Tuesday, October 14, 2008

How to Have an Unforgettable Weekend

Start by getting ready on Saturday morning for an overnight trip for which you are leaving on...Saturday morning. Laugh while racing around the house getting things ready when you think back on all the times people have said, "Oh, you must really have the packing-for-the-weekend thing down." Falser words were never (or rarely) spoken.

Finally leave the house only one and half hours later than you had originally intended.

Realize when you are almost out of town that you left the "food bag" with the sandwiches and drinks on the floor in the hall. Be very mad at self for forgetting. Drive back to get the food bag.

When your husband comes back to the car with the bag, be terrified to learn that you had left the iron on. Oh My Gosh (that's a verb) for 10 minutes. Realize that you were obviously inspired to leave the food bag at home, and wonder why you weren't just inspired to turn the iron off before leaving with the food bag, instead.

Prepare your talk for the meeting on the drive. (This will be significantly easier if you did a mini-prep in your head while washing dishes the night before)

Because you are conducting this meeting, in the five minutes before it starts, try to choose hymns that are appropriate to the subject of the meeting. This will require searching through many titles, and determining whether or not there is something in each song about the subject, using either your memory, or your extremely slow skimming through Polish skills. In the same five minutes meet and greet a dozen sisters who you love and haven't seen for a while and would like to have an actual conversation with instead of glancing up from a hymn book to say "Oh!! Hello! I'm SO glad to see you, even if it looks like I'm much more glad to see this hymn book!" Realize that sometimes 5 minutes isn't quite enough time in which to choose two hymns.

While giving the talk (in Polish) realize that you were wrong in the past to be slightly annoyed with people who nod their heads throughout a talk or lesson. Feel very grateful that most of the sisters listening to your talk nod their heads periodically throughout. Suppress the nagging feeling that those nods might just imply, "Yes, we heard the part about 'the closer we draw to our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, the easier it will be for us to love and forgive each other and be closer as sisters in Relief Society.' " because you are very much aware of the fact that you said that sentence, or a very similar one at least 4 or 5 times. Instead, tell yourself that they're assuring you that they understand your Polish and agree with what you're saying.

When you get to the hotel learn that because they are booked, besides the double bed (which, you'll remember, you and your husband don't share with kids) there is only a little fold out bed with a small blanket and pillow plus one other blanket. As in NO CRIB. Act bewildered/frustrated (because you feel that way) and tell your husband that you think it's a terrific idea for him to figure out how to make it all work. Once he comes up with a plan, point out it's weaknesses and make a few minor changes to it and one major one. Wonder why he puts up with you.

After sleeping for 1 1/2 hours waken to the screaming of the baby who has not only slid off the bed, but ended up under the chair you put against the bed to prevent that from happening. As you try to extract him in the dark realize that, while his body is under the chair, his head is trying to get under there with the rest of him, but can't get past the bar that goes across the legs of the chair. When your husband wakes to help you rescue the wailing child, and starts lifting the chair, scream at him (over the baby noise) NOT TO LIFT THE CHAIR because baby's head is stuck in there funny. Finally, through teamwork, release the child, and hug and rock him until the whimpering stops. Lay him back down and rethink your safety measures.

Don't fall back to sleep for 2 hours because there are some extremely loud guys standing outside.

20 minutes after you finally do fall back to sleep, waken again and realize that you have to get rid of the stupid bed the baby's on and just put the thin mattress on the floor. Learn that this is MUCH harder than it seemed at the time the idea popped into your head, as the mattress is connected with some funky hooks. Work up a sweat, but finally succeed and be grateful the baby is safe.

Don't really fall back to sleep until an hour before your alarm will go off. Wake up again 15 minutes before alarm time because of the noisy neighbors. Get out of bed and try to open your dry puffy eyes. Realize that you got less than 3 hours of sleep, all broken up. Fear for your ability to stay awake/not explode at the children during a 3 hour meeting.

Learn at checkout, that The Soccer Game last night (a BIG one) took place in the very town you're in, hence the noise (the non-baby related noise) all night long.

Survive and enjoy the meeting and finally head home through the autumnal beauty that is the Polish countryside. Wonder how your husband stays awake the whole drive.

Be grateful that the items listed above are not the only things you remember from the weekend because you heard some amazing words and music, and are on the road to an improved life because of them (you really are! Er, I actually am!! We had a terrific District Conference, and between that and the General Conference talks we listened to on the drive, I'm a new person. This is the part of the post in which I am being serious.)


Heather of the EO said...

Oh my. Oh no.

We had that hotel without a crib experience once too. Ryan finally had to go drive Miles around until he fell asleep because he WOULD NOT stay in a bed that wasn't cage-like. Then he was up at the wee hours, all proud that he could just simply get up and walk around. FUN.

But your baby getting all stuck, that was WORSE. I do have to admit that picturing the whole thing is giving me lots of giggles. Especially the stupid hook bed part. And sweating. Sorry, but it's real funny.

I'm so glad that you still were able to learn and grow amidst the chaos!

Melanie J said...

I think twice already baby G has been roundly cursed (with the non-swear word variety of curse) for waking us up in the middle of the night, only to discover that he had gotten somehow stuck in his crib bars or whatnot and was actually experiencing a great deal of discomfort/anxiety. And then I felt like the worst mommy ever and was very glad that babies forgive and forget anything if you cuddle them and sing to them for a while!

Anonymous said...

There's a reason why we never travel. Unless it's near the home of someone we know, and never, EVER, stay in a hotel. I think we've stayed in a hotel (with kids) maybe twice in our married life. You deserve a medal for that kind of endurance!

Becky said...

I'm so glad you're still with us!

"...tell your husband that you think it's a terrific idea for him to figure out how to make it all work. Once he comes up with a plan, point out its weaknesses and make a few minor changes to it and one major one. Wonder why he puts up with you."

This is the story of my life. Once my husband came up with an idea, and all I said was, "great idea, honey." He threw his hands in the air and yelled, "Finally, a good idea!"

Does that make me the world's worst wife?

Anne said...

good to know it's not only me! The only time I've ever packed on time with low stress was for our anniversary trip to vegas. NO KIDS and not too far away. Just ditch the kids next time. ;D

Kazzy said...

But your experience as a church member in Poland is such an important one to you and the women you are in contact with. Great lady! Great post!

Erin said...

I am so impressed that you spoke in Polish and off the cuff like that. I have been stressing a bit about having to be the "keynote speaker" at YW in Excellence. Now I realize it shouldn't be a big deal since I get to speak in my native tongue.

And you are so right that packing never gets easier. There are always so many little things to forget.

Kristina P. said...

Thanks for the nice comment! I'm glad I could get you back in touch with Snider. He still does weekly columns on his website. He's the only movie reviewer I read!

How long have you lived in Poland?

I am adding you to my Reader! I will be back!

Jo said...

Wow! Now that was a very memorable weekend. And well told too. Thanks for the comment on my blog. What in the world are you doing in Poland?

LaDawn said...

Oh my! And I thought I had a bad weekend.
Living in Poland must be an amazing experience.
(I found you on Mormon Mommy blogs)

Me plus 3 Hecks said...

Thank you for validating my rule: Never iron. :)

Susan said...

The ONLY time I got my packing down to only 1 1/2 hours later than planned was this last summer when we lived in temporary housing far away from home and so already had suitcases at the ready, toiletries at the ready, only a few clothes to even choose from, etc.!
Your taking more than 5 minutes to choose 2 songs is the story of my life. I ALWAYS take WAY longer than a) I plan for and 2) [sic] any normal person could possibly stretch the activity.
As for Hotel living, there's really no good solution other than having separate bedrooms within a suite, and always having plenty of room to bring your own port-a-crib?

Anonymous said...

this story is so very very familiar!!! things like this happen to me, too!

KC said...

Ah, the "I have to make this experience funny or I might haul off and hit someone" post. I'm sure it will make a great memory!

Alison Wonderland said...

I'm sorry things went so badly and so glad things ended up ok. I'm refusing to be a downer and tell you how many kids we've seen at the hospital who got their heads stuck like that, just don't let it happen again. Seriously. Your still my hero.

McEwens said...

First off I am SO grateful you went back and discovered the iron was on!!!

I cant even imagine trying to talk in polish. I admire you!

I hope you finally got a great nights rest!!!!!

JustRandi said...

...wonder why you weren't just inspired to turn the iron off before leaving with the food bag, instead...

Still laughing about this one. I wonder these things All The Time!!

*MARY* said...

I was so confused, why would you being giving a talk in Polish, then I saw that you live in Poland. I get it now, they must speak Polish there.

*MARY* said...

I was so confused, why would you being giving a talk in Polish, then I saw that you live in Poland. I get it now, they must speak Polish there.

Brillig said...

Um, wow. Like, wowzers. What a lot all packed into such a little time.

And here I've been such a whiner when I had to drive to church a whole fifteen minutes away...

Heidi Ashworth said...

Wow! Talk about commitment! I am willing to go through way less just to catch stake conference which is, admittedly, a 40 minute drive away because our stake goes up to the temple instead of having stake conference at the stake center which is, I guess, too common for them, especially since the parking lot up at the temple/interstake center is too small and so people have to carpool and park far away and take buses to the interstake center when we all could have just gone to our own stake center a few miles away instead. So, anyway, I admire you for going through all of that.

charrette said...

So stressful...and I've made every one of these scatterbrained blunders...more than once. If I delight in your adventures, it's that I've found common ground.

One thing I've learned over the years though -- Best make-shift crib in the world is a bureau drawer pulled out, with a spare pillow and blankie inside. Remember that for next time!

Marivic_Little GrumpyAngel said...

Wow, the things you go through to attend a meeting...you make me feel guilty for contemplating not going to stake conference this weekend because we always end up in the cultural hall and it's annoying. Thanks for the great example.

So impressive that you speak Polish. The Polish countryside must be beautiful Please post photos of your drive if you ahve not already.

I had a similar hotel experience. We were driving through Las Vegas on a weekend (when they are BUSY!) and the hotel ran out of cribs. Our son was a baby, and during the night rolled out of bed and fell to the floor with a thud. It was awful :-(