Sunday, May 21, 2023

No room at the inn

I wasn't thrilled about the idea of driving to the beach right in the middle of a stomach virus. On the day we left, I was still up with Phoebe at 3:00 in the morning, trying to settle her to sleep (without nursing). She had thrown up all over the two of us at around 9:30 and was just so miserable. I cuddled her in her bed because that's the only way she wanted to sleep—face to face, nose to nose. I don't enjoy trying to sleep like that on the best of days (being breathed on grosses me out), but on stomach flu day it's even worse. She was all full of gulpy hiccups and I was fairly sure she was going to throw up in my face at any given moment, but she didn't and we finally fell asleep. 

The next morning we loaded everything up and headed out—with incontinence chucks spread underneath each child in the vehicles and emesis bags for everyone. Phoebe was worn out so slept most of the drive, which was a pleasant surprise. And no one threw up, which was an even better surprise!

When we were about a half hour away from our destination, it suddenly dawned on Alexander that we might need a hotel room or something. So he raised the issue to us. 

"We might want to think about getting a hotel room or something," he told us. "Because I don't really want to sleep in the van like this. It's kind of crowded. And I just think a hotel room would be a good idea."

Evidently we should have communicated our plans better. Alexander can be a bit of a worrier. 

"What did he say?" Andrew asked (he can't squirm around in his seat to listen while Alexander is talking because he was doing all the driving (and thank goodness for that)). 

"He thinks we should consider getting a hotel room because he doesn't want to sleep in the van," I relayed. 

Andrew and I looked at each other with a very knowing look, the look that says, "Let's milk this situation for all it's worth."

"Oh, dear," I said. "A hotel! Now why didn't we think of that?"

"We completely forgot to book one," Andrew said. "I'm sure we'll find something."

We began suggesting places we could stay—an old abandoned schoolhouse, a hammock in someone's backyard. As we were crossing a bridge I suggested that we could just sleep in the marsh. 

"There might be a room down there," I said. "Then it would be a marshroom!"

"Mom!" Alexander laughed. "That's a joke! I get it! Like a mushroom!"

That was a better reaction than I got from anyone else in the van. 

"That was a joke," I said. "But seriously...we should probably find a place to stay. Do you think any of these hotels have any vacancy?"

"They all look pretty full," Andrew said. 

"What are we going to doooo?" Alexander wailed.

"We can always just start trying doors, see if any houses are empty."

"They willn't!" Alexander said, his panic increasing.

"Did you just say willn't?" Rachel asked.

"Yes!" Alexander said. "Will not! Meaning the houses will not be empty. People live in them!"

"It doesn't hurt to try..."

"Yes, it does hurt to try! If we just go into someone's house, then we'll get...we'll get in..."

"What?" Rachel asked. "Trouble?"

"No!" Alexander said. "Prison! And I don't think you want that so can we just find a hotel, please?"

"We can try," Andrew said. 

And we did try. But all the hotels we passed looked full. What bad luck!

"Back to plan B, I guess," Andrew said. "We'll just start trying doors."

"Dad, no!" Alexander cried. 

"This street looks good."

"No, Dad! Please! Let's just find a hotel and ask if they have any room!"

"Fine. We'll just go up to this house and ask them for directions to a hotel."

So, Andrew had Alexander knock on the door to our vacation rental (after he'd put the code in the door) and when Alexander knocked he gave him a little push inside...inside this stranger's house!

He was pretty upset with us and did not want to stay— "Dad, there are literally people in this house!"— but we eventually convinced him that this was a rental property (by showing him the binder of instructions, the little travel-sized soaps and things the bathrooms were stocked with, and the confirmation email (not that he's panicky about administrative issues)). 

Once he realized that we really did have permission to stay in this house, he was on board with checking out the rooms to pick which one he wanted to stay in. And he's not upset in the slightest (anymore), so hopefully one day this will be a funny story about his prankster parents (or it will be an issue of childhood trauma he can bring up with his therapist one day). 

Unfortunately we were not as finished with this stomach bug as we'd hoped when we left (Rachel and Andrew were down for the count soon after we arrived), but we're just glad we made it down without any messy mishaps!

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