Thursday, July 28, 2011

Family Trip 2011 - Day One

We're taking a mini-vacation this weekend.  I've always wanted to go to the Columbus Zoo, and it looked like an easy drive up from Louisville, so we started planning back in March.

This morning dawned bright and early at Casa de Oso, but I promised myself that I wouldn't be a raving maniac trying to get out the door.  Most of the clothes were packed already, we knew what we were taking with us, and the car was prepped.  I got up at 6 and started getting things staged on the front porch for loading into the van.   I loaded up the cooler, finished getting my bag packed, and got the wagon into the van.

While I was doing this, Irish Woman was in the back yard trying to make the fancy new water timer work so that the dogs would get fresh water into the wading pool in their area every few hours.  Apparently it takes two hours to figure out how to set the darn thing up and get the water to flow in the right direction, but she eventually got the water to both fill the pool and mist an area over it so that the dogs could cool off. Did I mention that our dogs prefer puddle water to tap, and they are afraid of water that comes from the sky, such as when you squirt them with the hose or it rains?  Yes, they're labradors, why do you ask?

At 7, I woke up the kids and instructed them to get through the bathroom so we could get moving.  I got Boo something to eat and told the others that we would be hitting a drive-thru for breakfast.  His breakfast apparently wasn't up to snuff, as the little angel raided the fridge while my back was turned.  I took a deep breath, put him back in front of his breakfast, and cleaned up the mess.

At 7:30, I noticed that the older kids were still sitting bleary eyed on the couch, so I more firmly told the older kids to get a move on.  I then ran out into the driveway to retrieve Boo, who had made a break for it and was heading in a generally northerly direction as fast as his little legs would carry him. With a screaming three year old under an arm, I continued getting things moving towards the van.  Have you ever tried to move a loaded cooler with a squirming toddler under one arm?  It beats the gym every time.

Little  Bear and Girlie Bear eventually got through the bathroom and brought their bags out for loading.  Luckily for me, Girlie Bear's suitcase wasn't zipped, and I noticed that all the pants she had packed were two pairs of shorts that were two sizes too small.  I told her in what Irish Woman calls my warning growl to go back and try again.  I then found out that every other pair of shorts the girl owns were at the bottom of her hamper and smelled like feet.  Irish Woman saw my eyes rolling into the back of my head and the vein in my temple starting to throb, grabbed them, and whisked them into the washer.  They are now hanging from the clothesline in the hotel bathtub.

After getting the clothes out of the washer, retrieving the two cats that Boo had let out for a 4 day jaunt around the neighborhood, checking with the neighbor to make sure things were cool for him to feed the dogs this weekend, packing the van, getting cleaned up, and piling two teenagers, a toddler, an Irish Woman who has an impulsive need for someone to be talking, and a Norwegian with a raging tension headache into the van, we headed off at 9:06.

We made a couple of quick stops to pick up odds and ends before getting on the road.  As we left Louisville, the traffic was heavy, but moving quickly.  As we passed the exits for Sparta, I quipped that we were making really good time and were almost to I-75.

Just as we passed those exits, two things happened:

  • Traffic came to an almost standstill because of construction, and remained so off and on for the remainder of the drive.  It seemed that as soon as I got up to speed, we were slowing down for more construction.
  • BooBoo's alter ego expressed itself for the first time:  Captain Carsick

In his defense, this is probably the longest drive he's made in his short life, and the stop and go traffic of getting through the construction zones was probably rough on him.  After the second time we stopped to clean him up and change his clothes, we gave up and left him in his underwear for the remainder of the drive.

In order to calm Boo down, I switched the iPod to our "Kids" playlist, which is basically light pop with a heavy leavening of Disney movie music.  Being stuck in traffic listening to Mary Poppins and The Lion King must be against some portion of the Geneva Conventions.

What should have been a 3 1/2 hour drive turned into an almost 6 hour drive to get to Columbus.  Amazingly, once we got to the city, traffic sped up, and we didn't have to drive through the main city to get to our hotel.  Getting here was such a relief that I wasn't even upset when the desk clerk told me that my room hadn't been cleaned yet and could I come back in an hour?  Heck, I almost skipped back to the car, drove to the nearest McDonalds with a toddler habitrail, and sipped a cold Coke while I watched Boo, now feeling much better and wearing his 4th set of clothes for the day, scramble up, over, under, and through.

At the moment, I'm laying on the bed under the air conditioner, sipping a cold drink, and getting myself together.  Irish Woman has taken the kids down to the pool for a couple of hours to give me a break.  I'm not sure if she's doing it for her benefit or mine, but I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Tomorrow we will get up as early as we can and fulfill one of my bucket list items by touring the Columbus Zoo.  My plan is to go from shady spot to shady spot, and take it easy.  If we don't see everything we want to, we also have Saturday as a backup.

Here's hoping that all the bad luck for the weekend happened today.


Joshkie said...

Good Luck.

Jay G said...

Sounds like a pretty standard vacation runup...

We were planning a trip to Baltimore to visit friends, and TheBoy spiked a massive temp and was listless and unresponsive - the morning we were to leave. Brought him to the hospital and the doc suspected meningitis.

As it turned out it was just a stubborn fever; got a scrip for antibiotic and we were off - 9 hours later...

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