The Shorter Long Weekend

October 14, 2011

This summer, work was very, very slow.  While I was concerned for the long-term (oh, the anxiety that accompanies fluctuations in activity levels in a large law firm!), I did enjoy the short-term, which ended up being very close to part-time work all summer.  So it didn’t seem like I’d have much to worry about when I made the plans for our weekend away over Columbus Day.

Of course, however, this is when work is back up & running full speed.  This month.  October.  I’m glad of it for many (many, many) reasons, but the timing was funny.

We had planned to leave our house on Friday evening, after dinner.  Living in an urban area, it is difficult to get out of town between 3 and 6 p.m.  Everyone is trying to get out of town.  So instead of getting a jump on the weekend, we end up getting a jump on sitting in traffic.  We learned this some years ago, and now if we cannot leave school and work early, we don’t leave until after dinner.  Lemon had crew, Mouse had play practice, and I had this oddly busy job.  So post-dinner it was.

We also planned to stay in Vermont through most of Monday.  We usually like to have some “unwind” time at home after a trip, but this whole weekend was going to be unwind time.  So cutting it closer and getting home in the evening would be fine.

As we worked our way through the week last week, I knew I was going to be struggling to get out of work at a decent hour on Friday, and I knew it was unlikely that I wouldn’t need to take work with me to the cabin.  It didn’t feel like a big deal, because we knew the girls would have homework, and we’d already planned to work in a couple hours of “homework time” to each day. I didn’t have so much to do that I needed more than that.

The cabin doesn’t have internet, though (who would pay for internet for a place that is largely unoccupied?).  I would need it for work, and the girls would need it for homework.  Fortunately, I work at a place that is up on cutting edge technology, and I was able to snag an aircard for the weekend.

Thursday night, I got home at a relatively decent hour.  I was unwinding with my iPad in my lovely easy chair in my bedroom before dinner, with one of our adorable cats sitting at my side.  One of our not-really-baby-cats-anymore cats.  It was a nice evening, one of my favorites, because the housecleaners had been by that day, and everything smelled yummy and was very clean.  My twice-per-month bliss.

WD called me for dinner, so I left the cat on the chair and headed to the dining room to set the table.

We had our usual family dinner — not too long, not too short.  We often will chit chat at the table for a while after we’re done.  So I think it was about an hour before I headed back to the bedroom, moved the cat out the way, and sat back in the chair with the iPad. And the chair was soaking wet.


I called WD over and we inspected the puddle on my lovely chair.  We touched it.  We sniffed it.  We were perplexed.  It seemed like water.  No scent, no solids (gross).  Did the cat throw up (the only time he has before was when he was carsick on a long car ride)? Did the cat pee (he has never done so outside the litter box)? Did the cat knock over a glass of water (there were no glasses nearby)?

I wasn’t happy about my chair, mostly because I didn’t think it was water.  I didn’t want it to be stained or nasty.  I love my chair.  But since there was no discoloration or smell, we shrugged and moved on.

Later in the evening, we were watching something with the girls on television.  The cat was on the couch nearby.  Then he got up and moved.  Leaving a puddle behind.  WD and I checked it out again.  Still no smell.  We knew it was where his head had been, so it wasn’t pee.

Turns out the cat was drooling.  Insane amounts of drool.

This was not normal.

WD went to Vet Google and decided that the cat was dying.  He’d been poisoned!  The house cleaners did it!

[Okay – he wasn’t hysterical, far from it, but he was a LOT more concerned than I was.]

I was instantly pissed off about the timing.

And in the meantime, Lemon was still sick, and coughing up a lung.  Her illness wasn’t a reason to stay home, but it was just another thing getting in my way.

In my way of what?  What was it that was getting disrupted?  Yet Another Trip.

I was not amused.

The next day, I worked my ass off to get everything done, but still didn’t get home until after 7:30.

WD took the drool-machine to the vet.  $383 later, we had an x-ray of our cat’s innards, but no clue as to why he had suddenly become a water fountain.  Best guesses were: minor “poisoning” from chemicals used by the house cleaners, or a stomach bug.

We did not leave town.

As an interlude, an update from my previous frustration over the weekend and my mother’s interference.  Soon after I told her no, I did not want to completely change the weekend I’d planned, she started speaking to me again.  but she refused to discuss the issue, despite my attempts. She just pretended it didn’t happen.  Over the next few weeks, she kept dropping little attempted-guilt-inducing comments.  “Oh, I really don’t know what to do.  I can’t tell your sister-in-law that we’re going, because her feelings will be hurt at not being invited.”  It didn’t work.  I didn’t feel guilty.

As the weekend neared, my parents decided that they would come for the afternoon on Saturday.  No overnight.

As the weekend neared closer, my parents decided that they didn’t want to drive back home late at night, so they’d sleep over on Saturday, but leave quietly in the morning in time to get back home (2 hour drive for them) to go to church.

As the weekend arrived, they said, “No way, we’re not going to church. We’re staying.”  [Why can’t they decide to be heathens at more appropriate times?  Like in the voting booth?]

The fact that the cat was sick [grumble grumble] meant that I had to call my parents and tell them that our trip was delayed, and we weren’t yet sure what was going on.  Because the cat was sick.  My parents aren’t pet people.  I know that they were rolling their eyes and thinking of all the different ways that this was the Stupidest Thing They Ever Heard.

Fortunately, when we woke up, the cat was better.  We’d sequestered him from the others and kept him in his own space so we would know if he (a) was drooling and (b) was going to the bathroom and (c) if anything else was wrong.  He wasn’t doing anything bad.

So we left town.

We had a great time in Vermont. I will try later to come up with a post with photos.  And maybe will include some complaining about the ‘rents.

Saturday afternoon, I took a shot at setting up the air card.  Figured that the girls could spend some time on homework, or at least figuring out how much time they would need to spend on homework.  Lemon had to check in with some teachers’ websites to find out what she had to do, since she missed school on Friday, and so she really needed the internet.

Annnnd — the air card didn’t work.  I knew it was a possibility that we wouldn’t get reception at the cabin, but my iPhone (AT&T) was getting almost full reception, so I thought we’d be fine.  But the air card was Sprint.  My dad’s cell phone is also Sprint, so I checked his phone – no signal either.  We tried to go into the village nearby – still no reception.

We knew that was going to be an issue for the girls’ homework, but it so far looked like I didn’t have to work over the weekend, after all (because the partner who was reviewing a draft I had submitted was taking the weekend off.  Imagine!)

On Saturday evening, I got an email from Lemon’s crew coach.  He knew we were away, but since Lemon missed practice on Thursday and Friday due to illness, Tuesday due to her [stupid] play auditions, and Saturday because of travel, could she please please please please come to practice at 1 p.m. on Monday.

WD was mad.  I was irked.  Lemon was torn.  She went between “tell him no! you already told him about this trip!” and “I really need to be there for my team.”  (Apparently he needed her for an activity that would determine who sat where in the boat for the next race – and until they figured that out, they couldn’t really start training for the race – the plan was to have done that on Thursday, but she was sick … and it had been put off twice more since because of her absence).

WD felt it was completely unfair that we were being penalized for the fact that she was sick.  While I agreed on the one hand, the other hand knew there was homework to do.  And I did still have some work I could do.  And there’s always a giant mass of laundry that needs doing, and cannot be done from Vermont.

After much agonizing, we decided we had to go back.

Instead of staying through the day on Monday, we had to leave the cabin by 9 a.m. to ensure that we’d be home in time for the practice at 1.  Since we needed to shut down the cabin and pack up the car, WD and I woke up at 6:30 in order to get moving.

On the drive home, another email came through, letting us know that Mouse’s soccer practice was still on, despite the fact that it was a school holiday (and generally a New England holiday).

And that is why we ended up with a very short weekend, instead of a very long weekend.




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