Adventures in Vacationing

My husband and I just returned with our boys from our first ever family vacation. The destination? Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It was absolutely wonderful. The weather was beautiful, the boys were fantastic and everything went exactly as planned.

Welllllll, almost.

Being a former teacher, I like to plan. Perhaps over-plan. I can't help it! I believe it's my way of subconsciously compensating for the fact that I canNOT think on my toes. When an emergency arrises, I can respond rationally only if I am the only one expected to have an answer. Otherwise, my mind goes blank. I admire the fact that my husband can do this and does it extremely well. We make a good team. I plan it all, then he fixes it when it doesn't go that way ;)

I really wish we didn't need to test our ability to work as a team on the first day of vacation, though.

We arrived at the resort about 7:30pm. The boys did pretty well on the airplane, but were beginning to give us a countdown of their good behavior after getting the rental car, picking up some baby gear from a friend, driving more than an hour and then picking up some take-out from an Italian restaurant. We got to the front of the gated community with our rental car packed high with luggage and Italian food, and gave the woman our name. "Hi, we're the Sauers," we told her. We even spelled it. Our friend had reserved everything for us to stay for ten days. We just give them our name, they give us our ticket and it's off to paradise. But as the girl looked through the reserved tickets, she seemed confused. "S'cuse me," she said, "what was the name?" We spelled it again. She sorted through the reserved tags a few times and shook her head no. "Maybe it's under my maiden name," I suggested. My family had rented this villa for years from a friend; perhaps she forgot and saved it under that name. No. It wasn't there.

Perhaps we should have turned around then.

Thankfully, I had our friend's number in my cell phone and thankfully, she answered. "Ohmygosh," she belched, "I forgot to make the reservation! I'm so sorry!" You just can't be mad at someone who apologizes to you in a sweet southern accent. I handed the phone to the female guard who emerged from the door a few moments later with a tag that read our name. Phew. Problem averted. Relieved, we continued toward the house, anxious to eat our Italian then give the boys a bath and usher them off to bed.

Ben in front of our villa, the one on the left - paradise!

The boys were exhausted. And hungry. So we decided that I would begin to feed them their dinner while Andy brought all of the luggage into the house. The boys were excited about their new surroundings, so I'd load bites of spaghetti into their mouths as they continued to run throughout the house, room to room, exploring their new digs for the week. Andy made about four trips bringing everything into the house. Suitcases, two playpens, two umbrella strollers and all of our carryons. He unloaded the fresh milk we had bought in the refrigerator and our ice packs in the freezer. The poor guy was exhausted.

We sat down to eat together when Andy started itching his ankles. Between bites, he'd itch. Then he went white. "Min, did you see that?" he asked, with a panicked look. I looked at his ankles and noticed these tiny, black bugs that appeared to jump when you got close. No. It can't be. But could it? Then, there was no denying it.

They were fleas.

It was 8:30pm at this point, an hour past the boys' normal bedtime. My only thought was getting these boys to bed. "We can't stay here," Andy said. "We're gonna get eaten alive!" I still couldn't wrap my mind about what was happening or what we should do from there. We were going to be here for ten days. We were going to go swimming. Sit at the beach. Go out for dinner every night. Fleas were not part of the plan! Where's that easy button? The one where we push it and everything just falls into place? This is NOT what I had pictured. This is NOT how it was supposed to go down.

Once Andy was confident they were fleas (and after I noticed some of them on my babies' NECKS,) I was on board to leave. Thank GOD my husband could think clearly and sprung into action. We called our friend - who was completely humiliated over something she had no control over - and plugged in the nearest hotel into our GPS. I made a few calls and tried to keep the boys off the floor while Andy lugged eeeeeeeverything back into the car. Ten minutes later, we were on our way to the Holiday Inn Express. We gladly put $89.95 room fee on our credit card and hoped this was the last bit of excitement for the day.

Apparently, our friend's daughter stayed in the villa all summer. She and her boyfriend's dog. They hadn't realized he had fleas, but I guess our timing was perfect to come and discover all of the newly hatched babies. Lucky for us.

I'll spare you the ugly details about how Andy and I were at eachother's throats, trying to manage in our own ways. He wanted to go to Home Depot to get an extermination bomb-kit for fleas and I wanted to go straight to the hotel... boys were screaming... yeah, it got a little ugly. But thank God, we made it.

The boys didn't go down until after 10pm that night (where we used another mattress to shield their playpens from our bed so they wouldn't see us and go down on their own) but at least we had a comfortable bed to sleep in. The room even had a refrigerator for the boys' milk! After a good night's rest, we took showers and felt a lot better. We unplugged the phone for Ben while Jack occupied himself with the remote. They never knew this wasn't part of the plan. They were having the time of their lives! Our stay even included a nice breakfast in the morning and the boys enjoyed their food as well as mingling (or flirting) with the southern locals.

Andy met the Orkin man there around noon. We were soooo grateful our friend acted quickly in getting someone to exterminate the place and verify that they were, in fact, fleas. So after the boys woke up from their nap and we made a trip to the grocery store, we were back in the villa by dinnertime that same day.

Me, Ben, Jack and Andy for our traditional tree portrait (thanks for the self-timer and a steady branch!)

All in all, everything worked out just fine. But man, what a way to start your vacation! It just goes to show you... it's good to plan, when it doesn't work out, be sure you have a quick-thinking husband, a GPS, a cell phone and a credit card to dig yourself out of trouble!

Thankfully, that was all the drama we had during our stay. We relaxed, enjoyed the time with the boys, and soaked up all the sun we could. It really was my favorite vacation yet. Well, if don't count the first two days, of course ;)