Monday, December 28, 2009

Getting home for the holidays, the hard way

Now that the obligation to spread Christmas joy and cheer is behind us, I feel its time to share with you the story of how we got home for the holidays.

The Odyssey to Tennessee Part One: Grounded

Being prudent, responsible folk, David and I secured our plane reservations for Christmas months ago. I even remembered to call the day before to score the bulkhead, which you’ll remember from my previous posts on the subject is something I feel passionately about. The way in which I packed our suitcase was nothing short of a work of art. I’d handed out gifts and envelopes to everyone on the list - all the teachers and teacher’s helpers, all the doormen and porters and supers. We were in a somewhat shocking state of preparedness for our flight Saturday afternoon.

And then the blizzard struck.

Its not that we didn’t know it was coming. We were just optimistic. But then, Saturday morning, we turned out the news and heard, “a historic snowstorm” . . . “10-20 inches in the city” . . . “canceling all flights” . . . “we’ve never seen anything like it!” Encouraging stuff.

Our flight was rescheduled for the next night at 8pm, which was great, because a lot of people didn’t even get rescheduled. Less than ideal, since traveling at night with my sleep-averse children is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I know how that shit goes down because we’ve been there – oh! how we’ve been there. As I say though, we were just thanking our lucky stars we had seats on something airborne. We decided to make the most of it and headed over to our good friend’s apartment for a pre-blizzard bagel party. We bundled the kids and played in the snow. We filed six months worth of bills and paperwork. We had sex. By the following afternoon, we were in great spirits, and oh-so-ready to rumble.

Until I noticed that Seconda had a fever.

It wasn’t high – 100.3 – but she had the glassy eyes, the bright-red face and the miserable moaning that signifies this was just the beginning. Now, in the summertime, when everyone’s pretty healthy, a little lowgrade fever’s not such a crisis. But in late December, with a swine flu epidemic still in play, and my grandmother, who takes care of Sec, sick in bed with a strep throat -- it didn’t look promising. I’d taken Primo on the plane when he had 104 fever, at the end of our “vacation” to San Francisco, and that was one of the most anxiety-producing experiences yet.

David and I figured since we really didn’t know what this fever was going to turn into, it wasn’t a good idea to take her on the airplane. So I graciously offered to stay with Sec while he went ahead with Primo, and we’d just catch a flight later in the week and meet them down South. That was wildly na├»ve. No seats nohow to Knoxville – not direct, not connecting, nothing.

Sec fell asleep in the middle of these proceedings, and that was the dealbreaker. Although nearly all other 2.5 year olds on earth are still taking their proscribed afternoon nap, Sec hasn’t slept during daytime hours in months. Even when I locked her in her crib tent, and even when she’s in the car or in the stroller and even when I beg her and bribe her, she never sleeps til darkness falls. Kid was sick. We cancelled the flights.

And then, Eureka! Mommy has an idea.

“Why not drive?” I ask David.

Why not drive?


I’ll tell you why you shouldn’t drive to Tennessee in a single day with your two children under the age of five. In tomorrow’s post I will tell you about it, in detail, because we flipping DID IT.