Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Folly of Youth

Aah vacation... I love summer, when the schedule is less demanding.  One thing that is on the schedule is the Thursday blog post.  Be sure and check out what everyone else has to say, you never know you might find something you like.

Today's topic is to talk about your worst vacation.  It was my idea.  I had just gotten home from vacation and the gods of travel were angry with us.  We were met with a lot of travel difficulties.  We were really due, as generally we never have problems.  I travel across the country with three little kids, there is a lot of room for issue with that.  We have never been stranded overnight any place.  (That is not entirely true, but being stuck in Santa Barbara doesn't really count in my book, it just means more time on vacation.)

This trip, not the worst by any stretch did have us spending 6 hours in the airport delayed due to weather.  We landed in Los Angeles and were ready to drive to San Diego in the middle of rush hour.  You know in the end, it really worked out just fine.  But, after spending 6 hours in the crowded airport, with three little kids, well, it made me appreciate that I only have one bad trip experience.

Sure we have had periods of badness, like when Sam screamed in the car for 12 hours on the way to Cleveland, and then 12 hours on the way back home.  But, Sam was in his screaming period and that was sort of normal.  Yes, there have been delays, fewer than one might think given how much we travel, but there have been delays.  Kids have gotten grumpy and complained. Kids have been loud on the plane.  Seat backs have been kicked.  Kids have puked on the plane.  I have changed diapers, breastfed, and generally dealt with most everything you can imagine in the confined space of a coach airline seat.

We have annoyed people on planes so much that they have made rude comments to me.  One man had ridden in the row ahead of us on the way out to the west coast and on our way back happened to also be in front of us again.  He demanded to have his seat switched.  A young businessman who had small kids himself volunteered to make the switch.  My kids were exhausted, and they both (this was pre-Hannah) passed out as soon as the plane took off and slept the entire way.  The man who switched seats because we were so horrible ended up sitting behind a kid that screamed the whole way.  Karma is a bitch, and the young businessman very loudly told me that my kids were great and then thanked the other passenger for switching.

My worst vacation was when I decided that since my kids were not in school, I did not have a job other than taking care of them, that it would be a good idea to spend three weeks in California in the middle of winter.  Our December trip to California is not usually as relaxing as the summer trip.  I thought if I stayed on past Christmas I would be able to capture that zen of summer.  Also the weather in Connecticut in December/January is not that great.  It seemed like a really good idea at the time.

The first week was great.  We had a lot of fun.  But, the kids were small and they were on EST not PST.  So, this meant that they were getting up between 3:00 and 4:00 AM.  This would have been fine if any of us had been going to sleep at a correspondingly early time, which we weren't.  Going into week two everyone was tired.

Here is the other problem with taking little kids out of the home field.  You loose the knowledge of what to do with small kids that need to get their gross motor yayas out.  I was there with a 1 year old and a 4 year old.  They both needed to move their bodies EVERY DAY.  Yes in the beginning we went to the park, the beach, the zoo, etc.  but in Connecticut I knew what to do with the kids when the weather didn't allow for such outside activities.

This is when the badness happened.  After the first week of passableness, it started to rain.  It rained EVERY day for the next two weeks.  (Something that has never happened before and hasn't happened since.  It was Armageddon.)  It was so dreary and depressing that I looked into switching my tickets and going home.  We were stuck in Santa Barbara because the roads were closed in all directions due to mud slides. 

We did chalk in the garage, we jumped up and down the stairs.  We went to the museum to run around.  (Yes we got busted for doing it, but after awhile that isn't a deterrent.)  There were no indoor playlands, no bounce house places.  The closest Chuckie Cheese was in Ventura, and we couldn't get there because the roads were closed.

It got to the point that the kids had watched so much television and gone to the one book store with a train table that they just went outside to play in the river in front of my mother's house. (This area is generally called the street.)  We finally decided to just go to the park in the rain and mud. 

There is a saying about guests and fish, they all start to stink after three days.  Well after three weeks we were pretty stinky.  My mom and I got into arguments because both of us were ready to do something without the other one.  I was tired of not having my routine, being in my house and seeing my friends.  The kids just wanted to go home.  It was horrible.  I would sit in my chair at the kitchen table and look at my mother and think, this is the worst thing I have ever done in my life.  Why did I think that this was a good idea?

I learned a valuable lesson in travel, it is best to leave when you still want to stay.  It is better to not do everything, because then there is something to look forward to next time.  Even if there isn't a next time there is something about not doing it all that makes what you did do seem that much better.  We never go for more than 14 days now.  NEVER.

If you want to see what the other ladies have to say, you can check them out here:  Froggie, Merrylandgirl and Momarock.


  1. i loved the story about the guy on the plane getting his karma. too funny!
    i know how you feel about traveling with young kids and how restless they can get. we've had periods of boredom on trips.
    i will never take the train with little kids again though. at least not for a 20 hour trip!

  2. Ha! You are right, karma is a bitch! Great story!