Posts Tagged ‘ traveling advice ’

(My) Milestone Monday: Bad Vacation Decision. What’s Yours?

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Damn, three weeks in a row and I’m still writing about my own milestones. I hope this means I’m vastly improving myself. Either that or I’m getting dumber and need more fixing.

Sometimes I really think we suck as parents. We decided to take a last minute mini-vacation. Saturday we started looking for hotels and cool places within a 6-hour drive from Los Angeles. We’re hotel snobs and all the places we wanted to stay were sold out. After exhausting the morning, we gave up. Then Phil had an idea.

“How about Sequoia National Forest?” he shouted from the office.

“How far?” I shouted back.

“Looks like only 3 hours. I found a cabin with a private pool.”

Done. We threw ourselves into a packing frenzy and headed out the door.

As soon as we were on the road, our old-life, (pre-kids) started knocking. We have always loved going off the beaten path. We’ve trashed many a rental car by finding dirt roads and rural routes to ding up the paint and ruin the shocks. Once in Hawaii we went off-roading so badly that we nearly rolled our rental jeep. With kids, we don’t take dangerous driving risks. But taking a scenic route with what looks like a 2-hour detour to see an old ghost town? Totally within the realm of reason.

A few weeks ago, we went to Palm Desert. On the way home we took “the scenic route” through Joshua tree. A 2.5 hour drive turned into a 7-hour one, with temperatures hitting 102-degrees. Poor Fia and Emmett were troopers, but by the time we got home, we were hot, exhausted, and dirty. Whatever “rested vacation feeling” we had was left behind on a cactus. You’d think we would have learned our lesson.

Nope.

We take off on our detour towards Silver City. Turns out it’s a ghost town made up of relics from other ghost towns. In short, a tourist site. Having said that, it was still pretty cool to see all these old buildings and let Fia run around obsessing over spider webs from the 1800s.

Pre-Barf Ghost Town

I looked at the map and told Phil that the shortest route appeared to be through the mountains. You can’t tell on the iPhone how twisty the roads are. But you can guess where this is going. Two hours later, with each turn getting sharper, I start to feel sick. No sooner did I say to Phil, “I’m feeling queasy” did the projectile barf of Fia go splatting all over the back of my seat.

We had a half-pack of baby wipes and one small bottle of water and about a gallon of barf. There wasn’t a house, a store, or a gas station within an hour of us. Yup. We definitely got our wish. We were in the middle of nowhere.

We pulled out Fia, getting covered in barf ourselves, reassuring her through her tears that it was okay. We tried to wipe the barf off the car seat bedding, the safety straps (where vomit was stuck in all the grooves), and of course Fia, all the while cursing that we should always have paper towels in the car. Or at least napkins. Or maybe a better f–king plan where our own selfishness doesn’t dictate. We used all the baby wipes but 3.  We saved those for Emmett. (Oh right, nearly forgot about him. He slept through it all. God, he’s good.)

We got Fia as clean as we could, promising her the pool in a mere 90 minutes. That’s like 90 years to a kid. Nothing we could do but forge on at about 5 mph with Phil practically walking the car at each turn. The windy road ended 3 miles (30 minutes) later.

At the cabin we all jumped in the pool, letting the residue of barf and guilt wash away.  The water was heaven and all the playing made up for our stupidity. But seriously, no more of this ridiculous decision making. We have to remind ourselves that with babies it’s not about YOU. I think after this trip we finally acknowledge that.

 

Image: Windy Road via Shutterstock

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Frequent Baby Fliers

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

For all you frequent baby fliers out there, I have a travel tip. Money-wise it kind of sucks to buy them their own seat, right?  Sanity wise, it’s priceless. I had a recent dilemma on this:

I had to book a last minute ticket to Florida. Five days out and the flight was wide open. I decided to take my chances and not buy Fia her own seat. My gamble paid off. The plane was empty. We had an entire row. And I saved a few hundred bucks.

Now on the way back, there were only 4 seats left to buy, so on that leg, I bought her a ticket. I’m not willing to risk it.

But it’s a good little travel tip to keep in mind. And one more: if you have a baby who gets carsick like mine, take the barf bags from the airline seat pockets. I promise they come in handy down the road, on the road.

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Flying with Fia–not so fun

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

I think I have to stop flying–at least until Fia learns to love television. Neither scenario thrills me. But at 18 months, it is becoming exhausting. I don’t dare take a night flight, because if she doesn’t sleep everyone will despise me. Plus, she is a very specific sleeper. (For naps: only in stroller in bathroom with lights off and fan on. At night: only in crib. She can also climb out of the pack n play, which now makes hotel stays difficult.)

So daytime flights are it. Problem is, it’s her time to be on the go. But on the plane, she has to sit. I don’t let her roam around, crawl on the floor or kick the seats in front of her. That would make me the person I used to hate. I refuse to be that oblivious/obnoxious parent. She’s allowed to crawl on me/my seat and that’s it. However, it’s soon going to drive me to drink…or at least drink more than I already do.

Case in point: On a recent flight I took this self-portrait.

Why flying with a baby isn't so fun

After 2 hours of trying to get her to nap, she finally succumbed. I was both shocked and victorious. Problem was, she slept on me. There I sat for 90 long minutes, scrunched against the window, knees up, legs spread. I looked like I was at the gynecologist or giving birth.  I sat right by the bathroom, so many a passenger got a glimpse.

I also had this stupid cough that came out every time I lied down–or scrunched– as the case was here. I knew I couldn’t chance my stomach lurching up and waking her. I managed to reach into the diaper bag with one arm and find the organic lollipops to suck on. I had searched all over town for them– much to my husband’s annoyance. At least that mission wasn’t a complete waste of time.

My tip of the day from this trip: don’t wear jeans with holes in the crotch. That was my only saving grace. And don’t travel alone with an 18-month old. Wait until they are well on they way to becoming addicts of television or better yet, portable video games. And by the way parents of older babes–when does that milestone happen? I need to have some sort of travel to look forward to.

fi in suitcase

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Travel Fiasco–My Scattered Self

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

I swear something happened after the birth of my child that has affected my brain circuitry.  Lord knows I want to be a good mom. I try and multitask with my husband, baby and job but…

3 WEEKS AGO…

–I took our cat, Wayne Sanchez, to the vet and paid $300 to find out he is still obese (He barely fits in his Sherpa bag). Then I ran errands. The next day my keys were missing. For nearly a week I searched while pretending nothing was amiss. After pressing our apartment buzzer every time I came home, Phil asked me to fess up. Then he said I need to focus more. True. I need to be more aware. True.

Wayne Sanchez and his co conspirator

Wayne Sanchez and his co conspirator

To redeem myself, I took a time out and sat in a quiet corner. I tried to retrace my steps, mentally. Wayne rubbed against me -boom! I had it, the Sherpa bag! I felt like I had just won the Pulitzer Prize for Missing Things. I called Phil on his cell and shouted, “I FOUND THEM IN WAYNE’S FAT CAT CARRIER!” “Um, okay, I’m in a meeting.” He wasn’t nearly as excited as I was.

2 WEEKS AGO…

–I was really trying to stay focused; I wanted Phil to see my improvement. We went to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and, whilst in the tropics room, he asked me to hold his Ray-bans. Instead of putting them in the diaper bag, I made what I thought was an intelligent decision… I held them so I didn’t accidentally crush them in the bag—something I’ve done before. I was smitten with myself. We walked outside and he asked for them. I looked into my hands – they had vanished. Poof! Just like that.

“A palm tree must have plucked them from my palm,” I said, attempting to joke.

Sigh. I went back into the jungle and crawled on all fours, searching Bougainvillea’s and Bromeliad’s to many a strange look. Nothing. If anyone goes there and finds them in the foliage, please let me know.

1 WEEK AGO…

–I blew so many fuses in my brain that I needed a circuit breaker. We were at the airport, checked in and at our gate. I went to change our seats while Phil watched Fi. The counter agents had me leave our boarding passes for them to work on. I went to sit down and Phil said, “you’re being paged.” Huh?

Before he could spit out the next line – Now what did you lose? – I bolted. Think. Think. Think. What. What? What? I had my laptop. Fia was accounted for. I looked in my purse. OH MY GOD. MY WALLET IS MISSING. My bolt turned into a sprint. At security they said it wasn’t their page, that I must have left it at check-in.  I got to the counter, hunched over, gasping for air. “I’m the o-o-n-one wh-wh-who left my wallet.” As I said this I realized I was holding half a bottle of formula. No clue why. It just added to the absurdity of it all.  The agent told me another worker had already taken the wallet to my gate.

As I began to run back to security, I stopped dead in my tracks. I turned towards the agents and frantically wailed: “I don’t have my ID to get through! My flight leaves in 20 minutes.”

They must have taken pity on me, because a very kind, calm agent took me by the arm.  “I’ll help you honey. It’s hard being a mom,” she said, as she glanced at the seemingly random half full baby bottle. We cut to the front of the line and she explained to TSA the problem. They asked for my boarding pass. Time once again stood still as the realization hit me: MY BOARDING PASS IS AT THE GATE. My entire torso began gesturing towards D-15. I was nearly hysterical. As my arms waved madly, formula began to bounce out of the bottle, spraying others – I swore I heard one woman say, “She needs a Xanax.” They called TSA supervision. I whimpered my pathetic situation to them, and they let me through.

I sprinted to the gate counter past a bewildered Phil and into the arms of yet another kind agent who was standing there—smiling– with my wallet.  Dripping in sweat and panting, I tried to explain all that had happened. “Slow down and breathe,” she said, “Motherhood is hard – Just don’t forget your baby!”

I dejectedly walked back to my family. “What the hell is going on?” Phil asked.

I begged, “Don’t be mad at me. You have to promise. Even they (gesturing towards the agents) said being a mom is hard.”

Fia, obviously unaffected by Mom's commotion
Fia, obviously unaffected by Mom’s commotion

“Okay, okay, just calm down. You’re kind of making a scene,” he said. True again.

“I left my wallet at check-in.” If my head had hung any lower it would have hit the filthy floor of LaGuardia.

He patted my leg. Fia hugged me, then bit my knee and laughed.  I began to breathe. We boarded. I collapsed into my seat and slept the entire time.

YESTERDAY…..

– I didn’t lose anything.

TODAY…..

– So far so good.

LOOKING AHEAD….

–I booked a woman’s yoga retreat this winter. In Belize. My justification: I need to learn to focus. Phil didn’t buy it, but he did give me his blessing (He probably needs the break). It will be my first trip away from Fi, so at least I know I won’t lose her.

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