Sunday, December 23, 2012

Winter Vacation: the Good, the Bad, and the Best

We just got home from a short vacation to Oregon. On the first day, we visited with family in Eugene and then crossed over the mountains that night heading to our destination at the Eagle Crest Resort, just north of Bend. We spent the rest of our vacation gallavanting around central Oregon, visiting Redmond, Sunriver, Sisters, and Bend. We came home by way of the Dalles and the beautiful Columbia Gorge, which was a fun (and much less snowy!) drive back toward Washington. It was nice to get away for a few days, and here are some of the highlights of our trip.

Good: Seeing my Grandma, who was recently hospitalized with another bout of pneumonia. She got to open up our Christmas present to her and we got some nice pictures. We also got to see other family members and learned that the next day Grandma was well enough to be released from the hospital. We were so happy to learn she wouldn't be spending Christmas in the hospital!
Bad: Having to make our trip over the mountains with packed snow and ice on the road in the evening when it was pitch black with low visibility due to snow and wind.
Good:  Having new tires with good traction, eliminating the need for putting on chains while driving in snowy conditions.  
Bad: Running over what looked like a pile of snow in the middle of our lane, which was actually a solid chunk of ice that ended up breaking 2 parts under my car.
Good: Roads that were mostly devoid of cars, except for semi trucks, and still being able to drive my car after colliding with the ice block.
Bad: Getting stuck behind semi trucks with their chains on, keeping me from going over 30 MPH for endless miles. Then, due to the low visibility from snow spray off the trucks, running over some tire chains in the road that I couldn’t see until I was on top of them.  
Good: After already going over 30 miles since I collided with the ice, finally hearing a loud rattling sound coming from under my car which indicated that my car was somehow damaged (or possibly dragging the chains I had just run over!) and keeping me from driving further until I knew what was wrong.  
Bad: Needing to find a safe place to pull over in the middle of nowhere with good lighting and a store that was open late at night so we could try to find a way to fix my car.
Imagine this, only on the front of my car underneath between
the wheels, much less sticky, and with a very grumpy hubby
laying on the snowy ground with frozen hands. For more fun
with duct tape, visit the page where this image came from.
Good: Having a husband with ultra long arms that could reach far enough under my car while lying on the snowy ground in 10-degree weather, eliminating the need to dig out our jack and raise the car up to attempt to fix the car with duct tape.
Bad: After using half a roll of duct tape, figuring out that it doesn’t stick in really cold weather. It’s like using damp scotch tape and is essentially useless.

Good: Despite the delays, getting to our hotel safely without the duct tape coming loose. Prayer works!

Bad: Pulling out of our parking space at the hotel the next morning and having the duct tape immediately come loose.
Good: Taping the car back together again, only in 30-degree weather with dry ground in the daylight – a big improvement from the night before! And, finding a dealership with a collision center about 20 minutes away from where we were staying.
Bad: The dealership not having our car’s parts in stock.
Good: After getting the estimate, the repair guys gave us a free temporary fix that could last until we got home if the parts didn't come in before we left town. 
Bad: Having to wait 2 more days to fix our car and spending an unexpected $250. Ouch. 
Good: Not needing to file an insurance claim and knowing that it could have been MUCH worse for us in so many ways. And, the repair only took 30 minutes to complete.
Bad: Both boys coming down with a cold on the first day of our trip and not having any of our cold meds or a thermometer with us to monitor Prince Charming’s fever.
Good: The fact that both boys had great attitudes and dealt with their colds in stride, even while going on short day trips around central Oregon.
Bad: Having to maintain a gluten-free diet while away from home.
Good: Getting a room with a kitchen and being able to find gluten-free dining options wherever we went, thanks to Oregon’s “crunchy” personality and a free, helpful GF dining app on my phone.   
The Old Mill District, Bend, OR
Bad: Forgetting to bring melatonin for the boys to help them sleep due to the change in environment, and then needing to tediously monitor them while they went to sleep each night – a 2 hour process involving arguments between the boys and tears each night.
Good: Experiencing the quiet and calm of the small towns we were in, and realizing that shopping in cute little downtown shops was much more relaxed than what we might have experienced at home in the retail rush before Christmas.
Good: Finding eclectic treasures in quaint stores – some for our house, some for our taste buds, and a few Christmas presents mixed in for fun.

Good: Riding in a wagon pulled by a pair of Clydesdale horses while viewing the Christmas light display at our resort on a cold and crisp night.
The Superintendent took this picture!
Good: While on our wagon ride, discovering that I was sitting next to the Superintendent of Public Schools in the town we were staying in, and getting to talk with him about autism and services for special needs children in schools.

Good: For the first time ever while on vacation, not having a bathroom emergency with one or both of the boys!
Good: Surviving the end of the Mayan Calendar!
Good: Getting a reprieve from the sadness of recent events in our nation – in Connecticut and elsewhere.
Good: Watching The Polar Express in our hotel room while all cuddled on the couch together on a cold, snowy night.
Hanging out in our hotel room on a sunny, lazy morning.
Prince Charming was acting like a meerkat,
popping up from behind the couch cushions.
Good: Achieving a balance of seeing things and having fun while on vacation, but also building in some down time for relaxation.
Good: Except for the matter of the boys not feeling well and not having melatonin at night, they both had good attitudes almost the entire trip, including full days of driving both to and from our destination. A true holiday miracle!
Good: Driving home on a different route that was much less-traveled, fun to drive, and completely clear of bad weather.
Good: Avoiding a ticket by the skin of my teeth! A guy in a Prius was following me at my fast rate of speed and quickly got irritated when I suddenly slowed down after seeing a cop. I watched the cop pass me in the oncoming lane, take notice of my excessive speed, suddenly flip a U-turn in the middle of the highway, and pull in 3 cars behind me. The Prius somehow didn’t see it happen and quickly passed me out of his frustration at my reduced speed. He was pulled over less than 10 seconds later. Not getting a ticket when it was intended for me = best Christmas present ever.
BEST: Coming home to a clean house, our own comfy beds, and a huge bottle of melatonin.          

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