Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Best (Kind of) Vacation We've Ever Had [ANNOTATED VERSION]

[Much of that last post was full of half-truths, though the spirit of it is mostly correct.  Here's what the vacation was really like.  Kind of.] 

We're back.  [This is true.  We are back.]  I feel relaxed and rested, and even better, I've been bitten by the travel bug again:  life breathes with excitement anew!  [Also pretty much true.  I'm excited about traveling again, and did feel more relaxed than when we left, for about three hours.  Then I checked my three hundred emails and my to-do list.  Christ.

We have children, and can travel with them! [But this also sucks.  Part of me would sure miss them if we went somewhere without them, and the reality is that we have no other options--our families live too far away to take them, and it's too much to ask friends to take on two kids for any length of time.  But, honestly, I'm dreaming of a time when they are, say, five and seven (old enough to stay with friends), and Eric and I can go away for a few days by ourselves.  Because traveling with kids is a royal pain in the ass.  Also, it's not really a vacation.  I thought it would be before we left, but by the third day it occurred to me I was doing just as much work (if not more) on the road as I do at home.  Kids' needs do not, unfortunately, go on vacation.  They still crap in their diapers and need to be fed and whine and demand enormous amounts of attention.  You also lack all your kidfrastructure when you're traveling and have to do a fair amount of half-assed improvising.  These girls are lovey and wonderful and cute, too, but the whole "needs" thing is not conducive to serious mellowing out.  This led me to a fairly deep depression on Friday:  I had to mourn the loss of my autonomy.  I thought I had done this already, but having to revise my definition of "vacation" forced a revisitation.  There will be no such thing as "vacation" as I have known it, again.  Not for many years.]

You all were right:  Telluride is beautiful.  [But also?  It's like at 10,000 feet.  Our first day there I did okay, but the next day I had some serious altitude sickness, which meant I almost pooped my pants trying to get back to the hotel from the festival (thanks, Eric, for taking the "scenic" route home, and stopping to buy Addie lemonade, and for learning to play the pipe organ, on our way) and then necessitated a three-hour nap in the middle of the day.  The sun was also incredibly strong, so I had to be hyper-vigilant about putting a gajillion ounces of suncreen on everyone at all times.  And drinking one beer was like drinking three, which would normally be good except if you have to be a decent caretaker of small children.  Ugh.]

It is surrounded on three sides by mountains, with a gigantic cascading waterfall descending one of them, glorious trees all around, a lovely river.  [All true.  But it is also home to some evil species of grass or tree to which I am apparently horribly allergic.  I can only now breathe out of my left nostril and spent much of the trip shooting Zicam up my nose and downing Claritin-D.  Goddammit.]

Our hotel--which cost us an arm and a leg--was super-duper-fancy-we'll-never-be-able-to-afford-that-again.  [This place was nicer than our house.  Beautiful kitchen, bedding, luxurious bathrobes, jacuzzi tub, fireplace, fancy french toiletries, full concierge--the works.  Very romantic.  But here is where having kids was again a buzzkill.  We could only afford two rooms, which meant that Nolie had to sleep in our room so that she and Addie wouldn't wake each other up all night.  But by the second night or so, she figured out we were in there with her, and every time we turned over, breathed, sneezed, or farted, she woke up.  So we had to be still as death in order to get any sleep at all.  Not exactly the atmosphere for making sweet, sweet music together.]

The bluegrass was fantastic.  [It was awesome.  Once I came out of the altitude-induced haze, I had a great time listening and dancing and chilling.]  The kids did great [Also mostly true.  But it was unbelievably hot when it wasn't totally freezing and rainy.  So we had to schlep an inordinate amount of clothing, change the kids' garments constantly, and buy a tent to keep them from dying of hypothermia and/or heatstroke.  By the last day of the festival, we had the routine down, though, and could relax.  At which point the festival ended.]

We got a babysitter our last night there [from Bulgaria, and who had only been in the U.S. for two weeks and charged $20 an hour] and got to have fancy French food [until the babysitter called and said that Nolie wouldn't stop crying, so I had to inhale my $30 salmon and hightail it back to the hotel to beg and plead with Nolie to please, please go to sleep so that mommy and daddy could have just one freaking night out together] including a chocolate molten cake that shall never be repeated, all by ourselves [at midnight, because Eric had to order it to-go since I was at the hotel doing the outrageously expensive babysitter's job].  We had a grown-up conversation [about needing to plan a vacation without the kids someday].

And there were all the things that didn't happen:  no major illnesses [well, Nolie did continue to projectile vomit until we got to Telluride, and now everyone except me--knock on wood--has a sinus infection and/or wicked cold], no flat tires, no botched reservations or lost tickets, and our house was still standing when we returned, full of the stuff it had in it when we left [ah, sweet, sweet vacuum.  How I've missed you.  You, too, Windex and toilet bowl cleaner.  And don't worry, kitty litter, I haven't forgotten you!

Best of all, we got to have time together as a family, in the absence of computers and deadlines and places-to-be [All true.  All things to be grateful for.  But also a reminder that family can be irritating after a while].  We all thrived on the spontaneity of it, the loosening of rules and routines [It took me until our last day or two to get to this stage.  We really needed to be gone for a few more days so that I could really enjoy this eventual mellowing].  We can't wait to do it again [when the kids are old enough to ship off to someone else].


  1. One of your most brilliantly honest posts. This is the shit people like me need to know about what parenting really involves (although we can kind of tell as we lounge and swill beers happily two blankets away at the festival). You are great parents and I'm glad you had a vaca, such as it is at this stage in life.

  2. I made a movie about this, would you mind looking at it and maybe leaving a message on what you think about it? (I left the url in the "website" box) thanks much!