Published: January 8th 2012December 23rd 2011
thought it was FUNNY that I turned green when you ordered those burgers, didn't you?
In order to get to the Ireland part of this blog I have to take everyone backwards a few days in order to fully appreciate the circumstances of our trip. I have had dysentary in Nepal, food poisoning in Costa Rica, a contaminated lassi in Thailand, and too much crappy wine in Morocco, all of which make one feel pretty awful. What could be safer than a trip to Ireland?
Getting to Ireland meant a Christmas visit to New York where my mom and her husband had bravely volunteered to watch my two kids and my brother's daughter for the week while we went wandering. The first step was getting to New York.
It started out with low expectations and downright dread, a red-eye flight with a three year old who, during her best moments, still acts quite like a 3 year old. Needless to say, we braced ourselves for the worst. Arriving at 6pm with plenty of time to hang out at Durango’s airport we handed over our big suitcase along with $25 to ensure its safe handling to Syracuse, because the airline tickets we paid through the nose for no longer included that luxury, of course. I
Todd ventures out for a brave morning look at Kilkenny
could almost taste the foreshadowing of having to pay for a service not rendered.
Things rapidly went downhill.
First the weight and balance computer broke in Denver, stranding our little plane up there. Our original departure time of 745pm was out the window - 745 came and went with the plane still in Denver. At about the same time that Maisy’s stomach starts hurting they announce the good news that the computer is fixed.
Sadly there is now no crew for the plane.
We had thought that a 3-hour 9pm-midnight layover in Denver was going to be painful; at that point we were wondering if we were going to see Denver.
Then Maisy puked. Hurled.
We held on to a little bit of hope that it was a one-time event but that faded when she puked again 20 minutes later.
Now we were starting to be up against the clock. Oh, and had an 8-year-old that was white as a sheet and pretty miserable. They finally found a crew for the plane, but now that hours had gone by, if the flight didn’t leave Durango by 10, we weren’t making our midnight
flight. It left at 10:05.
Maisy puked two more times on the plane. We get to Denver and the plane lands in the hardest landing I’ve ever had in a plane with two working engines (yes, I have been in a plane with only one engine functioning…my list of travel misadventures could fill a book). The pilot must have been depth-perception and instrument-reading impaired because I think he thought there was still another 1000’ of air. I can’t believe the tires and landing gear didn’t completely disintegrate.
With compacted vertebrae and a little sprinting we thought that we might just make it to the Newark flight. Maisy makes it all the way into the building before puking again…I send Todd and Addy ahead to try and get them to hold the plane for us. We wrap up the puking quickly (this kid is a champ) and start running for the plane. Poor dehydrated Maisy stops at every drinking fountain on the way. There are 47 drinking fountains.
Finally we get to the gate, apparently the only plane left in the entire airport; the place was completely deserted. I kept looking over my shoulder for the Langoliers. We
were the last ones on and took up residence in the very last seats back by the bathroom. Ironically we didn’t need the bathroom because Maisy reached the row of seats first and sprayed her attempts at rehydration like the Bellagio fountain.
You know those airplane blankets? They get used for interesting things. Now covered in a variety of vomits, we settle in, a kid on either side of me, barf bags at the ready. After a few more puking events, both kids sleep hard the whole way to Newark. It is 330am mountain time when I have to wake the kids up again. On leaving the plane, half-awake Maisy erupts one last time as Todd scrambled to get the barf bag in the right neighborhood.
Once in the warm embrace of New Jersey, Maisy racked out on a makeshift bed made out of carry-ons while we waited for our Syracuse flight, which was unceremoniously delayed twice and when finally ready to board, delayed once again by the divas who got tired of working at the gate and wandered off for a 45 minute coffee break. F.
We finally made it to Syracuse at about
11am and find that, of course, that bag that I paid $25 to have delivered in the underbelly of the plane is nowhere to be seen. But that’s ok, since I have the clothes on my back. Sure, they're covered in airport horror and puke but I try to be optimistic that the bag will be on the next plane from Newark. (It's not)
Once we arrive at Mom and Keith’s, things appeared to be looking up. Maisy was on the mend, no one had thrown up for at least two hours. With everything momentarily under control I went to take a much-anticipated shower and find that there is no hot water. I chalk it up to the sensitive well system but we quickly discover that it’s a water heater that has stopped working. The black cloud floats along. Adding to the disasters trailing us, on an otherwise uneventful Christmas day, there was a problem with their septic system. I truly expected a satellite to fall out of the sky and through the roof of the house at that point.
Regardless, we enjoy Christmas day with family and friends and arrive back in Tully tired and happy.
10 minutes after getting back, Addy erupts in a fantastic show of food expulsion. Red punch, cheese and turkey everywhere. It happened on the hardwoods and not the carpets for which I felt immense happiness; we are starting to redefine the little victories in life. She spent the next 8 hours or so throwing up every half hour, once again trying to be just like her big sister. Thanks to Maisy we’re well-trained and prepared for this illness. It's another night of little or no sleep but it feels like luxury to not be suffering through the nightmare on an airplane. Perspective is everything.
Addy makes as fast a recovery as her sister and is up pounding jello like a champ the next morning.
In the middle of all of this my grandmother is taken to the hospital. It’s starting to feel a bit apocalyptic.
On the bright side, my suitcase arrived somewhere in there, the kids were mostly back to their ‘normal’ selves and, keeping hope alive Jeff, Todd and I headed off for NYC where we were to pick up our Dublin flight. I hadn’t been feeling 100% all day but chalked it
up to too much food in my system. Tis the season. The drive to JFK was remarkably uneventful and we headed to the gate to get seat assignments. The agent helping us check in asked ‘if we drink’. We say ‘duh’ and she hands us free drink tickets because it must look like we need one at this point. It's amazing how easily an airline can win our hearts. With 3 hours to kill Todd and Jeff order big fat greasy cheeseburgers. One wiff of their meals and I proceed to be fantastically sick in the ladies room. Repeatedly. Seriously, it just keeps getting better. The best part was when I puked into a grocery bag that had a big hole in it.
Oh, I can laugh now.
Happily I managed to not lose consciousness in the ladies room (it was touch and go there for a while) and after three hours of hell seemed to have gotten most of it out of my system because I only puked once on the plane. That particular puke had my ambien in it which was just cruel, but at this point I’m learning to take these things in stride. I’m woken up in the middle of the flight by the sound of someone retching. Our seats are right next to the restrooms again (love it when the fates are tenuously kind) and I pry open an eyelid to see someone who is not my brother emerge which made me happy (no offense to that poor lady). Except that the puking noises continued and a few minutes later my brother DOES emerge (there are two restrooms) with a look on his face that can only be read as regret concerning a certain greasy cheeseburger.
As we land in Dublin Jeff is awful and I am through the worst but totally exhausted. Todd is the obvious choice to be next in line for the misery rollercoaster but he bravely climbed into our Ford Ka (it should be called a circus ka what with how funny two 6’3” guys look in it) and made it a full hour down the road before having to pull over and lighten the load. He barely had time get the silly thing off the road before sharing his lunch with the Irish countryside, just inches from poor Jeff’s head. Jeff is crammed into the back seat of the world’s smallest car in the fetal position, barely conscious. Welcome to Ireland. We never did get to enjoy those drink tickets.
So while they’ve been sleeping since we got here six hours ago, I’m well enough that I’ve made a nice late afternoon circuit around town (Todd tried to come with but after about 50' of walking, threw up in some poor lady's bushes and gave up), found some soup and have stocked up on Powerade for the men-folk. I'm hoping that the night of sleep is restorative so that we can start enjoying this place. This was a day (one of the only sunny days that we had, ironically) that was supposed to have included a stop at Glendalough and a pretty drive through the Wicklow mountains. Instead it was all we could do just to bee-line it for Kilkenny and try not to die.