Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Best Laid Plans

My family was supposed to have a three-day weekend full of fun and excitement. Water parks and NASCAR races were at the top of our to-do lists. Thursday night we were so excited we packed our bags in advance of our trip and could barely sleep.

Friday was a long day, but I left work early to get a quick oil change in my car before our almost three-hundred mile car trip to Pennsylvania. I had a two-thirty appointment. Plenty of time to get in, get out, get lunch and get home before four so we could hit the road early.

Two and a half hours later.

My mood was shot. The dealership’s reputation hung by a thread and I was close to complaining.

Close. But as I made the decision to get up and cause a ruckus, the young technician pulled my car into the covered garage, handed me the keys and told me to have a nice day.

I jumped in my Jetta, threw the car into first and peeled out—okay, I didn’t peel out, but it would have been appropriate, right?

McDonalds was the first place I saw. The fries, they called to me! Mmm. After I finished scarfing down my “linner” (lunch/dinner), I rushed home, loaded our bags and fed the family.

We were still making great time and ready to go before six. Then my husband’s work cell rang. With the family loaded, the car running and everyone excited to go . . . we had to wait an hour for that stupid call to be finished.


By six-thirty we were on our way, but, of course, we hit traffic, the baby started screaming and kid #2 had to pee. My husband and I were not going to allow all this to get us down. We assigned kid #1 baby duty, took kid #2 to the potty and the adults switched driving positions. I’m more acclimated to driving in traffic . . . twelve years I’ve been commuting to DC.

We arrived at my father-in-law’s home around eleven-thirty-ish. Kid #1 and #2 were in good spirits and all we needed to do was set-up kid #3’s portable crib and we were golden. Then I picked up kid #3.

“Oh my God,” I said. “Feel her, she’s burning up.”

Did this wonderful mother pack a thermometer or Tylenol or anything like that? No! My kids were healthy when we left, I swear. So my husband ran to the store and grabbed meds. Her temp was 101.9.

Saturday arrived and the baby was still sick. To make matters worse, it was raining! So much for the water park.

The Nationwide Series race was called on Saturday because of the stupid weather in the Poconos and we were biting our nails over whether Sunday’s Sprint Cup race would follow the same path.

Kid #3’s condition was deteriorating. We were supposed to go out to eat with the in-law’s, but when the baby woke from a nap I realized the only trip out I’d be making was to the Urgent Care. Her temp was 102.7.

After googling Urgent Care’s, we found one that was open and willing to accept young kids. Her temp was up to 103.6. YIKES.

Ice packs, a huge dose of Tylenol, juice boxes, strep tests, ear checks . . . they had no idea what was wrong with her, but sent us on our way with antibiotics. Not exactly a warm and fuzzy feeling.

We ordered dinner from the restaurant we were supposed to visit, had someone pick up the food for us, then put kid #3 to bed with her meds and hoped for the best.

Sunday morning it was still gloomy and the chance for rain high. The boys got up and went to their NASCAR race. They didn’t care what the weather called for; they were going to see cars speed around a track at two-hundred miles per hour. The baby woke with a high fever and didn’t want to get out of bed…as long as mommy was with her. I spent all day of our supposed “girls” day lying in bed. (Not something I’d normally complain about, but we were out of town, visiting family, and I was locked in a room, in a bed not my own.)

After some coercing, kid #3 stayed in bed by herself and I got up to take care of kid #2 and visit with family. The rain was holding off and the race was on. Things were finally looking up.

Kid #1 had an amazing day at the race. He got to meet Jimmy Johnson and ask him questions and even got an autograph. He’s now a #48 fan for life. The baby’s fever broke and she was returning to her normal self.

Till Monday, when she broke out in a terrible rash from head to toe. Roseola, I should have known, this is my third kid.

Our visit came to an end too fast. We loaded up the car with much less enthusiasm than before and drove home. Kid #3 cried the entire way. Kid #2 had to pee. Kid #1 was probably wishing he was born into another family.

Arriving home is always a pleasant experience. We crawled into our comfortable beds, closed our eyes and dreamed of the next vacation we’re going to take . . . hopefully it won’t have sick kids or rain, but you can be sure I’ll pack Tylenol and rain slickers.


  1. Oh Krystal I really feel for you. There's nothing that quite brings you down like a long-anticipated plan getting beat on from left and right like that.

  2. Hi Krystal -

    You're a good mother and not packing the thermometer or meds isn't a failure. Kids get sick in a heart beat. Well you certainly didn't get the R & R you were looking for, I'm sure you must be feeling very good that your sick baby is smiling and healthy once again. :)

  3. We have a trip planned to Hershey Park at the end of this month. I'm scared to think what may attack that weekend. Eeek!

    Thank you, Charlie. It's nice to know not everyone thinks of me as a failure. I was kicking myself. I should know better than to travel unprepared for EVERYTHING.

  4. You ALWAYS get sick right around a big trip or a visit with family. I'm firmly convinced! Sorry things didn't go as planned. Glad you're all home safe, though. :)

  5. I've got four kids so I'm right there with you. Roseola - all of mine got it. The unexplained fever can really freak a mom out. I know. Glad to hear it worked out in the end, though. :)

  6. GAH! And you had time/energy to read my novella on this trip?! Wuh-OWZERS!

    j. //

  7. Sounds like our vacation attempts. As much as it used to really ruffle my feathers I've learned to be flexible and go with it. Totally understood your trek here.

  8. That's the vacation from hell! So sorry! Someday you'll look back at it and laugh...?

  9. Raine! Thanks so much for following and commenting. The great thing about plans getting messed up is it makes a great story. :-)

    Kimberly - What's up with that? All my kids have had it, too. And you have 4 kids and write? Geesh. If I had another I'd die!

    Jason - I read your novella and LOVED it. Don't forget that. That moment of peace in the car was wonderful.

  10. JD and ER - The trip definitely didn't go as planned, but we still managed to have fun. I think. Or at least I hope so. :-)

    Kid #1 was happy with his Jimmy Johnson encounter.

  11. Hi Krystal - sorry for coming to this so late. As always your post are that wonderful mixture of humour and reality, which makes me smile for the most part! Great post! Bet if you fill the car with meds next time, they'll all be healthy - life can be such a trickster!

  12. Ah ha hahahahahahahaha!

    Sorry. Just remembering the days (mine are 19 and 17 now).

    Cherish the memories; they grow up way too soon.

  13. Kids! and the things they teach us


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