Sunday, July 8, 2012

Hotel Pensacola - You can check out any time you like......

Two weeks ago we took our first ever family vacation. My husband had to travel to Pensacola for work so the boys and I packed up and tagged along. Sounds wonderful, right? It was in fact, the most miserable five days (felt like 5 weeks) of our lives.

Two days before we are supposed to leave, all hell breaks loose. Shea comes downstairs that morning and says, "bobby, cad I hab sub cereal for breakfast?" Matt and I stare at each other in wide-eyed horror, we knew then that we were doomed. You see, my family follows a very strict cycle of sickness. Shea ALWAYS gets it first. Then, Kellan gets it and stays up all night for two nights screaming. Then due to lack of sleep, I get it and am bedridden from illness and exhaustion and finally, Matt gets it, has to go to work anyway and calls me from the office sounding like a hostage while I talk him through taking some Tylenol and making tea, as though I were helping him dismantle a bomb over the phone. It's literally a good solid week of torturous cruelty.

This particular bout of infectious disease, did not disappoint. Shea was buckets of snot and coughing his head off all day and then that night woke up every hour moaning, crying and twitching. I went downstairs to retrieve the Children's Advil, (Damn you drug manufacturers for not making cold medicines suitable for children under 6! Damn you!!!!) I poured the grape flavored syrup into the measuring cap, sat Shea up on my lap, cradled him and told him, "Here sweetie, take this Magic Juice (yes, this is what we call it) and it'll make you feel better" POW! He bitch slapped me and starting screaming and kicking his legs, "NO NO NO NO NO NO NO......." while flailing around like he was having a seizure. In one deft Ninja move I tilted his head back, pried his mouth open and dumped the medicine in. "PSHHHHTTTTTT" and then he spat it all over my face, all over his bed, in my hair..... sigh. Whatever, dude - be sick.

End of night one without sleep.

The next morning Kellan is acting grumpy. Right on schedule. I spend the day packing and cleaning and making sure that everything is ready for our very first super awesome spectacular family vacation! But as night fell upon Georgia, we knew we were in for it. As if on cue Kellan begins to scream. And scream. And scream. I don't know if other people's babies do this, because Shea never did. Shea never got sick until he was almost 2. He never even had a cold, or showed any discomfort from teething - he was an angel baby. One week after I stopped breastfeeding him (yes, do the math and get over your shock) he came down with RSV and had to be on medication and breathing treatments, it was awful. Anyway - Kellan has been sick so many times I've lost count and I'm sure it's because he has an older germy brother who kindly passes them on to him, but he is also the WORST sick kid I have ever seen. Most kids when they are sick just want to sleep. Kellan refuses to. He screams and tries to claw our faces off and nothing we do can comfort him. We were supposed to wake up that morning, have breakfast, drop the dog off at the kennel and head to Florida but I knew that if Matt didn't get some sleep, we would drive off into a ditch - end of Piper family. So I sent him and Shea (who was snoring so loud from congestion that we wouldn't have been able to sleep even if Kellan weren't reenacting scenes from Nightmare on Elm Street) to the guest room so they'd at least get some rest. And I, the martyr of the family, sat up all night rocking a baby who would put Linda Blair to shame.....

End of night two without sleep.

That morning we crawl out of bed, drag ourselves down the stairs, load up the car, and head off TO OUR SUPER AWESOME FIRST EVER FAMILY VACATION EXTRAVAGANZA!!!!!

The drive starts pleasantly enough. Both kids are too tired to throw fits. They think its cool that the dog is in the mini-van with them. But immediately after dropping Osgood off, the screaming begins. Kellan doesn't like his car seat. He freaks out so badly and add sickness on top of that - it was over before it had begun. He screams. And screams. And screams. "DING" - the van starts beeping. The tire pressure light is on. Matt pulls over and discovers that we have a flat tire and there is a big nail stuck in it. We are in the middle of Atlanta, not even an hour into our drive. F*#%! We find a tire place, the guys there are super nice and don't make us wait at all, they patch it and we are out of there in less than 15 minutes. And I'm thinking to myself, "The sickness, the tire.... these are signs from the universe that we are not supposed to go on this trip." But we go anyway. Because we are stupid.

The next four hours of the trip consist of Kellan screaming, stopping at the dirtiest McDonald's in all of Alabama and more screaming. And then I begin to sneeze. Matt cracks his knuckles and looks at me like I'm beginning to turn into a zombie and has that look in his eye like he's deciding weather to end my misery now or wait until I've turned. We keep driving.

When we finally get to the hotel we are miserable, achy from sitting for so long and hungry. All we want is to grab some take out, go to our hotel room and lay in bed for the rest of the day. We grab all our stuff, get our key, go into the room and...... it's one bed and a chair and you can touch both walls with your arms extended. The four of us are supposed to stay here for a week?? Mind you this is an extended stay hotel and this is supposed to be a suite. Matt calls down and we discover that there is a pee wee softball tournament in town and ALL of the pee wees are staying at our hotel and they are booked solid. BUT - they can move us to another one bed suite that's a little bigger and has a pull-out couch. Ok cool. So the next room is in fact bigger, it's the handi-capable room which means everything is wider and lower to the ground, which also means that Kellan can open everything... yay. The first thing I notice is that there is trash still in the trash can. Not a huge deal.... Then I pull some dishes down to make coffee and there is dried old coffee in the bottom of every coffee cup, lipstick stains on the water glasses and dried milk in the cereal bowls. Really? sigh. Matt calls down again and asks them to please call us if a bigger suite opens up.

And then God looked down from heaven, saw that we were on vacation and already miserable, chuckled and threw down Tropical Storm Debby.

 The winds are crazy and the beaches are closed. We go anyway just to check it out and it is pretty cool. The waves are huge, the water pulled back so far from the beach I can't believe it and life guards standing every few feet trying to keep people out of the water. All the shops are closed and there isn't anything to do but sit in our hotel room and listen to the kids beat the crap out of each other. This is a picture of Shea after Kellan hit him in the head with a frying pan:

I'm going to condense the rest of this story because it's quite long, but the rest of the vacation follows suit. Matt had to go to work Monday so I took the kids down to the pool. I put swimmies on Shea and threw him in and sat on the edge with Kellan. I stuck my hand down in the water to grab a leaf out of the pool and came back up with a fist full of someone else's hair. Time to go Shea!

The following day they called us and told us that a bigger suite was open and we could have it. Woo Hoo! We get up there and notice a funky smell. But we can't find where it's coming from. Hmmm... We pull out the sofa bed for Shea and the mattress is so nasty it looks like a hobo donated it and when I got the extra sheets out I noticed a bunch of tiny hairs all over it - like a dog had been sleeping on it, and yes this hotel allows pets.... In the bedroom I saw that one of Matt's T-shirts had fallen between the bed and the nightstand so I grabbed it and out fell a baby's pacifier and a cheese wrapper.... it was not Matt's T-shirt.... and I also found where the smell was coming from. There were two rotten Avacados in the crisper of the fridge. They obviously had not cleaned that room for us. I was fighting tears the whole time we were there - we couldn't go anywhere because of the storm and you'd think that the winds and clouds would bring in cooler temperatures but it was well over 110 degrees the whole time. And do you know how hard it is to keep two toddlers quiet in a hotel room?? I was one "SHUSH!" away from a stroke. We even had someone call our room to complain about the noise. And to top it all off, the storm knocked out the cable so I missed True Blood that week - "EFF this, we are going home".

Matt and I both came down with whatever this awful snot-sickness was and couldn't do much more than watch the kids re-enact wrestle-mania. One of the days I started feeling weird and had this strange pain in my back. By the time Matt got back from work the pain was wrapped in a band all the way around my torso and it hurt to even breathe. We seriously considered finding an emergency room because I couldn't tell if I was passing a kidney stone or what but it was excruciating and I was pretty scared. But I took some Tylenol and ate a cheeseburger from Five Guys and the pain dissipated. It was the weirdest thing.(Note to self: Five Guys' Cheeseburgers cure death......)

 We decided to cut our trip short but we needed to do ONE thing to make our vacation semi-redeemable. We had bought the kids a bunch of plastic sand castle-building equipment and we'd be damned if they didn't get to use it. So we sucked it up, crammed a fistful of Tylenol into our mouths and headed to the beach. And wouldn't you know it - some country star was putting on a concert on the freaking beach. There was no where to park, and the beach was so crowded we wouldn't have been able to find the sand. Matt had an idea - we drove down into the residential part of the beach, pulled off the side of the road, climbed a small hill and found a beautiful, tranquil white sand beach with very few people on it. There was a couple and their family having a beach wedding, a mother and two kids standing in the water and an elderly married couple holding hands and watching the sun set. It was beautiful - the kids played in the sand and it was the first time all week that we had smiles on our faces. 

We were supposed to stay until Friday, but we tucked tail and came home Wednesday afternoon. And yes, Kellan screamed the whole way home.

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