Monday, April 17, 2017

College Spring Break or Mid-life Spring Break?

The past 5 1/2 years have worn me down, the past year has threatened to do me in with exhaustion, and the past week, Spring Break, didn't do much to help.

When you live where we do, Spring Break locales are often exotic: Aruba, Turks and Caicos, Mexico, London, Italy. Social media lets you know what fun/sun others are experiencing as you brace for another "Staycation" of dental appointments and haircuts.

In 18 years, we have not been on a family Spring Break trip, but I was determined to make it happen this year, despite Tim's confusion about whether or not Spring Break "is a thing."

We would fly to FL and stay with Tim's parents. The only big expenses would be the jacked-up holiday airfares and the cost of a dog-sitter. We'd take a friend so Margaret would have a teen companion.

The first snag hit when we reached the ticket counter in the wee hours. Andrew was supposed to be a lap child, but I forgot to bring any ID for him. The other times I'd flown with lap children (many moons ago) this was not a requirement. The reason for the ID was not to make sure we weren't kidnapping him, but to make sure he was under 2. If we purchased him his own seat, they did not require any ID at all! Unfortunately, when I offered that up as a solution, the flight was overbooked.

So we scrambled. I frantically texted Tim to tell him NOT to park the car and to run home and get Andrew's passport. He didn't get the texts, and we lost 20 minutes. By the time he reached the ticket counter, the agents were trying to help us connect to someone, anyone, who could prove in writing Andrew's age. I called the pediatrician's office, but the switchboard didn't have access to his files at the early hour. Tim tried to get into our health insurance account, but he didn't have the passwords available. Our insurance card had his name, but not his D.O.B. We re-set account passwords. We waited on hold. We made progress, but our time window was closing.

The agents said if we didn't leave immediately, we would not make it through security and onto the plane.

Finally, we split up, and I headed with the girls to the terminal and our flight, leaving Tim behind with the baby. I would have stayed with the baby and tried to straighten out the mess, but I had no idea where Tim had parked the car, and we were afraid the solution might include running home for the passport.

Tim struggled with the insurance website and finally found the info we needed, but by that time it was about 10 minutes too late to board the flight. I hate to think that if we had been calmer and more focused, we likely would have all made it on the flight. Or, if I'd just grabbed Andrew's passport...

Tim ended up having to take Andrew home, get the passport, get a ride to a DIFFERENT airport, and board a later flight to Florida. By way of Milwaukee. It was not an auspicious beginning to our trip, but Tim and Andrew were troopers. Oh, did I tell you it was Tim's birthday? Happy Birthday, Tim.

The 3 main days of our trip were enjoyable, or as enjoyable as they could be while sharing a room with a 5 am riser/wailer. I had forgotten how vacation with a baby/toddler is never truly a vacation. The weather was beautiful. Andrew enjoyed playing with his birthday toys from his grandma and seeing a digger and a trash truck in the neighborhood on their morning walks. The girls went shopping. Tim got to play tennis with his dad. I met some lovely ladies who had read my book, and connected with an old friend. We went to a beautiful local beach and reminded ourselves that next time we would schedule more than just an afternoon for the soothing power of sea and sand.

The night before our departure, however, I started feeling sick. Tim, his parents, and the girls played dominoes, and I tried to keep a low profile. Soon, however, not just my profile was low. I started vomiting, my heaves waking the baby. Curled up on the bathroom floor, I prayed it would be limited to me. In the night, as I dealt with simultaneous vomiting and diarrhea, the others started to fall.

Margaret's friend.


The was no way we could get on our return flight. We couldn't do that to ourselves or others.

Tim made some calls and got us new flights for the next day. He and his parents stocked up on ginger ale and saltines. I was in and out of sleep/vomiting/pooping myself.

I was unable to care for the poor girls.

By afternoon, Tim started to have diarrhea, and his mom felt off.

Andrew showed no signs of illness, or slowing down. Margaret, head down, listlessly handed him crackers as I rested my face on the cold floor. Tim slept a bit. I checked on Margaret's friend every few hours, looking for a thumbs up in the darkness. We willed the hours to pass, and limited our movements to pushing Andrew's toy cars to him and contemplating the pros/cons of taking a sip of water or eating a popsicle.

I looked around the carriage house, feeling guilty that we'd turned it into a biohazard site in just a few short hours, longing to be home, but not sure how to get there. Wondering how hard my in-laws would be hit.

In the morning, after two flights, we made it to D.C.

The next day, Easter, half of us made it to church. We canceled Easter Dinner, but were able to enjoy the beautiful day.

I know some college Spring Breaks are riddled with vomit, sleeping on the floor, and watching the sunrise after being up all night, but I didn't think our first (last?) family one would be the same.

Hope YOU had a good Easter. He is risen!

Here are some happy photos from the trip. Note: We got lots of great pics of the girls, but we don't post without their permission.

Beach Fun:

 Blue Jays outside our window:

Yarn leading to hidden Easter Baskets:

First Easter Basket: 


Pat said...

You poor folks. It really stinks to be sick away from home, and it sounds like you got hit hard! Happy Easter anyway!!

Unknown said...

I can picture how miserable you all must have been! Especially with a friend along. Hope you are all feeling better and that you can look back at the good times. I can't believe the airline required proof that Andrew was under 2!

Anonymous said...

"Another staycation of haircuts and dental appointments" made my day. I've been trying to sell staycation to my kids for years. Glad to knowI am not the only one (despite what social media tells me). Always look forward to your posts.

Anne said...

Oh man! I just had the vomit/diarrhea bug last month while on a job interview. I had to excuse myself from dinne to puke. Ugh!

Sorry about the ID thing, too. I have now flown three times with my daughter as a lap child. Even though I have brought her birth certificate (as recommended by a friend), I haven't ever been asked to produce it. That's interesting how every airport/airline is different.

Unknown said...

Aw ... I love you guys. I didn't know the whole of it. What a doozy of a trip! I'm glad you're home and recovering. Sending love.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

Oh my, oh my! I read about the passport on Facebook with the separate flights. Can't believe it. Sorry about the bug you all got. Hope everyone is well now. So happy to see the blue jay who visited.

booksandcandy said...

Ugh, this is the most familiar story I have heard on how people spent the Spring Break. Mine is a tad different I was on Spring break this past week as well. I couldn't wait. With a mini break in Feb and not much time off in March I was ready for a break. I had agreed to work my second job which was babysitting. I thought 3 days would be a good balance. Monday was wonderful we had a great time I joked that I might have broken them a bit when I left because the boys were half asleep on the carpet. Except my "broken" was coming. Woke up Tuesday with the worst vertigo I pushed through babysitting on Tuesday but said no for Wednesday and I was in bed until Friday.
I can't imagine flying while still feeling a bit under the weather. Inspiring.
Big hugs for disappointing Spring Breaks.

Kara said...

Oh, Anna!!! I can't tell if I'm laughing or crying. We've had viruses like that move through but NEVER on vacation. Ugh. Glad you made it home.

Anonymous said...

Oh, my goodness! I can't believe how stressed I got reading about your family vacation. I hope everyone's feeling better and at least enjoyed part of the trip. Just think, you'll all laugh about this a hundred years from now.

Unknown said...

Just wondering if your blog could have provided documentation of Andrew's age? So sorry for the troubles, but the similarities you noted to other spring breakers (vomit, sleeping on the floor, seeing the sun rise) was pretty funny, though not so much at the time. You deserve a do over!

Ellery said...

I'm glad the majority of the trip was good, even if it did begin and end quite badly. I live in Florida- we tried to give you good weather for your spring break.

Hopefully you can go on another SB trip before Margaret is out of the house and Andrew is a little older and not such an early riser. Ha

As an aside, did you know there's a player on the Blue Jays named Donaldson?

Gretchen said...

He is risen indeed! Glad you were able to find some joy in your trip and that you are all on the mend!

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I'm so sorry! So hard to be ill when you are away from home! Adorable pictures as usual :)

Jacqueline Dooley said...

It's a joy to read this post (as awful as that sounds because you were all so sick). It's a relief reading about normal family concerns - travel stress, stomach bugs, toddlers and teenage girls. I'm about 30% into your book. I probably shouldn't be reading it right now. My 15-year-old daughter died about a month ago after a 5 year battle with cancer. I'm not religious at all, but I also believe she's okay, that she's very very close. I've been writing about my terrible grief. Many people are reading my essays and several have recommended I read your book (why people want me to read a book about child loss so soon after I've lost my own child is beyond me, but...they mean well).

I nearly stopped reading when I realized how religious you were, but you swore on the first page and that made it okay for me to keep reading. So, thank you for that. Andrew is beautiful.

Kerry said...

Oh my goodness, that sounds awful! Hope you're all fully recovered and your in-laws managed to get by unharmed. I spent the end of spring break gawking at friends' gorgeous vacation photos in between hours spent combing out my 8-yr-old son's (thick, curly, too-long) hair for lice and vacuuming and washing everything in the house!

A vacation story from my childhood combines the worst of your trip with the worst of my staycation -- when I was 10, my family rented a house in Maine with 2 other families for a couple of weeks. My parents brought a babysitter so the adults could go out occasionally. It rained almost the entire trip. On the 2 days it didn't rain, my brother and I were cooped up vomiting (I set a personal record of vomiting 12 times in 13 hours, or maybe it was 13 in 12). And then 2 weeks after we returned home, we realized we'd all caught lice from our stay in the house!

Hope this next week is more relaxing for you.

Anonymous said...

Sick on vacation is THE PITS!! said...

Oh! Hugs! So glad you survived this. Yikes!

Unknown said...

Oh my gosh. Wow. I don't even know what to say. That is one crazy trip!

Sorry I haven't been around more. It's good to catch up. So much love to you and your cutie-pie.