vacation disasters

This week is the one week Taylor and I both have off of work while Symphony is around. I’m also off next week, but Sym is at her grandma’s and Taylor is back at work EVEN THOUGH I told him he should take BOTH weeks off because he says he can’t be away from the office for three weeks and he’s going to a conference at the end of the month. I say that doesn’t count because it’s a WORK conference and he’ll be WORKING and also the HR department at his job recently told him he had too many vacation days accrued and he had to take a random day off immediately but that is another story.

Anyway. We didn’t have big plans to go away somewhere but I did want to do some Family Fun activities with… mixed results. Last weekend was a long weekend, with the last night of the annual fireworks competition and also Pride weekend. On Saturday Taylor, Nicky and I drove up to Merritt to pick Gwen up from her grandmas who she had been visiting for the past week, and that night we took them to the beach to watch the fireworks. Nicky had barely napped all day and was up super late so he was incapable of sitting still and kept trying to a) escape into the night, and b) smack me in the face. This led me to believe taking him to the Pride parade the following day would be a mistake so instead on Sunday we went to the Davie Street Promenade to let the kids play in the Love Bus (a school bus that has been painted pink and converted into a giant ball pit by some Burners) and then run a few errands. In the afternoon we had our own impromptu backyard party with a couple kiddy pools and our neighbors. Later my sister came over, Taylor and I picked up fried chicken for dinner and we finished building my Lego Cinderella castle which we had started the previous weekend (it has over 4,000 pieces so it’s a real production).

On Tuesday afternoon I had an initial inspection with a licensing officer from Community Care Facilities Licensing scheduled so Monday we spent most of the day trying to get the house back into some semblance of professionalism. Tuesday morning we took the kids to Science World. I also took Sym to the bank to get her account information so she could register to order to start withdrawing money from her RESP for college. She’s had a bank account since she was a little kid when one of her great grandmas used to write her cheques for her birthday and Christmas but hasn’t used it in years. Anyway… we had a fun time at Science World but unfortunately at some point on the way back Sym lost her cards out of her wallet! We know it had to have happened downtown because she used her Compass (transit) card to tap out of the train station but when we got home it, her Science World membership card and her bank card were missing! She and I retraced our steps all the way back to the train station and then home again but no dice. She needs to be able to access that account to like… pay her tuition, but also she doesn’t really have proper photo ID right now. So on Wednesday I had to take her to apply for photo ID and try and get a new bank card using a somewhat expired passport with a picture from when she was 11 (which we were thankfully able to do). Unfortunately all the walking around in the heat for two days and and waiting in lines killed me and that evening I felt very overheated and sick and had to take a cool bath and go to bed to chug Gatorade while everyone else had dinner.

Thursday was our big Family Fun activity: a day trip to Alice Lake. We went last summer and had a blast, and this year I was determined to actually get Sym into the water instead of just reading in our beach tent all day. Taylor had prepped all our food & supplies the night before while I was feeling ill so after he picked up our Zipcar we were ready to head out. We made a brief detour to a store in North Vancouver to pick up one of those folding wagons all the moms have as well as an adaptor to allow up to plug our electric air pump into the car to blow up all our floaties and LET ME TELL YOU they have already paid for themselves!

We got to the lake around 11:30 and I took the kids & all our stuff (in the wagon) to the beach to set up while Taylor stayed at the car inflating things. I went back and forth bringing floaties over but no one else had to make multiple trips which was nice- last year it was a huge pain getting everything from the parking lot to the lake with no wagon. When the last float was done Taylor had a little trouble getting the Zipcar to lock using his card but the app worked fine so we didn’t worry about it (this is foreshadowing by the way). It was super windy at the lake and everyone’s floats kept blowing away when left unattended, especially ours (mostly because… we had a lot) but it was fun and funny and after lunch I did manage to convince Sym to come out for a float and have fun in spite of herself.

Around 3:30 we decided it was time to head home so we deflated and packed up everything. I took Gwen to the washroom and then we went to meet everyone else at the car. It was a little weird because they were all still standing around it with all our belongings, and as it turned out… it wouldn’t unlock! The card wasn’t working and now neither was the app, because Taylor didn’t have enough service. We had to call Zipcar on my phone because Taylor kept getting disconnected and then he was on hold forever. When he finally spoke to someone they couldn’t even locate the car in their system because of the lack of service so it couldn’t be remotely unlocked. Taylor was put on hold again while he waited to be connected to roadside assistance.

In the end a tow truck came and the driver popped the lock on the car, but doing that locked up the ignition so it wouldn’t start. He needed to tow the car to somewhere with service so Taylor could try unlocking it with his card because that was the only was to unlock the ignition. I had to stay alone with the kids while this happened, and we didn’t even know if it would work or if Zipcar would pick us up in a new car, which would probably take hours- by this time it was rush hour in the city. Also the tow truck happened to be one of the flat bed kind and loading our car onto it blocked the entire exit from the parking lot right at the time everyone else decided to leave so there was a big line of steamed up people fuming at us.

We had taken the kids up to a little playground in the woods and again, GOD BLESS THAT LITTLE WAGON! Literally the best $65 I’ve ever spent! Dragging our cooler, deflated floaties, Taylor’s Swim bag, Nicky’s diaper bag and a big Ikea bag full of wet towels, swimsuits and lifevests around by myself would have been impossible, and moving the kids around from the concession to the lake side of the playground to the parking lot side of the playground to the concession again broke up the wait so they didn’t get too punchy (although Nicky who had skipped his whole nap and was now creeping up on his bedtime had reached the gravel-throwing stage of overtiredness).

Finally, after having the car towed to somewhere with decent service Taylor was able to get it started and came back to pick us up. We’d started trying to leave at 3:30; when we were all finally in the car it was 6:45, and we were still an hour+ outside of the city. The first thing we did once we got out of the park was hit a drive-thru for fries for the kids and then it was straight home. Nicky fell asleep so hard that not only did he stay asleep when we moved him from the car to the house he stayed sleepy enough while I changed his dirty diaper that I was able to put him straight to bed.

In spite of the rather large hiccup of being stranded in the woods for several hours with no clear plan of how or when we were going to all get home (at one point we thought Zipcar might send a driver in a car with carseats to bring me & the kids home while Taylor stayed with our car until???), the day was still a lot of fun and I look forward to next year’s trip, although this time… no Zipcars*


*We actually did use a Zipcar last year with no problems but we parked at the other end of the lot which is higher and I guess has better service? Still, not willing to risk another stranding.

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