Monday, May 10 2021

miles' birthday weekend 1

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Dear Journal,

Good evening, everybody. I hope your Monday went well, and I'm sorry I missed this morning's entry. I had an unusual and embarrassing start to the day. Last night Marissa and I stayed up late cleaning up after the small party we threw for Miles. The next morning, I sprung out of bed at 6:30, and all at once the hectic weekend of driving, hotels, cakes, and family all caught up with me. I started to feel dizzy on my way to the bathroom, and it didn't even register to me how dehydrated I was. The next thing I remembered, I woke up a few minutes later on the bathroom floor in front of a very worried and tired Marissa. "What are you doing on the floor?" she asked with concern.

"I got a little dizzy," I said as I began to stir. Marissa pointed to the fresh, dark welt on my cheek. I didn't even realize I hit my head on the way down.

And that was pretty much my day. Marissa held it down with both kids and all the dogs while I drifted from bed to couch, pushing fluids.

It was a frustrating day. I would have loved to kick off a new work week with coffee, reading, and writing, but I instead just burned a sick day. Not to mention I was already running behind on writing and I we have so much to catch up on over the week.

Sip. But we're here now, aren't we? I missed you all. It's good to be writing again. Now let's see how far we can get through this crazy birthday weekend before the word count is up.

The fun started on Friday afternoon after work. We piled everyone in the car - this was the first time we rode together with every man, woman, child, and dog in our crew, and we would remain in the same car all the way up to Rochester Minnesota.

We also learned that the first of Miles' one year molars were cutting through this weekend. During the drive, he took short, feverish naps and groaned in pain from the back seat. On that long, flat road to Minnesota, tensions were high.

We first stopped off at our hotel. Marissa took the dogs out potty and Rodney and I got to work unpacking our car. The caravan's payload looked even more impressive hanging off the hotel cart. Dog toys and k'nex ninja gear filled the spaces between bags, crates, and blankets.


Our caravan trickled through the lobby and into the elevator. Rodney was staring around in absolute wonder, and we hadn't even left our room yet. "It's beautiful. Wow. Holy cow," he awed to himself.


Rodney bolted around the hotel in delight while we unpacked. He was visibly disappointed when he learned that we would be immediately leaving the hotel for Mimi and Poppa's house, "but it will be right here when we get back - it's not going anywhere," we assured him.

When we got there, Mimi and Poppa had a frozen pizza and snacks waiting for us.


We presented Miles his ceremonial slice of cake for the cake smash. For those of you keeping score at home, this is the second slice of cake he's smashed - so far.


We sat out by the fire until bedtime came and went. Rodney was so tired when he got back to the hotel that he fell asleep before we even turned the lights off. Miles, on the other hand, would keep us up screaming for another hour. Those pesky molars, the long car ride, and now a belly full of cake was in the mix.

I woke Rodney up early in the morning while Marissa was getting ready for the bridal shower. This would be our only narrow sliver of time we'd get with the hotel pool, so we made the most of it. We got to swim for a full hour with the pool to ourselves.


We cleaned up from swimming, and the boys and I shlepped across the street to Panera for a quick lunch with Poppa. It had been too long since I got to sit in a restaurant booth. An exhausted Miles slept in his car seat. Rodney contentedly picked at his mac and cheese. I had a full twenty minutes to chat with Tom with a fresh cup of coffee - a moment of bliss that preceded the grand finale of our Minnesota trip - checking out of the hotel.

With Rodney tagging behind me, I carried Miles up to the hotel room. I reheated my Panera coffee in the microwave while I hatched a game plan. I called Marissa and put her on speaker phone.

"It's gonna be tricky," she said. "Just make sure you don't leave the dogs alone in the car. And obviously you can't leave the boys alone in the hotel room."

"Especially because our room key stops working in..." I glanced at my phone. "Fifteen minutes - OK I gotta go, we'll figure it out."

I loaded up all of our bags and dogs crates onto the cart. Both Minnie and Ziggy sat nervously in the bottom crate. They were uncomfortable sharing the space, but it would only be for the short descent into the parking lot.

Next was the pack-and-play. Rodney entertained Miles in his car seat while I collapsed and crumpled the awkward metal frame into the thin fabric bag. I slung it over the top.

"OK Rodney," I said, pulling him aside. "You're going to have to hold Ollie in the parking lot. He's a good boy, he's not going to bolt, but you gotta hold his leash extra tight ok?"

Rodney nodded obediently. He wrapped Ollie's leash around his wrist several times. The hotel door snapped shut behind us. Slowly, carefully, pushing a wide lumbering cart while carrying Miles in his car seat on my hip, Rodney and I checked out of the hotel, crossed the blacktop, and got everyone in the car. Three dogs, a baby, a four year old, and a full trunk of luggage. With sweat dripping down my forehead, I took a moment to collect my self before climbing back into the car.

"You need a bigger car," said a voice from over my shoulder. It was an elderly man standing in the parking lot. I hadn't noticed he was watching me struggle to cram all the luggage in the trunk of our CRV.

"Ah... ha," I gasped. "Yeah, that would be... uh, great huh?"

The old man smiled. Satisfied with his contribution, he waved us on and left. We set out to pick up Marissa, but as I was turning out onto the highway, I couldn't keep from stewing about the comment.

You need a bigger car, I muttered. The nerve.

Do I even need to say it? Old guy in the parking lot of the Home2 Inn, that was a chump comment. And for your useless suggestion that I just go out and get a bigger car, you're chump of the week my friend.

Thanks for stopping by today. We'll call that part 1 of birthday weekend, we'll save the rest for tomorrow.