Barfing in Bend

We had a wedding to attend in Bend and since Oscar was just beginning his transition plan to his new family we were up for a distraction. We piled everyone in the car for the four hour drive to a mystery VRBO in Bend.

The car trip involved a lot of “dying” of various things like boredom, thirst, hunger and lack of Wi-Fi but through some miracle we arrived at the southern most tip of Sunriver at 11 at night to the coolest log cabin ever. As we opened each door we kept expecting the Cartwrights to jump out and ‘howdy’ us.

The kids were thrilled with the place and mostly went to bed and stayed there. We all slept in beds made of whole logs.

We ventured out for breakfast and then came home to Emmett complaining that his stomach hurt. Emmett’s stomach always hurts when he’s reluctant to participate in an upcoming activity, so we mostly ignored him…until he puked all over the bathroom. And by all over I mean at least three times his total body mass area multiplied by PI.

Plans for the day changed at that point…

The reality of the new road kill laws

When we got off the plane I found that my vaguely sore throat had become a volcano of burning fire that had crept into my ears.

Kaety wanted to stop in Albany to do a little late Black Friday shopping for the Foster Kids Association. While she did that I opted for a visit to Urgent Care – Noble came with me as my medical advocate.

He wasn’t much use as my advocate – as I got my throat swabbed he covered his eyes. While we waited for the culture to finish baking and heard about all the different types of strep I could possibly have, he recreated all the gagging sounds I had made while getting swabbed.

We were released a few minutes later, strep free, to search for mommy in the Black Friday madness.

Even with the shopping interlude the kids had been cooped up for way too long and had turned to constant and vigorous bickering. I was in the co-pilot seat for the drive home, and in charge of telling everyone to knock it off and delivering ‘looks’. After threat-laden speech two-thousand I turned back around to hear Kaety say, “shit, shit, shit” as she clipped a huge deer with the right side of the van. The deer limped off, and we drove on intact. We spent the next few minutes sticking all our scared parts back into their places and breathing. During the whole life threatening event the kids never missed a beat in their bickering.

We spent the rest of the drive home talking about the logistics of the upcoming road kill take laws. If we’d had a road kill permit, we would have pulled over on the dark and foggy road with screaming kids in the car, found and tagged the animal. Put it out of its misery with our TSA approved set of tweezers, gutted it with the same set of tweezers and then hefted the carcass onto the roof rack of the mini van. The rest of the ride home would have been fun for the kids as they played “what’s that look like” as the blood drained down the side windows of van and made cool patterns.

We are joining the church of SkyCap

The process of departing started the night before. As we feared we had gathered more things than we had come with and neglected to bring a duffle bag. To be totally clear Kaety had suggested that we bring an extra suitcase – I had glanced at the mountain we already had amassed and gave the idea a thumbs down.

We remedied the situation with a Black Friday drive-by on a Ross. Kaety was so magnanimous, or distracted, that she did not give me a ‘told you so’.

The luggage, the car seats, the backpacks, the shuttles, the airport carts, and the mobile humans made the 20 min trek to the airport…challenging.

The SkyCap was our savior. He calmly processed 7 people and our small rural towns worth of luggage with good humor and calm. His calm became our calm.

As we walked away we decided that if SkyCap ever starts a religion we’d join up right away.


Love! Love! The Beatles. Cirque Du Soleil.

We split up – Grammy and Kaety went one night and Symone and I went to the next nights show.

Symone had little to no idea who the Beatles were – which gave us all pause. We weren’t sure if it was the natural evolution of the next generation or a fatal flaw in our parenting – like not showing her how to use a fork.

The show was stunning. I was blown away by the beauty and the artistry. It was a combination of dance, acrobatics, projection art, light, fantastical props and atmospheric effects.

The interpretations around the songs were layered, sophisticated and often moved me to tears. Symone and I had a lovely time together – at some point in the show both of us sat with our mouths open in wonder.

Freemont street!

The buffet at the Freemont Hotel in old Vegas welcomed us with open, but slightly sticky and smoke filled, arms.

The little boys slammed their jello, macaroni salad and frozen yogurt and weren’t having any of the follow up patience – so while everyone else was finishing up I took them out onto Freemont street with no clue what I was walking into.

The covered light-filled street was amazing! While I was staring up I didn’t see that I had strollered and walked the little boys into two mostly naked show girls taking photos with tourists. Toddlers and infants bursting into the scene wasn’t doing a lot for the two older men’s mojo as they posed (aka groped) the young women. I felt bad for ruining the women’s enterprise and gave them a tip and tried not to look like a weirdo – which was pretty impossible with my sippy cup wielding retinue.

The naked girl sippy-cup middle-aged man fiasco made me realize realized that I had lost my situational awareness so I stopped and really looked around – the street performers were all over the map and the people on the street were all crawling to get onto the map. Wow! In 40 ft of street I had generated a hundred questions – and all of them would require pretty rigorous human subjects protections in place.

We wandered and gawked. Eventually Grammy, Kaety and Symone joined us just in time for all the tired little boys to lose their collective shit.

As we hurried the crying mass back to the van Symone and I made plans to return after we got the boys to bed to ride the Freemont zip line.

“See I can climb up here and not crack my head open”

“I hate the dessert! We’re all going to die! I want to go back to the hotel room!”

We were excited to go the Valley of Fire – the kids were not. Symone, afflicted by an early morning bad attitude, led the dessert hating charge. Her followers weren’t terribly focused or clever and weren’t really sure what they were participating in.

Us: “Wow! Look at those amazing red rocks!”

Symone: “Ooo rocks…I’ve never seen those before (eye roll), and ‘wow’ red, who knew rocks came in red (snotty voice). Can we go back now?”

The boys: “I like red, I knew rocks came in red. My butt!”

Once we got them out of the van and climbed up to see the petroglyphs we started to capture their attention. The petroglyphs were good, but the possible fall to a grizzly death really became the focus of the conversation. Several cave sightings really energized the group into the idea of the impending hike.

The hike was amazing! The White Dome trail featured death stairs, snake holes, slot canyons, baby arches, and stunningly beautiful red rocks to climb on.