My editor probably thinks that I’ve fallen off the face of the earth, but I haven’t. Just the face of the continental United States. My family and I are right in the middle of a two-week vacation in San Juan, the capital city of Puerto Rico. My parents lived here for five years in the late 90’s, but I haven’t been here for vacation since my Grandmother brought my family and I here when I was in sixth grade. New Yorkers love to go to the Caribbean for vacation.
We had planned on making it a tradition to go on vacation for the two weeks after the boys get out of school for the summer, especially since the success of last year’s Costa Rica vacation. I wish I had more time to plan it, however. Being the event planner, I felt a lot of pressure to live up to last year’s trip. Unfortunately, it seemed like time hit the acceleration pedal around the beginning of May, and before I knew it we were just a few weeks away from our intended departure date. Once you throw in kindergarten graduation, preschool graduation, and a teething infant, time is just sucked out of the day.
To add to the pressure, we decided at the last minute to have some needed home renovations done while we were out of the house, including refinishing our first floor hardwood floors and painting. The contractors of this work thought it would be best if all of our furniture were out of the house, so I rented a POD storage system that could hold all of our first floor belongings.
The day before leaving on our trip, while the boys were enjoying separate play dates at nearby parks, I drove to a nearby area where day laborers congregate and wait for people like me to drive up and ask them for help. Luis and Rodrigo were more than happy to take me up on my offer of $40 each to do the furniture transfer. I thought I had everything set to make their job simple, but I found myself frantically boxing up things and emptying furniture that was too heavy, pulling out wires and feeding two men, until we finished three and a half hours later and me $200 poorer. All of us were fatigued to the bone.
Twenty-four hours later, while waiting for the taxi to arrive, I’m still packing that POD with last minute things, like a microwave, chairs, and kids’ toys, while also packing our four suitcases, three carry ons, a stroller and a car seat, while also preparing our three sons for a redeye flight to Miami and then to San Juan. Apparently my husband had some last minute paperwork to do, having just arrived home from a business trip the night before (in time for a date night that we fit in to celebrate our 9-year anniversary which had gone uncelebrated the week before), because he was MIA until the taxi arrived to take us to LAX for that flight to MIA.
Luckily my 7-month old infant-in-lap and I had a good five-hour stretch of solid sleep, and the other boys did pretty well too. Our connecting flight had problems, however, when we found ourselves heading right back to Miami soon after reaching cruising altitude, due to the heart attack in row 37.
We finally made it just in time to check in at our hotel, the four star Ritz Carlton planted right on the coast in San Juan. We had a great view of the ocean from nine stories in the air, but I was underwhelmed with the room, the kid’s club, and the pool. The airport was only five minutes away, but that made the area more industrial than hip. Other areas fifteen minutes away, like gay friendly Condado Beach, were much more up our alley. With a little research time, I would have known that.
Nevertheless, the boys are having a fantastic time. They love the beach, the pool, the hotel room experience, and all their new friends. They wouldn’t know that a hot dog at the pool costs $12, that our little hotel room leaves no time for Daddy-Papa time, and that they are not actually in the kid’s club due to the $170 extra charge per day required for that privilege.
We are half way through this adventure, however, so Alen and I thought we could bite the bullet and make it for one more week, but now we’re not so sure. Baby Dustin has come down with his first bad cold, complete with high fever and congestion. Devin, our oldest beach boy, is suffering from an ear ailment, probably due to the high number of flips and cannonballs he has performed at the pool that is shared by many other kids of all ages. And Dylan, who is never sick, has a hacking cough and slight fever. All three were up last night sucking down Motrin, changing wet pajamas, and begging for a cup (or bottle) of cold water.
I’ve got some congestion and a sore throat now, but Alen is feeling good, gambling in the casino on the first floor. All the boys are sound asleep, well except for Dustin who just coughed himself awake in time for his next dose of Motrin, and Devin, who just told me he vomited in his sheets. In-between writing, tending to my sons, and channel surfing, I am already researching for next year’s adventure, and I might have found the perfect one. I think it’s called a staycation. All the comforts of home, because you are home. Sounds right up my alley.