Aug 2, 2009

Traveling with children is NOT a vacation

On Saturday morning at 9:15 a.m., I stood at the corner of 6th South and 2nd West in Salt Lake City. The temperature was already 82 degrees. My new stroller was full of a toddler and a baby and the supplies needed to sustain them for hours. I had one objective: keep them out of the motel room. Their brothers were puking.

This was not exactly the Saturday I had envisioned, but I don't think any life plan should include stepping in a puddle of barf. Maybe that's just me.

You see, Tyler threw up on the already-super Super 8 carpet around 2:00 a.m. In his distress, he attempted to wake me, but I would not wake, so he went back to bed. At 5:30, when Gavin cried from the portable crib, I stumbled over to convince him that more sleep was a good idea. Instead, I slid in the barf. Given its proximity to Gavin's bed, I assumed this gift had come from him. Gavin was crying for Daddy, so Garry got up, stripped Gavin, and put him in the tub. I placed a towel over the mess and crawled back into bed. It wasn't until Tyler woke up at 6:00 to throw up again that we discovered what had really happened. His second puke (just inches from the first) woke up Zachary and Lexi. And so our day began.

Soon after this, the family dressed and went downstairs for the Super 8 "Superstarter Breakfast" (a catchy phrase for the Lucky Charms, Tang, and bagels this motel provides each morning). Tyler didn't eat, but everyone else got their fill. During breakfast, Garry convinced the front desk clerk to give us a new room that didn't reek of vomit. Upon returning upstairs, Garry relocated all of our belongings to a room down the hall.

Once we got organized, I got in the shower. More than anything, I needed clean feet. Just as I reached to turn on the water, Zachary bolted into the bathroom, vomit flying from his mouth. Garry reported that Zach had left a trail...and that it smelled horrible. We had a shouted conversation -- Garry from the far end of the room, away from the puke, me from the bathroom, wrapped in a shower curtain. We'd only been in a puke-free zone for about ten minutes, and we weren't sure what to do! I quickly proceeded with my shower, certain that being clean would help me face this day.

Eventually Plan B became clear: I would leave with Gavin and Lexi. We'd take snacks and the stroller, find a park, pick up some groceries, and have a grand time on the streets of downtown Salt Lake. Garry would stay sequestered in the motel with the sick ones. The sick ones would watch TV and hope it had curative powers.

And that is how I came to be standing at the corner of 6th South and 2nd West at 9:15 a.m.

Until approximately 11:15, I walked...and walked and walked and walked. I took a tour of Temple Square, which was bustling with brides and grooms and happy wedding parties.

I navigated through tons of construction. I wandered around beautiful flower gardens, across busy streets, and around and around the city blocks. Gavin and Lexi both fell asleep. Many people commented on their cuteness and on the largeness of my fabulous red stroller. I smiled and nodded and kept walking.

When I got tired (actually, long after I got tired), I decided to ride the light rail down to Walmart for some groceries. That would be an adventure, right? The adventure could only be had with a ticket, and a ticket could only be purchased with cash, and I only had a card, so I was out of luck. I kept walking.

Eventually I returned to our room at the Super 8. The boys were somewhat improved, but still experiencing some gastrointestinal distress. By then I had connected with my parents (who had morning plans), and we decided to meet at a Farmer's Market a few blocks away. I picked up a few groceries for the boys (via van), then walked with the babies (via stroller) to the park.

By the time I arrived, the market was closing for the day. So my parents and Holly and the babies and I walked up to The Gateway, an outdoor mall. There we found some water fountains for Gavin to enjoy. While he enjoyed the water, I enjoyed sitting and chatting with my mom in the shade. And then we walked back to the motel. Holly kept me entertained by spontaneously bursting into song, pointing out attractive boy types, and talking about fashionable shoes. My dad pushed the stroller.

Happily, upon my late-afternoon return, Zachary and Tyler were greatly improved. (Three cheers!) It seemed their tummy upset stemmed from an abundance of junk food, rather than a virus. So we made plans to meet my family for dinner, and to swim in the pool at the much fancier Hampton Inn where my parents were staying.

But first I needed a nap, so I took one.

And then a great evening was had by all.

After the kids were in bed, Garry made an ice cream run, and I fell asleep five seconds after my last bite.

The end.
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