We are on vacation. So far, this has been the most relaxing part:
I love vacation with my family, especially since we don’t all get together that often. Unfortunately, this year Hannah and Pierce can’t make it, half of my family was at a conference until Sunday, and Yohannes and Andrew can’t come till Tuesday night. We needed to get the keys on Saturday, so Naomi and I planned to leave on Saturday morning. I was up late Friday packing and by Saturday morning, felt I had things under control. That is, until Yohannes informed me that when I got the oil changed in the van, they put in the wrong oil. Naturally, I never noticed, but Yohannes was kind enough to offer to run the van over and get the oil changed again. We still had an hour till I needed to leave, so crisis averted…or so I thought.
Fast-forward 2.5 hours and Yohannes was just getting back. After loading up the van and driving to pick up Naomi and her friend Keri, I was 2 hours behind schedule. When I arrive, Naomi said, “You know we have to get there before the office closes or we forfeit the house, right?”
No problem. It was just after 1pm, and this trip was supposed to take 3.5 hours. If the office closed at 5, we would be okay. So we drove for about an hour, and I look at my GPS, to see it saying 4 more hours to reach destination. With nothing to do but drive I pray, I prayed that the GPS was wrong. In my head, I was running over scenarios of telling my family that I had single-handedly ruined our vacation.
Luckily, the GPS was wrong. The office closes at 5. We arrived at 4:57. Crises averted.
Did I mention we are in the middle of a heat wave? We went most of the trip without the A/C working properly, but managed to survive. When we arrived at what we thought was the beach house, we were greeted instead by a sauna. The house is made mostly of pine, and it actually, truly smelled like a sauna. We panicked for a moment when we thought there was no A/C, until we found the thermostat with the cooling turned off. Catastrophe averted. Internal temp read 97 degree. Outside temp was 87. Also included, was an adorable note saying not to set the thermostat to more than 10 degrees lower than the outside temp. How sweet. But no thanks, considering Sunday was a high of 93.
We went to the beach Saturday night. I was by myself with two kids, so It’s not like I expected to just go frolicking into the ocean, but I expected to still have some measure of fun. It was promising at first. When we walked on to the beach for the first time on Saturday evening, Nati was excited. “Mama, where did all this sand come from?” he asked. Then, after taking in the notes of an orchestral performance being broadcast from the boardwalk, mingled uniquely with the pop music blasting from a boom box on the beach, Nati said, “Mama, the beach is like a giant song!”
But then there was the ocean. Nati screamed any time we got within a few feet of it. I managed to get his feet wet a little, to which he loudly protested. I finally consigned myself to playing in the sand, but still he wasn’t satisfied. “Mama, turn off the waves!” he whined over and over, until we left, a full 5 minutes later.
On Sunday, I decided to brave the beach again. I could drive, but I didn’t have our parking passes yet or I could take the trolley, but I didn’t have any quarters. So I decided to walk with the kids in the stroller. It took 40 minutes. 30 to get to the beach, and 10 to get the stroller across the sand. We played for 30 minutes, during which time, Nati continued to ask me to “turn off the waves.” Then we walked 40 minutes back. I was wearing flip flops and get a large blister.
When we pulled up to the house, I got Nati out of the stroller and he went and stood in front of the glass sliding door. I was still unloading Lily when he said, “Mama, there’s something going on in there.” Are the girls back from the beach? I wondered, and kept unloading our stuff. Nati wasn’t deterred. “Mama, there’s really something going on in there.” I grabbed an armful of water bottles and towels and walked over to the door.
That’s when I saw it. Water was raining down from the ceiling. Not dripping. Streams of water raining down. I unlocked the door and rushed inside as fast as I could. I ran up the stairs where I found that the tank of the upstairs toilet had water pouring out of the top of it. I managed to get the water turned off and began throwing all of the sheets and towels I could find into the puddles of water. Nati refused to come in because it was raining. I gave Nati a bowl of ice-cream (and then a second bowl of ice-cream) to keep him occupied while I made panicked phone calls and cleaned up the mess for the next two hours. In the end, not much damage was done, but I think I’ve used up my quota of adrenaline for a month.
Finally, on Sunday evening the rest of the family arrived. I realized the night before the room I was in wasn’t going to work for me. It had one double bed, which both children shared with me. That wasn’t going to leave room for Yohannes when he arrived on Tuesday. So we did some shuffling and I moved into the room next door. The next thing we knew, the electricity wasn’t working in my parents bedroom. My dad, Mr. Fixit, couldn’t sleep until he had located the problem, (Never mind that they had already moved to another room with lights.) In the process of moving rooms, I apparently bumped an electrical outlet with a loose wire. I was laying in bed, trying to get the kids to sleep, when my dad said casually on his way out of the room, “That could be a fire hazard, so if you smell anything tonight…”
So I spent the better part of the night plotting my escape in the case of a fire and dreaming about electrical outlets bursting into flames. Luckily, we all woke up Monday morning, if a little more bleary eyed for the bad dreams. The homeowner popped by to fix the toilet and tightened up the wires.
On Monday afternoon, I decided to brave the beach again, since the family was here for moral support (and to chase Nati while I held Lily and made myself look busy.) Now having parking permits in our possession, we drove to the beach (thank God.) Nati again refused to touch the ocean, but we had a lot of fun in the sand making sand castles while Uncle Derrick threw buckets of water at Nati and Lia. Rebekah, my very pregnant sister, decided to take Lia out in the water. I was sitting in the sand, watching as she walked out. She hadn’t gone far when I saw a bigger wave coming up. She saw it too, and promptly turned around, since she wouldn’t make it past the wave before it crashed. She only got a couple of feet before it hit them. She held Lia up to avoid the brunt of the wave, but got knocked down to her knees, luckily keeping both of their heads above water. Derrick rushed in to take Lia, but Bekah got some ouchy scrapes on her knee from the fall. Not a great first experience this vacation to teach the toddlers that the water is fun. Also not great to have scrapes all over your leg.
Despite the many catastrophes and almost catastrophes, it’s nice to have some quality time with family. Love, love, love my family. Can’t wait to have everyone together at Hannah and Peirce’s wedding.