That's always a great way to start your day. And when that day is 24 hours before you leave on vacation then you know it's going to be a really FUN vacation.
The good thing was that Ben only threw up on that Sunday. The stomach bug passed through him quickly so I hoped for the best, but planned for the worst.
We loaded up our van Monday morning and headed south to meet Joel's parents, sister and her family. Twenty minutes down the road - NOT EVEN OUT OF RHODE ISLAND YET - Ellie threw up all over herself. Fun times, let me tell ya!
|Ellie covered by a beach towel and holding a plastic bag on her lap.|
A quick clean up and change of clothes and we were back on the road. I've lost count of how many times Ellie threw up on Monday and Tuesday. The other times we managed to contain it, including our lunch at Cracker Barrel on Tuesday when she quietly threw up in her plate.
Other than the vomiting, our drive to Tennessee (an hour north of Chattanooga) proved uneventful - until we tried to find our rental house. Unfortunately we chose to follow Google Maps directions. THAT was our first bad decision. The directions led us to an area in the beginning stages of development. Meaning there were roads but no houses. Clearly we were in the wrong place.
We decided to turn around and go back out to the main road. Since the side street we were on looped at the end we chose to drive down the hill and come back up the other side. Bad decision number two. The steep hill, about half an inch of snow, and our overloaded front wheel drive van did not get along. The end result was us stuck in the ditch. With no houses around. In the dark.
After trying our best to get out of the ditch, and not succeeding, my husband tried to call Harvey the Neighbor (our local contact for the rental house). Don't you know our cell phones didn't work!! By now Ellie was sobbing in the backseat. I'm not sure what her four year old imagination had concocted but after 2 days of driving and throwing up she was done with this trip.
I didn't blame her. Joel hiked up the hill and I settled in to wait with the kids. Ellie finally calmed down and we tried singing Christmas songs but since my voice was almost gone (I had a cold) that didn't work well. So I passed around snacks (and prayed no one needed to go to the bathroom!) and started reading a Christmas book. By flashlight. With almost no voice left.
We didn't even make it through the first book when lights appeared. (I took a supreme effort on my part NOT to let my imagination run wild. I was starting to see headlines about a Rhode Island family stuck in a ditch being butchered two weeks before Christmas.) Joel's cell phone had worked at the top of the hill so he had called Harvey the Neighbor. Harvey and his wife, Nancy, loaded us and the luggage we needed for the night into their SUV and took us the rest of the way to our rent house.
|Our rental house in TN.|
Except that the stomach bug didn't end there. Sam, then Joel, then Will, then Grammy and Granddad all caught it over the course of the week. Fun times, let me tell you.
One funny thing did happen Tuesday night.
After making small talk with Nancy for several minutes she asked where we were from. I told her Rhode Island and asked where they were from. She explained they had moved up from Florida but were both natives of Brooklyn. NEW YORK! I'm not sure she understood why I was laughing. It was at that moment that I had realized her accent didn't sound odd to me. Way out in the middle of nowhere Tennessee and we get rescued by folks from Brooklyn. Too funny!