Something about my trip last weekend drove me absolutely bonkers and yet, now that I look back, I realize that I dealt with it like a pro. I never had a meltdown. I never had a panic attack. I did just fine. And you should be proud of me.
The trip was one without planning. Completely a "Fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants" Operation. Why? That's the way my mom wanted it. Well, that and because it's difficult to plan things to do in advance when one doesn't know who all will be there.
Maybe I better break this down for you a bit more. As I have mentioned previously, my little sis is moving to Italy. In an effort to allow my kids to see her kids one last time before they move, I bought tickets for the three of us to go down to see her and I didn't tell her we were coming.
My mom bought a ticket at the same time I did, but Little Sis knew she was coming. Big Sis got wind of the plans for me, mom and my kids to go and decided to come too. But she flew in from another city with her daughter and granddaughter in tow.
So to get you up to speed, there were 11 of us. Mom, Big Sis, Neice and baby, Little Sis and three small kids, me, Teensy and Bubba. Yep. 11 of us. That made the planning thing hard.
Basically it boiled down to this (and I'll expand on the funny/worthy stories in later posts)...
- We flew on an early evening flight into Las Vegas. We got the tickets for cheap and made the trip cheaper by not checking any luggage. The kids entertained themselves most of the way and were only mildly annoying on the plane.
- We surprised my Little Sister, left the airport and drove the strip to see the sights before we stopped to eat at a Burger King.
- Then we drove 3 hours to my Little Sister's house on an Army Post while Bubba puked from car sickness and the other kids fell asleep. Later I was awakened by an ambulance, a fire truck and a cop car in front of her house in the dead of night. Probably a domestic dispute from the looks of it.
- The next morning (while we washed Bubba's blanket), the kids played in the park and my Neice played Rock Band while the adults got the cars loaded for the long drive ahead.
- We drove through California looking at the sights out the window on our way to Hollywood Blvd. We stopped to eat at a Wendy's in what we assumed was a version of China Town. Then we walked a few blocks on either side of the Hollywood Blvd. to see the stars in the sidewalk where Little Sis got accosted by a vagabond lady selling star maps and Bubba played the part of a corpse in an attempt to get his name on a star.
- We attempted to find our way to Santa Monica Pier (at this point completely giving up on the GPS system that we had nicknamed "The Bitch" because she kept taking us on useless scenic routes of places like ChinaTown instead of just getting us to our destination). When we got there, we saw the beach at dusk and then stayed to enjoy the rides. (My nephew, Just a Marine, showed up to hang with us there, too.)
- Then we found a hotel (two rooms for $129 each!) and stayed the night. We awoke the next morning to a beautiful, but chilly, day and returned to the beach to play for a bit.
- Then we got naked in the pier parking lot (with open doors as our dressing room) so that we could change and get back into the car for the 4-5 hour drive to Vegas. We did stop at a Mall along the way so that we could eat and to let the kids play and Big Sis could do some shopping.
- We then arrived in Vegas where we stayed at the Bellagio Hotel for the night and we watched the Dancing Waters.
- The next morning, we walked to Treasure Island, rode in a cab, had some amazing Gelato, and then said goodbye to fly home.
That, ladies and gentleman, was our trip in a nutshell. Please keep in mind that all hotel reservations were made while driving down the road with multiple calls to information. "The Bitch" screwed up many, many times putting us in places we didn't intend to be going through and causing us many more hours in the car than was necessary.
How did I handle it without a breakdown? I kept my own little world organized, called my husband a lot and took moments where all I did was breathe in and breathe out. Believe me...it wasn't easy.