The hardest part about going on vacation is coming home. That’s probably mostly because of the stress of smuggling five suitcases full of tequila, illegal Mexican fireworks, and my cool new switchblade past the customs agents at the airport. But also because we had to come back to the reality of having kids.
We were only in Mexico for five days, but, apparently, God thought we were getting a little too comfortable in our south-of-the-border kid-less bliss So, He smacked us straight in the face - mostly the nose, really – with reality. Literally the first thing we had to do when we saw the kids was clean up vomit.
My wife and I flew back from Mexico into the San Francisco Bay Area and stayed the night, and Grandma drove the boys to us the next morning so we could all continue on a family vacation for a week. Grandma has apparently lost the ability to say no, or the ability to make good decisions, or both, because on her way she said yes to cherry-red Slurpees for breakfast on the road. Son Number Three’s body rejected the eight A.M. overload of high-fructose corn syrup and red dye #40 about a block from our hotel.
Welcome back. There’s red puke all over the inside of your car. And your son. And one of your other sons. Road trip!
There’s not too many things that can make me miss the unpleasant wafting aroma of the under-engineered Mexican sewer system, but cleaning bright red Slurpee vomit off the back seats of the car with a baby wipe at a gas station is one of them. It’s great to be back with the kids. Thanks for watching them, Grandma. I guess we forgot to mention it, but “No” is an acceptable word to use with the children when inside a 7-Eleven.
(Please don’t misunderstand – even though Grandma seems to be losing it, we will still gladly use her babysitting services in the future. It takes a lot more than projectile Slurpee to get fired from that job!)
Our destination was San Diego to stay with relatives for a few days in their beautiful, upscale, clean, well-appointed home. We arrived and promptly took over their laundry room to de-puke-ify the contents of our quarantined trash bag. After the laundry was finished we went to bed happy that the clean-up was behind us.
I guess God thought we hadn’t quite paid for all the time off.
The next morning, I woke up to Son Number Two in the kitchen with bright blue hands and ten dismantled ball-point pens on the granite countertop, trying to wash off the blue ink that had spread everywhere inside his backpack. He was busy trying to wash the pens. The pens! Because to my eleven-year-old, saving the twenty-four cents’ worth of crappy pens was the main concern.
I traced the ink spill back to his bed on their living room couch, where he first discovered the Bic-xon Valdez had run aground. There I found the backpack, and various items from within, all a vibrant fresh blue ink color, many of which, in his haste to save the precious disposable plastic pens, had found their way onto the sheets, the staircase next to the couch, and the large area rug.
After I collected all the little pieces of my head that exploded all over the room, I spent the next hour perfecting the technique of using rubbing alcohol to get ink out of a carpet. Given enough time and excruciatingly-manufactured patience, rubbing alcohol and an endless supply of clean rags removes bright blue ink from carpet fibers amazingly well, which is the only reason Son Number Two is still with us here on Earth.
It was starting to look like penance for a week off from parenting was going to involve a crazy mess from each child. We’d had bright red and bright blue, so it was looking like a patriotic theme was developing.
We kept Son Number One away from marshmallows and milk for the rest of the trip.
It’s great to be back.
See you soon,
Copyright © 2017 Marc Schmatjen
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