That's right "vacation". It is a time where you are to have fun, cut loose, and relax. Unless.....you have a child, a dog, and 4 niece/nephews visiting at your parents house. Tuesday morning we head out after packing that morning, yeah, we procrastinated, who doesn't. We drove the opposite direction to get to campus so Morgan could talk to her professor about something that didn't exist and that he wasn't there, because that something was automatically posted from last year. Long story short, it was a waste of time, so we laugh about it get back in the car, and start driving west to Vancouver, Washington.
DVD player is already started before we get out of town, Morgan has decided she would work on her paper in the car (using a laptop), I think she got about 2 pages done in the 7-8 hour trip. When she wasn't working on her paper, she was reading Hunger Games: Catching Fire to me, since she had a captive audience. We stopped at a rest area to let Freddy run off some energy, probably shouldn't of had him off leash, but we were the only ones there, so whatever. We got hungry early and stopped at a subway (instead of the one in Hermiston/Pendleton that we always stop at). By the end of the trip we were sick of being in the car and just wanted to blast our way through no stopping.
We arrive in one piece, Abby has half a water bottle in her lap from holding it upside down for an hour or so. She looks like she has peed herself about 8 times over. We get scolded from my parents that we should change Abby during our trip, I tried to explain that her diaper is full because they absorb water even if its an outside source, phew, I am off the hook this time, and Abby is changed into a very large T shirt until we can get her unpacked into some other clothes.
Abby has a blast being the only grandchild for a whole day, well, 2 days basically. My younger brother Andrew and his wife arrived sometime in the middle of the first night there. My sister arrived later that next evening, they called at 1 pm for Nana (Mom) to talk to the oldest niece while they pack, dead give away that they would not be arriving anytime soon.
So my plans for this week consisted of....NOTHING. I figured I would try to make it to OMSI/Zoo/Children's museum, or even Voodoo Doughnuts. I never got a chance, so since I never planned to go, I was not disappointed. Totally out of order but the first day we arrived we had to figure out what to do with Freddy (the dog). My parents had gotten new carpet installed and did not want a dog inside. We put Freddy into the back yard, and he got out 3 times trying to make his way inside this new house trying to find us. Parents decided, well the upstairs doesn't have new carpet, we'll put him upstairs. Freddy came inside and sat down, all nice and chill. Never ran in the house, didn't destroy a thing, went outside to go potty, didn't track any mud inside. At one point he waited by the baby gate downstairs (just before the carpet) waiting for Abby to finish playing with all the new toys in the family room.
Freddy slept upstairs with us the first night, when Andrew arrived that night Freddy did his usual OMG THERE'S SOMEONE HERE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT I MUST PROTECT! *Woof* (once, quietly to alert me he thinks something is up) *walks quickly out of the room*. Great....so I chase after him and do my harsh whisper, FREDDY! Sit, Stay! I greet Andrew, and Freddy wags his tail like crazy ready to meet new friends. I think I have almost trained the protective instinct out of him and all that is left is love and fun.
That next day we were planning on sleeping arrangements, we were being relocated from the nice comfortable bed to the downstairs uncomfortable IKEA pull out bench/bed King size mattress from the caveman era. The Croods had a softer cave then this slab of wood and 2 inch mattress of death (Mom if you are reading this sorry, we really hated the bed, but thanks for having us!). Question was, if we were downstairs in the no dog zone, where would Freddy sleep? No dog zone area was removed and Freddy had free reign on the house. He was everywhere at all times, 5 children, 8 adults, Freddy was in someone to follow around at all times heaven.
Journey to Vancouver, check, dog issues, check, tiny tornadoes....incoming. My sister has 4 children, they are everywhere at once, it was chaos, it was madness, it was not Sparta. We (Morgan and I) were constantly doing head counts to make sure we still had 5 kids and 1 dog. We also had to make sure that the 2 oldest girls were not torturing Freddy with affection (pulling on his collar to have him come play with them). Lucky for them Freddy is AMAZING with children, and all 5 kids made it out alive.
Later that week one of the kids said look a doggy! and pointed outside. Great, how did Freddy get out...wait....that isn't Freddy. There was a random dog in the front yard. I grabbed everyone who was outside and stuffed them inside, and went to confront this dog. Dog was barking and would not let me approach him, so I had an idea (dog had a collar with tags), I would get the leash, dogs love walks and love leashes. I open the door a crack and ask dad to hand me the leash. He opens the door fully and hands me the leash. Freddy BOLTS out! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I fly down the stairs and try to break up the incoming dog fight, I grab Freddy before he can destroy this dog who was not playing nice. I am in panic mode because I have Abby crying, Dad staring, Freddy frozen in fear of my wrath (won't move to go inside), and a loose dog who I have no idea his intent/nature. FUN TIMES! I start screaming for some kind of assistance to get the other dog away, dad casually walks over and says shoo to the dog. The dog moves about 10 feet and is still loose, fantastic. Mom tells dad that we need to restrain the other dog not just tell it shoo casually. I get Freddy on the leash and rush him inside, Abby is still crying because I won't let her outside.
Everyone is back inside and I have a leash, it works perfectly, the dog comes to me and sits waiting to get latched on. I read his tags, extremely useless information, Dogs name, a road (incomplete abbreviations) and a phone number. I look up the road, it is in Kelso (one hour north), great, guess I won't be returning him. I call the number, disconnected. WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE!? Why would you have a dog tag if all of your information is old, incomplete, or completely invalid?! Ok, time to go door to door, someone might be visiting and their dog got loose. One problem, pretty much every house I went to, had dogs, and not just dogs, but dogs that love to dart out and kill on sight. Now I know why I hated dogs growing up. Doesn't anyone train their dogs to behave, give them attention and take care of them instead of just locking them up in the backyard all day? So after about 7 houses and 3 near dog fights later, a car drives up and I flag them down. It turns out to be part of the search party for the dog. I tell them they need to update their tags as all information on it is completely useless.
So what about Thanksgiving, well, we had it, I think. The kids had a table to eat at, and the adults, theirs. We wrangled up all the kids and sat down to say the blessing. By the end of the blessing, all the kids had taken 1-2 bites, and had already run off to cause mischief. Fantastic. We finished our meal realizing we had made about 4x more mashed potatoes than anyone could possibly eat. Stuffed ourselves on pumpkin pie, I got in trouble from my wife for having too much pie and whip cream. Two days later Andrew got a 24 hour fever/stomach flu, which spread to his wife, the oldest niece, dad, Morgan, and Abby. Best thanksgiving ever. We bailed just as it was spreading in hopes of getting out alive. Abby threw up the night we got home, luckily on our carpet and not my parents brand new carpet.
And this has gone on too long so I'll have to talk more about the foster care program, neighborhood reunion later.