Monday, June 4, 2012

Getting Ready For A Road Trip....I Hope!!!

Yep, it is road trip season again.  The kids are almost out of school, the plans are made, the packing will begin soon but there are a few unexpected hurdles.  So....where are we headed you ask and what kind of hurdles am I talking about????

This year's road trip in less than two weeks takes us to the sunny land of California.  We will fly there, rent a vehicle and begin the adventure.  Our road trips usually entail a large amount of research, but this year I decided to bring along a knowledgeable guide.  My brother, fondly known as "Uncle Dave" will be accompanying us on this journey.  Dave lived in California and knows the "go to" places.  But even with a guide I still had to plan out the trip.  I have to take into account Sam's needs which include a pool and hot tub for continued hip therapy, a house setting because that is what Sam is most comfortable in, somewhat handicap accessible since Sam is using both a wheelchair and a walker and preferably a sleeping arrangement on the ground floor in case he is unable to make it up the stairs.  Then I have two teenagers who love their privacy so they can talk and sing loudly, laugh uncontrollably and play their music loud and at all hours of the day/night.  They would also like to see mountains as well as beaches, really cool nature spots, good shopping, good cook out potential with a fire pit if possible.  My needs are simple I want to get away, enjoy my kids and forget all my concerns and troubles as I take in God's beautiful creation.  Oh yeah and my husband Jeff would like me to keep the cost reasonable so that we can stay married and living in our home.  Well...that shouldn't be hard to find right???

First I asked my brother where the "go to" places he felt we needed to see were located.  He mentioned King's Canyon, Yosemite National Park, Pismo Beach, Big Sur, San Francisco and a few more.  Finding a good airfare for 5 of us seemed to be a challenge.  I decided to take a try at Priceline and enter a ticket price that was more reasonable.  I put in a roundtrip ticket from Milwaukee to San Francisco for $200.00, they countered with a $218.00 airfare from Delta and I jumped at it.  Airfare done!!!  Then I jump on some of my favorite rental home search sites, Vacation Rental By Owner and Home Away.  After mapping out the "go to" places I felt Monterey would be our best bet for a rental home.  But finding the right home with all our needs and wants was proving to be a challenge.

And then very late at night I saw a listing on VRBO for a "Private Carmel Valley Cottage on 20 Acres With A Pool and Hottub".  The description for the 4 bedroom house read:  Nestled in the rolling hills and hidden between famous vineyards, we invite you to enjoy our very private, rustic, relaxing country home. Our home is perched high on 20 acres of oak trees and lupine filled meadows overlooking the beautiful Cachagua Valley.  Perfect for a family on holiday, weekend getaways or as a romantic retreat; use our Rose Cottage as a place to recharge or as a home base for exploring local vineyards, Big Sur, Carmel by the Sea, and Monterey.  The main house is two story with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, living and dining area wood stove, full laundry area and lots of deck. The adjoining apartment holds 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom with TV for DVD and video games. Both are fully furnished.  Quickly I checked the availability calendar and it was available for our dates so then I checked the price with Jeff since I value my marriage and really like my home and after showing him much higher priced comparables...he agreed. I was thrilled to see the pictures of the pool, hot tub, outdoor decks and fire pit.  Two bedrooms in the main house and one was located on the main level.  The attached apartment had two more bedrooms and was perfectly private for two teenagers who love to watch horror movies into the wee hours of the morning.  The pool and hot tub are on decks that will accommodate Sam's walker.  Yep, this is the place!!!  My communication with the owner has been wonderful and she has been overly helpful.

Okay, flights and house...check!  With my bonus points from my credit card I was able to book our mini-van for the week...check, check and check!  Now for most travelers that would be the majority of the planning but Sam isn't like most travelers.  After talking with Delta Airlines I will need to get a card from Sam's surgeon or be able to show Sam's scar to alert airline security to the metal hardware he has in his thigh and hip.  They will allow me to check both Sam's wheelchair and walker at the gate of the airplane. I will need to mark items in Sam's luggage to let security know that the grocery items, vitamin packets and chilled vile and syringes are needed for a child with special needs. I will also need to pack Sam's 4 handle transfer sling to assist moving him across a beach or anywhere that a wheelchair is not feasible.  Sam will need extra time entering and exiting the air craft. I will need to pack healthy, organic snacks for Sam along with his Ipad, audio adapter for the hearing aid and some of Brother Ben's favorite magazines about rebuilding Broncos, dirt bikes or 4-wheelers.  Along with Sam's 32 vitamin per day packs which include morning and evening I will also need to pack his inhalers, expansion chamber, oral steroid, Tylenol, Roxicet and Acapella.  Oh yeah...and I should bring clothes, swim suits and dive toys for the pool. I always locate the closest hospital and medical facility to the house we are staying at in hopes that if I do this step we will not have to use it.  I also try to locate grocery stores and restaurants that will accommodate his gluten free, dairy free, PH diet requirements.  Another important thing to pack is "my bucket load of patience".  Sam reads and senses my mood, facial expressions, frustration and I need to approach travelling with him, dealing with the airlines, security and everything that comes with a trip like this with a calm, confident, reassuring demeanor which I only achieve with prayer and my "bucket load of patience".  Sam has had many opportunities to train me well considering the many medical emergencies and surgery rehabs we have worked our way through.  In order to make all this happen I will begin staging my packing over the next week.  This allows me to consider the day to day items I use with Sam and remember to pack them appropriately along with remembering to keep within Delta's bag restriction of less than 50 lbs. and not to exceed 62" when you total the length+width+height.

Oh yeah and then I have to pack for myself and assist a teenager.  And yet...I can't wait for our vacation adventure.  I love these trips, I love taking Sam and the girls to places they have never seen. I have learned that even with all the planning in the world...we will still need to fly by the seat of our pants.  You can't predict everything but how you react when your van breaks down, your flight is delayed, you can't find your mountain home or what makes or breaks the trip.  These are all teaching experiences and we have a bucket load of fun.

So, now about those hurdles???  I'm not sure if Sam overdid it during the weekend but today was a really bad day.  He crawled more than he stood, he requested his wheelchair more than his walker, he had a minor melt down after therapy in the pool which included a screech and sobbing and the breaking of my heart into little pieces again.  When we got home he stayed in bed the whole time except to say "Hi" to Dad when he came home.  I gave him Tylenol and he was asleep for the night at 7:00 p.m.  This is what a really bad day looks like for Sam.

This week I need to get Sam through a dental appointment tomorrow at Children's and his ortho appointment on Friday.  On Friday we will take a look at his x-ray and see if he is making progress, has no change or has an additional issue.  I ask for your continued prayers that Sam's hip is healing, that we see white fluffy stuff on that x-ray, that there are no further problems and that he wins this battle with Perthes and regains his mobility.  This little guy has been through so much in his 11 years of life.  No matter what...he will enjoy his vacation and I will enjoy watching his joy!!

On Thursday Danielle returns to the Eye Institute to check on her tear duct surgery and give her the go ahead for going swimming and enjoying our vacation.

We continue to pray, support and enjoy our time with Jeff's dad who is battling colon cancer.  Jay is an amazing person who has a positive fighting attitude and a strong love for his family and friends.  He has had some very serious setbacks and I truly hope that things begin to turn around and look positive. I believe in miracles and I'm currently requesting a few.

Yesterday Jeff's mom fell and broke her ankle.  You know how people always tell you that God only gives you what you can handle...I think He has to stop testing us.  Diana will not need surgery but she will not be able to drive for 6 weeks and will need to stay off of her foot due to her osteoporosis.  I ask that you keep both of Jeff's parents and Jeff and his sisters in your thoughts and prayers.  They are a remarkable family that is pulling together to support, encourage each other and enjoy their time together.

All of these things weigh heavily on my heart...but I have to give the worry, anxiety and struggles to God.  I pray that he heals, that he comforts, that he strengthens and that he guides me each and every day.  Good Night everyone!!

1 comment:

  1. You have my thoughts and prayers!