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The Best Laid Plans…


We should be in Austin right now. Snuggled up in my mom’s upstairs rooms. Tomorrow morning my mom had arranged to have a family friend take photos of us so we could have some nice photos as a whole family. Afterward, the kids were going to stay the night with their Grandma (Chris’ mom). While with her, I was going to help my sister move my dad to a smaller room at his memory care facility and empty out some of his storage unit. We were going to celebrate my birthday. And my brothers’ kids’ birthday. I had plans to visit with a dear friend I’ve had since elementary school. First time I’d see her since the separation. First time I would’ve seen any of my family, for that matter.

Instead, we’re at home. Our trip has been cancelled. Or rather, postponed.

You see, I didn’t blog about it but about a week ago one of my kids came down with the flu. She spiked a scary high 104 degree fever and after calling her pediatrician, I was advised to take her to the ER. It was my first time to take either of the kids to the ER. Luckily, we got her fever under control. She was diagnosed with flu type A, but we’d caught it early so the dr. gave her a prescription of Tamiflu for treatment. He gave sister a prescription of Tamiflu for preventative measures. Both kids have been doing fine. I thought we were out of the woods with the whole flu snafu.

The girls stayed the night with their Dad last night and I picked them up this morning to head straight to the airport. Literally within 5 minutes of getting in the car, one of my daughters (the one who hadn’t had the flu) says she feels sick and needs a bag. Uh oh.

We had no bags, so she threw up in a coloring tote bin, as I was stuck on the highway and couldn’t exit due to road construction (several exits in a row were closed! Ugh!) As soon as possible, I got off the highway. Got her cleaned up and into a spare change of clothes. Stopped at a gas station to try to buy some medicine. They had absolutely NO children-dosed versions of anything. Nothing at all. We load back into the car and I get her a new puke bag. We keep driving toward the airport. Another 10 minutes down the road. She throws up again. I’m looking at her in the rear-view mirror and she’s pale as a ghost. Doesn’t feel warm or feverish, but clearly not doing well. I pull over and call my Mom. What do I do? We have a 6-hour travel day ahead of us! My mom suggests soldering on – that she’ll run out and buy meds and get everything ready so my kiddo can be comfy when we arrive. My daughter throws up again literally while I’m pulled over on the phone. A third time within about a 30-minute time span. My other daughter starts crying. She’s very sensitive, in general, and is having a really tough time watching her sister be ill. It’s upsetting her and she starts begging to go home. Sick daughter, with barely audible voice, peeps up – “please mom, can we go home?”


Poor sweet baby. After she’d thrown up in the coloring tote, I threw it away at the gas station and fished this gallon-sized ziplock out of a suitcase (it had contained toiletries). So here she is, clinging to her (used) puke-bag, passing out in the back seat. Bless her heart.

I turn around and head home. My mom had bought these flights for us for our Christmas present. It was on Southwest and, thankfully, they allow full credit to be used on future flights (no penalties or fees), so I resolve to look for flights leaving tomorrow or maybe Saturday.

We get home and sick kid falls into bed and sleeps basically the entire rest of the day.  I search flights. But, unfortunately, last minute fares over the holidays are totally unreasonable. Our original flights were about $350/each. The cheapest flights I can find for tomorrow or Saturday are running over $1,000/each. Nearly triple the cost. I just can’t justify the added expense, especially given the shortened timeframe of the trip. I can’t lengthen our stay because I already have work meetings planned for my return. It just doesn’t make sense to spend so much money to only visit for a couple short days.

And so, with family Christmas gifts still packed in our suitcases (and their gifts for us still nestled under their trees), we decide this is just not going to happen. We can use our flight credit for up to a year, so we may try to plan a trip back over the girl’s Spring Break or even over summer.

Bummed does not begin to describe the feeling. Not only were we all looking forward to then trip just for normal reasons (to see each other/exchange gifts/be together around the holidays), but in the wake of the separation I felt like I really needed that time with my family. Almost like it would have been a therapeutic experience.

But sometimes being an adult means making tough decisions. And I definitely think it was the right call. It would have been selfish (and insensitive and rude) to try to force my sick kid into making the trip – exposing other airline passengers to what I’m assuming is the flu virus. Plus, with my luck, I’d end up catching it while in Austin and then being forced to make the trip back while ill. And it wouldn’t be a very fun trip if my kid was stuck sick in bed the whole time.

So here we are in Tucson. Suddenly, I’m finding myself with the next week totally open (I’d thought we were gong to be out of town!) with no plans and no school and what can we do to occupy our time?

One thing is for sure. I don’t think I’ve ever been so ready to see the turn of a New Year. My birthday happens to be New Years Eve, so it’s perhaps even more a time of reflection and planning given the turning of the year AND the turning of my age at the same time. I remember last year at this time. It was a really tough time in my marital situation. I remember resolving myself to the fact that Christmas/New Years this year would look totally different (though I didn’t know at the time that would mean a separation). To my credit, my life this year DOES look totally different and I’m in a much better, happier place. But I still have a lot of metamorphosis to go through. I guess we never really stop growing and evolving. I’m looking forward to what 2019 will bring and where I might find myself on New Years Eve next year. 🙂



  • Reply Shanna |

    oh my gosh, so disappointing but THANK YOU for not taking ill kids on the plane and exposing so many other people, I wish everyone was as gracious as you are! I hope your “make up” trip is extra awesome and special..

  • Reply Christopher |

    I know this is a debt blog and maybe this is a bad idea, but….Maybe you should use one of the vouchers and go to Austin in January for a long weekend when your kids are with your ex. You have been going through so many changes and maybe you need some time in Austin with your extended family, childhood friends, favorite places…You have been taking care of others for a long time and maybe you need to be pampered for a few days.

  • Reply Cwaltz |

    I don’t know if you had your second child use the Tamiflu or not but two of the side effects of the medication is nausea and vomiting. Anyway I am sorry you and the girls had to miss the trip.

  • Reply Janie B. |

    Shanna is exactly right!

    It would have been *criminal* to put that sick child on a plane. (I truly mean that!!)

    We had something similar happen one year. We were heading out on a 300 miles-drive to my family’s house for Thanksgiving. The car was loaded–right down to the pecan pies that I had stayed up late to make to take as our contribution to the big meal. Child comes downstairs stating: “I have a sore throat.” Oh-oh!

    We went to the nearest “prompt med” type place. Yep! It was Strep throat.

    Needless to say, we went back home, called the folks to let them know that we wouldn’t be coming after all, and unloaded the car.

    The rest of the holiday weekend was spent tending to the sick child.

    Thankfully, no one else in the family caught the infection; we were *very* careful about not spreading it to ourselves or to anyone else.

  • Reply Nicole |

    Oh Ashley, what a heartbreak. Both watching and caring for your girls as they suffer, and then the bigger blow of missing your holiday trip. Praying that you have a happy birthday (maybe you can make it a special day/night with the girls?) and that many good times and blessings come your way in 2019. It has to get better, right?! Hugs.

  • Reply Laura |

    I am so sorry to hear this. You’ve gone through a lot this year. Here is hoping 2019 goes well.

  • Reply Stephanie |

    I’m so sorry your holiday vacation plans were ruined by illness. It’s never fun to deal with sick kids but to do it while traveling is even worse. I know you were looking forward to visiting with friends and family and probably having some down time, but these things happen.

    I ditto Christopher’s suggestion of stealing a weekend visit away for yourself. You deserve and need time. Go have your mom spoil you.

  • Reply Kili |

    Dear Ashley,
    That must have been disappointing.
    Hope your kids are already feeling better.
    I hope you’ll be able to make the best out of the spare time at home.
    Like others have said: make sure to treat yourself a little.
    Have a wonderful birthday & all the best for the new year.

  • Reply Angel |

    I feel you, my son just had the same stomach bug yesterday causing all our travel plans to be cancelled. It’s a bummer and I know how much you’ve needed the family time. But this too shall pass. Hope she gets better soon!

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