Friday, August 19, 2011

A Disastrous Start To Our Summer Vacation

Dave and I wanted to try out a new lake with the boat this year, so we made plans to go to Lake Mead!  We booked a hotel suite in Lake Las Vegas, and (of course) invited my parents along with us.  We were really looking forward to a vacation and to taking the boat out again!  It was a lot of work to get ready, but we were excited!

As it turned out, we had a pretty crappy first day of vacation.  And when I say it was crappy, you know it had to have sucked.  It is funny to look back on it now, even though it’s more of a roll-your-eyes-and-shake-your-head-and-sigh-with-relief-that-that-day-is-over kind of funny… if that even qualifies as funny. 

This post may will be long.

When we first bought the boat the previous owner asked me if there was anything that I was concerned about regarding being a new boat owner, and I answered honestly.  “The only thing that I can think of is that I just remember growing up, whenever we would take the trailer, my dad would have such issues with the lights working.  It was always a huge deal and caused a lot of stress… I’m afraid we’ll have issues with the lights, too!”  He laughed and said not to worry and that he had us covered.  Then he very generously gave us a connector that was a pretty foolproof way to plug those lights into the truck.  It was awesome, and we never had a problem so I pretty much forgot all my trailer-lights anxiety. 

So, on the morning of vacation we packed the boys in and got all set to go!  Since rearfacing is safer, we still have Sam’s carseat facing backwards… however we decided to switch him to forward facing just for vacation.  It is such a long drive and we needed to keep him entertained!  I thought that he’d be thrilled.  Apparently, he wasn’t.  As soon as I put him in his seat he fuh-reaked out!  I guess forward facing in daddy’s truck was too much for him?  I managed to calm him down by explaining that he gets to ride just like a big boy and that riding in daddy’s truck was a very special treat… and then I handed him some breakfast.  Small crisis averted.  (Should we call that crisis #1?)  Then I stepped back to take our first official vacation photo!

And then I immediately ran to the back of the trailer to do the routine trailer-light check.   It failed.  We readjusted the plug and managed to get the right side working, but the left side was still out.  We thought about our options- it was early Sunday morning and no shops would be open yet, and at least we had some lights, if not all- we decided to hit the road and stop at a place once the shops open.  As we drove down the hallway we sent up a prayer of thanks that we had smartphones and I furiously Googled, and called around trying to find a place to stop to get the lights fixed.  No luck.  Apparently everyone who works on boat trailers is very religious, because no one was open on Sunday!  Finally, after a few hours of very careful driving  on Dave’s part and two very drained cell phone batteries, Dave had a brilliant idea to get a tow truck light kit so that we’d at least have some light on the left side!  By that time Ang had hopped online and I IMed her a plea for help!  She helped us find a place to stop in Barstow to pick up some lights and I sat in the car with the boys while Dave ran in to get them. 

Sam had fallen asleep right before we pulled off the freeway, and I was hoping to get a great nap out of him- I gave Jack my iTouch to keep him occupied so he wouldn’t get bored and wake up Sam, and then stepped out to help Dave hook up the light kit.  Right when we were almost done checking the lights I heard a scream from the car… have I ever mentioned that Jack is afraid of flies?  Apparently a fly had gotten in and was bugging him… and there was no way that Sam could sleep through Jack’s fly-terror!  Jack was screaming, Sam was screaming, and we couldn’t get the stupid fly out of the car, so we drove down the road with two screaming kids, two parents who were always one step behind the fly, and a boat trailer with tow-light-kits… that apparently don’t stick to a metal boat trailer very well!  We pulled onto the highway and immediately had to pull back off again, as the lights were just about to fall off the trailer and hit the road and the cars around us!  We didn’t have any way of getting them to stay, so we removed them.  And, what do you know, but as we removed them the light suddenly started working again!!!  Relieved, we hopped back on the freeway!

Not 10 minutes later, though (may have even been closer to 5!) we heard a bang and felt a jolt and Dave and I immediately checked our respective side mirrors… we had a flat on the left rear trailer tire. C.R.A.P.   We were about .75/mi away from the next offramp and there was no way that there was enough room to change it on the side of the freeway, so we limped along the shoulder to the exit. 

I so wished I had taken a photo of the damage, but I really didn’t want to further irritate Dave.  The rear tire had blown out in such a way that it shattered the tail-light that had just miraculously started working again, tore up the license plate, and bent the fender up inside in such a way that I was pretty sure we were completely screwed.  Dave said he had never seen a tire blowout quite like that before.  And it was freaking hot.  Dave set about changing the tire, and since the boys had been cooped up for so long I decided it was a good time to stretch their legs so I let them out… except I could not find Sam’s shoe!!!  I knew it was in there when we started our journey, and I knew that there was no way it could have fallen out without me noticing, but I FREAKING COULD NOT FIND HIS SHOE!!!!  So, I had to hold Sam while Jack walked around and looked at the glass-and-trash-infested desert.  And it was hot, and he was pissed that I wouldn’t let him get down, and I felt bad for Dave that he had to change that tire by himself, and it was approaching lunchtime, and I could not find that freaking shoe that I had spent so much time contemplating and focusing on when trying to find good lake vacation shoes for Sammy.   And poor Dave is magical and bent back that fender (I swear he has to be the strongest man on Earth and I mostly wish I had a picture of that bent fender not so that I can show how bad it was but so that I can show how amazing Dave is!) and changed that tire and I as soon as we all climbed back in the car I rewarded him with an ice cold water and a “You’re amazing” and he said “I want to go home.”

It was then that we had the following conversation:
Me: Well it could have been worse!  I know it doesn’t feel like it, because this really sucks, but it’s true!
Dave: Are you kidding me?!  How in the world could that have been worse?!  What else could happen?!?!
Me: First of all it could have been worse because it could have been BOTH of the tires on that side and we wouldn’t have been able to limp to the off-ramp.  Or it even could have caused us to crash!  And second of all, NEVER ask what else could go wrong because that’s pretty much the same thing as ASKING something else to go wrong!!! 

Turns out, I was too late in stopping Dave from asking what else could go wrong.  Let me back up for a minute… a day before we left for vacation Dave was calling and searching around for a Tonneau Cover for the back of his truck so that we could protect our gear/luggage/food and whatnot from the elements as we were travelling.  The one he had ordered was apparently on the Slowest Shipping Route known to man and didn’t make it in time for our vacation.  He had no luck, so we left for vacation without one.  Fast-forward back to the Disastrous First Day of vacation and the ominous clouds in the sky as we approached State Line.  Right about the time we noticed the clouds and thunder and lightning in the distance I got a text from my mom (who, with my dad, was already in Las Vegas visiting family and was going to meet us at the hotel when we got there) asking if it was raining on us.  I texted back “Not yet, but with the way this day is going I’d be surprised if it doesn’t rain on us!”

People, it didn’t rain.  It poured.  Our stuff got wet. 

Sam wasn’t too fond of the rain, so to distract him from it (for some reason it gets really loud in Dave’s truck when the rain pounds on the roof… Dave thought it was hailing as it was so loud, but it didn’t look like any hail I’d seen before…?) I gave the boys some snacks.  That turned out to be a great idea!  The not great part of it, though, was the the only snacks that I could reach was super messy Cheetos!!!  Sam loved it, but I had a lot of cheesey mess to clean up later!  (But it was totally worth it Winking smile )

I’m going to go ahead and skip the details about the hassle that check-in turned out to be.  Dave was done so I handled that while he relaxed by chasing dragonflies in a cool (and by cool, I mean only 95 degrees), grassy area and then we went up to look at our hotel suite!  We were so relieved to actually be there after that horrible travel day, and the boys and I explored our rooms and called my parents to let them know we were there and all checked in while Dave went down to unload the rest of the car.

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My parents got to the hotel and ran into Dave at the truck, so they helped load the cart to take our stuff up.  The kids were so happy to see grandma and papa, and they wasted no time... Jack immediately took grandma on a tour of the hotel rooms (and playing scare-the-grandma through the window) and Sam immediately started "helping" papa unload the cart!

And then, more disaster struck.  Not even 5 minutes after my parents got up to the room the fire alarm started going off, and we heard a booming voice over the loudspeaker demanding that we evacuate the hotel.  These things are usually false alarms, but as I always stress to my kids the importance of safety and obeying rules we knew we had to get out.  So I grabbed a few snacks, water, and the stroller (not knowing how long we'd be kicked out of the room) and, still thinking that it was a false alarm, opened the door to the hall to lead my crew to the staircase.  Imagine my shock when I opened the door to find smoke in the hallway!  Imagine my dread when I realized that the smoke was pouring out of the hotel room next to ours!  Of course my instinct was to lead the boys away from the smoke, but my lead-by-experience-and-not-just-instinct-since-he's-a-badass-firefighter hubby told me that I was going the wrong way and the stairs were just on the other side of the smokey hotel room.  I gave my boys feeble instructions not to breathe as we passed the smoke (of course I knew there was no point in saying that, but it made me feel better to pretend they wouldn't inhale any smoke!) and we ran-walked to the staircase.  My parents each had one of my boys so I was able to focus on making sure my hubby didn't play the hero (he kept going back in at each floor to check for people in the halls... I love that he's a rescuer, but it makes me nervous at the same time!) and kept reminding him that he was on vacation! 

Once we got outside (we were on the fifth floor so it was a lot of stairs), the boys were so excited that they got to play in the fountain that we had passed on the way in- they were so sad earlier that they didn't get to play in it and I promised that we would when grandma and grandpa got there.  They had a great time playing in that fountain, and that's where we were when the fire department showed up.  Finally.

Right after I took this photo of Dave and my dad discussing strategy (or whatever it is that men talk about at times like these), this was the conversation we had:
Me: Hey Dave, this right here is a perfect example of why you never ever ask what else can go wrong!  If you hadn't said that then this probably wouldn't have happened!
Dave: ...
Okay, so it wasn't so much a conversation as it was me (jokingly) winning the point!  He knew I was joking though, and he smiled.  And now that I think about it, he hasn't asked that since!  Of course, if in the future he ever does ask what else could go wrong I will be ready to blame the next hotel fire on him ;) 

As it turned out, the man in the room next to us had put popcorn in the microwave for five minutes and walked away.  So, everything was okay.  Everything stunk to high heaven, but it was okay.  We finally made it back up to our room, and decided to de-stress by taking the boys swimming.  

And finally we were having so much fun and actually felt like we were on vacation!!!
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(my parents tell me that by the time I was Sam's age I was swimming like a fish all on my own... apparently Sam thinks that he is a fishie too, as he kept trying to get out of our arms!  My kids are not afraid of the water at all!)

After the day we had, my mom volunteered to make dinner that night to give us a break.  We were praying that the next day would be better!!!

To be continued...

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to read what happens next!
    love, grandma