So, we decided to take a trek to visit the family for the Passover holiday. This would be the holiday in which "God and the Fairy Passed Over the Jews' houses", according to Natalie. We hadn't been back home in a while, so the time had come for that long, long, very long drive across PA to CT. Conveniently, our friends Paul and Lee Ann were in Philadelphia visiting from Dallas with their new baby, so we made it a point of leaving Thursday to visit them and use Philly as a half-way overnight stopping point before continuing on to CT. Or so we thought.
Earlier in the week, Natalie had a fever that she couldn't seem to shake. So we played it by ear (or ear infection, as the case may be), planning on deciding at the last minute whether or not we would leave Thursday. Well, when Tuesday morning came and Natalie threw up all over the living room couch, we decided it was a safe bet we weren't going anywhere Thursday. So we pushed the trip off by a day so she could get better, which she did. No big deal. Or so we thought.
Friday arrived, and we left first thing in the morning. Twenty minutes into the drive, the PA turnpike came to a complete standstill for almost two hours. Truck accident. Got some cute pictures of the baby wandering around aimlessly on the highway. Probably will show up on some "bad parenting techniques" website someday. Conveniently, a nice couple in a Winnebago ahead of us offered to let Natalie use the bathroom. Inconviently, she took the couple up on her offer at much the same time that traffic finally began moving. So after thousands of people on the PA Turnpike waited for Natalie to pee, we were ready to continue. Good thing girls don't usually experience "freeze-up."
So on to Philly. Everything seemed completely normal for the rest of the day, until dinner when we noticed Jessica seemed to be on fire. She had caught "the fever," which later in the evening turned to a croupy cough. Good thing Paul's sister was nice enough to let us stay at their house, with three other little kids around to act as receptacles for the disease machine we seemed to have brought with us. We will be lucky if Paul's sister ever speaks to us again.
So that night the four of us all slept in one room. Natalie and I camped on the floor in sleeping bags, Jessica in a crib, and Hilary on a twin bed. The night was surprisingly not too bad, with Jessica sleeping through all of the night except those points where someone walked on the massively creaky hardwood floor outside the bedroom. Jessica didn't take kindly to that. The next morning, Jessica was still coughing but seemed to be on the mend. After an hour's debate of whether to return home or continue to CT, we decided to schlep on, where at least there were others who could potentially assist with the care of sick children.
Oddly enough fate was on our side somewhat, in that by delaying the trip by a day we managed to miss the deadly truck accident that shut the Jersey Turnpike down for 16 hours. Had we left on the day we originally planned, we'd have been in it. So despite heavy traffic, a half-hour wait in line at a NJ gas station, heavy downpours the entire way, and a slow line moving over the GW bridge, we were happy to make it to CT in one piece and in a normal fashion.
The rest of the trip had its ups and downs as well. Hilary got sick one night, the weather blew chunks, and being carriers of typhoid we weren't able to visit our friends and their kids too much. By Tuesday were we ready to head home. We expected to be on the highway by 9am. Or so we thought.
I spent the night before repacking the car and getting everything in order. That morning we strapped the kids in the car, asked which DVD they wanted to watch first, and....realized we couldn't find the DVD case. Where was the DVD case? we looked everywhere. We knew it had to be in the car, but it just seemed to have magically vanished. Luckily my sister came through with some backup movies to take, and about three hours into the drive it dawned on me I had probably folded the rear seat of the van down sandwiching the DVD case inside the seat. Sigh.
So here's a useful mathematical fact. To plan out a long distance drive, take the estimated driving time and add two hours per child in the car. In this case, the normally 8-hour drive took 12 hours. With a limited quantity of DVDs that end up getting repeated over and over again throughout the drive, that 12 hours ends up feeling like about 18. Next year, we wait until after spring cold season, and fly.
So now, it's about a week later. Whatever disease the kids had, Hilary and I are now suffering through. we spent the entire weekend coughing and hacking, sneezing and blowing, getting absolutely no sleep. I need a vacation.