Wednesday, March 1, 2017

"Vacation From The Kids"? Hmmm...

Best Husband Ever recently arranged for us to fly to London for a week so I could attend an awards ceremony I never would have dreamed I'd be able to attend. It was an incredibly romantic gesture, I love him all the more for it, and I had a fantastic time. Since we've returned home, however, many people have said, "OH - you got some time away from the kids! Nobody is more deserving; GOOD FOR YOU!" I smile when people say that and nod my head, but internally I'm thinking about the trip from my phone's point of view. Vacation from the kids? be the judge.

Sunday 11:39 PM -
Pictures snapped and posted to Facebook:

Well, our London adventure began a bit earlier than we planned. Of COURSE Seattle would have a big snow event when we're trying to leave town. Rather than get stranded on our hill tomorrow morning, we booked a hotel room right next to the airport & caught a ride with a capable young man who drives for Uber part time when he's not out on his Coast Guard ship catching drug runners. Now I'm off to sleep in our cheap little hotel bed, with visions of zero flight delays dancing through my head.

Monday 12:02 AM 
Text exchange with Babysitter Extraordinaire 

Me: Made it.  :)  

B.E - I'm glad you guys are safe  <3  :)

12:20 AM

B.E. - Princess can't fall asleep.

Me - Tell her to just lay quietly and read so YOU can go to sleep!

6:58 AM
Email From Not-So-Studious Son's Science Teacher:

Here's the link to the page for the test corrections he needs to do. Not sure how he's missed it for two weeks?   :)   Have a great trip!

7:03 AM
Back to texting with Babysitter Extraordinaire

Me - I'm sure it comes as no surprise, but both schools are closed today.  :)

B.E. - Yeah I figured that LOL

7:58 AM
Texts with Trusty Driver (who I pre-paid for all transportation, as Babysitter Extrordinaire doesn't drive)

T.D. - Is school cancelled for today?

Me - Yes. I'll let you know ASAP about the status of gymnastics practice for tonight.

9:13 AM
Back to texting with Babysitter Extraordinaire

Me - Kids all still asleep?

Me - Or did Princess ever GET to sleep?

B.E. - She's up and so is Not-So-Studious Son. She didn't go to sleep until at least 1.

Me - Before Not-So-Studious Son can go to any friend's house, he needs to clean his room, eat breakfast, (or brunch...or lunch) and take his pills.

10:01 AM

B.E. - Princess still has gymnastics, right?

Me - Don't know; I don't think the gym is open yet. I'll call soon; we're going through security.

10:08 AM

Me - Will you plz take a pkg of ground beef out of the freezer to thaw & make tacos with tonight? I was going to do that this AM before we left - didn't think of it last night.

10:36 AM
Pictures snapped and posted to Facebook:

Phrase of the day is "On Time" ...which, SO FAR, we are...fingers crossed as I watch some de-icing.

11:32 AM
Alert from Doorbell Video Camera ("RING") that Not-So-Studious Son's best friend, Partner In Crime, has arrived.

12:01 PM
Call the Gym.

Text to Trusty Driver

Me - So the gym will NOT be opening today, so no gymnastics for Princess. I'll let you know the minute I hear about school for tomorrow.

12:12 PM
Back to texting with Babysitter Extraordinaire

Me - The gym will NOT be opening today, so no practice for Princess. I just let Trusty Driver know.

1:08 PM
Alert from RING that Partner In Crime has left.

2:35 PM
Facebook Message from Babysitter Extraordinaire

B.E. - Off-site Dependent Daughter lost power at her condo so she's coming here.
[Off-site Dependent Daughter lives in a condo 1 mile from our house with Best Husband Ever's father]

Me - Yeah, I just got an email about the outage from the power company. If it doesn't come back on before dark, she can stay in our room.

2:40 PM
Call to Babysitter Extraordinaire to further discuss power outage, preparations for possible power outage at the house, and to give instruction for Not-So-Studious Son to work on the science assignment.

3:13 PM
Alert from RING that Off-Site Dependent Daughter has arrived.

3:39 PM
Call to Off-Site Dependent Daughter to discuss her plan to return to the condo after the power is restored, and ensure she has her medication, etc., should she need to spend the night.

5:26 PM
Field a call from Not-So-Studious Son with complaints about a miscommunication with Babysitter Extraordinaire about the game plan for science assignment.

5:29 PM
Have phone discussion with Babysitter Extraordinaire to try to smooth over any homework-related frustrations and to clarify homework plan.

5:57 PM
Facebook Message from Not-So-Studious Son

N.S.S.S. - Ok so this never happens but I feel bad for Princess. She looks sad. Babysitter Extraordinaire played with her for a couple of minutes but then stopped. She has been asking her to do piano 4 times now.

Me - Give Princess your phone and dial my #. I have time for 1 more call.

6:02 PM
Have firm-worded discussion with Princess about behaving for Babysitter Extraordinaire and remind her it won't kill her to practice piano for 5 minutes if that will allow her to go back to playing with Babysitter Extraordinaire.

6:10 PM
We board the plane and experience 12 blissful hours of no communication. Pictures snapped and posted to Facebook.

*  *  *

That was most of the communication during the first 18 hours of our 6-day trip. Trust me; things did not slow down for the rest of our "vacation". It was a constant stream of notifications, clarifications, base-touching, conflict resolution, reprimands, and cheerleading (for Babysitter Extraordinaire, of course, as the kids systematically wore her down). It was made all the more exciting by the 8-hour time difference, too. Not-So-Studious Son called me via Skype to chat about his day on Thursday. The first thing he said was, "Oh...I didn't realize it would be so dark there!" "Yeah," I said, "It's 1:53 AM here, buddy. What's up?" Not all exchanges were quite so civilized. There were some lovely little exchanges like this, as Best Husband Ever and I were "leisurely" enjoying an afternoon at a museum in Edinburgh:

Wednesday morning [Seattle time]/
Wednesday afternoon [Scotland time],
moments before school started

N.S.S.S. - Mom I left the science assignment at home  :(

Me - I ASKED you if you had it in your backpack!!! I'm so mad right now!

N.S.S.S. - I thought I did!

Me - You kept your phone at night, even though Babysitter Extraordinaire TOLD you to leave it in the living room like you're supposed to.

Me - You argued with her all morning.

N.S.S.S. - What? No. I told her I was sorry.

Me - You made her CRY!!!!!!

N.S.S.S. - Mom

Me - Then you forget the ONE thing I tell you to take to school and you CONVENIENTLY don't realize it until it's too late to go back and get it, even though you INSISTED on going to school over an hour early so you could hang out with your friends. I am PISSED!

N.S.S.S. - No I'm sorry
I'll scan it
When u get back
I don't know

Me - You had better make it up to Babysitter Extraordinaire, Science Teacher, and me somehow before I get home or the Xbox is out the window.

N.S.S.S. - He's not mad
He's happy I'm here

Me - This all has to be fixed BEFORE I get back. He may not be mad, but I am enough for both of us!!!

N.S.S.S. - I'm sorry I didn't look

Me - Babysitter Extraordinaire is ready to QUIT because of you two. WORK IT OUT and get your freakin' homework turned IN!!!!!!!!!!

N.S.S.S. - You're probably never going to go on vacation again because of me
I'm sorry
I should have been nicer
Please talk
I'm sorry
I will get it in
I'll try my hardest

Is this going to affect you ever going on vacation because I want you to have fun
I'm sorry
Please answer

Me (about a half hour later, now exploring St. Giles Cathedral) - Wasn't ignoring you. I lost my phone signal. Please, for the love of GOD, focus on getting everything turned in BY FRIDAY, and figure out a way to make Babysitter Extraordinaire happy. Love you and have a good day at school. xoxo

Meanwhile I was getting "messages" from Babysitter Extraordinaire...

I truly did have a wonderful time and - believe it or not - I view the trip as a total success. Yes, Not-So-Studious Son lived up to his name, Princess did anything BUT live up to hers, and Off-Site Dependent Daughter required more assistance than anticipated. None of that surprised me. What DID surprise me was that nary a word was said about Problem Child during the entire week. HER bag of tricks contains plenty of monkey wrenches that could have easily blown our trip off course. There were no out-of-control seizures, no respiratory distress...she didn't so much as yank her G-tube out! The kids are still alive, Babysitter Extraordinaire is still relatively sane (despite incredible and imaginative efforts to make her otherwise), and the house is still standing. Success. I posted a number of beautiful pictures from our trip to Facebook. Looking at them, one would think it was an absolutely magical respite from "real life". Only my phone and I know the REAL behind-the-scenes truth of a "vacation from the kids".