Friday, September 21, 2007

Fleeing the Lake

Well, that whole Tahoe vacation thing with the in-laws? Fun in theory. Not so much in practice.

Actually, the first couple days were great. Both A's did fabulously well on the four-hour car trip. I usually do all the vacation planning, but DH tackled it this time, and maybe he should take the task over permanently, because he really came through with the house. It had a spectacular view of the lake, was reasonably priced, yet didn't have that certain eau de skank that many bargain-basement rentals (and also meth labs and frat houses) tend to exude.

At first we enjoyed the cool, clear days. DH and his father went to the Air Races in Reno. Me, I would have hated staring up at airplanes buzzing over my head at low altitude all day long, but the guys raved about how fun it was, so I was as glad that they went as I was that I didn't have to tag along. Most pleasing for me was the fact that Big A is finally at an age where she loves interacting with her grandparents. It was so much fun to see her seek them out for playing and reading books. Despite her gregarious nature, as a toddler Big A did not like it when the grandparents swooped into town for one week every six months and then insisted on spending every waking moment of it with her. The first day of every vacation would go fine, but after that she'd grow ever more snarly and and start whining, "No, want MOMMY!" every time Grandma approached. This was upsetting and awkward for all. So this time it warmed me like a good shot of scotch to have Big A bound inside after a trip to the local playground with MIL and say, "I just had the most wonderful time ever!" Plus, both FIL and MIL cooed over Little A and kept remarking on what a sweetheart she is, which is always a heart warmer for a parent.

But unfortunately, Little A got very ill within a few days of arriving in Tahoe. At home she'd had a mild cold and seemed to be on the mend, but she deteriorated quickly once we hit the Sierras. DH and I spent Sunday and Monday in a state of exhaustion because Little A slept so fitfully. Normally I'd take a sick kid to the pediatrician for a quick check up if a bad illness cropped up, but being hundreds of miles from home, that wasn't an option. By Tuesday I was concerned enough to bring Little A to the nearest ER. Turns out she had a double ear infection, and with Tahoe being over 6,000 feet above sea level, the elevation was making an uncomfortable situation even worse for her. Poor baby!

We got antibiotics for Little A and hoped things would improve soon. Unfortunately, work problems cropped up too. I brought my old laptop with me so I could line edit a chapter whose deadline is fast approaching, but the infernal machine was simply not cooperating. DH tried his best to play tech support and make it function, but by the end of Wednesday I'd not accomplished one minute of real work. And my schedule being what it is, blowing off the editing now and making up the time later was just not an option. This left me stressed out about the deadline as well as mad about life in general. In the past few months my days have become so rigidly reigned in by preschool pickups and drop offs, babysitting swaps, and DH's desired work hours/routine that it feels like there isn't one spare moment in the day left for my work, let alone for just plain me. Every time I stop to catch my breath, there isn't any relaxing, because I know that I'm already late moving on to the next thing I ought to be doing. And there I was on vacation, still living that way. I was so pissed off I could hardly breathe.

DH's parents were planning on leaving us alone up at the vacation house starting Thursday, when they would drive down to Sonoma to visit SIL and her kids. But by then I had thoroughly and completely had it with trying to pretend I was having fun. After the in laws left DH and I quickly packed our own bags and came back home three days early.

We hardly ever take a real vacation these days. I have certainly never left a vacation early before. On one hand, obviously it sucks.

But on the other hand, it was also sort of thrilling and satisfying to just say "Fuck it." When you are a parent and a spouse and a worker bee most of the time you struggle to make things in various states of disrepair function. But for once, DH and I didn't try to make the best of it. We didn't try to put a good spin on it either, or spit shine around all the proverbial dings and dents of the week. We just left.

Back on my regular computer today, I finished the editing assignment that had been hanging over my head all week. DH took the girls out for a nice day of mini golf and fast food treats while I worked. Later we talked a little about looking for a new childcare arrangement, since it is obvious the current one is driving me bat crazy. I know it won't happen overnight, but at least change is part of the general plan for our future now. DH might even rearrange his work schedule so that he can drop off the girls a few mornings a week at daycare, thereby freeing me up just a smidgen more time for work.

Plus, now that I completed the task that was hanging over my head, I really do feel much more relaxed, and we still have the weekend left before our vacation is officially over. Little A's ears seem a lot better now that we are back at sea level again. And Big A seems content to be back in what she calls our "regular house," with her regular toys and books, too.

All in all, I'm pretty sure I'm having a much better time right now than we would have if we'd actually stayed on vacation. Strange how that works.

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