I've heard many people say that they need a vacation after their vacation. In this case, I think, "I need a vacation do-over" would be more appropriate. Our last couple of vacations (skiing, Yellowstone) have been the adventure seeking, fun but exhausting type trips, and while I loved those trips, the idea of going on a vacation where we could just relax (as much as you can relax with three kids) seemed, well, like a vacation.
We had been prepping for this Cayman Islands vacation since Christmas, securing passports for the kids, buying beach-worthy attire, counting down the days with eager family members, and dreaming of lying on the beach, soaking up the sun. Then, the Tuesday before we were to fly out on Saturday, we received a phone call from my distraught mother. Her passport had expired.
"What?? How did this happen? You said you needed to check your passport months ago! How could you forget to check your passport?" I might have thought, or even said to my mom. The scrambled search for options began. Option 1: Drive to Houston the day before our flight, meet with the agency, explain her plight, and pray that they would approve the passport renewal that very day, then drive back to Austin that night to prep for a ridiculously early departure time. Option 2: Drive to downtown Austin that Tuesday, meet with a company who claims they can get you a new passport in a couple of days (though it's not guaranteed), pay a huge fee, and pray that the passport arrives in time. She chose option 2.
It was at this point that I thought to ask Jonathan if he had checked his own passport. "Of course I did...I think. Wait. Did I? Did you check yours?"
I had just used my passport in January and knew it wouldn't expire for several more years. But just to make sure, I checked my passport, and he checked his. "We're good," he said. "Mine doesn't expire until October." We breathed a huge sigh of relief, and then another one when my mom's newly renewed passport arrived Thursday. We were back on track...cue the sun-soaking dreams.
The night before our early bird flight, Jonathan and I made an appearance at a good friend's surprise karaoke birthday party. The appearance turned into several hours of epic singing because, really, who can leave after just one song? Besides, beachside naps would more than make up for hours of sleep lost in the service of serenading a friend. A mere three hours after we had shut our eyes, we awoke to the unforgiving sounds of our alarms. Groggy and bleary-eyed, we loaded the kids, the mom, our luggage, and ourselves slightly later than we had hoped, but we were on our way.
Upon arriving at the airport, we realized that our plan to leave early so as to beat the Saturday crowds was a plan favored by a million other people. The lines were ridiculous. While we still had an hour and a half before our departure, we were informed, many times by the yells issuing from the mouth of one airline employ that our luggage had to be checked 45 minutes before the flight or it would not make it to our destination. Panic started to set in the longer we waited in line. Finally, they divided the lines by flight times, and we were able to bypass a whole lot of people whose eyebrows seemed to knit together as we made our way to the front.
Jonathan started checking everybody in while I managed the kids and carry-ons. We were yelled at once again to move all of our stuff to the side. It was then, while I was shifting kids, luggage, a carseat and stroller that Jonathan turned to me and said...
"I can't go."
[The rest of the beach story will come in another post, but I added pics from the vacation so that you won't go crossed eyed from the bombardment of words.