Travel has become a regular, albeit irregular, part of life, but the more routine it becomes the more difficult.
Eric’s family is generally amazing at stepping in to help with the kiddos while I’m away, but in the last month I had two week-long trips instead of my usual one-nighters. For the first, the grandparents were also away so I had to orchestrate early morning care so Eric could still get to work on time, and the one day there was no space his sister-in-law came over early enough to see all of them off to school. He got to be a single parent while I hopped around from airport to airport, logging flights on three different airlines.
This week everything was organized and should have been seamless, but at the last minute my mother-in-law had a minor emergency. Not enough to keep me home, but enough to throw a wrench in things. So each morning a different family member helped out, and apparently the girls never made it to school one day because one had a fever so they both stayed home. Additionally, the dog had an upset stomach and messy illness which kept folks up at night and cleaning out her crate in the morning.
I’m starting to rethink all this. I love my job and don’t mind the travel when it’s not hard on everyone, but when it’s becoming a burden for everyone else I’m wondering if I’m on the right path.
Not to mention I’m burning through suitcases. My long time travel buddy of 15 years had a blowout in the middle of O’Hare. I didn’t understand what was happening as I saw bits of plastic trailing my wake until it started ka-clunking as we went. I dragged my little bag along in noisy shame until I found a seat in an empty gate and proceeded to tear apart the wheels until it was an even smooth hard plastic left that didn’t draw so much attention.
Then as I was walking to the gate for my multiple night trip with my bigger bag, I noticed the wheels on that bag too are starting to split. I don’t know what I’m doing to these poor suitcases to cause the such distress.
This week I ended up doing a lot of walking and on the brief walk back from the restaurant to the hotel, my wedge sandal started clapping as I walked. I was with a co-worker who was new to the company so tried to play it off without drawing attention to my noisy shoe. I did end up having to stop to look at it, but he kept talking and didn’t really notice. When we were within sight of the hotel the bottom half of the wedge literally fell off. I took a step and stumbled as my shoe didn’t come with me. He noticed my issue and chuckled and tried not to be appalled and asked if he should get me an Uber… We really just had to cross the street so I picked up my heel and gimped across the road. He called me hop-a-long and said goodnight once we were in the doors. At that moment another group of colleagues were passing through, noticed my dilemma but called me to come over to the bar to socialize with our VP of Sales. It was the only opportunity I was going to get to voice some concerns I have, so I gamely waltzed over as unnoticeable as possible, set my heel down, placed the shoe part that was still attached to my foot on top, and casually slid my way over to him. He never noticed. I stood there and chatted for a few minutes, then when he, and everyone else, was distracted I calmly reached down, picked up the heel and sauntered over to the elevators to go hide in my room. One of my coworkers who had seen me when I first got back to the hotel said I played it off so well no one noticed.
It was awful and hilarious all at once.
But yeah, I need a break from traveling for a bit. Maybe once I invest in some new shoes and suitcases I’ll be ready to go again.
Prepare yourself for a tale of sleeplessness, anxiety, pain and fear!
OK, maybe not quite that dramatic, but I did learn an incredibly life changing lesson.
Let’s begin with last weekend.
I was sore. Oh so sore. Eric made us start up our workout routine again, and Saturday I did Jillian’s “Killer buns and thighs” for the first time in almost a year. Ugh. Painful. But the best part is the very next day the whole family participated in a high ropes/climbing/zip lining course. Well, Jason/Crystal/Mark, Eric/Lisa and Brad did while Bobbi and grandparents watched all the tots. It was a little stressful because we had to rush out of church and home to change and Eric had to pick up his car from the mechanic and we had to get Aria to Bobbi’s house all while trying madly to get on the road as soon as possible. We didn’t get to eat lunch because we were running late.
So we did that and at first I was just cold and hungry, and sore from working out.. But it ended up being a blast and Bobbi had soup and grilled cheese sandwiches waiting for us when we got home (5 hours later!) which was really nice and welcome.
So Sunday night I put Aria to bed, with many hugs and kisses, then packed for my trip. This time just one night, but the difference this time was a) I was presenting for the first time in about two years, and b) was doing so in front of a customer! Haven’t done that before ever (in this career)! Ok…so no pressure…except what the heck was I going to wear! 🙂
I get all packed, set my alarm for 4:30, and try to go to bed. But Aria starts screaming. I go and hold her and rock her back to sleep, and she falls asleep in my arms. Such a little adorable sleepy one, I was ok with getting a little less sleep in order to hold my baby a little more.
So now when I went to bed I was going to get around 6 hours. But then she woke up again. I sat up in a panic thinking I’d overslept, but it was only 2:30.. She fell back asleep before I could formulate a plan to identify what was wrong with her, so I went back to sleep.
Then again at 3:30… This time she didn’t go back to sleep. I gave her some medicine and held her but she didn’t want to sleep. Instead she stared at me and would occasionally poke my mouth or nose. I held her for a while longer then tried to put her back down, and she just cried. I went and got a bottle and held her a little longer, but around 4:30 I decided I should really get going.
Just before 5:00 I was ready to go, and Aria was still crying. I crawled into her crib with her to see if I could hold her and let her fall back to sleep, but she just wanted to climb on me and play. I gave up and kissed everyone goodbye.
As I drove away at 5:10 and I was feeling pretty good about my time. I was thinking how I’d stop and get coffee and then when I got to the airport I’d get some chocolate covered pretzels for the trip and maybe some breakfast. I glanced at the clock and was calculating in my head what time I’d get to the airport.
It’s 5:15 now, which means I’ll get there around 6:15… wait… why doesn’t that seem right? For a 6:30 flight I have to leave at 5:30 which means get up at 4:30… no wait.. why doesn’t that seem right.
I shook my head, to try to clear the fog. Had I really miscalculated? No, I do this all the time, I can’t have messed up when I leave and when I get there… could I?
Ok, Lisa, so for a flight that leaves at 6:30, you have to BE at the airport at 5:30. Parked. It’s 5:20 now and I just left. Oh my goodness.. what did I do????
I started to panic. I’ve only been working for this new boss for a little while and last time I flew I missed my flight because I overslept (sick child that time also!). It was the first time I had ever missed a flight and it was so stressful. I had managed to get on a later flight and make it on the same day, but there were no meetings on the first day last time. This time was different. This time I was presenting, and the meeting was that afternoon. I HAD to make it, and I also didn’t want this boss to think I couldn’t manage travel. WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME??
My heart was racing, I stepped on the gas and started praying a mantra “please let me make this flight, please let me make this flight.”
My brain was processing my options: if I miss this flight the next flights available wouldn’t get me there until early afternoon.. IF I could get on another flight… I’d have to call and tell my boss and the sales person driving us around would have to pick me up later and then we’d have to hustle to the meeting. The morning spent going over the presentation as a team wouldn’t happen. And oh the costs! We’re supposed to be managing our costs right now and I just blew a plane ticket and would have to buy another, or at least pay some hefty fees.. Would she ever forgive me? Maybe. But really, two missed flights within a few months? Really Lisa???
“Please let me make this flight, please let me make this flight.”
A little ways down the road I had a new thought. God will take care of me. Who woke me up so that I could leave earlier than I had planned? Who made me realize that I was running late so not to stop and get coffee and poke around getting there?
I took a deep breath and said, “God, I know you have a plan. I’m not worried. This will all turn out according to your will and I will just do all that I can to not make any more mistakes.”
A total peace came over me. I was still driving along at the highest speeds I could safely (and mostly-legally) maintain, but I wasn’t worried anymore. If I missed this flight, God would get me on another one. If I wasn’t meant to make it to the meeting, God would have some other plan for me. Why worry? God was in control.
There were a few times along my route that I started to get a little bit nervous, like when it started to rain, but that passed. Then there was a big slow down, but that too was only for a minute then everyone sped back up again.
So for the entire duration I listened to the radio and sang my Klove songs and didn’t fret. I wasn’t in control so what could I really do but to just get to the airport when I got there?
When I got to the parking lot I parked, grabbed my luggage, and ran across the parking lot. It was 5:50. The plane was to board at 6:00, with takeoff at 6:30.. meaning it would already be on the tarmac by that point and no longer accepting passengers.
By this point I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to make this flight, but might as well hurry to the security gates anyway.
I run through the doors, and there in front of me is a line at security that wraps back and forth like an amusement park line, and no one is moving. It’s at least 30 minutes minimum based on past experiences. I glance at the sign that points upstairs for the alternate checkpoint, and it says, “Closed”.
I sigh, resign myself to whatever God has planned, and walk up to the entrance of the line. There’s a TSA agent standing at the entry point. Oh, maybe he’ll wave me through to the pre-check line, which is only about 10 people long, and you don’t have to unpack or take off shoes or anything. It’s like the old school way of traveling where you just walk through the metal detector and continue on your merry way. Oh maybe oh maybe.. but he waves the lady in front of me through to that side. Oh. Well there goes that chance.
I walk up to him and start to head for the long line, and he says, “this way ma’am.”
Really??? Really God? You’re going to let me go through the short line?? Does this mean I’ll get to make my flight??
I’m standing in that line, which is moving quickly, and my heart is racing. I can feel my eyes rolling as my thoughts are flying around, “I have absolutely no business being on time for this flight. Absolutely none. I don’t deserve this.”
I get through, I check my phone for the boarding pass, and there is no gate listed. When I get off the tram thing that takes us to the terminals I rush to the screen that shows flights and gates and whatnot, and it takes me a few minutes to find my flight. It’s 6:10. I finally find that I’m in terminal A and with construction of the main section of the airport, it takes me a while to figure out which way to go and to get over to A. My gate is at the very end. I rush. I hurry. I make myself calm again, “all in God’s hands.”
When I get to my gate they haven’t started boarding yet.
The whole rest of my trip I kept thanking God and telling him I want to share this story with others to give him glory.
I don’t want to give him glory for getting me to my flight on time. I mean I do, but that’s not the lesson I learned. I never ever ever want to test him or try this again. It was much too stressful and I don’t want to experience something so preventable ever again. No, what I learned was that even in an incredibly stressful situation, where it looks bleak and completely impossible, God can give me peace. I can just give everything over to Him and just wait to see what happens, and not worry. This example may not be that impressive in the grand scheme of things, but knowing that when I’m 120% sure that I’ve messed up beyond recovery and will have a lot of people to answer to and am stressed out beyond belief, that He can take all of that away and just fill me with peace and trust, is utterly amazing.
Believe me when I say that this spreads to all aspects of life. Why worry about when or if I’m going to have another baby? God’s plan will be fulfilled whether I actively participate or struggle against Him to do my own will. Why stress about the little things in life, when I know that He is watching and He knows what I endure? He will make all things right, and in the mean time He will give me peace and joy that I could never find or supply on my own. Thank you God. You are truly amazing.
Oh, and just to finish off the story, my flight was on time, the second leg (which I would have missed) was on time, we had the morning discussion over the presentation, were able to go do a store walk so that we had the perspective needed to be able to talk to these folks directly about what we saw in their stores first-hand; the presentation to the buyers was phenomenal with a better-than-expected turnout and lots of questions and praise and lots of requests for follow-ups. My boss and I had shared the presentation, and we both were highly praised from the internal team afterwards.
Then Wednesday when I was back at the office at home, both the Director over the team we had visited with (as well as other teams) and the CCO (head of sales, reports to the CEO) asked how the meeting went. They are literally never in this office.. this was the first time in several months that either was in, and both of them to boot! I was able to tell them all kinds of information because I had been there and didn’t have to shirk with a, “I missed the flight, so I wouldn’t know..” Thank you God. So not only did God let me make the meeting, but he blessed me with doing a good job, and recognition by higher-ups afterwards. I really don’t deserve any of it. I screwed up beyond repair, but he blessed me anyway. I feel like someone in the Old Testament.
I realize that only God can give this kind of peace, but hopefully the next time you’re stressed out you’ll remember my story and just give it all over to God.
Oh, and Lord, please bless that wonderful TSA agent who let me go through the fast line.
Wednesday morning: Lisa and Aria asleep in bed all snuggly.
Eric wakes Lisa up with, “Lisa… You might want to take the baby and leave the room..”
Lisa, all sleepy and unperturbed, “why?…”
Eric, casually, “there’s a bat in here.”
Lisa, now awake, alert, confused, “what!?! …Are you sure? How do you know it’s a bat…?”
There it was, hanging from our black curtains, sound asleep at 7 in the morning as the sun was just beginning its ascent.
As I gathered up my little one and Eric searched for a container we pondered how it had gotten in, how long had it been there, was it even still alive… Eric caught it with minimal effort into a little bug container, and we snapped some pics and marveled at how weird it was that we had a bat in our house.
We took it outside, and I wasn’t brave enough to open the container so Eric let it go and we watched it swoop away. Then Eric went off to work and showed off his pics. We showed lots of people and never thought anything of it – you catch something in your house and take it outside and let it go.. Like the bunny I captured in our garage, or birds found terrified on top of a door looking down at the cat that dragged them in, or the armadillo Kristy and I trapped under the recycling bin in our driveway as kids. It’s what one does. And so that was our exciting event and then it was over and forgotten. I did wash all the curtains on super hot, however.
I kept meaning to share on Facebook but didn’t until Friday.
Saturday: Eric and Lisa kicking butt and getting all kinds of chores done. Aria was strapped to Lisa, and baby hand-offs would occur as needed to maximize efficiency between Eric and Lisa.
Then Lisa checked her phone and saw a notification of a Facebook text message from her aunt Sherry.
Sherry, written in a panicked sort of way, explained that bats in one’s home is not normal, or safe, especially with a baby, and we should check her all over.
To be honest, I thought she was overreacting but started looking online anyway. The first thing I found was how rabies symptoms start off like the flu, and once someone shows symptoms the disease is fatal and all that anyone can do is attempt to make the patient more comfortable and watch as it attacks and destroys their brain.
OK, so how do you know if you’ve been bitten?
The most common type of bat here is the small brown bat, whose teeth are so small and sharp it may be impossible to tell if you’ve been bitten.
“Eric!! Come here for a second please”
I share with Eric all that I’ve just learned and he quietly goes into the study and sits at his computer. He asks me to call our insurance nurse help hotline to ask what we should do, while he makes his own calls.
The nurse recommends some places to call, like animal control to see if rabies is an issue in our area, our pediatrician, our doctor or the emergency room. Everyone was closed except the ER who gives me the number to poison control. The lady there was awesome, she gave me numbers to the city, county and state health departments and advised I contact our on-call pediatrician instead of waiting until Monday. Then throughout the day she called me back to see if I’d gotten the info and help I needed and if not she made more calls. The health departments were all closed with someone just taking messages.. No help and no info to offer me. Actually, the county health department guy read some stuff but basically said I should just try back on Monday – later Eric tells me he found something issued by that same health department from last month about how rabies cases are on the rise in our area.. but that was much later that we learned that.
I called the on-call nurse for our pediatrician practice and she called a doctor and called me back with, “take the baby to Children’s Hospital ER. They’ll advise what you and your husband should do as well.”
We had been told now by poison control, the pediatrician, and the insurance’s nurse hotline (after calling back to see if they could tell if it would be covered, which they couldn’t) that we should be safe and get vaccinated, and after reading TONS of stuff online about rabies, bats, bat bites, and the exorbitant price of rabies shots, finally decided it was probably a good idea.
I was so hesitant because we didn’t know if we’d even been in contact, had no idea how expensive this would be, how it would affect our little baby, plus you hear about people getting bats in their houses with no issue. But one thing we kept reading was that if you wake up to a bat in your room, it’s much more dangerous. Especially with a little one.
So armed with all of our terrifying knowledge we fed the baby, gathered up her stuff, and headed to Children’s.
Surprisingly we were called out of the waiting room very quickly and, after being all checked in, her vitals checked, lots of questions asked, were put into our own room. Found out later they like to get tiny babies, especially those who haven’t had all their shots yet, out of the public areas. Very thoughtful. Also kept hearing about other families who had found bats and just had everyone vaccinated. After hearing that a few times I started to feel a lot better and less nervous. I also learned that a two-week old had had the shots and was OK. An entire family of five had been through it earlier in the week.
Once it was determined that Aria was going to be getting the vaccine they collected Eric’s and my information and said we could/should get them as well at the same time. Aria did pretty well while we waited. She wanted to be held most of the time, but was very alert, curious, and quiet. She refused to sleep, even after we nursed. We were there for over three hours because they were so busy, and also the vaccines take awhile to prepare.
Finally three nurses appeared with apologetic expressions and explained the shots were by weight. Aria would get two, one was the pre-thing, the other the actual vaccine. I got five.. Eric got seven. The majority was the pre-stuff which was super thick and burned.. They kept apologizing as they gave them, and offered to spread them out over our bodies. I got one in each arm, each butt cheek, and one in my leg. And was squeamish the whole time. Eric was a trooper and did all in his arms..same place he’d had his two allergy shots that morning. Way to make me look like a weenie, Eric…
We let Aria go last. Eric asked if we could wait outside, and we both fled. Then I heard my poor precious little baby scream in pain and confusion and broke down in tears. My poor little baby.. Eric held me until they called us back in. Her eyes were sooo red from tears and tiredness as it was now after ten at night.
A little more waiting as they needed to keep us to make sure no one had a bad reaction, then we finally got to go home. At this point Aria was pretty upset and would only angrily suck on her paci if it was dipped in this magical sweet stuff they gave us to put on pacifiers – apparently sucking helps take their mind off of pain.
So now we just have to go back three more times over the next two weeks for the follow-ups, which will only be the less painful vaccine stuff.
Yay for making new family memories. Pretty sure everything was covered, but even if it isn’t, it’s worth whatever price to know we’ll all live.
I’d kinda like to keep this little cutie, who was such a trooper.
Yesterday was the bombing of the Boston Marathon. I had a friend there who was running for Children’s Hospital. Eric called me at 4:30 and said, “did you hear about the bombing?? Call Jen!” which I immediately did, but it went straight to voice mail At the same time emails were flying around from friends we have in common, so I did manage to hear that she was ok.
On my drive home our bible study group leader called me to see if I’d heard from her, and apparently the girls were praying for her.
Today I managed to get a text from her, and she and her family/friends who came to watch or run are all safe and sound.
Unfortunately that’s not the case with so many others; the count of injured and dead is still going up, and the question keeps being asked, “why would someone do this?” as it was asked in other tragedies of late. It’s scary to think of the world that I’m bringing my baby into, but through it all, we always see good come from every circumstance. There are so many more good people than there are evil ones, the devil hasn’t won yet. God manages to make good things come from each of these devastating events. One really bad 30 seconds will occur, followed by hours, days, weeks and even months of loving, giving, compassionate acts from the community. Which gives me hope. I want my daughter to be one of those who loves, gives, shares, and shows compassion during the bad things that will happen during her life.
So on a happier note, God has been blessing me tremendously, which I have done nothing to deserve. At work things are changing and it has turned out to be very good for me. And I got to come to work this morning to cupcakes, which could never in million years be a bad thing. Even if I had to drink sugar stuff for the gestational diabetes exam this morning… followed by a reward of a Starbucks frappaccino because what goes better with sugar than more sugar? (I earned it because I let someone take my blood on my birthday.. I earned it) So yes, I’ve fed on sugar all morning and I’m sure the baby’s going to remind me of it later. Or maybe I’ll just crash at lunch time.
Plus yesterday I took advantage of my free ice cream cone from Marble Slab on my way home, and the guy was super nice and said, “21 again?” to which I replied, “every year!” Strawberry ice cream in a waffle cone.. mmmm. (yup, livin’ on sugar.. won’t my OBGyn be proud!)
And to boot it’s a beautiful day outside and the trees are finally starting to burst into flowers. I love Eric and he loves me, and the baby’s attempts to destroy my insides can’t destroy my mood 🙂 (TMI warning: I try not to make it a habit, and I don’t drink very much when I do drink it, but a little coffee goes a long way in getting your functions moving better. They make such a fuss over drinking coffee when pregnant, which I avoided like the plague during my first trimester because of the increased risk of miscarriage, but now I hear it’s safe to drink once in a while and I love it because it makes life more pleasant.)
Here’s my happy tasty cupcakes from my co-worker Nancy (she meant one for me, one for the baby and one for Eric… I’m thinking three for me..):
Last spring, around this time, I came home from work and pulled into the garage. I went upstairs through the basement and did my normal evening stuff.
For some reason, which I cannot now remember, I later had to go back into the garage.. probably to get something from my car.
As I opened the door from the basement into the garage something furry scurried past my feet and ran behind a ladder propped alongside the wall to my right. I of course, the brave being that I am, immediately decided to inspect.. by screaming, “ERIC!! There’s something FURRY in the garage!!!”
He came flying down the stairs to see what it was, barefoot, because he actually is brave.. or dumb.. And I pointed to the ladder and said, “it went that way!”
He tip-toed over and squatted down and was quiet for a second. Then he said softly, “it’s a baby bunny.” To which I responded in a very high pitched squeal, “a baby bunny!!! I want to see!!!”
He decided I was safe so went back upstairs to whatever he was doing, and I spent the remainder of the evening chasing the bunny around the garage trying to catch it. Every time I had him cornered I would stick out my hand to pick him up, then decide that he would bite me, so I would flinch at the last second and he would scurry off to another safe haven.
I knew he was hungry because part of my luring techniques were to toss him carrots and celery, and while I often couldn’t see him, I could hear nom nom nom.
Finally I got him cornered inside of something, so I blocked the only way out, ran and found a tall container, and then put that so that he would either have to go into that or stay inside.
With the help of some nummies, he hopped into my container, and then I, the proud new owner of a wild baby rabbit, ran upstairs to show Eric. He was soooooooooooo cute. Once he was safely in the container I was more brave and reached in to pet him, which he let me do because he didn’t have much choice (poor thing). And then I decided he needed to be moved to a larger container, so I prepared a large cardboard box, which utterly dwarfed him.
(Look at those widdle ears!! So fuzzy and snuggly)
He had water, carrots, celery and all the room he would ever need. But not really. Eric eventually convinced me that he really needed to be with his mama bunny and that the cats would probably not take too kindly to him.
So I took him into the back yard and said a very long and drawn out farewell. I let him out of his box and he didn’t go very far… it took him nearly ten minutes to gradually hop away under the nearby bushes. I was very sad, because he was the mostest cutest thing everest.
I tell this story because when I was looking for pictures of carrots for the baby’s current fruit/veg size this one showed up and it brought back fond memories of my little cutie pie pet for an evening. I believe I’ve seen him in the backyard a few times since then.. though we have a lot of bunnies so I can’t be too sure if it’s him or one of his multitudes of brothers and sisters and cousins. Pretty soon you’ll read about me cursing them all for eating all my garden before I can harvest anything, but my one little bunny will always be forgiven.