Homer Sea Week: The Prelude

This weekend we participated in “Homer Sea Week” with our children’s school community.  It was a 3-day family field trip, and nearly all of our kids’ classmates made the 5-hour trek to Homer to explore tidepools, observe shorebirds, and connect with other families.

The teachers put together an amazing activity booklet to entertain kids on the long drive to Homer.  It was decorated with student artwork and packed with maps, tide charts, and sea-themed word searches, MadLibs, crosswords, and scavenger hunts.  It was truly adorable.  So adorable, in fact, that our daughter couldn’t resist reading it on the drive home from school last Wednesday.

Have I ever mentioned that Maggie suffers from motion sickness?  Especially when she reads in the car?

Have I ever mentioned that there are approximately 27 hairpin curves on the two mile drive up the mountainous road to our home?

Have I ever mentioned that our daughter can be prone to drama, which frequently causes us to ignore her antics?

Honestly, who thinks their kid is actually going to puke on the 10 minute drive home from school?

Well, that’s what happened.  She was whining, so I was gunning it up the mountain.  One minute Sam was chastising her, “Maggie, your tummy can’t hurt that bad!” and the next he was screeching, “MOMMY!!!  SHE PUKED!!”  I slammed on the brakes and he immediately hopped out of the car and ran the rest of the way home.

Initially it seemed that everything was contained on her lap, so I folded her little body into a V and scooped her onto the road.  I shook off the chunks and told her to run home to change her clothes and brush her teeth.  (Oh don’t judge me – we were right at the foot of the driveway.)  I coasted into the garage before investigating the back seat damage.

Boy do I regret not holding out for leather seats.

Somehow the mess dribbled through her booster seat to the upholstered car seat itself.  From there, gravity forced it through the seat belt holes and down to the floorboards.  Yuck.

She was happily cruising around on her scooter before I was even halfway done cleaning up that mess.  Fast forward 90+ minutes and my car was scrubbed, sanitized, vacuumed, and – honestly – looking better than ever for our cruise to Homer.  All that was left was to stock up on Dramamine and pack the bags, and we would be ready to roll Friday afternoon.

The best laid plans, right?

I must have bumped the light switch when I was cleaning the car.  Or maybe in my quest to air it out, I left all the doors open too long?  It doesn’t really matter, because the next morning my car’s battery was D-E-A-D dead.

Clark was in the middle of packing the kids’ lunchboxes, but he came to my rescue.  We quickly learned that my car has some safety feature that prevents it from being shifted into neutral when it’s turned off.  Who knew?  It took about 15 minutes to figure out how to deactivate that and push my car out of the garage.   We were both pretty rushed and flustered when it finally came time to jump start the battery.

I watched through the windshield as Clark connected the cables.  I was a little concerned when I saw some sparks, but when the greasy red cable started smoking I became truly worried.  Clark quickly disconnected it and started pacing around the driveway and flailing obscenities into the crisp morning air.  In our rush to get me off to work on time, he had connected the cables backwards.  In that brief moment the car’s battery was fried, along with some fuses and switches and other fancy schmancy computerized stuff.

By now it was now 7:40 A.M. and I was seriously late for work.  We had one functioning vehicle and two sleeping children who needed to get to school.  To make things worse, Clark had a 9:30 work meeting he absolutely could not miss.

My saving grace was an overdue mammogram referral that had been sitting in my purse for weeks.  I whipped it out, called the hospital, and they miraculously had an opening at noon.  I snagged it, and reported my medical absence to the secretary at my school.  This day was now about medical appointments for me and mechanical appointments for my car.

In the end we had to send my poor Toyota to the hospital:

5-8-2013 highlander

This turn of events could have thrown a giant wrench into our Homer excursion.  Clark’s truck needs new wheel bearings (he’s still YouTubing the tutorials – jumper cable mistake aside, he’s actually quite handy) so we didn’t want to drive it so far.  We were struggling to get everyone to work and school the next morning, let alone all the way to Homer on Friday.

As usual, it all worked out in the end.  We rented a car for Thursday, and my car was fixed by Friday.  We had a safe excursion to Homer and back, and the kids spent the entire weekend learning and playing and, quite frankly, ditching us as much as possible.

The only frustration is that my vehicle desperately needs to be cleaned out again.  While we were exploring tide pools this morning, Maggie slipped on the rocks and splattered every inch of her body with goopy mud.  This of course happened after we had checked out of the hotel and after she had already drenched all 5 pairs of pants she packed and after she had already walked in water so deep it flowed over the top of her Xtra Tuffs.

“Why does everything bad always happen to me?” she lamented.

Good question, my dear daughter, good question…


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