Thursday, August 20, 2009

Someday I'll learn...

... never to go to Anchorage without Doug. On the way there, I was behind a very slow truck. We finally made it to a section of highway where there were two lanes in my direction and I tried to pass on the left. The truck, on the right, sped up as well. It finally occurred to me that traffic in the other direction only had one lane and it was backed up pretty far. I sped up to pass the truck so that the other traffic could use our left lane as their passing lane. I sped up for only a moment to pass this ONE truck and at that moment, I also passed a cop. I also happened to be in a "Safety Zone," which means double fines. $202. AND I was almost late to pick up the paperwork I HAD to have by 6:00 or we had nowhere to stay for the night. We got to the hotel, had dinner, went swimming (how daring of us to not wait 45 minutes!), and went to bed.

About a week ago, I called to double check what time our audiology appointments were. 3:00, 4:00, and 5:00, I was told. We had a lazy morning the next day. At 11:30, I got a call. We had missed Ethan's 11:00 appointment. Huh? We rushed to the office and they were still able to fit us in. Back at the hotel, Ethan took a nap and then we were back in the audiologist's office.

Brenden had his hearing checked first. He needed his implant tweaked for the last time before school starts. I think he got a good map (program) this time. I have already noticed a difference.

Ethan's hearing has dropped significantly. It has been less than a month and a half since our last appointment, so the drop was a surprise. The good news was that he got new hearing aids and they seem to be helping him. He is repeating words and turning when I say things. He also got an FM system that I am totally in love with. I wear a microphone and now when he runs away in the store, I have hope that he might hear me call him back.

When we walked into the room, there was a girl wearing an Idaho State sweatshirt. She is an audiology student at Idaho State. It was her last day with the audiologist's office. Now that I am documenting it, it doesn't sound so exciting, but what are the chances? We talked about all of the teachers from the program - most of whom I've met either through my masters program or because my kids have seen them for appointments. She was only going to stay a half day, but stayed through the entire day for us.

It is always hard to go to these appointments with all the kids and just one me. It's like a juggling act. I get a lot of comments from other people: "Wow, you're brave" "Three boys! They must keep you busy," etc. etc. Today as I was trying to herd everyone out the office door (Ethan refusing to leave, Nolan too busy talking to leave - he can never talk and do anything else at the same time, and Brenden trying to walk with his nose in a book), one lady said, "You must not make it very many places." No, not really, thank you for noticing.

We made it to one store for school shopping before we were all ready to kill each other. One has to pee, so we ALL have to go. Ethan poops, so we ALL have to trek out to the car for a diaper and wipes and then into the bathroom. Brenden was trying on clothes and the other two were climbing out from under the dressing room door. I especially hate when I am trying something on and just as I am undressed, someone suddenly disappears under the door. Finally, it was time to go and no one wanted to leave, so they all ran in opposite directions screaming. Among all of that, Nolan NEVER stops talking. He's three...

We gave up on the shopping and went back to the hotel, ate dinner, and went swimming again. Brenden can't wear his implant in the pool and Ethan can't wear his hearing aids. Brenden likes to run WAY ahead of the rest of us, but never knows where he's going. There is NO WAY for me to stop him. I can't sign at the back of him and I certainly can't call after him. I just have to try my hardest to round up the ever-talking slow poke (Nolan) and the one who likes to run away (Ethan) and stand in one spot until Brenden returns looking for us. It happens ALL of the time and you would think Brenden would remember how mad I was the LAST time he did it. I was standing at the bottom of a flight of stairs Brenden unnecesarily went up (and I wasn't about to drag 2 little people with short legs, 3 pool noodles, one floating car, a bag full of inflated balls, and myself up the flight of stairs to retrieve him and then walk back down), when a lady walked by obviously wondering why I didn't just yell after the kid. I always want to tell people: Mind your own dang business!

As I was unlocking the door to the room, the phone was ringing. It was a call from the manager telling us that they were having several complaints about the abnormal noise level coming from our room. I was MAD - as if I wasn't frustrated already! We weren't even there for most of the day, we were barely walking back in the room, and I am only one person with three little people - two of which often can't hear how loud they are! I profusely apologized - unnecessarily - and then was grumpy for the rest of the night. Brenden kept asking me, "Why are you so angry with us?"

The next morning, I woke the kids, got them dressed, reminded them 1,975,347 times to be quiet, and started packing up our stuff. I got to a point where I knew it would be easy to finish the packing, but we needed to leave right then to make it to our audiology appointment on time. When we returned, the room was empty. The bed was changed, the curtains were drawn, and it smelled of clorox. Our stuff: nowhere. I called the front desk and told them. They seemed totally unconcerned and said they would contact house keeping. I walked out into the hall and attempted a conversation with a non-English speaking housekeeper. She "thought" we had checked out.

WHY WOULD ANY INTELLIGENT PERSON THINK THAT WE HAD CHECKED OUT IF ALL OF OUR CLOTHES, MY CHILDREN'S BLANKIES, AND EVEN OUR FOOD WAS STILL IN THE ROOM? We had a fridge full of leftovers, gatorade, milk, and fruit. We had a drawer full of granola bars, applesauce, fruit snacks, rice crispy treats, mandarin oranges... We had library books, a crib set up, our luggage, MY LAPTOP... WHY WOULD YOU THINK WE HAD CHECKED OUT!? It was ALL gone. The non-English speaking housekeeper had thrown away all of the food except the bag with the granola bars, applesauce, and mandarin oranges and it was in the bottom of her cleaning cart under the dirty sheets. A snack for later? She threw away all of our leftovers (which were supposed to be our lunch), all of our drinks, unopened fruit snacks and rice crispy treats, oranges, bananas, apples... The housekeeping supervisor arrived with our other items, in trash bags. She said it was ALL there and we were set to go.

As I stepped into the elevator, I realized that my portable crib wasn't there. The hotel had thought it was theirs and taken it to their storage area. The sheet: lost in their laundry. As I was standing at the front desk bawling, the housekeeping supervisor appeared with my crib and a sand paper textured sheet. I handed it back and told her "This is NOT my sheet - mine is soft and jersey. Go find it." She told me it was in the laundry. I told her "I know that it's inconvenient for you to go digging for it, but this is all REALLY inconvenient for me." She returned to tell me it was already in the washer and I would have to wait a half hour. We bought ANOTHER lunch and sat in the lobby waiting for the sheet.

As we waited, Ethan disappeared in the elevator, Nolan was terribly naughty, and Brenden told me to take some medicine to make me stop crying. I then realized that I hadn't seen our swim suits among our trash bags of treasure. I had to go get another room key and trudge all three kids up to the freshly cleaned room. Immediately, they all started climbing on the beds, wrapping themselves up in the curtains, and generally running amuck. Was I still a nice, patient mom at this point? You bet not. I was a spanking, fire breathing, ball of fury. Our swim suits were still out on the balcony where I had hung them to dry.

When I returned to my waiting in the lobby, the housekeeping supervisor came to me and told me she didn't want to see me cry. It wasn't this ONE event I was crying about, it was my entire, impossible trip to Anchorage. The front desk staff stared at me like I was a major nut case and talked about me as if I didn't know what they were doing. When I spoke with one, they all disappeared to discuss the latest break in the nut job's case. No one seemed at all apologetic or embarrassed at the mess they had caused. The nicest person during all of this time: the chef who happened to walk by and see me crying my eyes out.

Eventually they brought me the sheet, still soaking wet, straight out of the washer. By the time all of this transpired, it was 2:00 and time to go to Nolan and Ethan's eye appointments. There are no pediatric optometrists near our home. Generally, they both have vision typical for their age. Nolan is slightly far sighted and I am sure it will go the opposite way if anything because Doug and I are both near sighted. Ethan has astigmatism in both eyes. The optometrist is concerned about his left eye because his astigmatism is not normal. She gave us prescriptions for glasses just in case we wanted to get them filled, but advised us to just have them re-tested in a year. They make appointments a year ahead for the same day, same time as the previous year's appointment. Odd. Their appointments were at 2:45 and 3:15 and we left at 5:30.

Brenden had his vision tested last week. It is also normal for his age. That day also consisted of waiting for 2 hours for the additional chicken pox shot newly required for school this year, only to discover Brenden already had it. The waiting wasn't for nothing though. Ethan got 2 shots - poor, unprepared kid. Nolan's shot record has written in that he got his first Hep A at birth. They don't accept that here because there are no initials. His 4th Hep A was given 2 days before he was six months, so they won't accept that either. Although he has had 4 doses, they say he needs two more before he can start school next year since they won't count two of his.

Back to my complaining - I'm almost done. We were supposed to do more school shopping, but 2 out of 3 kids fell asleep in the car, so we decided to come home instead. I think we stopped every three minutes for an hour trying to fix one thing or another. On one of those stops - a potty stop - Brenden woke up the 2 sleeping kids. I was VERY fortunate and they were all well behaved on the way home. I followed EVERY traffic law on the way home and chose to never pass a single car. We made it home by 9:00 - just an hour late for bed. Brenden is asleep on the floor. He looks very uncomfortable, but he's staying there. He fell asleep reading, as usual.

That reminds me - the vibrating alarm. Brenden says that when it shakes his bed, it just makes him want to snuggle up. I felt the same way when I tried it out. So much for that.

Abby - no, I am not teaching seminary this year. I would like to maintain a small portion of my sanity. These boys are keeping me teetering on a thin line.

Don't get me wrong. My kids are good. It just seems that when the circumstances are already difficult, the kids take advantage of me being flustered and have a party with my emotions. We have really good days too. Most of those just involve staying home.


Nolo and Lauren said...

Sorry about the chaos. It's amazing how often you're having to take these trips. Hopefully the next one will be much better. Glad to hear that you're not doing seminary. I'm sure that'll be a relief, if nothing else than one less stress. Good luck with the new school year. I'm sure the routine will help with the boys.

Koren said...

Erin, have you ever thought about becoming a writer? No more education--you already have what it takes and more!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness. I am furious at those hotel people and I didn't live it. It's amazing how many things can go wrong at once. I hope you're able to take a breather now and enjoy that beautiful crisp fall air. :) Wish we were closer. Well, maybe wish YOU all were closer to us. I don't know about living in Alaska. :)

Alicia J said...

I think we can all sympathize. I've had some of those things happen to me on separate occassions, but never all on the same day (or 2 days).

Leacayoungart said...

I hate when things seem to fall apart and you have no control over it. Reading this just made me smile but then I felt a little sad you were crying with no one to console or help you. I am so glad you can laugh at it and yourself.

I am so sorry you got a ticket. I know it was not my husband, or was it? LOL.

Gina and Ryan said...

It makes me feel normal to know other moms who I think are wonderful go through the same things I do and react the same...not always the best, you know firebreathing and spanking! :)
I have had many of those same experiences and feel your pain. Thanks for sharing your stuggles!

munyer jerk chicken said...

You survived... and now you've made me laugh (don't get me wrong - I felt your pain and THEN I laughed). And you're a stronger person for all of this... and hopefully when I'm having a "moment" with my own children, I'll remember this and try to be strong, too.

pcerik said...

Holy Moly. Seriously. You are a wonderful mom. It is really frustrating when people, especially those without kids (let alone those with kids without special needs), make assumptions about you and your kids. I'm sure THOSE people are the same as EVERYONE else, right? Why shouldn't everyone be? Grrr... I feel for you. Love ya.

JoLynne said...

Erin, thanks for reminding me that I am not the only one who's kids are driving her bonkers!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness. I would have gone absolutely insane. You're amazing!