Sunday, November 11, 2012

Start Spreadin' the News!

I had meant to blog more about my trip home to New York with just me and E this weekend. So, I'm not going to dwell on my lack of writing but instead will back track a little bit and pretend it's Thursday. I'm actually writing in the wee hours of Sunday morning.

E's day care is closed Friday and Monday this week. My sister, who owns a day care of her own, offered to watch her. She and my parents live 5 hours away in New York, in the town where I grew up, and I thought this might actually be a good opportunity to visit, as my job had ok'd me working from home these 2 days. I would work from my parents' house, send E next door to my sister's house Friday and Monday for day care, and get to spend some quality time with family over the weekend.

The only problem was that Mark couldn't take the time off work, so E and I would be on our own for a 5-hour road trip and 4-day vacation. I knew I would have help from my family, but it's not the same as having my husband who knows E's schedule, preferences, and tricks for soothing her. Still, I'm always up for an adventure! I made a (very long) list of everything we needed, Mark helped me pack the car, and off we went!

Though E's carseat limit is usually about 20 minutes, she got used to being in the car after the first hour and did pretty well. Before we left, I had dressed her in cozy pajamas and had toys and snacks handy. I left at her afternoon-nap time, and she slept most of the way to the ferry. She had a few weepy moments, like when she realized the trip was indeed going to be longer than 20 minutes. But, soon after, I looked back and saw her bopping her head in time to Maneater which I had turned up to drown out the whimpers (and in hopes that it would calm her down, which it did).

She fell asleep soon after and woke up when I rolled my window down to get my ferry ticket. She loved watching the water and waving to the other passengers. Though I've had a baby for 10 months now, I'm always surprised to catch some couple giggling, pointing, waving, and cooing in the direction of my car. My immediate thought is, "You guys seem nice, but I don't swing that way."

This time I even waved before realizing E was in the back seat putting on her own, little baby show.

After a diaper change in the car and a quick snack, I realized I left my phone in the back seat and reached behind me to search for it. Eventually I felt the corner of it under my scarf and propped my elbow against the steering wheel to lunge for it which, of course, pushed the car horn. A loud "HONNNK" broke the silence of a lazy afternoon on the lake. A seagull startled and took flight. I felt like an impatient a**hole city driver. In a car. On a boat.

I decided to get E out for some fresh air and to see the water. After 5 minutes of bundling her in winter coat, hat, hood, and blankie around her legs, we stepped out of the car only to have the wind nearly blow us over. E screamed and tightened her grip on my shoulder. I fell back against the wall of the ferry and grabbed onto a railing suddenly realizing the purpose of having randomly placed railings on a ferry. A thin layer of ice had formed beneath my feet. The wind pushed me so hard that my feet started to slide out and away from the ferry wall. I quickly leaned forward, grabbed the car door handle, and ducked back inside the car.

E's wind-whipped cheeks were red beneath terrified eyes. "Wooo!!" I said. "Was that fun?!" The look on her face said, "No."

I got her out of the winter gear and tucked her back in her carseat in time to drive off the ferry.

The rest of the trip went well. She whined a little but mostly napped until we met up with my parents.

Oh and, in the meantime, I killed a chipmunk -- the first casualty of my driving in 14 years (that I know of) if you don't count that time there were 500 frogs in the middle of the road that runs along the lakeshore.

Mom and Dad were kind enough to meet us an hour from home, to make the trip a little easier. We had dinner at a restaurant, then Mom rode with me in my car to help with E. Also, Dad assured me that the chipmunk was probably a red squirrel, a natural bully and troublemaker of the squirrel world, so I felt better after convincing myself that I had swiftly assassinated a squirrel drug lord and/or rapist.

E had one awful screaming moment before we made it home. By then it was dark out, so I pulled over to rock her in my arms in the dirt parking lot of a roadside diner. Though the neon sign hanging from the door was flashing "OPEN," there wasn't a car in sight except for one lone Ford pickup truck abandoned in the grass. Bundled in my arms, E stared wide-eyed at the flashing neon sign, completely captivated. I did the same, at the blanket of bright stars above. The cold air curled around my feet, and it was just us in that moment. I stopped and thanked God... for all of it.

Then an old man came stumbling out of the diner, got into the "abandoned" pickup truck, and drove off down the road.

We decided it was time to do the same, ducked into the warmth of the car where Grammie was waiting, and headed for home.

No comments: