Thursday, June 28, 2007

Traveling Trauma

The last post about our Ethiopian kids' first vacation painted a rosy picture. The vacation was indeed rosy, but there were some definite not-so-rosy moments -- like the trip home.

CrazyMom drove separately since she was leaving a day early to go to a home school conference. That left me to get the weary kids up in the morning and pack the van. This sounds like a recipe for disaster, but it wasn't. The kids knew Mom was not around and pitched in hauling all of the gear up the hill to the van. We packed into the car, drove to the front office to check out, and then started the journey home.

The first crisis turned out fine. We were cruising down the road when I realized that it had been days since I had seen my wallet. About 0.5 seconds later I realized that I would not have money to buy lunch for the kids. Not good, but we could survive it, I thought. About 0.05 seconds later I realized I would not have money to buy gas to make it home. Now that was a problem. The post An Irreplaceable Mom has already established that I can't live without CrazyMom so it is no surprise that I pulled out my cell phone to call her at the conference to see if she knew where my wallet was. She didn't know. This was disappointing since I needed my wallet, but it was also satisfying to establish that she is not omniscient.

As the eldest child in the family, Miss Bookworm had the privilege of riding up front with me. Unfortunately, this meant that she knew the wallet was missing, gas was waning, and lunch was in jeopardy. Prone to being a worrier, this was nearly too much for her. I pulled over at the first rest area we came to so that we could determine if the wallet was in the car or not and hopefully put Miss Bookworm out of her misery. I found the wallet packed away in the back of the van and Miss Bookworm was relieved. We headed for the next exit for gas and food.

When I walked into the Arbys-connected-to-a-gas-station place, I was feeling pretty full of myself. People were looking in awe as I navigated the food order and dispatched kids to secure tables, fill water cups, and get the ketchup. Then there was the flurry of food distribution, since nearly everything is split and shared in our family. I could tell others were impressed even though they could not tell if I was the dad of the group or we were from the local Kinder Care.

I was back on the road with all of the kids settled in with full tummies, blankets, pillows and listening to Miss Pigglewiggle on CD when I thought, "I am the man! Look at me load up from vacation with all of these kids and do a car trip." I was proud of myself.

Then Miss Bookworm said the words you never, ever, ever want to hear when you are packed like sardines in a tin can on wheels.

"K.D. just threw up on everything."

What!?! No warning. No "me sick dad" from the boy? I did not even hear him throw up.

I looked around just as the smell hit me. Simultaneously taking in the odor and the sight of vomit covering K.D., blankets, pillows, stuffed animals and the seat was too much to bear. The next few seconds were a blur to me -- quickly pulling off the road, rolling down windows, opening doors, looking for whatever I had that could help me, and wondering why in the world CrazyMom was not there.

As I was trying to work the situation, every single semi rolling buy had to remind me that in my haste I did not pull off far enough to the side of the road for their liking. The sweltering heat mixing with odors from K.D. and trucks, the blaring horns, and the awful stuff I was handling erased a whole vacation's worth of decompressing.

By the time I got K.D. stripped down buck naked, the girls had routed out a change of clothes for him from the back of the van. I found two trash bags and any contaminated non-secured items were put in one and all the nasty paper towels went in another. Dirty beach towels were brought out to cover the cloth seats so they could be occupied on the rest of the way home.

When I was packing the kids back into the off-smelling van, I gently reminded K.D. that if he had to throw up, he could let me know. Then I could get him something to catch it in.

"I say me sick. Dad no hear."

I know what you are thinking. CrazyMom would have heard.


Anonymous said...

lol. i'm sure it wasn't funny for you at the time...but this is well told. jcn

Anonymous said...

well, that actually made me laugh out loud... although puking 4 year olds will shortly be my reality too. Even if you didn't hear you get points for being able to cope!!

(waiting to travel to bring home my 4 year old son)

Anonymous said...

LOL!! Is that crazy mom that I hear laughing in the background like you were about the peeing incident?

Abby said... sorry! It looks like you all had a blast on vacation! I think I would have passed on the holding the snake though. Your dd is brave!

Not really for sure how I found your blog, but I enjoy reading it! My dh & I are just getting started in the process of adopting 2 baby boys from Ethiopia.

Anonymous said...

Well, after having read your blogs for weeks, felt it was time to leave a post and let you know HOW MUCH I appreciate them - they continually remind me of what's important when I begin to settle in and get comfortable with my American lifestyle. There is a great big world out there with great big needs. We must NEVER forget that, and my prayer is that God will use me in His way/timing, just as He is using you and crazy mom. GOD BLESS - see you very soon! Renee'

Owlhaven said...

Too funny!

Hey, I am giving you an award in the AM!

Mary, mom to many, including 4 Ethiopians

Lela said...

I'm sorry that I laughed at this post, but I hope that I can one day grow up and see a situation like this with humor. Thanks for sharing

Emily and Moody said...

That is just hilarious-- I have to give you props for the effort! You do know that pride comes before the fall right? :)
Sounds like you are a great dad.