Sunday, June 25, 2006

Travelers Tales

And so, we have returned from points north and east (barely). The huge, steaming pile of soiled clothes are washed and put away. The huge, steaming cat box has been de-toxed. (Necessary as it is in the laundry room. I really regretted not having on hand one of those WWI gas masks for a while there.) The refridgerator has been restocked and we have slept a night in our own beds, so I am now somewhat restored to normal. Somewhat.

It was a good trip. Good for the soul and good for us to get away for a week of enforced family time together. As the beds, except for the hotel we slept in the last night on the road, were truly horrible, I won't say that is was entirely restful, but I feel actually rejuvenated and, for the first time in a few months, looking forward to work, again. Guess I was feeling a bit burned out.

We took the drive up to the resort in two days, which was rather pleasant due to the purchase of a car DVD player which kept the kids in a zombie trance for the entire trip. Yes, it's probably going to lead to some lack of character building that they didn't have to drive like we did, with nothing to do for hundreds, nay a couple of thousand miles if driving coast-to-coast, but stare at the Nebraska scenery and play 'The License Plate Game' or 'The Alphabet Game' or the 'Alphabet License Plate Game'. As a kid, I was blessed with being able to read for a few hours at a time before becoming a bit carsick. Charles can barely read a road sign without becoming queasy. So, yes. We drugged our kids with technology and reveled in it. We also drugged them with Benadryl after having Sara puke her guts out twice. You'd think we'd learn after the first time, but noooooo. Had to have her demonstrate her inner ear intolerance to long drives twice. This also lead to the emergency purchase of laundry stink-remover as well as detergent and a stop at the Laundromat before we even checked into the resort. Sigh.

The room, itself, had seen better decades. It was actually a condo, seemingly last re-done in the '70s or so, with the carpet so stained you really didn't feel comfortable walking on it, and a shower that was physically painful to use; one of those ones that the water comes at you as small needles. We got to sleep on one of those pull-down wall beds that reminded me of a 1950's batchelor pad space saver. We gave the kids the bedroom as we really didn't want to leave them loose in the living room. We also had ourselves a mini X-Files festival going after getting them to bed, and the TV in the bedroom was smaller than the one in the living room. Priorities. The grounds were nice, though. Lots of golf course views and such. We got a giggle out of the condo unit being up for sale. We didn't know what it's actual asking price was, but they 'start at $160,000'. I'm not sure if the pleasure of the ants' company comes with it. I'm thinking the peeling wallpaper does, though.

The mornings were spent for me in a room with about 100 other providers, about 1/2 docs, 1/2 physician assistants and nurse practitioners. We learned about things like 'updates in antibiotic resistant organisms' and 'evaluation and treatment of unstable angina'. Not exactly gripping but necessary. Charles read the assigned stuff for his course work and the kids hung out, eating sugar cereal that they don't get at home and playing with stuff. Then we went out and saw the sights, like Lake Michigan. And Torch Lake. And Grand Traverse Bay, both East and West arms. We also took in the tiny zoo in Traverse City, where Sara had a complete meltdown (Whoo hoo! Baby still needs a nap, yes she does!) and went fishing (Sara caught 4 tiny rock bass and Colin caught 3, but one was the size of my arm. This guy across the dam caught a walleye the size of his upper and lower leg, though, so hey! Guess the fishing there is good.)

On the drive home, we had the chance to inflict our grimy selves on poor Gerah, who certainly wasn't thinking clearly in her New Baby sleep-deprived state and asked us to dinner. I truly am in awe of her. Her house was immaculate. (Make that her very beautiful, lovingly restored, amazing house was immaculate.) She was not only dressed but had on makeup and her toenails were polished. She didn't even have any spit-up on her. She didn't smell funny, which means she had recently showered. She spoke in complete sentences. And was funny. How the hell does she do it?!?!?!?

And her husband and daughter were perfect. Baby Nico was completely adorable and only fussed a scootch. You'd hate her if she weren't so fabulous. Truly, truly fabulous. Plus, the beer they had the very good taste to serve completely rocked. She even served dessert. Now, all I have to do is somehow convince them that SW Wisconsin is actually where they really, really want to live, or at least visit on a regular basis, and my nefarious plot will be complete.

But then, we had to leave.

We got home Saturday afternoon, to Molly peeing her name in the driveway in her delight. Really. At least the "M" and the "O". I'm not making it up. Should have taken a picture, but the camera was burried and the urine evaporated quickly in the heat of the concrete. Under our bed, we found other evidence of her feelings of us leaving her for a week: a shredded magazine and the mangled remains of some Polly Pockets that I'd gotten to amuse Sara but they somehow (???) migrated from the tote I'd put them in for the trip. (Yes. I put them in. I'm sure of it.) Sigh. Again.

Upon our return, she also managed to extract one of Sara's sandals, my hairbrush, and, somehow a 1 lb tub of Eucerin, that I use to battle the dry skin flakies, from my duffel to the under-the-bed oasis. She had started to lovingly gnaw the brush when I discovered her and expressed my displeasure. Kitty raced around the bedroom for hours in an acrobatic display, leaping out of bags, until I started tackling the mountain of filthy laundry, where she followed, diving out of the piles of smelly clothes and trying to sneak into the washer when my back was turned.

The joy of pet ownership.

A couple of hours after our return, the neighbor boy, A, who sometimes plays with Colin, knocked on our door. He urgently wanted us to go over 'for a few minutes or the evening'. It was rather confusing, but as Sara was in the throes of a monster nap, Charles and Colin went over to investigate. Turns out, they walked in on their daughter's 9th birthday party, complete with oodles of kids, relatives, neighbors, soccer coaches, and all. Not what we'd expected. Turns out that their dad, S, had been keeping a lookout the past week to invite us to the shindig, but hadn't seen us until we pulled into the drive that afternoon. Gah. Terribly sweet and nice, but to be honest, the last thing any of us felt like doing was going to a party with a cast of thousands. We didn't even have any clean clothes, as they were still being shoved through the appliances. Charles left Colin to eat hotdogs and beat a retreat on the excuse that he needed to check on Sara's nappage progress. Thankfully, she slept for hours and hours, thus we didn't have to even lie by saying that the rest of us couldn't come. Such a wonderful girl she is!

So there we are. The trip, in brief.

And how are all of you? Missed you terribly, darlings. Kiss, kiss. I've got a load of blog reading to catch up on.



Blogger The Lioness said...

Oh abt time too! Where were you? I know where you were but it expresses my indignation accurately. Not that I can even read much, Immunology tomorrow at 9 am, it's 3 am now. *SOB* But, passed virology!

Wha? Was this abt you then? Am in no shape to leave articulate comment to all the activities described, am happy you're no longer burnt out and had a resting time and got to meet android Gerah - for she cannot be human, who does that indeed?? I have no babies and am a bleeding piece of sea wreckage. Android, I tell you.

PS - Verif word starts w OMG. Told you.

10:00 PM  
Anonymous Leigh-Ann said...

Let your blog entry be a lesson to all of us who might otherwise be tempted to stay at a resort with the word "Shanty" in its name.

So glad to have you back... I've memorized all 17 haikus so I'm ready for some more.

2:12 AM  
Blogger listmaker said...

glad you're back and had an enjoyable change of scenery

9:28 AM  
Anonymous Ariella said...

So glad you're back! I am going to update my blog tomorrow, I think, but here's a quick run-down:

They came to take our stuff on Friday of last week, so we've been living in an empty house and sleeping on an air-matress for several days. Fun.

We had our reception yesterday, which was MUCH fun. I was nervous it was going to be terrible, but then everyone had an excellent time and the food was great, so I was glad to be wrong!

Erik leaves today for Madison, and I follow tomorrow. Each of us will have a cat in tow (fun!). I'll be there til July 4, when I came back to NJ to finish my clerkship and then probably will be out to Madison for good in the third week in July.


11:04 AM  
Blogger Teri said...

So, Gerah is super-human? how does she do it indeed.

Glad you're back!

2:30 PM  
Blogger moegirl said...

Glad you're back from your adventure with the fam. I think the DVD in car is a great idea. No damage in my estimation! The kiddos seem young still for car games. On my recent road trip, Allie and I played "Mad Libs"- which was pretty fun.

So, Gerah has a new baby and yet is immaculate...pod person? or just someone who just doesn't need sleep.

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Gerah said...



Now you've got your readers thinking I'm a friggen' fem-bot.

If only you could have seen me in tears yesterday cause I was up most the night with the baby and couldn't even see straight.

4:23 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Always nice to rejuvenate through a different slice of life even though it isn't always fancy. Sounds like you have an incredibly full life and needed to do this!
BTW..what is unstable angina? I thought either you had it or you didn't. I have constant chest pain and I had a stent put in back in March..freaks me out and I'm hesitant ot go on a nitro patch.

9:05 PM  
Anonymous christie said...

Awwww, we missed you so much ::insert group hug here:: Glad you had fun, well, as fun as unstable angina can be. And OMG am I impressed with your dogs grasp of the alphabet. Impressive!

9:20 PM  
Blogger brooksba said...

I missed you! I'm thrilled to "see" you back and hope you are catching up on rest now. "No one needs a vacation as much as the person who just had one."

12:02 AM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

Traverse City. Darn. You were just a tiny bit too early for the International Cherry Festival they hold there! You could have entered a pie-eating contest--and won a fabulous prize!

And, tangentially, I had an acquantance who loved Eucerin so much she always claimed she would name her first-born child "Eucerin."

It is great stuff--but I don't use it anymore cuz it doesn't have sunscreen in it. A MUST!!!!!

3:22 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Johnny- Yes! Virology! it's History! Poor sleep deprived you. I do think next year for you will be much better for all the reasons you outlined.

Leigh-Ann- Isn't it the most unfortunately named resort you've ever encountered? And yet, the rooms seem to fit the description. You are so wise. Can't say we weren't warned.

Listie- The change makes you look at where you are with greater appreciation.

Ariella- Goodie! I've been wondering how you've been but haven't had the chance to throw out an e-mail. Yesterday was lost among patients, catching up on the missed week, and a surprise after work meeting with Lots Of News. I came home and flumped. Dinner sounds divine! Have a safe trip. Which kitty do you get to transport?

Teri- I have no idea how she does it, but she is my hero. Jeremy must take his share of credit, though.

Stace- It will be fun when they're old enough to play complex games. 'I spy' gets a bit old, although Colin is the master of the obscure object in the game.

Gerah- See? Just by reading a blog and putting down a humorous, yet grammatically correct response, you show yourself. Had you written, "Hajpjppjp? Pleese. No fembot," well, that would have been what most drooling sleep deprived mothers of a New Baby and a busy just-shy-of-3-years-old child. See? You ARE amazing. I rest my case. (Joking aside, sorry for the sleep deprived crash. Oh, how I remember those weeks. All you need is one good night's sleep, which is the one thing you can't have. I still say you are handling it better than anyone I've met. So there. Thpbpbt.)

MOI- It was nice, indeed. (Although I had a few hours of post-break blues at work, yesterday. Bleh. Hate that part of coming back.) Unstable angina is angina that is either uncontrolled with what the person is on or angina at rest (vs angina that occurs with exertion.) Unstable angina is more serious as is more likely to progress to an MI. You have a stent? Coooool. Nitro patches aren't bad, according to those I've put on them. Most tolerate them quite well and with no problems. They usually work nicely on the anginal symptoms. Plus, if you don't like it, just pull the sucker off. It's your body. There was this guy I heard of when I was a resident, who put the patch on his tongue, rather than on his skin. Passed out faster than you could say "syncope" as the drug was absorbed super-quick through his oral mucosa plunging his blood pressure through the soles of his shoes, so to speak. Heh. Don't do that.

Christie- It's funny, but I was looking for you there. I knew you wouldn't be there, of course, but I mostly sat by a very nice PA whose first name started with "C" and ended with "E". She was from Michigan. No kids, though, so I knew she couldn't be you in disguise. Isn't Molly amazing?

Beth- You are so very right, as always. Now is where I reveal that, due to my mother-in-law heading off for 3 weeks in Latvia (was to coincide with our trip back West), I am off for much of the next few weeks, resting and playing with the kids and, hopefully, beating the garage into submission.

Rozanne- (gasp) Your picture has Ent face! (Coincidently, Gerah has a tree with a face in her yard. See? It is all about Gerah.) Yes, it would have been wonderful to gorge on all those cherries. We could see them ripening in the orchards as we drove past. Very pretty, all those orange and red clusters. Spring must be jaw-dropping. Eucerin with sunscreen! Brilliant. Quick! Call the patent office!

7:46 AM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Yes, the stent is cool as long as it works, which I hope is a long time! (I had 1 in the right coronary 90% blocked, a drug-eluting) Still don't know what's causing the chest pain ...since it shouldn't be from the stent (??) but could be from another 80% blocked artery that was too small to do so they left..I'm just an enigma I guess, but I wish it would go away!!! It's kinda there all the time, not necessarily with exercise but sometimes after exercise (Like big time for a few days after stress tests!)

5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, you went to the wrong resort in upper Michigan. Next time go to the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa---a true resort, clean room with a king sized bed (that does not have to be put back in the wall when not in use), a gorgeous view of Lake Michigan and a beautifully tiled bathroom complete with a jacuzzi tub. You seriously went to the WRONG resort.

Second, how did this meeting with Gerah come about? I mean, who invites "internet friends" over just two weeks after giving birth?

9:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last comment was from Colleen. It didn't give me a line to put in my name.

9:36 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

MOI- Hmmm. I can see where that'd be distressing. Especially since the other vessel was too small to stent but not too small to cause pain and woe.

Colleen- Sigh. Yes. Sadly, the Shanty resort was where the conference was and I suspect that the powers-that-be would have raised their collective eyebrows and shook their heads if I tried to get the nicer resort paid for out of my ed funds. I think we drove past the one you mentioned. It looked quite nice. Such is life.

8:59 AM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

Oh, I'm so glad that you had a good trip. I think the DVD is a great idea. My mother used to get so mad at me when I would read in the car (I get carsick sometimes if I don't read) and always would point out the scenery. My response was usually "If you've seen one corn field, you've seen them all." After taking road trips with Beth, I've realize that all she had to do was give me a camera and I would have been much more appreciative of the scenery.

Yes, avoid places with the descriptive name Shanty. Not good. Gerah sounds very cool and androids are our friends. I am quite fond of Data.

1:38 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Yes, indeedy-do. If you've seen one corn field, water tower, tractor...My, the Midwest is dull.

3:34 PM  
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