Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Seattle: The Vacation That Wasn't

If you can’t handle some venting, imagine tears brimming in my eyes, and just skip down to the disclaimer, and read to the end from there.

Also: This post is likely to be heavily redacted within 48 hours. 

Also known as A Vacation In Four Parts: (1) [REDACTED]; (2) Most Of My MIL’s Friends Are Absolute Dingbats; (3) Weddings Never Count As Vacations; and (4) I Am Never Moving To The Pacific Northwest.

That should pretty much sum up my vacation, but in case you weren’t sure, let me just offer you this mental image: toddler puke, down my shirt, into my bra, in my hair, in MY EAR.

Part 1: [REDACTED] Lis stuff ed her face with watermelon and resulted in some of the most disgusting toddler puke I have ever been witness to. Watermelon puke. Ew.


Part 2: Most Of My MIL’s Friends Are Absolute Dingbats. D is a chain smoker who orders his wife to get him plates of food, and when his wife obeys, he gives Vor a smug look and actually says, “There. See? Learn anything from that?” Vor, wonderful man that he is, responds, “Yeah. That you don’t like sex.” (I LOVE HIM SO MUCH). L is a whiner who revels in being the helpless female. She wants so very much for Lis to love her, that as soon as she sees Lis, she gets in Lis’s face and starts demanding hugs and kisses. Lis responds typically by hitting her or running away, and then L is all weepy and injured. I couldn’t care less. J argues over every.single.dime he spends and whines about the cost of everything. If I had thrown a dollar into Puget Sound off the ferry, he would have jumped overboard to get it. C is an okay guy, but he lets the door slam in my MIL’s face, which bugs the crap out of me. Hold the door for her, dude! You’re dating her! Plus, he has zero experience with kids (not the problem), so when Lis got whinny, as toddlers do, he would mimic her crying and whining (THAT’S the problem). B? She’s really nice and chill. I like her.

Part 3: Weddings Never Count As Vacations. Especially when you or your immediate family members are in the wedding party. In this case, Lis was the flower girl, and Vor was the…man of honor? Best man? Dunno how to say that. His twin sister was the bride, and she was his woman of honor or best woman or whatever, and now, vice versa. So, Vir had lots of set up and duties and parties and obligations and Things To Do, and I…was on toddler patrol. All the time. So I was either chasing Lis in decidedly non-toddler friendly places or I was stuck at home while she slept. We (I) did ONE half day sight-seeing thing of the entire 8 days we were there. Every other time, Vor was busy and I was on Lis duty.

Part 4: I Am Never Moving To The Pacific Northwest. Look, I like rain and clouds. I am a definite sun avoider. But geez, it can be really miserable out there. It’s not just cloudy and rainy, it’s positively dreary. This actually was not a problem for me, but Vor’s moods are definitely affected by sunshine, and he was a grouch. He even admitted he was being grouchy, and then plaintively said, “I just want some sunshine.” Me too, buddy.

I cannot handle the level of hippiness out there. At one house where we had local family, she was getting some trees trimmed, and her neighbors started telling her that she was killing the threes and they could hear the trees screaming. They freaking took pictures to document it. Apparently, you have to have a permit to even trim your freaking trees out there (which she did), but her neighbors decided to report her anyway, for tree cruelty. She barely had them trimmed!  Another dude was pissed that there were signs pointing the way to the rehearsal dinner from the place we had to park to the house. He was walking around, ripping them off. He was grumbling about wasted paper and killing trees and the environment. There were like two signs. That’s it. Vor and I try to be conscious about things, but this just felt like a whole new level.

I can’t stand the “parenting” I encountered either. I took Lis one rainy day to the kids’ museum on Bainbridge Island, and I have never encountered such incredibly rude and manner-less children, and the same type of parents. I take Lis all the time to the zoo and to playgrounds and to the Children’s Museum here, so it’s not like I’m a newbie and didn’t know what to expect. These parents just stood around, talking, drinking their hippie coffee, while their kids (older kids, mind you, old enough to know better) cut other kids off, skipped ahead in line, shoved Lis down repeatedly, snatched toys out of her hands, etc. It wasn’t just at the museum, either. They were all like this, every parent and child I encountered on the island, at playgrounds, at parks, at the museum. I got incredibly pissed at the museum when a 5 or 6 year old shoved Lis off a stool so that she could cut ahead of Lis and take her turn, and I turned to her parent and said, “You should watch your kid so she doesn’t shove mine off the stool AGAIN.” The parent got a snooty look on her face and said, “I believe in free range parenting, not helicopter parenting.” I almost cut a bitch. It’s not helicopter parenting when I’m trying to prevent a mass of the most unruly children I’ve ever met from injuring my much younger, much smaller child, bitch.

So! Weather, over hippied people, terrible entitled children who are being “free-range” parented. No, thank you.

DISCLAIMER: I love my family. I am especially indebted to my MIL, who is the most awesome grandma Lis could have, and a second mother to me. The wedding was beautiful, and was one of the best days there. I had a great anniversary dinner with Vor (six years!) and we danced to our song at the wedding, which was the same day as our own anniversary. The puke only lasted for 24 hours. I’m sure there are plenty of nice people and children on Bainbridge Island (CP, I’m looking at you!) and in Seattle. I know the PNW is rainy and it’s really beautiful when it’s not rainy.

It’s just the combination of all this that made for a non-relaxing, pretty close to awful vacation, and I am so glad to be in office today that I cried with relief. I needed a break, and I didn’t get one. I am so burned out right now. I know Vor needed a break, but he ended up being so stressed that it was exponentially multiplying my own stress.

As a bonus bright side, Vor and I agreed that the next vacation will be a real vacation: We will go someplace with amazing weather and tons of sun; we will stay in a place with our own space; we will keep Lis with us and not allow other people to interrupt her schedule; if we want time on our own, we will hire a local sitter; we will have no major to-do list or vacation agenda. It’s just that this dream vacation won’t be happening for a long time.


Anonymous said...

I am not a native PNW-er, but live here now, and many of the things you point out drive me crazy too. I work at the most hippie of law schools and sometimes I drive my SUV to work instead of my sedan...just because. :)

Frenchie said...

B and I make that same vow every time we come home from a wedding/vacation. Sunshine, no agenda, and a place for Mia to have fun and not be on her best behavior. This vacation is also not happening for many years...

Grace said...

I forgot--the other requirement is NO TIME ZONE CHANGES. It's killing us.

Grace said...

I would drive that SUV everywhere if I lived there. Just because.

RG said...

I lived in England for a year, and it was the dreariness that I couldn't take. I'm with Vor. It shocked me how much the weather affected my well-being. I felt suffocated by clouds. Clouds! Heaven's sake, but the feelings were real.

Also, my MIL does the same follow-and-clean routine. Also the MIL and FIL both demand that one toy be taken out at a time, and that it be cleaned up before another item can be taken out. No toy mixing. I'm like - for real? I can see cleaning up at the end of the day, but they can only have one thing at a time? This is not how kids play! Stresses me out.

Grace said...

She's not normally like that, but I think the wedding was stressing her out (mother of the bride and all) and cleaning was something she could control. Kind of. As much as you can with a toddler.

Ugh, one toy at a time HAHAHAHA that's so cute.

CM said...

OMG. So bad.

Ted loves reminiscing about the time he watermelon-puked all over me. "I threw up at school, Mommy! And then I came home and threw up some more! And then I threw up all over YOU!"

That was bad enough. But combined with the time zone change, the wedding, the annoying friends/relatives/strangers, the grumpiness... it all just sounds awful.

Grace said...

I almost cried when I got to my office. I was so happy. It was not my favorite week. But! Some fun was had.

Anonymous said...

Living in the PNW, I know which week you were here by your description of the weather. Yes, the weather is dreary a lot of the time, but we do have beautiful summers (and you came at the one week in the summer that was not so beautiful). As an aside, I actually liked that week because the week before we had had temperatures in the mid to upper 80's, and it wasn't cooling off as much at night. So that week you were here and it was dreary, those of who live here were actually welcoming a break from the heat (which is back again). I also write to say that while yes, we have more than our fair share of hippies, you were on Bainbridge Island. My neighborhood is overrun with hipsters, but believe me, we hacked our backyard tree without a peep from anyone (and the city absolutely mutilated a tree outside our house to keep it out of the wires, and no complaints about that here). Bainbridge is not representative of Seattle behavior as a whole. That said, sorry you had such a rough time, and I hope you get a break soon.

Grace said...

Oh, I know that. Hence, the disclaimer. This was really just about a confluence of things.

Dinei said...

Oh, that's so rough. I've been there, too, and I'm sorry you didn't get the break you needed. Maybe some place like the cottages at Chautauqua for a long weekend? I put my family up there for a long weekend once and it was amazing. Super cute, stocked, and on good hiking trails as well as very close to downtown Boulder.

I hope you get your vacation, and that the awful free range mom gets hemp milk puke down her shirt.

CP said...

But...but...but...ourweather was AMAZING while you were here! at least that's how I remember last week. but also, I love they grey and the drizzle and the clouds so i am totally biased (plus it keeps it gorgeous up here). I'm sorry you had a bad experience. Bainbrisge is snobville. please dont judge us all by the people on bainbridge! I live in a much more Blue collar, down to earth city. Also so sorry I never for to meet up with you. it was such a horrible week (i'm about an hour away and got off work late each night).

I'm totally biased, I get that, but after seeing muxh of America, I seriously think the PNW is the best there is. I hope you can experience it in a better light someday.

Grace said...

Yeah, that sounds infinitely more relaxing. I know many parents who use free range ideas, and they're great! I just seem to have run into a subset that was more about being able to ignore their child and do whatever they wanted rather than let the child learn through common normal experiences.

Grace said...

The lack of toddler puke would help!!

Like I said, I'm actually totally cool with clouds and rain. Vor is a total sunshine needer, so it was rough on him. I don't judge everyone by the handful I encountered of course :)

I know! Bummer we couldn't meet up! I knew that you were swamped with the trial though, so I didn't want to push it. Besides: toddler puke. Didn't want to pass on the love.

qH said...

I would live in Bainbridge Island in a heartbeat, but my only experience staying there was in someone's guesthouse. A real guesthouse half the size of the condo! Who knows how many permits that took?!

(Those hippies? Those were the parents in pH's Waldorf kindergarten. I got in trouble for: plastic baggies, reusable (and awesome) BPA-free plastic containers, and so many other things. Yes, there was one parent who carted her five children to school in a cargo bike.

I was so glad to leave that place.

In PDX, when I was attending the school PYY works at, I had classmate yelled at for using too many paper towels and another yelled at for wearing leather shoes. The last time I was there, paper towels littered the floor in the bathroom and I just could't help feeling smug. I drove a (small) SUV when I was there, but there were a lot of classmates who did, too. I suppose they made up for it by doing ivy pulls in the forest.

At OMSI, I am a MF Nazi. I call out kids (I have a good role model: a friend used to grab an obnoxious kid's hand and yell, "Who does this belong to?"), kick them out of places (as if I have the authority, but it's amazing how having a presence in court can translate to having a presence in a large group of unruly children) and if they go near my child it is ON. Of all of our routine destinations, the behavior is the worst there (mostly because of school groups and the facts grandparents take a group of five or more kids--don't say no--and then let them loose.)

So if anyone sees a petite woman being escorted off OMSI presence, it might be me.

qH said...

*Premises. And ignore the lack of close parens.

Also, going east in time zones never kills me, but going west messes with my head in a major way.

Anonymous said...

It's me, the August 19, 10 p.m. "anonymous" again. I was listening to my local NPR station at work this morning, and heard this story. It made me snort and think of your recent experience.

Grace said...

I am the total opposite! Weird. Am still tired today.

Grace said...

Haaaaa oh God. I could totally see that.