I must be crazy.

Gamma with Ruthie and the newly born larvae.

I swore I would never take my kids on an airplane again after this memorable trip. But I suppose that’s a lofty promise to make when both sides of your family are on opposite ends of the country.

A couple months ago my sister, who lives in Iowa – four hours from my mother, called to say she had an idea that she wanted to ‘just throw out there.’ At that moment I knew her idea involved me and an airplane. She was sending two of her kids out here to visit our dad, she said, and was planning to hang out in Minneapolis while they were out here, she said, and wouldn’t it be great if you and the kids could visit Minneapolis while I’m up there?

Hell no, was my first answer. She had asked me too soon following the Great Airplane Barfing Incident.

But lo, when family calls one must consider an answer beyond Hell No. So today I am not only boarding an airplane with my children, but I will be outnumbered by them, as Bryan will not be joining us.

I really must be crazy.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

I can’t recall the last time I rented a car on a vacation before, since my vacations usually involve visiting family members who seem to have extra cars lying around. However, on this most recent visit to Southern California to visit family, we couldn’t figure out who had a big enough vehicle to pick us up from the airport so my mother-in-law offered to rent us a mini-van for the week.


God bless Alamo, because they sent me out to their car lot and said to me, “pick one!” So I skipped down the row marked ‘vans’ and chose me a Dodge Grand Caravan, which was not as exciting as I was anticipating. I thought I would have more choices on models, but it was really only a decision between the black, white, or silver Dodge. Still, it was fun to have someone plunk me in the middle of a car lot and say, “Pick one!” and for just a moment imagine I was pickin’ me a new Cadillac Escalade.

Once in the car (after my handsome baggage handler loaded our mountain of luggage – which is another story), Ruthie announced we were on our way to Uncle Bad’s house, which is a fairly accurate description of my brother-in-law, Brad’s, personality.

Ruthie had been announcing each phase of our trip as it occurred, beginning with the tragic tears of sorrow as she watched her car seat ride away on the conveyor belt toward the belly of the plane. “I WANT MY CAR SEAT!” she sobbed, as she watched it disappear. But soon, the tragic loss of the car seat was forgotten as she saw airplanes out the window of the terminal and began chanting, “I WANNA GO ON A BOAT!” over and over again, even as I tried to explain we were actually flying in an AIRPLANE.

Once in CA we (and by ‘we’ I mean Bryan, the handsome baggage handler) loaded and unloaded our mountain of luggage no less than five times as we made our way from the baggage terminal, onto a shuttle, to the car rental building which was NOT onsite at the terminal as I had been told on the phone.

By the time we got to the rental lot and the guy said, “Pick one!” I turned to Bryan to see if he wanted to pick and he growled, “JUST DO IT, ALREADY!” as he wiped the sweat from his forehead.

In the future, when I think of all the times I get stuck running around after children while he obliviously buries his head in a book, I will remember how I DIDN’T have to load and unload four pieces of luggage, a car seat, and two carry-ons no less than five times in one day.

I’m Never Leaving This House Again. Ever.

We’re finally back from ‘vacation,’ which I put in quotations because Ruthie woke up between 5:00 and 6:00 am every morning and I did about 25 loads of laundry due to all the puking on me, on couches, on blankets, in beds, and on rugs.

While spending time with family we haven’t seen in two years was fun, I have to say this was probably the most stressful trip I’ve ever taken.

And I’ve spent three months in the jungle before, so that’s saying a lot.

I thought about writing a list of all the horrific things that happened while we were gone, but I couldn’t figure out a way to make it work and not sound like I was complaining. We really did have a good time despite the stress, and the weather was sunny and in the 80’s.

The only reason I would describe the litany of events is simply so you will take me seriously when I say IT WAS A REALLY STRESSFUL TRIP, and not just write me off as a whiney mom. But even if I did describe everything to you, I really don’t think you would believe me. I think you would probably assume I was exaggerating for drama, but I assure you that last week needed no extra drama inserted.

I will say this, though: the trip ended in style as Thomas barfed all over me on the airplane, and as his puke oozed down my neck and into the cleavage of my womanhood, and soaked into the hair on the nape of my neck, Bryan and I had nothing left in us but laughter for the absurdity of such an act.

God bless flight attendants, every last one of you.

Our Reputation Precedes Us

Bryan and I have a reputation among both our families for being extreme coffee drinkers. I’m not sure how, exactly, we came to have this distinction since we really only drink coffee in the morning, but when they all hear the Zugs are coming to town special preparations are made.

Bryan’s brother went out and bought a coffee maker for us because they didn’t even have one, nor did he know what kind of coffee to buy. Thankfully they left this decision up to us, because if he would have asked my mother-in-law she would have brought over a can of Folgers.

Yesterday morning when my brother took his first swig of the coffee Bryan had brewed he shuddered a little and said, “Nothing like a good cup of coffee to chew. The Seattlites must be in town.”

Vacations Aren’t Really Vacations When You Have Children

This vacation sure started off with a bang.

On Sunday morning Ruthie showed symptoms of pink eye. I called our clinic in Seattle to see if her pediatrician would order a prescription from a pharmacy here in California, but of course nothing could be that easy. She needed to be seen by a doctor so we were told to take her into the emergency room.

We spent two hours waiting for the five minutes it took Dr. Steven Stephens (!!!) to shine a light in her eye and tell me she had Conjunctivitis.

I tried to act surprised.

I was overwhelmed Monday morning at the daunting task of trying to keep a two year old from rubbing her pussy eye or touching everything within her reach. At the time we were staying with my brother-in-law’s family who has a very adorable six month old. Ruthie is very tender and sweet with babies — liberal with kisses and hugs, bringing toys, patting them on the head, all those lovely traits that relatives are overjoyed by when your daughter doesn’t have a pussy eye of goo.

Thankfully, my sister-in-law was very understanding and accommodating.

So, other than the pink-eye and the two times Ruthie threw up all over everything, we’ve had a great vacation.

Bon Voyage

Well, I just finished 8 loads of laundry in preparation for our trip to California tomorrow. Yuk.

The good news is, our Christmas weather will look like this:

CA weather

Sadly, for those of you here in Seattle, your weather will look like this:


You may not hear from me for awhile. My in-laws live in a time and place without computers. Since I have a secret love affair with my Starbucks internet account, I may say a brief hello here and there.

Peace to you and Merry Christmas, too.