A Holiday Paradox

It was another couple of weeks of whirlwind travel and visiting family. A couple of Saturdays ago we celebrated Ayla’s first birthday (a few days early) with my family and Leslie’s. While my daughter is still playing catch up (from being five weeks early) in a few areas, there was very little hesitancy to dive into the cupcake Leslie gave her. Once she got of the shyness of everybody watching her, she grabbed a handful of icing and spread it over her entire face in an effort to cram her fist into her mouth. It would appear that she has inherited her proclivities for sweets from her father; one might try and make the argument that they may have come from her mother, but come on… you guys know me better than that.

Later that evening I went outside and played manhunt with my niece and nephews… it was shortly after this that I began to realize how old I have gotten. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a fairly active individual, but it has been awhile since I have punished my body that hard in the form of sneaking, crawling, running, and diving… It did not take me long to start hurting. I’m entirely too young to have my knees start popping every time I get off the couch and begin limping across the living room.

Last Friday we packed our bags and traveled from Atlanta to Dallas, or more specifically a small town about an hour and a half outside of Dallas. While I have flown through Dallas a number of times (although I usually try to avoid it since you are pretty much guaranteed at least a half hour delay when coming through DFW) I have never actually left the airport. It would appear that the powers that be have intentionally made it next to impossible to leave the airport. Construction traffic and useless GPS maps made attempting to drive away from the airport a very difficult task; sometime between circling the airport twice and getting lost downtown attempting to get to a Jack-in-the-Box (turns out this was about the only place open on Christmas Day) we eventually made it out of Dallas proper, although I suspect is was more by accident rather than intention that we actually made it out.

We spent last week in Dallas enjoying the company of my extended family at the Filippo compound located somewhere to the east of Dallas. I would be more specific but I was not allowed to do so. I say compound because while my aunt and uncle have built a very nice and spacious home in conjunction with my grandparents, the land it is situated on, the layout of the home, the number of us that were staying there, the large quantity of stockpiled guns and ammo (of which I was extremely jealous), and the large amounts of a Kool Aid based drink that was consumed seemed reminiscent of a showdown with the federal government in another small Texas town not more than a few hours away. But seriously, we had a great time seeing a lot of family, many who had not seen Jack in almost two years and had never even met Ayla. It was here that my son was taught by my father to greet one of his uncles (my dad’s youngest brother) as “Crazy Uncle Mike.” Well… it stuck, so now my son prays for “Crazy Uncle Mike” every night before bed and truthfully, it’s hilarious so there is no way I am going to correct him.

Thursday I did two things I have never had the opportunity to do before in my entire life, one was a direct result of the other. That morning I got up with one of my cousins and we got a couple of my uncle’s quads up and running and we took off across the pasture to enjoy the muddy terrain created by the 7.5” of rain we had received a couple of days before. While this in itself was not a first for me, what was new was fearlessly plowing ahead into a swampy terrain that probably contained equal parts mud and cow manure. *Wheeee!* After enjoying the brisk morning coating ourselves in questionable substances we headed back up to the house to shower. After showering I threw my clothes in the washing machine and turned it on. Not five minutes later I frantically ran back to the machine, wrenched open the door, and began searching my pants pocket for my phone… That’s right; I have officially joined the club of people who have destroyed their phone by submerging it in an aqueous substance. Unfortunately I was unable to resurrect my phone and as such I have been phoneless for four days now. The hardest part has been the fact that I have had to have my wife set her alarm for the past two days and I was forced to wear a watch today. Bleh!

Friday we made our way back to Albany via a layover in Atlanta. It was an odd day of travel for us as Ayla was the only one who did not appear to deal with a bout of motion sickness. I rarely get motion sick… actually, I never get motion sick anymore, but for some reason I got hit with two bouts of extreme nausea, once while in the car on the way to the airport and once during the middle of my first flight as I played a game of chess (on the screen in the back of the seat in front of me), they were very sudden and the one during the flight was very brief. It is not unusual for Leslie to get motion sick while flying so that did not really catch us off guard; but poor Jack got hit with what was probably motion sickness. He did not exhibit any signs of feeling ill nor did he voice any concerns, but after we had landed and arrived at the gate he promptly and with no warning threw up all over himself, my leg, the seat, the floor, and the backpack we had sitting on the floor. We waited until everyone got off the plane, cleaned up the mess as best we could and then notified the flight attendant, we then travelled into the airport and to the nearest family restroom where we changed clothes, diapers, and dumped the offending bag into a plastic trash bag we then toted around the airport. Fortunately for us our connecting flight was really close; in fact it was at the exact same gate. What are the odds we wound up sitting in the exact same seats on the exact same plane our son had just puked all over?

Well, we are home and while I had a couple of good pictures to include this week, my phone is on a permanent hiatus and until I manage to snag a replacement my newsletters will be pictureless. Have a Happy New Year.

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