My aunt and I are each getting ready to go on a trip. As a woman without children, Ann is able to live her life just a touch differently than I do.
Ann, an avid knitter and spinner, is leaving tomorrow to spend time with her friends at the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat. If I understand correctly, getting into this retreat and into the most desirable classes is quite an accomplishment that requires significant advance planning. Ann signs up annually on the first day registration opens. Homework is required for classes with titles like “Steeks! What, Where, Why and How” and “Hybrid Sock Architecture.”
I, on the other hand, am preparing to go to Disneyland with 1 husband, 5 children, and, praise be to God, 4 grandparents.
Let’s review said children’s ages: 10, 9, 7, 2 and 2. Yes, that’s 2 2-year-olds on airplanes, in restaurants, in hotels and cars. But that’s also 2 2-year-olds who get to meet Mickey Mouse in person for the first time, so I’m telling myself that it’s a worthy trade-off.
Ann sent me this message today:
Subject Line: Amused
Once again, I’m amused at the difference between my little retreat and yours…I’m not sure how you are prepping for yours, but I’m sure it’s not like my last 18 hours.
- Call B to warn her that it’s been snowing up here. Definitely not California weather. Pack appropriately. (This part might be the same, just reverse.)
- Call K to coordinate what we are bringing.
K: No, I’ve got a case of wine, a port, and blood oranges and my martini set (blood orange martinis). I’m swinging by Central Market tomorrow. I’m making bruschetta, and bringing meats.
- Homework and supplies check list. Check. I’ll do the homework tomorrow. It’s not due until Friday.
- Pre-retreat yarn shopping.
- Wine and cheese shopping.
Um… yes. Brie and pate are not on my packing list. Here’s what I wrote back to Ann:
This is what I’ve done today for trip preparation:
- Begged my mom to go to the pharmacy to discover what kind of and how much decongestant we can give to two-year-olds
- Requested (and acquired!) an extra free water bottle from human resources at work… these are a good size and have a nice, non-leak flip top for easy access. Needed an extra for the trip so we can designate 1 bottle for Greg and me and the other for the children who backwash. (Abby may be old enough to share the parental vessel this year.) In case you’re wondering, I’m aware of exactly how disgusting this is, but not unlike my years becoming acclimatized to living with the conditions of SE Asia, I’ve become accustomed to swapping germs in pretty unappealing manners.
- Planned the drive-out-of-town exit-strategy for tomorrow. Includes: packing everything because I not-so-surprisingly have run out of time, dropping the dog at the kennel (which reminds me that I should call to see if there’s room), picking up Ian and Aden from school, picking up Cai and Cael from daycare, dosing Aden and Abby with anti-nausea meds (please do not forget!), driving to the airport, de-carring (a term similar to deplaning, used exclusively by large families for whom a specific plan is necessary lest injury and mayhem ensue), assigning 1 adult to 5 children and 8 pieces of luggage at the terminal while the other adult parks the van in economy parking and lugs 2 carseats (don’t forget the clips!) and the remaining 2 pieces of luggage to the terminal. Don’t worry; I have a Plan!
- Planned meals thusly: Feed breakfast to the masses… I’m thinking stale cereal soaked in milk. Take children to their various supervised locations. Throw snacks at them when we pick them up. Eat a more formal lunch (by which I mean McDonalds) at the airport prior to departure. (“I don’t care if you’re full on granola bars, eat your french fries! I paid good money for those.”) Fill water bottles after we go through security; stash full bottles in bag in case we end up delayed on a plane for hours, a la Jet Blue stories of the past. Throw snacks at children (mine and whoever else’s) on the plane. Feed them candy on take-off and landing to try to avoid ear aches. Deal with the repercussion of feeding children candy in confined spaces. Arrive in Anaheim. Take children who are a) weary from travel, b) bottoming out on a sugar-low, and c) excited to go to Disneyland the next day to a public restaurant for dinner and require them to behave appropriately.
I’m sure you’ll find this hard to believe, but I’m super excited about this trip! We’re going to rock Anaheim!
Mickey Mouse, here we come.
Maybe next year I’ll take up knitting.
2 responses to “A Tale of Two Trips”
Ha! You should’ve seen my first draft, which included lines like… “Only 10 years my senior, my aunt despises it when I call her by her title instead of her name. Nevertheless, that’s the best way to describe the relationship to you, the reader.”
I also thought about relating the story of introducing you to Taco Bell with my kids. I think my favorite question out of your mouth was “What’s good here?” And, of course, the answer. “Nothing’s actually *good*, Ann. People eat here because it’s convenient and cheap. Not good.” Your giggle was priceless. I have to hand it to you, though – you were a good sport.
I cringe every time I hear “my aunt” in the same breath as “my 5 kids” out of your mouth. I just don’t feel that old.
In any case, I agree with you. Watching Cai and Cael’s reaction to their first interaction with a giant 6′ mouse would be well worth the flight and the restaurant scenes. Of course, this is spoken from the woman who only barely survived a restaurant scene with 3 of your kids. But that “barely” may have been caused by something else totally.