I just flew in from Seattle last night, and boy are my arms tired.
Not just my arms, actually...all of me. Even those parts of me that serve no other biological purpose than as signals to your brain that it's time for a nap and a deep-tissue massage.
What a week. Six days on the left coast, five nights of fitful sleep, four flights, three time-zones, two grandparents, and one toddler with a proclivity for unpredictable and precipitous swings from delightfully cute to emotionally fragile. The parental equivalent of Hannibal's march over the Alps.
It started out well enough. Cheeky was woken at 5 AM as planned, shocking us with her calm demeanor on the way to the airport. She gamely took her shoes off at security, and excitedly reminded everyone on board that we were "going super-fast!!!" at the top of her lungs. Sure, she practiced her screaming at the Salt Lake City airport (and let everyone within a 30 foot radius know that "Mommy is pooping") but it was mostly cute and fun.
I've been working on a formula to accurately describe and measure the five days that followed. It goes something like this:
# of time-zones traversed x (avg. daily hours of sleep –
actual hours of sleep)
# of Swedish fish offered as bribes
good-naturedness of child - irritability of parents
(days remaining in trip)2 x ounces of alcohol consumed by parents
I'm still working on it, of course. It's a simplified formula which hasn't been tested for repeatability, nor does it factor in such highs as the Cheeky's first night in a "big girl bed" (which she would periodically leave the room to check on and show off to whomever followed her) or such lows as her fear and distrust of my Mom's Jack Russell terriers, both of which show affection the same way the infected did in 28 Days Later. Stephen Hawking texted me back (we R bfz) and said he thought it was mathematically sound, so I'm going with it for now.
So anyway, you get the basic idea. When Cheeky woke up at 4 AM the first day and announced, "I'm all done sleeping now!" we knew we were in for a long trip. We shuttled between uncles, aunts, and grandparents for a few days, most of whom were so out of practice with toddlers that they spent most of their time staring from a distance with looks of cautious bemusement. We took her out for some fun local activities, and unearthed some classics from my childhood found (fully-intact) in the basement. We'd distract her as long as we could, knowing full well that the briefest lull could result in either hysteria or narcolepsy.
Admittedly, we did most of this for ourselves. We wanted everyone to enjoy Cheeky and celebrate the rare times when the family can be together. And in that sense we largely succeeded. The ultimate point of the trip was only partly to give Cheeky some quality WCG2 time; it was also to take my dad--a huge Seahawks fan--to a game in Seattle.
A few briefs words about the game: long-time readers know that I'm a hardcore Seahawks fan myself. That's synonymous with disappointment. So before anyone who watched the Sunday night game on ESPN makes any comments let me just point out that your slings and arrows cannot harm me. I've got decades of callouses from watching Dave Krieg, Dennis Erickson, and the refs in Super Bowl XL; if that doesn't thicken your hide nothing will.
But it was 68 degrees at kick-off on a beautiful Seattle day. We had great seats at Quest Field with views of the skyline and Space Needle at sunset. Retiring All-World fullback Mack Strong hoisted the '12th Man' flag before the game. Geoff freakin' Tate sang the national anthem. And despite Shaun Alexander's repeated attempts to impersonate Long John Silver (to quote Troy Aikman, "Looking for places to fall down") we all had a good time.
That didn't make the flight home any easier, of course. But we're back in our own beds, getting back into the routine of bitching about less extraordinary events. Thanks to my family for their hospitality and patience, and thanks to my wife for putting up with all of us.
And thanks, Advil, for everything else.