Some of our best friends from the East Coast came to visit for a few days, so we did all kinds of fun family stuff with them; and in between and during our excursions I wrote posts for other sites, and tried to take care of some nagging "real world" issues as well. It was great to see our friends, and our girls loved hanging out with the "big kids," their grade-school age girls.
During most of the time our friends were here, we were able to relax, catch up, and let the kids entertain themselves. But every once in a while, worlds collided, and things got a little hectic. Our trip to Legoland, for instance, was a bit touch-and-go at times. (Of course, almost nothing could have spoiled the trip, since the admission was FREE, thanks to my friend Beth at San Diego MOMfia!)
The night before we were to go to Legoland, which is about a 40-minute drive from our house, our friends' older daughter had an orthodontic emergency that would require professional attention before we could set out. We were afraid this might seriously cut into our amusement park time; but miraculously, they were able to make an early appointment at an office a couple blocks from our house, and the doc took care of the equipment malfunction in a matter of seconds.
But even before the orthodontist appointment, my friend, the father of the kid with the broken gear in her mouth, had called from somewhere in town--he wasn't quite sure where--with some gear problems of his own. See, back in Virginia, we had been big biking buddies; and whenever we get together, we try to go for a bike ride for old times' sake. Well, this time, it didn't quite work out that way. But he did manage to take my road bike out for a couple spins in the mornings while I was dealing with kids or sleeping off my late night blogging.
After lunch, I get a call from our friend who was supposed to take Stella for a walk, and he has locked himself and our dog out of our house. I prepare to panic, but realize that he just lost the key to our house, not to his car, so he can take Stella home with him and I can pick her up later.
Still feeling pretty charmed, we stroll through the new Star Wars exhibit, and then check out the amazing miniature cities, which include, ironically, miniature versions of the miniature versions of New York and Paris within the miniature version of Las Vegas.
But I'm feeling a little anxious, because I've got stupid slumlord issues nagging at me.
One of the reasons I couldn't get it together to borrow another bike so I could ride with my friend, and indeed one of the reasons I didn't really have the energy to go for a ride, was because of a leaky pipe in one of the units at our
The pipe had been leaking for a week or so, but only enough to get the carpet in the closet below a little damp. And the paint was peeling because of the moisture in the wall. I know, I KNOW. I was dragging my feet. The tenants didn't act like it was a big deal, so I just pretended it would fix itself. I knew in my heart of hearts I would eventually be opening up the wall and ceiling to get at the leak, and I wasn't in a big hurry to do so.
But then the tenants called during the weekend, while our guests were here, to say that the carpet was now soaked and the wall was mushy. I went over and started tearing out wet sheetrock.
The job of replacing the drain (looks simple, but it's actually two tubs draining into one larger pipe in a really constricted space) looked like just the kind of thing that would make me lose my mind and probably drive all of the tenants out of the building with my profanity-laden rage. So I called a plumber (friend of a friend) and made arrangements for him to check it out while we were at Legoland.
|I just didn't want anything to do with this|
Before I get very far on that, though, the tenant from upstairs calls back and says she doesn't want anybody snooping around her apartment while she's not there. WHAT THE FUCK?! THIS IS A PLUMBING EMERGENCY!!! Fair enough, I say. I'll just pay the plumber to sit in his truck and wait for you to get home.
Did I mention the diarrhea? During the time the plumber drama is unfolding, the kids have been depleting their diaper supply at the rate of two per hour per kid. We suspect it has something to do with guzzling the recirculated water from the toddler water park. Eventually we have to go to the first aid station and bum some extra diapers.
|Having fun between diaper changes|
|Pushing through the discomfort|
Turns out the tenant came home and let him in, and he fixed the leak. I sneak away from the screaming kids and over to the van so I can have some privacy to give him my credit card info and settle up the bill.
Dinner is pretty good and the kids get their second wind and run all over the restaurant, squealing and performing stunts that I'm sure everyone finds adorable and not annoying at all.
When we come back to the parking lot, I see that the interior lights of the van are on. I had futzed around with the lights when I was negotiating with the plumber, and had left the switch in the wrong position. I had also, a couple months ago, pooh-poohed the service manager at the shop where I got the rig serviced, who warned me that the battery was about to die. They wanted $200.00 for a $50.00 battery, so I was all phht--I can pick one up at Pep Boys and install it in ten minutes. And maybe I will some day.
Despite my totally deserving to have a dead battery, the van starts up and we hit the road.
We get home and the girls are not just asleep in their car seats, but limp as ragdolls. We pour them into their cribs and don't hear from them again until 8:30 the next morning.
The remarkable thing about this trip is not just that we narrowly averted all these disasters, but the fact that I would do it again this weekend if someone asked me to. And I actively dislike amusement parks. I'm quite shocked that the amount of fun our kids had made up for the hassles inherent in an excursion like this. Our friends, who have much more parenting under their belts than we do (their eldest is a tween), set a great example for us. They didn't seem fazed by any of the stumbling blocks we encountered, they rolled with the punches, and they had fun all day long. Whenever I went to amusement parks before I had kids, all I saw were miserable parents being tortured by their horrible little tyrants as they pissed away their life's savings on cotton candy and stuffed tigers. While I might look like one of those miserable parents to the average high school kid, I now understand why amusement parks exist, even in a world where, theoretically anyway, parents still control the purse strings, the car keys, and the family's stance on matters of culture and taste.
This one I wrote in my sleep: 7 Dad-Tested Techniques to Prevent Toddler Meltdowns.