after the kids went to sleep?  I had so much Facebook to scroll, and so much Jane the Virgin to watch! (Needless to say, we ran out of our data for the month before the trip was over.)

So things weren’t going so great at the hotel.  As dinner time approached, my sister and I started texting with my mom about plans.  Except my mom wasn’t responding.  For a really long time.  5:45 p.m. rolled around and my mom still was MIA.  WTF? We had talked about an early dinner, what did she think that meant?

Turns out she and her husband had taken their dog to the dog park and forgot to bring their phones along.  Old people, amiright?

My sister and I finally just made plans to meet somewhere at 6:15 p.m., hoping my mom would catch up with us when she figured her life out.  (She did figure her life out, and showed up only a few minutes late).

Meanwhile, it was 9:15 p.m. body time for my kids, after they had woken up super early for the day.  So needless to say they were completely toasted, and dinner was not so easy. K-Man was running around the entire restaurant, army-crawling up to strangers’ tables, trying to sprint out the door into traffic, asking to go pee and then refusing once we got to the bathroom.   Towards the end of the meal, Ell-Bell just sort of gave up trying.  She started wailing, and did not stop until well after we had left the restaurant.  I’m not usually one to sweat it when my kids make a scene in public, but I could tell that my mom and her husband were pretty uncomfortable with it, which made me uncomfortable.

Finally, finally, we said our goodbyes, and I drove back to the hotel.  By this time it was 8 p.m. local time, 11 p.m. body time, and I was SURE my kids would go right to sleep.  Because they had been up for freaking 18 hours.  But alas, the very-slowly setting sun was blasting through an uncorrectable gap in the blackout curtains and it was basically daylight in our room.  And my kids were overtired and wired.  And obviously they didn’t want to go to sleep with me sitting right there in the same damned room as them, trying not to make eye contact.  Ugh!

After repeated attempts (and me choking back some exhausted sobs), the kids finally passed out at 9:30 p.m. local time, 12:30 a.m. body time.

I stayed up for about 15 minutes longer, and then I also hit the hay.  “At least they will sleep in a little bit tomorrow morning,” I murmured happily to myself as I drifted off.

What a long-assed day.  And yeah, that was the “good” day.  Stay tuned tomorrow, when the saga continues.

Until next time,

Vee

 

 

 

What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

So at the end of this week, I’m finally doing it.  I’m taking my first solo trip with the two kids.  A six-hour flight across the country, and then back again, all over the course of 4 days.  Honestly, what’s the worst that could happen?

If you’re a parent to young children, or know anything about young children, or have ever been on an airplane, you’re probably wondering if I’m out of my damned mind.

Oddly enough, traveling across the country alone with two toddlers is actually not my my idea of a good time.  But here’s the sitch.  My mom and my sister and my sister’s little family all live in the Portland, Oregon area.  I haven’t seen my sister or her husband or kids since last January, when they came to see me after Ell-Bell was born.  And my mom, who is not retired, managed to visit me twice last year.  So really, by all accounts, it’s my turn to suck it up and do the traveling.

Now ideally, I would bring Hubby with me to share in the blessed nightmare that is traveling with young kids.  But Hubby is a busy resident who was only allotted two weeks of vacation, and we’ve already burned both weeks on other trips to see far-away family.

I wish I could say that I’m totally confident, that I know I’ve got this, but the truth is I am scared out of my mind.  There are so many things that could go wrong, and I can’t help but repeatedly catalogue them in my fragile little brain.

Why not put pen to paper? Maybe if I write my fears down, it will help me process this bundle of anxiety.  So what’s the worst that could happen?  Well, let me think:

  • We oversleep and miss our 6AM flight
  • Security confiscates all the food I’ve packed for my kids to eat on the plane
  • There’s no milk for sale in the shops past security
  • Both kids insist on being carried at the same time
  • We miss our connection — yay for 55-minute layovers!
  • Ell-Bell cries for the entire 6-hour flight
  • Ell-Bell refuses to nap on the 6-hour flight
  • I urgently need to use the bathroom while Ell-Bell is napping on the 6-hour flight
  • K-Man urgently needs to use the bathroom while Ell-Bell is napping on the 6-hour flight
  • K-Man pees his pants
  • K-Man poops his pants
  • Someone vomits
  • I lose one or both of my kids in the airport
  • I drop dead from exhaustion after carrying all the things

And that’s just the trip over.  I can’t wait to navigate the three-hour time change, hotel sleeping, and making our way back home.

This trip isn’t going to be easy, but hopefully, it will be worth it.  I need to keep reminding myself of the positives that will come out of this:

  • I get to spend time with some of my favorite people
  • My kids get to bond with their extended family
  • I like Oregon
  • Hubby gets to have some alone time and focus on his work

After this trip, we will finally be in the black when it comes to family visits.  Which means next time Hubby has some vacation, we can actually take a vacation.  Where should we go?

Until next time,

Vee