I should begin the narrative of our recent escapades by saying that we’ve been this crazy once before, and we had the time of our lives. About four years ago, Haus Meister came home from work one lunch hour and said, “They’re sending me to Idaho for about three weeks. I can clear it with my boss that you and the boys can come with me. Think about it; it would be fun.”
I thought he was crazy. I was 16 weeks pregnant with the Dinosaur, Rascal was 11 months old and Trooper was 2 1/2. We had never undertaken any journey longer than the trip to my parents’ house since the boys were born. My parents thought we were crazy. His parents thought we were crazy. We were crazy, but it turned out to be a good crazy. Like buying this 60 year old house. Or like having six children in seven years of marriage. Good crazy.
It didn’t take much to convince me to go with him. The inevitable business trip separation is part of the job, but that doesn’t make it any easier. It had been a long Spring already and if I could take the boys and go with him, why not? Haus Meister, for his part, isn’t one of those who see the travel as an “escape” from the family. In fact, he resents it when that is implied. If anything, it’s his chance to try out new cuisines (that’s how Thai and Indian food have found their way into our recipe book), but it is still a small consolation.
Anyway, that July we packed up our first minivan and the two youngsters and headed West. We got caught in a storm near St. Louis, MO that spawned a tornado ten miles from our location (a McDonalds in the middle of farm fields). We stayed overnight in Sidney, NE, where we visited the Cabelas National HQ. We found out that there really isn’t much west of Cheyenne, in Wyoming, at least not that can be seen from the interstate. When we reached our Idaho destination, we found we were staying in the best Holiday Inn Express I had ever seen. Believe me, it was worth five stars. Ok, maybe four. But it was great. Newly built, everything fresh. We had a mini fridge, microwave, and bar sink so we could do dishes and make simple microwave meals. Those were the days that both kids were eating Gerber meals of some variety, and Trooper was of course eating mac n’ cheese. We ate out a lot. While Haus Meister was at work I took the boys to a nearby park and walked them in our double jogging stroller for an hour or two, until I knew the cleaning ladies were done with our room.
On those walks we watched a John Deere tractor harvesting wheat right there in town (oh how little I knew then how much John Deere would be part of these boys’ lives). We passed many families of three or more kids. One lady had six well-behaved children who all had fun with each other and looked out for each other as they ran around the equipment. I meant to compliment her, but I didn’t. Too shy. I wish I hadn’t been. In fact, this time in Idaho was the only time, the only place where I could go to a store and not get the disapproving look for being obviously pregnant with two toddlers in tow. I think that might have had something to do with the fact that there was a Mormon place of worship on every other street corner, but hey, I salute the Mormons for giving me a break.
Rascal learned to walk while we were in Idaho. He almost had his first birthday there, owing to a schedule change, but they sent us home in time for that event. We were almost a full month away by the time we came home. We had been to zoos and museums, Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, Mt. Rushmore and Wall Drug. We stopped in and visited with college friends on our way out West and on our way home. On the last leg of the journey we stopped at my parents’ house and crashed for a day before coming home.
It was so much fun. So this year, when Haus Meister came home for lunch and said, “Hey, there’s a chance you all can come with me to Vail, what do you think?” I didn’t hesitate.
Because we’re crazy like that.