in one of our greatest moments as a couple, shannon and i thought it would be a great idea to put our three sons (7 years old, 5 years old, and 11 months old) into our minivan and drive 1100 miles to florida for what fancy people call "vacation."
and so we tried it. that's where i've been for so long, in case you've been wondering.
well, actually we've been back for several days now. i just haven't been able to write yet, what with the therapy and recovery.
truthfully, i started writing this post in my mind as i lied in a hotel bed somewhere in the middle of virginia (which is for lovers, i am told). after a long day of driving north, i felt dizzy and sort of fell into the starched bed and began to see the trip flashing before my eyes. i saw the whole week unfolding once again in my mind. from our drive south towards reports of genesis-level flooding in pensacola, to the repeated image of my sons bent over the toilet wretching their guts out, or falling asleep on the bathroom floor. i was awakened from this dream by the sound of my wife's annoyed whisper: "the baby just pooped himself right through his pajamas, and you didn't even wake up. i'm going to go wash myself up."
great. so the baby has diarrhea. i looked over to my left, and fortunately the other two were still sleeping, which was a relief given our precarious sleeping situation: all five of us in one hotel room, a delicate balance of trying to keep all three children asleep, lest one should stir and wake all three. just as i was giving thanks that the baby's back-end didn't put an early end to our night, he let loose a wet and wretched sound, the noise made by last night's dinner finding its way all over his freshly-changed pajamas, not to mention the sheets of the pack and play.
not surprising. it had been, after all, the single most enduring image of this hare-brained idea we had long-since stopped calling vacation in favor of other, less gracious, words. if there was one word to sum up this trip it was quite clear: vomit. cade did it 12 times or so. jack only 3 or 4. the baby added his share, and i thought i had escaped unscathed until i emptied the contents of my fathers day dinner at the olive garden all over the hotel parking lot. shannon felt compelled to join the party the next morning, and then outdo us all by leaving little bagged mementos all up the northbound side of interstate 81. and all of this has only been about what happened when we knelt in front of the toilet; i haven't even gotten into what happened when we were on them.
(editors note: florida has some very nice toilets. they are highly recommended both for their smooth contours and overall cleanliness. we were able to closely investigate the base of several area commodes and were quite impressed. also, tennessee has very nice rest stops, while random gas stations in alabama and virginia are somewhat more questionable, especially when two of your three children have filled their pants with their own poo.)
are you getting the picture here? we went to florida and all we got was a lousy virus. tony bennett may have left his heart in san francisco but we left the contents of our entire digestive system all up and down the east coast. i never did find all the lining of my stomach in the hotel parking lot. (virginia is for more than lovers, it turns out; it's also for people who are vomiting their face off in public spaces.)
am i being dramatic? of course. that's what i do. but am i lying? well, take a drive down interstate 81 south of harrisburg, through maryland, west virginia, virginia and all the way to knoxville. head to chatanooga, then birmingham and montgomery, and then to the gulf of mexico. every once in a while just put your window down enough to get a waft of the hot southern air, and you tell me if i'm lying. or, for a shorter trip, head to the country inn and suites in wytheville, virginia and look in the mulch right by the loading/unloading area. when you see a serving of spaghetti noodles and part of a stomach lining, you'll know the truth.
still, the trip was fun, and we have some pictures not involving toilets to prove it. i promise to put some up soon, but i still have some rehab to do. and i'm trying to find some time to rest up from that vacation.