Turkeys and Tots

We survived an 8 day road trip down to Southern California. The word “survived” comes before the word “enjoyed” at this point. We did have a good time, but it was, of course, wrought with challenges along the way. The first and most difficult was the fact we all left sick. My son was the only one not on antibiotics. My husband was on his second round of antibiotics for his bronchitis. I was nursing a bacterial and viral chest infection. We were snots of fun! My daughter was on meds due to an ear infection and a Hail Mary solution for three weeks of croup.


Ever had a croupy kid? Ever have a croupy kid who did not respond to any of the at home remedies? How about one with a hair trigger gag reflex?


We had taken her to the doc so often that by the time she developed the ear infection (because she then caught a cold) the doc was just hoping the antibiotic for the ear would somehow treat whatever was aggravating her trachea. It didn’t.

Then she got an eye infection. Then she got over the eye infection and then a few days later it came back.

Anyway, so away we went with the Quarantine Family coughing and barking the whole way. A trio of tuberculosis is what anyone and everyone we had to be near on the way down was surely thinking.  The first night in the hotel was exhausting. After 400 miles, we tried to sleep around the 2am barking. Bright and early the next day we set out again. Again we stopped for fast food here and there and made bathroom stops with a barking seal in tow. People were looking at us just horrified we were out in public. Between my daughter hacking until she gagged, my husband coughing until he launched a projectile from the depths of his lungs, and me trying to soothe everyone while managing my own chunky cough, we were quite the sight. My son was the only normally breathing one of the bunch and he has 2 inhalers.

The second night proved too much for my daughter and we ended up driving to an urgent care on the way through the next town.

We got her a liquid steroid to finally put an end to the barking madness. No one told me it would taste like ass, though. I was warned, however, to give it to her on a full stomach. So we had to endure just one more sleepless night post a 12 hour day. The next morning everyone was famished. We devoured the continental breakfast. We head back to the room and I fill the 5mL syringe with the magic juice, give my daughter (who is FANTASTIC about taking medicine) the first squirt and she immediately stops. She waves her hands around before putting them both over her mouth. She’s grunting “uh uh” (as in, No way, Jose) before swallowing what she had. She then insists no more. I bribe her with a piece of chocolate if she takes one more little sip. She concedes, because that’s just how amazing she is. She grudgingly takes the next little sip and then BLECH!

She hurls all of that wonderful FULL breakfast into the (thankfully) lined trashcan. She ralphs her guts out.

Apparently prednisone cannot be flavored at the pharmacy, but here, give this disgustingly flavored solution to your child on a full stomach… for five days.

We tried hiding it in juice, in applesauce, in anything we had. She got maybe maybe half a dose each time we tried. It seemed enough because by the second day she finally slept through an entire night. The first in three weeks.

That seemed to turn things around. My husband’s meds finally started kicking in and we were all getting better. We saw great and cool things including the Golden Gate Bridge. We made a special side trip just to cross it. My son was excited, but when I told him it was the same bridge from Monsters vs Aliens, he lost his mind. Then when we drove through sat in traffic through San Francisco he realized that was where the fight with the alien took place and it became kinda fun.

We made it down to So Cal and took the kids to the beach. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect. 80 degrees, warm sand, cold waves, blue skies. I made a brief stop to the cemetery where my dad is buried. It was the first time my kids had gone. They were creeped out by the idea that the grass is just all the graves. My son started walking like he was on hot coals, “Mom, it feels kind of weird to walk on the grass. People are under there!”. My daughter shrieked for me to pick her up instantly. I didn’t. But it was pretty funny. I told my son I understood and felt the same way about walking through a cemetery. And, of course, my father’s grave is at the end of the row. Aaaaaall the way across from where we parked.

We stood. My son had a few questions. I answered. We left. I couldn’t expect much, and didn’t. It was just kind of nice to be able to have my kids see his headstone and understand another piece of the puzzle that is what makes their mom. My dad isn’t around and hasn’t been for thirteen years now. That’s ok, but it’s part of my history.

So after braving the grave walking, we all deserved a little frolic at the beach. It was always my therapy growing up. I miss it, but love living among the evergreens now.

After the beach we visited with family. My kids love their uncles and it was fun to see all of us together again. Thanksgiving was a lot of fun and my kids got to meet and play with their 2.5 yr old cousin. The kids got along great and that is just priceless.

We had a wedding to go to Saturday after Thanksgiving. It was 2hrs north of my family, so we said our goodbyes Thursday evening and stayed in town long enough to see my best friend and her kids. After playing in the pool for a little while, she conceded that being my son’s mom DEFINITELY must have it’s challenges. Truthfully after a three day drive including an urgent care visit and three hotels he was behaving better than expected!

The kids’ first wedding experience was great. They had a blast. My daughter was confused when her dad – the best man – was standing beside the groom and bride and at the end of the ceremony asked “did Dad get married?”  “No, honey, daddy can’t afford more wives.”

We all danced and had a great time before packing it all up and heading home the next day. The drive back was uneventful. The van did a great job until the last 200 miles. Of course my husband and I decide we would do the drive back in 2 days and just power through and swap driving duties. We did not want to extend it further and risk utter brain melting annihilation from the kids. They had done wonderful considering the TWENTY-SIX HUNDRED MILE round trip drive. No one screamed when it was time to get back in the car. No one pulled a wet-cat scenario when having to get into their seat, no one complained overly much about the monotonous never-ending driving. I was amazed! I said about 1500 “thank you, Jesus”‘s along the way, for the record.

However. About 200 miles from home it started. My husband was driving and he says, “Uuuuhhhmmm, the tire warning just came on. What’s that mean?”  “It’s just because it’s cold. The pressure always changes when it’s cold. No biggie.”

“Ok. Now the oil light is on.”

“That’s not good.”

“Now the filter light is on. Didn’t you get all this done before we left?”

You mean 2400 miles ago? Yes. Yes I did. Funny thing, though, these fluids have to be monitored and changed every so often and my stay at home mom status doesn’t really push the car to it’s limits on a regular basis. I think this trip may have been a bit too much for the minivan all at once.

The heater/a/c also went on the fritz. Unless the a/c button is engaged, hot lava air is coming out of the vents burning the eyeballs after a matter of minutes. It’s also causing the tabs on the vents to light up like an ember. How do i know this? Because my son went to move it and immediately pulled back after his fingerprint was forever singed into the vent control tab.

So now it’s in the shop. Our big road trip money-saver is probably going to cost us more by the time the food/road maintenance/gas/shop time is calculated than if we had just bought plane tickets for all of us.

Oh well. Memories, right? It was all worth the hacking, phlegmy, antibiotic – filled quality time.

Happy Holidays !!


3 thoughts on “Turkeys and Tots

  1. Yikes! My brother had bad croup but that was 30 years ago. who would have thought it was still so persistently bad?

    Sorry y’all had to do deal with that over the holiday. here’s to hack-free days ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

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