Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Travel Rounds One and Two: On the Road and in the Air

Baer’s Grandsitting Service enjoyed a winter hiatus. The arrival of sunny spring days meant leisurely days at home exchanged for a faster-paced existence. We looked forward to a few weeks of travel and family.

Round One: Grandsitting.

Vermont is a special place, blessed with beautiful scenery, lush greenery, quaint, picturesque towns, distinctive businesses, young people everywhere - a wonderful place for individuals favoring an outdoor lifestyle and the perseverance to endure long, cold winters. And the home of two of our grandchildren.

Vermont-bound, we prepared for a chaotic time with one kindergartener, an18-month-old and a six-month-old, 40 pound puppy. The dog proved the most challenging.

I am not used to chasing after a toddler, and that is an understatement. My slightly (humor me) overweight body got a workout following the 18-month-old around the house, the yard, the neighborhood and a farm. Her attention span is nonexistent. Maybe that is an exaggeration, it might be somewhere between 5 and 10 seconds. She looks at baby goats, waddles over to the sheep, then back to the goats. Over to the cow, into the chicken coop, back to the goats.

I ran through the house picking up toys and other things scattered around. The puppy grabbed anything on the floor and low surfaces and chewed it. I attempted extracting the forbidden items from his mouth, not always successfully. Usually the well-chewed piece landed in a corner, discarded when Leo decided it did not taste good.

Not the pup,
but how I felt
 The best time of day was nap time/rest time.  Hub napped, the toddler napped, the dog napped. Syd and I watched movies, Grandma ecstatic to sit in one place for more than five minutes.

We do not have Netflix at home, and an advantage of visiting the kids is that they do. After putting the youngsters to bed, hub and I crashed on the couch with our coffee and binge watched Season 3 of Grace and Frankie, starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. If unfamiliar with the show take a look, but begin with Season 1, episode 1, or you will not understand the relationship between characters. The show, funny and serious, highlights issues of people of a certain age. And the acting is great.

Meals out, meals in, snacks, clean up, dressing and undressing (the kids, not the grown ups), baths, bedtime, soccer, diaper changes, playground, little friends visiting, all a busy jumble. The days passed quickly and we were home bound, but not before experiencing construction and traffic delays.

Round One of our spring and summer travels over, we relished a day of rest before beginning…

Round Two: Three grandkids, three year-end school events and the joys of 21st century budget travel on Spirit Air.

The alarm rang 4:45 a.m. Tuesday morning. Bleary-eyed, hub and I threw on clothes and drove to the airport for a 7:00 a.m. flight. No hassles, quick security check-in, on-time departure, and arrival a day early for middle child’s acting debut in The Lion King.

Our Lion King star!
A well-planned itinerary.

Or so we thought. But the play was not the following day. Rescheduled for Tuesday afternoon, the
same day as our flight, we landed in time for the elementary school performance.

Wednesday evening we attended the middle school band concert. Oldest grandchild is in the Jazz Band and Symphonic Band, performances that bookended the 6th grade band and concert band. 

One day with no special events filled with shopping and a trip to Barnes and Noble. Middle child received B&N gift cards for her birthday she could not wait to spend.

There is no such thing as spending a short time in a B&N store.

Our Friday flight home departed 3:00 pm, allowing enough time to attend youngest child’s kindergarten graduation. The students sang songs and we viewed a video of the class's yearlong activities, the kids becoming increasingly active as the video played on. And on…the teacher sprinkled each class member with special dust, anointing them first graders, and presented awards.

Hub and I are the proud grandparents of the recipient of the Silly Award.

Four days passed quickly, and once again I sit in the middle seat of a Spirit Air flight. The airport-especially the women's rest room-was bustling, but the plane loaded on time, then sat at the gate. Finally the pilot announced a broken piece of equipment delayed takeoff; mechanics were on the way with a machine borrowed from Jet Blue.

Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when the engines cranked on. The plane started and proceeded to the tarmac, awaiting takeoff.

An hour after the scheduled departure time we were in the air.

Now in flight babies cry, teenagers chat loudly, and people walk up and down the aisle while little ones run up and down. Food smells permeate the air. Unable to survive the two-hour flight without eating, a lot of people purchased food in the airport. I can't blame them. Snacks keep kids of all ages occupied. Drinks and snacks can be bought onboard, but are pricey and not sold until the plane is airborne. With a delayed takeoff and no other entertainment, eating consumes the time.

Hub and I, on the other hand, opted to wait until landing to fill our stomachs. I sit here thinking about what I want to buy, bring home and consume....

Round Two of our summer journeys soon ends. Round Three begins tomorrow. On the road again... 

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