Monday morning we woke up (early) and quickly got kids fed and stuff loaded. We headed out from the park around 9 a.m. and settled in for the long drive back to Dallas, where we were going to drop the kids, pick up the dog, and then head back to Matt’s parents’ farm that night. The drive back was pretty uneventful. Ryan got fussy on and off, but we made good time. We stopped at McD’s yet again, and gave the kids apples and nuggets, while Matt and I got “real” food from another place close by. If a real restaurant would have a playland, we’d never set foot inside McDonald’s again. We got to my mom’s house around 4 or so and Matt decided to bathe the kids since they were filthy and we knew my mom would have her hands full with unloading the trailer that night. I got their clothes started in the wash (and the blankies and Fiona the Fox), gathered up Casey, and Matt and I got back on the road, leaving the kids with my sister until my mom got back a little later. Matt discovered earlier that day that he had lots of very little, very ITCHY bites all over his abdomen. I didn’t have any, and we couldn’t figure out where the bugs had come from.
We were very sick of eating out, but hit Subway for dinner on the way home. We got to the farm and I went straight to bed, since we had to get up early to drive back to our house so Matt could start work. We came to the farm because we had to pick up the Blazer which was left from hunting. They don’t allow dogs in the house, so Casey spent the night in her crate on the front porch. The next morning, we got up and headed home, stopping at Discount Tires to leave the Camry and get two new tires on the front. Then finally we got back to the house, and Matt went right up to work ,and I headed right downtown to the Paul Mitchell school to get my hair highlighted. It took till almost 3 oclock, but cost only $40. Then I had a hot stone massage that afternoon and we went out to TGI Friday’s (free gift cards) and to see a movie. The next day, I cleaned a bunch of stuff in the house – floors, closets, cabinets, - and did laundry and dishes and went to the store. We ate at Juan and Lefty’s that night for dinner ($25 gift card). My phone arrived during the day, and when I opened the back of the phone, the battery was sitting in water. I was not hopeful at all that it would ever work again, but I looked online for info and decided to cover it in rice for a night to see if some of the water would get sucked out.
On Thursday, I got into my flower beds, pulling weeds, moving plants, trimming stuff, and generally clearning them up after being neglected all summer. I braved the task of cleaning out on the far side of the garage, which was overgrown with wildness and poison ivy. I had on gloves and tried to be very careful to not touch the leaves. I bagged it up and took it to the curb right away, then after a long day outside, I came in and thoroughly scrubbed myself with soap. We took Casey to our friends’ house, ate at our favorite Vietnamese place, then came home and watched a movie. I plugged my phone in to the charger that evening and lo and behold, it turned on! However, it wouldn’t charge – it was fine as long as it was plugged in, but the battery would not hold a charge. Matt got online and ordered me a new phone battery for $12.
Friday morning, we got up and headed out west to go camping. We wanted to do some hiking, which we can’t do with kids. Before we got off our street, I noticed a few small rashy places on my arms. My skin breaks out every time I do yardwork, but I was afraid it might be the beginning of poison ivy, so I called my doctor to see if I could get a quick appointment and get started on medicine, since we were going to be gone for the weekend. We went to the doctor, who confirmed it was poison ivy, and had her call in a prescription for medicine to a CVS about an hour away, so we could pick it up as we headed out of town. We got the meds and also I bought a poison ivy wash that the doctor recommended that was supposed to neutralize any oil remaining on my skin or from the blisters. We arrived at the campground, and headed out hiking for the rest of the day. We only got a little bit lost, but I sure sweated a lot, even though it wasn’t too hot. We had just missed all the rain from Tropical Storm Danielle (I think?). It was pretty muggy sleeping that night but we had a big fan. I used the poison ivy wash twice that day, but the rash was definitely festering.
We got up the next morning, packed up, and headed to New Braunfels to go to Schlitterbahn. Yes, I know you can take kids, but going with a 1 and 3 year old and going just as adults are two very different experiences. We rode most of the rides (it was surprisingly crowded) and scoped out all the fun stuff we will do when we bring the kiddos back in a couple of years. By now, my poison ivy was looking pretty gross. I had originally seen 2-3 little patches on one arm, but the wash said to rinse as much of my skin as possible, so I had lathered up both arms and hands. And now I saw poison ivy on both arms, wrists, and between my fingers. Also, it was on my neck and next to my eye. I’d been on the steroid pills for two days now, plus I had a topical cream, but it didn’t seem to be helping much. At least no one at Schlitterbahn was grossed out. Oh, and I forgot to mention – I woke up that morning in the tent with approximately one million tiny bites all over my belly and sides. ITCHY. Matt didn’t get any more, so apparently we had some sort of infestation of bugs in one side of the sleeping bag. I was wearing a one-piece swimsuit, at least.
After a full day of fun, we headed to a bed and breakfast, courtesy of my mom, in San Antonio. When we arrived, the owner said there were margaritas and beer in the fridge, so we enjoyed some beverages while we showered and got ready to go out for the evening. The plan was to head straight to the Riverwalk to eat, but it was getting close to 7 already, so we decided to eat at a local Mexican place and then go downtown. Dinner was great, and we were able to get to the Riverwalk in about 10 minutes. We walked around and talked and watched the people and boats go by. It was really packed. I’m glad we didn’t try to eat there! The night was pretty muggy, and we were pretty tired, so we didn’t stay out too late. We came back to the B&B, got another drink, and headed to bed to watch a DVD. Unfortunately for Matt, my poison ivy was atrocious by this point, blistering and oozing (not to mention the bug bites all over me), so we laid on opposite sides of the bed and tried not to touch each other. Not very romantic.
Sunday morning, we got up and ate delicious Belgian waffles, then went back upstairs to gather up our things. We had a long drive back up to Dallas ( I think I slept part of the way) and were so excited to see the kids. It was nice to not be on any schedule but our own, but I really did miss the kids a lot. However, I could barely hug them or touch them because of the swollen blisters all over both arms and both hands. My fingers couldn’t even touch each other because of the blisters between them. The kids had a great time with Grammie and Aunt Caiti. They went to the Dallas Zoo, the Children’s Museum, the playground, and Addison even went to a ballet class on Saturday, taught by her lovely Aunt Caitlin. Caiti said Addie did pretty good on some things and was “cute” on some other things. She also did a lot of talking to the teacher during class. =) Somehow, this event was NOT captured on camera, so I can only imagine the leotard, tights, and bun. We rounded up all the kids’ things – clothes, toys, blankets, pillows, animals. Addison likes her blankets to be nice and cool – hot blankets make her very fussy, so Aunt Caiti scooped them up and put them in the freezer so they would be icy cold on the drive home. We finally got kids and stuff loaded up and headed out, back to Houston, happy to have our babies back!
But then – an hour or so later – Mommy realized something. There were no blankets. I called my mom and she confirmed what I was afraid of – Addie’s blankets were nice and cold, in the freezer. There was no way we were turning around, so Mom immediately got a box and printed up a label to overnight them, although they wouldn’t get mailed out till Monday, arriving Tuesday. Later on during the drive, I broke the news to Addison. She took it pretty well, but had a couple of tears. We got home around 9:30 that night and got the kids to bed, and then Matt went over to pick up Casey (we were keeping their dogs the next day while they went on a cruise). Finally we went to bed, where I tossed and turned all night due to incessant itching and oozing gross blisters. A couple of ibuprofen and couple of Benedryl helped with that!
And that is the end of our Labor Day and Beyond Adventure. Hooray.
Epilogue: Addison had two little flannel receiving blankets that we used for her dolls, but when rolled up and secured with a rubber band, they resembled her precious blankies, so she made do with those for a couple of nights till the blankets arrived on Tuesday. My new phone battery came and now my phone seems to work perfectly, thank the Lord! And my poison ivy got even grosser before it got better. The blisters broke and had to be bandaged so people wouldn’t puke when they saw me, but now, Monday, almost two weeks after the exposure, it’s finally clearing up, getting scabby and dry. The bug bites are still very prevalent, and ITCHY!!!!! They have faded some, and I have some cream I’ve been putting on them and the remains of the poison ivy, but man, whatever sort of bugs those were, they were horrible! The kids took about 5 days to recover from their travels – they were out of the house for 12 days, which is a record! There was some excess fussiness (which seems to be the norm for Addie these past several months – she is crabby and grouchy 6 days out of 7, very self centered and angry, but I suppose it’s a phase), but now everyone is nicely recovered.