Travel


Oh, who am I kidding? It was the worst of times. This weekend. Last night. Awful. Plain and simple.

Patrick and I took Griffin to Chicago to go to the One of a Kind Show where my sister has been one of the artists for the past four years. We went in 2006, 2007, and we skipped 2008 because Griffin was just too little and we were just plain exhausted. He’s 16-months old. We figured this would be a great age to take him downtown to see the show and maybe even the lights on Michigan Avenue.

To make that part of  the long story much shorter, I’m just going to say that about a month or so ago, we realized that Griffin had hit his Terrible Twos really, really early. We’ve nicknamed him Mr. Meltdown and Mr. Noodle (his whole body goes limp and he’s suddenly about 40 pounds heavier than usual). That’s what we dealt with all weekend. The poor kid was stuck in a carseat for three hours to get to Chicago and then we needed to get him in a stroller to look around the show. He wasn’t having it. He also wasn’t having someone carry him around. Those were our options. He struggled. I got frustrated. Patrick and I took turns. Thankfully my mom was there and gave us a break here and there (and of course, he wasn angel for her).

So two days of battling Mr. Noodle.

Then comes the drive home. Again, long story short, it took us 5 hours to get home. Coming straight from the Loop, it should only take about 2.5 hours. We hit some massive traffic and then Griffin screamed and screeched the whole way. In his defense, I think he was in a bit of pain (anyone with kids knows that sometimes eating a whole pile of grapes can wreak havoc on the tummy). So as not to bore anyone with this story in narrative form, let me just hit the highlights:

  • Screaming commences before we get out of Chicago
  • It continues until we pull over somewhere in Naperville (at this point, we could have been in freaking Alaska – I couldn’t focus).
  • I change Griffin’s diaper in the car in the parking lot of Macy’s
  • We drive to Portillo’s to get him out of the carseat for a while.
  • All is right in the world and we leave.
  • Screeching commences about 15 minutes into the drive.
  • I pray he falls asleep soon.
  • Griffin teases me with his fake snoring (and then a loud snort and a giggle).
  • He screams some more and finally falls asleep.
  • I fall asleep.
  • I awake, 20 minutes later, to more screaming.
  • This goes on for what seems like forever.
  • I announce to Patrick that if I had a gun, I’d freaking shoot myself (I think Patrick contemplates pulling over and dumping me and Griffin off on the side of the highway).
  • More screaming.
  • I ask Patrick to smother me and put me out of my misery.
  • Griffin finally falls asleep at Mile Marker 25 (yep, only 25 more miles until we hit the Iowa border).
  • I sit still and rigid in the front seat, hoping he stays asleep until we at least get to the single digit mile markers.
  • We pull into the driveway and relax.
  • Griffin starts screaming.

He seemed fine once we got inside. He was smiling and laughing. I think he was really tired of being in the car seat all weekend. The only running around he got to do was at my parents’ house on Saturday night/Sunday morning. Not much.

Oh, and when we walked in the house, we were hit in the face by the overwhelming smell of natural gas. We had the gas company out at our house at 11 PM. They checked and said everything was OK, even though the guy said he could smell the gas.

So yesterday sucked big time. The only highlight was that we learned that if you ask Griffin what Santa says, he will say, “Ho Ho!” Definitely cute, but not enough to wipe away the memory of the crap day we had.

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Update #1 – Boo is back home. She is much more alert and stable after last night’s incident. I read the reports from the hospital and she was listed as “comatose” when she arrived. Right now she is laying on a blanket. She ate well this morning and received her insulin. I have to give her some potassium gel in a couple of hours and then make sure she eats at noon. She’ll get her insulin again at 6 PM (along with her dinner), and then it’s more potassium at 11 PM and then more food at midnight. It will be this way for a couple of days – eventually (crossing my fingers), she will receive her insulin 2 times a day with her meals…and then she’ll be free to graze the rest of the day.

Update #2: Here are some pictures from our vacation. Everything with Nellie has definitely overshadowed the trip. I’ll post some additional pictures with more commentary a bit later (I’m actually supposed to be working from home right now):



I found this cool web site that lets you track where you have travelled in the world. Since the only countries I have been to are Canada and Mexico, I opted to track where I have been within the US…

We’re finishing up the last bit of packing and making sure we’ve got everything we need. Really looking forward to a week at the beach…

I picked up my prescription for Valium at the pharmacy today. I guess it makes me feel a little bit better, but I still have this pit in my stomach when I think about sitting on that plane. I have my list of airplane activities – book, magazines, my digital camera (which is still really new to me – maybe I can finally figure out all the cool things it can do), and the blanket I am crocheting. It’s a short flight, but I need things to keep me busy. Who knows, maybe I’ll fall asleep from the Valium.

The other two things I take with me on a plane are: 1) The rosary my mom bought for me a couple of years ago – I never had a really nice one, and this one is beautiful and 2) A piece of paper with a wonderful quote from Eleanor Roosevelt:

We must do the things we think we cannot do.

I keep that piece of paper tucked in my pocket and I repeat it to myself whenever I need to.

I don’t like the sensations of flying in an airplane. I don’t like the claustrophobia. I don’t like sitting so close to strangers. I also don’t like driving 1,000 miles when I can hop on a plane and get there in less than 4 hours.

We leave Monday morning from O’Hare and will land in Norfolk, VA around noon. From there we get in our rental car and drive the 90 miles to the Outer Banks. I will be flying high on Valium and thrilled to be safely on the ground.

Duncan has never seen the ocean before and I am so excited that we will be with him when he first lays eyes on it. I am looking forward to a week away from work, as well as finally taking the time to enjoy summer. I feel it slipping by each and every time I walk out of work – tired and cranky and wanting nothing more than to go home and nap. Next week we will enjoy the weather and the beach. Our hotel is literally right on the sand. We can open our patio door and walk to the ocean. This is what I am trying to focus on instead of my fear.

And speaking of fear, isn’t it odd that I have a fear of flying and we will be in the same town that the Wright Brothers took their first flight? Maybe it’s a good sign…

I haven’t written in a while, but things have been kind of chaotic around here. We had Patrick’s 40th birthday party on Saturday and there was a lot of prep work for it – shopping, cleaning the house, ordering some of the food, etc. The party was a lot of fun and I loved that I was able to see my family, although it was difficult to actually sit down with them and chat since I was running around like a crazy woman.

This coming Saturday we will be back in Chicago for Reese and Vann’s birthday party – she turns 7 years old today and Vann will be 4 on Saturday! I will get the chance to sit and relax and talk to my family this time – looking forward to that.

Patrick, Duncan, and I also are in the midst of planning a vacation. In all our years together, the three of us haven’t been on a “real” vacation together. Patrick and I have been on our honeymoon and a couple of other trips, and we’ve gone overnight with Duncan , but not a true summer vacation. Actually, Duncan has never been on a “real” vacation (he always stresses the word real which is why I keep saying it). We’ve decided to go to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. This was my family’s vacation spot when we were kids/teens. Absolutely beautiful! We’re shooting for the second week of August (I just need approval from my boss, which I don’t think will be a problem). We’re going to fly to Norfolk, Virginia, and drive out to the NC coast. Patrick and I did this in 2001 and 2002.

I don’t know what our lives will bring in the next year. In all honesty, with my stopping the pill here very soon, there is a chance I could be pregnant next summer, or we could even have a baby. This is one reason we decided to just go for it this summer. Another reason is that we plain felt like we deserved it after being so careful with our budget for two and a half years while we tried selling the house. Believe me, a trip to NC is not as expensive as , say, Disney World, so we’re still being mindful, but we really thought it was a good time to go.

We’re trying to finalize plans this week, but we’re all very excited – can’t wait to see Duncan’s face when he sees the ocean for the first time:

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