I just spent a week in the Rocky Mountains (Colorado) with my family. There were twenty of us (yes, twenty) in a four bedroom cabin. Luckily we all like each other (more or less), so the stress was balanced out by a lot of laughs and fun. But still… About that stress…
Here’s what happened (which is pretty much what happens every time we’re getting ready to travel):
Because I spent the better part of Friday making out with... er, I mean, saying good bye to my laptop, and because the Little One developed a low fever and started pulling on his ears at dinnertime, necessitating a quick trip to the doctor to rule out an ear infection, at 9:00 pm, my husband and I both still needed to pack, shower, eat dinner and clean up the mess. Did I mention we needed to leave the house by 6:30 the next morning?
(Oh, I should add here, that I woke Little One up to take him to the doctor, we finally saw the doctor for about thirty seconds, an hour after our appointment time, and Little One jumped up and down on the exam table the whole time, had no fever and nothing else visibly wrong with him.)
We finally got to bed at 12:30, set the alarm for 5:30 and from 1:00 until 4:00 the neighbor’s dogs (the same ones who always live there and never make a sound) barked non-stop. Finally they quieted down and we got in one good hour of sleep before we began the treacherous hell that is traveling with two preschoolers (one of whom seemed totally fine until he suddenly developed a fever of 104, just as we were flying over Nevada).
Another thing that’s fun about traveling with my kids is as soon as J hears that we’re going somewhere he begins a fast that lasts until we get home. A sugar fast, that is. He will not eat a meal or a healthy snack the entire time we’re gone. So we have to bribe, cajole and threaten at every meal the whole trip. You probably think we’re some kind of control freak head cases, but that's okay, because we know first hand that if he doesn’t eat some real food, he’ll yak all over himself thirty minutes into driving and/or flying. We know, because we’re the ones who’ve smelled it and cleaned it up the five or six times that we were good, enlightened parents and followed the “he’ll eat when he’s hungry” method.
But I digress…
We stayed at Snow Mountain Ranch a couple hours outside of Denver, which was incredibly beautiful. And while we were at the cabin it was all eating, drinking, playing cards, laughing… oh yeah, and bickering. Good times. Really! There was a 1.7 mile hike right by our cabin that was pretty much straight uphill the whole way, so I was happy that I could get some exercise while we were there. I enlisted my two cousins (both of whom are younger and in much better shape than I am) to hike up with me, scaring anyone else who thought they might like to come along by saying, “you can come, but we’re not dawdling!”
So we started off at a good clip and then suddenly I couldn’t catch my breath (I’m sure it was the altitude, because it couldn’t have been me, right?), so I kept stopping. And half way up, my shoulder started to hurt and I kept trying to remember, Isn't there something about arms hurting and having a heart attack?
But I kept going. Because I’m still just as smart as I was when my high school friends and I used to go on about the business of smoking our cigarettes as we were pumping our gas at the gas station. I did make it to the top, just a little behind my cousins and when we got up there I said, “Call my mom, I need to ask her if I’m having a heart attack.”
I wasn’t, thankfully, and we made it down. The next day I went up again, and it was much easier keeping pace this time with my seventy-five year old grandmother.
Do you think that’s a bad sign? I’ll have you know, she’s in kick ass shape. I keep hoping I might get to be as healthy as she is one of these days.
We also took my cousin’s kids, but not mine. I knew better than to take mine, because the Little One was sick and J… Well, the last day of preschool they went on a “nature walk” which probably lasted all of thirty minutes and when I asked him how it was he said in disgust, “We just had to walk and walk and walk the whole time.” (My husband and I take the kids hiking now and then but we usually put them on our backs to do most of the hike and then at the last part we let them meander to the end, finding bugs, wielding sticks, and throwing rocks the whole way.)
When it was time to go home we learned that the Denver Airport is roughly the size of Vermont, and by the time you get on your plane to leave… well… let’s just say, I’m surprised there aren’t a lot more random acts of violence reported there. Especially by people who are trying to maneuver around on empty stomachs with two thirty-ish pound kids who don’t really like to walk much. I came frighteningly close to becoming a random-act-of-violence statistic when we finally got to the gate with two minutes to spare, I took Little One potty, and he peed all over my shoe.
As it turns out Little One had Roseola, and got better just in time to come home. This is when I learned that he’s actually much easier to deal with on an airplane when he has a fever and just whines and sleeps. I was so wiped out on the way home that I was dozing off and was hearing BANG... BOOM... BANG in my sleep and thinking, What is going on? So I opened one eye to see the lady in front of me turned around and giving me a WTF look, because Little One was rhythmically stomping his feet onto the back of her seat as hard as he could.
But we made it home in one piece. And I didn’t hurt anybody. Random or otherwise.
Oh and upon my return I saw that Ann Douglas (author of many books) blogged about me. Wow! Something she doesn’t remember is that when I first started my website last year, I e-mailed a fan letter to her. And she answered me with encouragement and lots of good information about writing and publishing. It’s so amazing when someone you admire says they like your work! Not only is Ann a very talented (and hardworking) writer, she’s also a really nice and helpful person. Love ‘er!
So I’m off to catch up on blog reading, laundry and (with any luck) sleep! Next week I’ll write a real blog post… maybe about the “rules” for being a feminist, or maybe about a particular piece of spam I keep receiving or maybe about the rules I’d like to institute around pooping at my house… I also have a Scooby Doo birthday party story to tell, and I gave birth to both of my babies in July so I’ll be sharing two very different birth experiences (with pictures!). Until then, please, wish me a good night’s sleep!