This isn’t your typical social media holiday story, people. I’m not going to glitter and icing this up. Our holiday was a shitshow (Fun fact: I’ve typed “shitshow” enough times on my phone recently that spellcheck now recognizes it as a frequently used word.). To begin, we naively thought we could handle a CT to IN road trip with a 5-month-old. I should mention that we originally made the decision to drive, because our 15-year-old pug was coming with. Then she died. That’s an avenue I’m not going to go down, but now you won’t be wondering why the eff we didn’t fly. I’ll also say that despite the horrific experience the holidays turned into at the end, not ALL of it was terrible, and it was in fact fantastic to see our people. On top of that, we got some devastating news about a close family member’s health just before Christmas (also an avenue I’m not going down, for privacy sake), and appreciated the ability to be close to family. With all that said, here’s the rundown of our visit to Evansville in a very unorganized and stream-of-consciousness fashion.
The trip didn’t start out a shit-show, really. I mean it did, because we drove, and that’s never pretty. But we arrived in one piece at my parents’ new house a couple days before Christmas, there were Donut Bank cookies waiting for us, and Pook was gracious to be out of the car. My dad had a man cold (actually, man bronchitis, which is infinitely worse), so we were subjected to slightly more of his terrible taste in TV than usual. He did muster the energy to play peek-a-boo with Charlie about 10,000 times, (which was even more thrilling to my dad than Pook) as well as get out to do 100% of his Christmas shopping on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, per usual. My mom was in her standard Christmas frenzy, cooking up all the necessary dishes for upcoming gatherings, preparing 5 star meals for her dogs, and wrapping presents right up until go-time Christmas morning. We spent a disappointingly small amount of time with my maternal grandparents, because both of them came down with stomach bugs the day after we got into town (ahem… foreshadowing).
Christmas Eve at my aunt and uncle’s was different for us this year, mostly because we didn’t make it more than 2 feet in before Pook was ambushed. Being 7:30PM (with a 7PM bedtime, normally) and passed from family member to family member at lightening speed, Pook lasted about 5 minutes before the meltdown ensued. Maybe it was the eagerness to quickly dream up some sugarplums and hope that Santa hadn’t noticed how pooky he had been this year, but the kid went to sleep and stayed asleep in his carseat until about 3AM (insert praise-hands emoji here). Several family members this night mentioned just getting over colds, the flu, etc, etc. (More foreshadowing)
Charlie had a ball opening presents Christmas morning, until about 2 presents in when he decided he’d prefer to nap the rest of the morning, thus giving me the best Christmas present in the history of the universe. This is not an exaggeration. When he woke up, lots of pig rides were had, as they should on any reasonable day.
We got to see Grandpa Bill (Will’s dad) a handful of times during our visit, including on Christmas Day for his “famous potato soup” that none of us knew he had ever made before. This also gave us a chance to introduce Charlie to the rest of Will’s family. Will and Isaac reunited for the first time in a while, which always results in conversations comprised almost entirely of movie quotes, and all the Arvin kids and grandkids got a picture with Grandpa Bill lying across the floor in front, as is most appropriate. While Bill admittedly looks a bit Santa-ish, he’s also like an effing kid whisperer. Ideal for any parents needing a break. We plan to ship Pook to his house from the age of 2-5. The day after Christmas, we got word that some of Will’s family had gotten sick that night (Do you see where this is going?).
Our BFFs from Indy packed up their 10-month-old and 4-year-old to trek into town and spend the night with us, because we don’t get nearly enough mornings of coffee together and afternoons of perusing Target. Maybe the guys have different dreams. I wouldn’t know. As amazing as our times were together as DINKs back in the day, there’s something pretty dang special about seeing your kids love on each other. Plus the looks we get when our crew walks through a restaurant together with a preschooler and two babies (those of fear and dread, primarily) are unbeatable.
Family from Kentucky came in to behold Charlie’s thighs during our stay, as well, which (like everything) resulted in his need for a nap. Then all of Charlie’s mass-building finally caught up with us when he literally almost crushed my paternal grandma. No joke, emergency reinforcements were required to prevent her frail little body from crumbling to the ground under the weight of Pook’s thighs(/cheeks/tummy) after bravely requesting to hold him for the first time. She never saw it coming. At the end of the day, no one got hurt. So, success.
Previously unmentioned, my mom also came down with some sort of short-lived flu thing a couple days after Christmas. If you hadn’t noticed, the city of Evansville was disintegrating around us with each passing day. It was going to be a Christmas miracle to make it out of town with our health in tact. And I’ll tell you, the only Christmas miracle we saw this year was that over half of Pook’s presents fit into the Forester.
The morning of our departure, I was feeling a little under the weather. Tired. Achy. Luckily, Will and Charlie were still thriving, so off we went. Several hours and a ton of whining and crying later (mostly on Charlie’s part), we rolled into a Hampton Inn in Akron, OH. I immediately threw up the only thing I’d eaten all day – a McFlurry, because if you’re only going to eat one thing, it might as well be ice cream – and we collapsed into a heap of exhaustion in our room. I’m pretty sure I died a couple of times that night, and in the wee hours of the morning we had the joy of spending a few hours in the ER so I could fully hydrate to provide sustenance to the
small leech I’m hosting baby. By this time, Will was starting to come down with something, too, but was at least keeping food down (yay?). Thank goodness Charlie caught only a minor cold during all this madness (#thankyoubreastfeeding).
We got on the road again, somehow making it to Scranton, PA (the electric city) where we found another Hampton Inn. Hilton Hotels, man.
That’s right. It took us three. Days. To get home. Then when we got here, we had run out of oil – how these New Englanders often heat their houses – since the apartment owner apparently forgot about insulation when he renovated the place, and we live in the arctic. Our upcoming move to a different apartment is for another post entirely. Have I mentioned how much we actually dislike moving?
Alas, we’re alive and home. And plus a rocking pig now. So I guess I can’t complain. Happy Holidays!