Thursday, August 13, 2009

Why NOT to travel with us!

The Car Cleaning Story got me in the mood to tell my other ... "this happened right before our vacation" story.
Four years ago we decided to take the kids to Disney-world in January. Since we live 15 minutes from the Amtrak Autotrain (, we decided to take that rather than deal with flying with 3 kids (Strollers, car seats, bags, & security... what a nightmare!) The biggest advantage of the autotrain to families is that you can leave the car seats, strollers and bags in the car. You only need an overnight bag for the train. My in-laws (aka Nana and Granfer) were going with us. In order to do this, we needed to add storage to our Volvo Wagon. We had a bench seat in the back, so seating was not a problem, but since that uses all the cargo area, we needed to have a place to put our bags. The plan was to put a trailer hitch on, then put a cargo rack on the back and put the suitcases there. So the week prior, I go to UHaul and get the hitch put on. Well now we run into problem #1.
Problem #1a The hitch is not in stock (even though I ordered it and was told it was in stock waiting for me!). I now have to come in the day before the trip in order to get the hitch put on. Okay, not that big of a deal. (Problem #1b)So I go back on the day before the trip and the 1 hour install turns into 4! The kids are going nuts because of the wait and Honey leaves work and comes to pick them up. (Problem #1c ) It is of course now starting to snow with bit of sleet! Oh Great! (Problem #1d) So what is the reason for the wait... they didn't know how to install the hitch on a Volvo wagon. The UHaul "technician" actually asked me where I thought the hitch was supposed to be placed on the car. "Hmm, On the back?" How should I know? If I knew that I would have done it already and I wouldn't be paying you! Finally after who knows how long, it is done.
Problem #2. So we do our nightly routines and then put together the cargo rack for the trailer hitch. We test fit it onto the car. Uh, Oh, the cargo rack is hitting the ground. That's okay, we are parked on a slope. We'll just move the car. The problem remains, .... so the slope isn't the problem. I guess those Uhaul it guys didn't get it right after all. Hmm, I guess we'll have to go with plan B. We have a car top carrier, but we didn't have roof rails. (The carrier was a "gift" from my father because he didn't want to store it anymore). Since it was so bulky, we didn't originally want to use it since we would have to move it into the car during the train ride and it would be much more difficult to deal with. Since we were left with no choice, we went to get temporary roof rails from the auto store.
Problem #3 We have just enough time to go to the store and get the rails before the store closes. Then our problem will be solved... If only!!!! We got the rails, put them together and realized that one of the rail's rubber feet was missing from the box, so we needed to go back to the store in the morning to exchange the rails/ get the replacement, otherwise it would scratch up the car. That's okay. Everything else is packed.
Problem #4 Honey is getting ready for a half day of work (we have to be at the train station at 2:00 to load the car onto the train). I am in charge of getting the replacement foot and getting other last minute things for the trip. Not a big deal plenty of time... WRONG! I am groggy but waking and I look at Honey's pillow. Christopher is sleeping beside me, but there is something all over the pillow, it looks like chocolate. What has our little almost 3 year old Christopher been into in the middle of the night?!. I take another look and it's blood! I quickly jump out of bed and check out Christopher. Sure enough, he has a gash in his head. He needs stitches! I yell to Honey that he needs to call work and take the whole day off. One of us needs to go to the ER and one needs to get the rest of the last minute stuff done, feed the kids breakfast and lunch and clean up. We decide that he will take Christopher and I will do the last minute stuff.
Problem #5 I take Christopher into the kitchen to feed him breakfast before we leave. I put him onto the stool at the kitchen counter and make breakfast. Honey arrives as I finish putting the food in front of Christopher. As I turn to go get dressed for the day, Christopher falls off the stool and hits his chin on the floor. He now needs stitches in his chin!!!
Here is an Ikea Stool like ours. This is the second time that this stool has caused Christopher to fall and require stitches. Needless to say, we no longer have the stool!
We have temporary furniture out because our flooring is not yet installed. It is the last thing left to do for our house remodel. (Problem #6-House is under construction and thus the reason we NEED a vacation! Problem #7, we were having bank trouble all week, trying to get the bank to pay the contractor the proper amount of $ he was owed.)
So now Honey has to have two sets of stitches for Christopher and meanwhile I am praying that he doesn't have to deal with CPS (Child Protective Services). As I run around getting the other kids fed and dressed and the last minute stuff done. I do finally get to the store, get the cargo carrier onto the car, get the luggage into the car and effectively deal with Nana who has arrived and is warding off a panic attack over the stress of the situation (Problem #8)
Now all we need is Honey. It is 1:00 and I am starting to panic. He's still at the ER! Christopher is all stitched up, but they are waiting for some paperwork. Ugh! Gotta love bureaucracy in a time like this. (Problem #9) I am able to convince Honey that we have to leave for this trip and that if they don't come within 10 minute, he is to leave. We've dealt with stitches before so we know about the aftercare and they have our insurance info so they can bill us. I mean really, why was he waiting anyway?
Thankfully they come within the next 10 minutes and Honey is out the door and we get to leave on our trip.
Sometimes it's hard to believe my run of bad luck.

Moral of the story: Don't travel with us! We have horrible travel karma!

P.S.  This is not the end of the story, we had to go to the ER in Disneyworld to remove the stitches.  While there we all contracted the stomach flu from the family that was letting their kids play in the play area while they were sick (Some people have so little sense or kindness!).  It was NOT a fun trip home!

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