Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bio-Family Reunion (Day 1)

Our adoption agency, Friends In Adoption, hosted their annual Family Picnic this past weekend in Vermont. With more than 250 participants, the event was a fun-filled event celebrating the families that FIA has helped create through adoption.

We had an amazing time, and Kensington was reunited with her bio-parents... but getting to Vermont on Friday was an event within itself. This post may be a little longer than our past entries, but I guarantee you - if you read to the end, you will be glad that you did. Trust.

Chris and I were both working only a half day on Friday and it was our plan to leave Pennsylvania no later than 2 pm. With any luck, we would be at the Bed & Breakfast - Twin Mountain Farms - no later than dinner time.

Five minutes after I left the office and headed home, I received a call from Chris. He left his headlights on and his car battery was dead and he was running a little late. He had a charger in his car, but it also was dead. He needed to plug it in and it should only delay him about 20 minutes. No Biggie. We'd still make it by dinner time (I'm hoping you can sense that this is just the beginning of our travel delays).

About a half hour after the first call, I receive another... the charger isn't charging, but he has a co-worker that has one and that should work. It should only be a few more minutes before Chris is on his way. Unfortunately, a few minutes later another call arrives. That didn't work, and because he was in a parking garage, it was difficult for a car to jump him directly.

Chris's option is now to borrow his boss's car and buy a car battery. It should be a thirty minute round-trip affair. Key word was should. When Chris went to buy the battery, he was told that the make/model of his car actually had three different types of batteries. What?!?!? Okay... at this point I would clearly use the 'gay card'. I don't know anything about cars, but I would have bet money that a car would only have one option for a battery size.

Chris bought the most common battery... only to find out that it wasn't the right one. He had to go back to the store to buy another one - the right one - once he wrote the model number down. [looking at this, I would have bought all three batteries and returned the other two, but that's just me]

After everything that was said and done, Chris left New Jersey at 4pm.

When Chris got home, just before 6, the truck was packed and Kensington and I were ready to go. Who needs dinner at the B&B when you can easily just eat some crappy junk food on the road, right?

Taking a closer look at Chris, I noticed that he had a hole in his dress shirt because battery acid leaked all over while he was changing the battery. Thank God Lands' End makes thick shirts! Chris decided to wash up, quickly, and from the other room I heard, "Paul, can you take a look at something for me?" Uh oh. Did more battery acid splash on him? His right eye had started to swell. He said that he felt some pain prior to his car issues, so we ruled out acid in the eye. Under the light, it looked like he had an ingrown eyelash that was causing irritation. No biggie. We'd stop by the store and pick up some eye wash on the way.

6:25pm and we're in the car, ready to go. I turn to Chris, "Okay. THIS is the start of the weekend. Everything else that has happened, let's leave it behind. We'll be a little late tonight, but it's not an issue. We can't let what has happened today define how this weekend is going to take place." We plugged the iPod in, and assigned the soundtrack of our travels. Off we go.

Ten minutes into the trip I remind Chris to call the B&B to tell them we're going to be late. The road to New York state is lined with huge trees that cover the pavement, so reception isn't the greatest. Chris decided to call once we crossed the state line.

By the time we made it to New York, Chris' eye has almost swollen shut. We stop at the store for eye wash and a heat pad. The pain has also gotten worse. It looks like we will be making a trip to the hospital [What is that wait going to look like?]. We then start searching for a CVS MinuteClinic or a Mr. Z's Careworks on the iPhone. There is nothing in the area. But we did find a county clinic 20 miles away that is open until 9pm.

Oh, did I mention it's now pouring down raining?

Chris calls Annie at the B&B and tells her that we are now going to be extremely late. She tell us not to worry about it, there is another couple that will be arriving late and she will leave a note on the door for them not to lock the door on us. She tells us that we will be in the "Bear" room, which is located above the kitchen, so she will leave the light on in the room for us. She also tells us that the road that they are on is a dirt road. "Just as a heads up."

It's now 8:15 and we're pulling into the clinic. It looks like there is no line so we should be in and out in no time. And we were. 20 minutes later we found out that Chris had two stye's, and with some ointment from the pharmacy, it should be down to normal size within 24 hours. There is just one problem... by the time we make it to the pharmacy, it was about to close. Chris explained that we were from out of state, and headed to Vermont and we stopped at a clinic, but the moron behind the Walmart counter refused to help. He told us to go down the street to another pharmacy, but told us that it too closed at 9pm and we'd never make it in time.

I spend time looking for a 24 hour pharmacy on the GPS and find one. We plug it into the trips map and, once again, off we go. By the time we get to the area, it's raining so hard that I can't see the exit signs. The area I'm supposed to get off at has major construction, and detour signs, and missing exit numbers. I end up missing the exit and have to drive two miles to the next exit to turn around. On the way back, I miss the exit again. I swear there wasn't a sign for 7N. I saw a 7B, 7A (why are they out of order?), and 7S. No 7N. I end up having to drive three miles back towards our home to turn around again. Guess what, still no 7N. I get frustrated. "Chris, I'm sorry. It's pouring raining. I can't see. I can't find the exit. The GPS tells me to turn where the road is blocked. I can't detour. You're going to have wait until the morning to stop at the pharmacy. We're already so late at the GPS says we're not going to arrive until after 1am in the morning. If we head to the pharmacy, that's in the opposite direction, it will put us another 45 minutes behind schedule." Chris agrees, reclines his seat, and goes to sleep.

By 1:15, we're in Middletown Springs, Vermont. I turn on the dirt road that Annie informed us about. After the first 10 yards on the road, both Chris and Kensi wake up. The road isn't meant for a car, let alone a SUV. It looks like it's a road made for quads. But there was a road sign, and the GPS did tell us to turn. It's rained so hard that it's washed out and has huge pot holes in it. The chimes attached to Kensington's car seat are now flying around. The GPS says we will be on this road for 4 miles. OMG!!! The truck is now fishtailing because of the mud. I put it into 4 wheel-drive. At one point, I ended up stopping the truck. We're sitting on top of a hill, and I can't tell if there is a road in front of me. "Chris, I don't know if I can drive this is reverse for two miles to get out of this. I think we're driving down a trail, and not a road."

I'm now inching the car to see if there is any resemblance of a road in front of us. Tree branches are hitting the windshield and the side of the truck. This is not fun for any of us, but we couldn't have been prouder of Kensi. While she made some noises, she didn't cry one bit. About a half mile before the B&B, the road opens up. We're now on a real dirt road. We found out that it brought us the back way, and not the route that Annie had told us to go.

FINALLY, we see light from the home and as we begin to pass it, the GPS tell us that we just passed our destination. I end up trying to turn around to head back to the driveway. Because it was still raining so hard, I missed the driveway again. We pull in, and we see a car with Connecticut plates (Yeah... Joe & Joesph are here).

Chris grabs Kensi and her diaper bag and runs to the house. The door is wide open so he sets her down in the foyer. I run in with my hands full... our bags and the pack-n-play. We're soaked. Standing in the foyer, and with each step we take, the floor creaks. Kensi is just staring at us.

The floors were gorgeous. It looks like someone cut a tree down the middle and placed the trunks side-by-side. There was a living area to the right and a living area to the left. Annie told us that there were two living areas and that she'd reserve one for us so we could spend time visiting with Kensington's bioparents. This place is perfect for us.

From the outside of the house, we could see the light on in the bedroom above the kitchen... we just couldn't find how to get to the room. Chris has his iPhone and is using it as a flashlight, and I'm using my blackberry (that is about to die at any moment) that I'm using to gauge where I'm walking to. I walk into the kitchen/dining room area and it's huge. It's probably the size of the first floor of our home. The table is set for twelve and the kitchen area looks like it's going to be a great place to hang out. Chris opens one door and it's a bathroom. Another door and it's a linen closest. I walked to one area and it's the mud room / laundry room with a door (which is open) leading to the outside of the house. I find some light switches and turn them on. We then open another door and find the staircase. It's about time!

Houston, we have a problem. There are items on each stair. Shoes, boxes, papers, magazine... you name it, it was on it. "How does she expect us to carry a pack-n-play and suitcases up this?" Then came the kicker, "Chris, I don't see the light on in the room." I refuse to go up.

Chris goes to check it out and realizes it's the stairs to the attic/storage area, not the Bear Room. Kensington is starting to get a little restless, so now I'm walking around (on my tip toes) with her car seat in hand. Chris decides to go up to the main staircase to see if the room is up there. With each step he takes, on the stairs and on the upstairs hallway, I can hear him. My biggest fear is that we wake up everyone in the house. I give Chris two minutes before I head upstairs. Chris sees me and frantically waves me away. He walked into the room with the light on and there was a guest laying on the bed, sleeping. He apologized, but doesn't think he work her up. Clearly, this wasn't our room.

I walked into one of the living area and and couldn't find any doors to another room. Now I'm starting to get frustrated. "I'm just sleeping here. Seriously. There are two couches, and plenty of room to set up the pack-n-play. It's fine... when someone wakes up, they can show us to our room." Chris doesn't like this idea so we go into the other living area looking for doors.

In this room, there is a small serving table, that has two place mats and tea cups in place (I hope they have English Breakfast or Earl Grey ready in the morning). "Chris, you need to call Annie. I don't care if it wakes up people. It's now almost 1:30 and I'm freak'n exhausted." Chris looks at his phone and notices he doesn't have signal. Neither do I. "This is just GREAT!" Chris wants to go outside and see if he can get a signal there. "Chris, YOU ARE NOT leaving me alone in this house. With our luck tonight, this isn't even our B&;B. Watch someone walk down the stairs with a gun - they will shoot us for breaking into their house."
We laugh, and then I notice that there is a Christmas tree up in the corner of the room. Chris picks up a pile of mail on the table and it doesn't say Annie or Walt - the proprietors. "I think we're in someone's home." and it was with those words that we hear someone walking down the stairs.
"What are you doing in my house?!?!"
"Annie?" Chris says.
"No. I'm not Annie"
"We thought we were at our Bed & Breakfast. We're so sorry. Look, we have a baby. We don't mean you any harm." Words I never thought I'd have to say.
"How long have you been in my home?"
"We just arrived. We were told the light in the room above the kitchen would be on, and the front door would be unlocked. Your door was wide open."
"This is Vermont. We leave our doors open here."
"We know..."
"How many of you are here?"
"Just the two of us, and the baby. Thank God you don't have a gun!"
"The B&B is next door. We've had people stop here before looking for it, but no one has ever entered our house before! Do you know what time it is? Who arrives at a B&B this late?"
"Again, we're sorry. We've had the worst trip ever. That's why Annie said she'd leave the door unlocked and the light on for us."
"let me grab my shoes and I will show you where you need to go. [notices the lights on in the kitchen]. I didn't leave those lights on!"
"That was me... again, we were looking for our room above the kitchen." [thank God she didn't wake up when Chris entered her bedroom. But honestly... what adult do you know that sleeps with her lights on?!?!?]

She heads to get her shoes and I run outside with Kensington and her diaper bag. Margaret (we later found out her name) came out of the side door. "Where is the other one?" (meaning Chris). "He's inside... he was waiting for you to put your shoes on. We weren't expecting you to come out of a different door. Honestly, there is only two of us. We are soooo sorry." She heads back inside to get him and she points us in the right direction.

"It's right next door. I don't know how you missed it." Well, we do... we got in the car and it was a mile down the dirt road. We saw the B&B and the light was on in the room above the kitchen, and there was a note on the door welcoming us.

Needless to say, this is a night that we will NEVER EVER forget!!!

Before we turn in for the night, I turned to Chris and said, "Okay. THIS is the start of the weekend. Everything else that has happened, let's leave it behind. [I begin to laugh]
Thank God that woman didn't have a gun!"


s said...

LOL!!! oh man! what an, uh, experience! i'm sorry that it happened, but thanks for the chuckle ;-)

Angela Strehorn Gaston said...

If I were a screenwriter, I would rip this off of you rather quickly. Love love love it! Thank God that woman didn't have a gun!

Sarah said...

Wow guys! You must have one awesome baby! That's enough to make me cry! Thank god she didn't have a gun! Can you imagine waking up to people in your house?

C.I.W. said...


Patrick Vallely said...

Sounds like quite the journey. Yay for Friends in Adoption though, it was a fun picnic (our first time to it).

Stacie Waddell said...

OMG Paul - that is freakin' hysterical! I'm really happy you didn't get shot. :)

Julie Perkins Westerman said...

HILARIOUS!!!! You better be glad you weren't in Texas! They would have shot and asked questions later! You are going to get to "day 2" right???

Sue Morpeth Yerega said...

OMG That was so funny I peed my pants. Holy sh*t, still laughing. I am not sure how you guys survive anything, Everything is so funny. Kiss that baby for me.

Morgan McLeod said...

why does this not surprise me? lol!!! you two...Kensi, i hope you're prepared to grow up fast, 'cause someone around there needs to take care of your daddies. they crazy!!!

Erin S. said...

hysterical..Thank goodness I always lock my door ever since that shower incident.

Susan S. said...

Priceless :)

Jennifer M. said...

Oh my goodness I wouldn't think ANYBODY left their doors unlocked anymore, but thank goodness for no gun!!!! Thank goodness u can laugh about it now!!!

Kelly K. said...

great story...happy you guys survived an awful night!

Nancy P. said...

OMG - that could only happen to you!! Can't wait to hear how it all goes.

Jennifer C. said...

I sleep with the lights on. :)

Kathy S. said...

Good God Gertie!!

Deirdre M. said...

THAT is the most cringe worthy, entertaining, amazing story I have ever read. Can you submit your blog to a publisher and turn it into a book? PLEASE?!

Sarah B. said...

Wow! That was hysterical (although I doubt it felt so at the time).

Adam F. said...

hahaha. brilliant. when does your reality show begin?

Nathan S. said...

I freakin' love that story. I hope you documented.

Sashka said...

Oh man, what a trip! I hope the rest of it was fun and relaxing! Wow...

Also, we were just a few miles from each other! I was in Tinmouth this past weekend for our family reunion, which is not far from Middletown Springs. Neat. :) Sorry about the rain though, but at least the rest of the weekend was mostly sunny.

S&S said...

i do believe this story will never stop being funny. :)

DaniKel said...

So this has got to be the most hilarious, most scary real life story I have ever read! It was so funny, that I laughed, out loud, when I read it. But, it also gave me the panic feeling - like I would have died if it was us!

I have been meaning to check out your blog, but life has been super crazy and I just now had the chance to. I look forward to following along, and watching Miss Kensington grow!