October 30, 2019

puffy pinkie, bones with bling, & finger crossing for bonbons

I will get back to the babysitting nightmare story shortly.  It's a doozie.  Consider this your commercial break, except I am not selling anything.

How happy are you that I am done talking about Vancouver?  I feel I stretched the topic out incredibly far, too far?  I am the type that cannot rest if I have a story that goes untold or unfinished.  I have emailed people after a party to say:  'Hey, I just realized I got off on another tangent and I never finished telling you about  . . . '  I am that person.  

Let me know if you live in fear of our upcoming Yellowstone vacation in June?  Blogging minds want to know.

My two pinkie fingers have ached for about two years.  I have wondered if I did something to break my knuckles.  I just try not to use them much, but recently they have gotten worse.  Worse than broken, you ask.  Well, yes.  I guess.  

I threw the stroller in the trunk the other day.  I was racing the tots I sit for home from the park on a day that was not as weather permitting outside as I had originally thought.  I glanced down as I drove home because my damn pinkie was killing me.  It is typically the better of the two.  Yowza.  This is what I saw:

Relax, I am not flipping you
 off.  It is a pinkie, people!
Maybe this photo
shows by boo boo better.
I suppose it does not look THAT bad in the picture.  Trust me here.  My damn knuckle looked all gnarly and deformed.  I know Halloween is coming, but I don't intend to dive in that seriously.  

I saw an orthopedic hand specialist yesterday.  Do not ask me about the two hours of time spent at the doctor's office, because I think this post is full of enough bad news.  Just know that it made me grumpy to wait.  I brought Mini home from high school to watch the two babies I was sitting for, and I was SUPER grateful that she was willing to miss Latin (she has a strong A in the class, in case playing hookie makes anyone concerned), lunch, and gym class.  Had the day involved two hours with two babies in the doc office, I would have punched a wall and broken one of the good fingers.

Anyway, I have a cyst.  I need an MRI to see if the thing is best to be drained or surgically removed.  To be honest, I hear surgery and I picture me laying on the couch NOT babysitting and someone else sitting there feeding me bonbons because my hands are all bandaged (just one cyst but in my vision I have both hands bandaged and lots of other people are doing things I normally do.  It is my vision, damn it - so it can be messed up).  And to be honest, I am OK with that scenario.  

The doc said to drain it would mean that it might grow back.  I would like to bypass that option, because I do not want to see this thing again.  It freaking hurts.  

If you have never considered how much you use your pinkies, then I invite you to pay attention to that little guy.  Whether you intend to involve them in any functioning tasks at hand (get it, rocking the humor while in pain typing over here, right?), they sometimes just get called to duty faster than you can say, 'no pinkie, not you!'  Reading books, opening jars, making meatballs.  (I made meatballs last night and two minutes in I was like 'wait - whose idea was this?')  Don't get me started on diapers and strollers.    

My right hand.  Shit, do I look 80?
This is the pinkie with
 a swollen knuckle and to compound
 things a bent ring - from the front
you cannot tell about the bent ring.  
Not sure you can see how straight
 the back is now.  Even if I
 unbend the ring, I would never be able
 to get it past my beefed up knuckle.
Slow-to-show-up-in-a-room-where-I-grew-old doctor also took an x-ray of my hands.  The x-rays look like a skeleton with bling, because I cannot remove my rings.  Those damn rings were all over the pictures and I only have rings on 3 dispersed across my 10 digits.  One of the rings will need to be cut off.  I know this, but I have yet to address it.  It is my college ring.  The kids slid the car door shut on it over 10 years ago.  It bent across the back and I was unhurt, but now there is no removing it without a saw.  That ring is on my usually-more-painful pinkie, but currently cyst-free pinkie.  Follow?

The x-ray lady was moaning about my wedding ring diamond getting in the way and I told her this was the first time I felt really thrilled not to have a 3 carrot diamond.  She enjoyed that even though my rings made her redo my x-rays several times.    

The x-rays showed something kinda bad.  I have blackness in all of my joints - not just pinkies.  All of the joints in my hands.  The name of what I have is:  Periarticular osteopenia.   This is a weakening in my joints.  Coach looked it up and it is caused by the fact that I did not absorb my calcium or my vitamin D back when I was shoving cake in my pie hole unaware that gluten was destroying my insides.  I had celiac disease for most of my adult life and didn't get diagnosed until about 4.5 years ago.  I think what this x-ray showed is that I am going to end up with rheumatoid arthritis, but I am not sure.  

Rheumatoid arthritis and still no gluten (like sheet cake) to comfort-food my way through the pain?  That's just rotten.  

I told Coach he needs to come with me for my next appointment which will be with the rheumatologist  because I have no idea what these people are talking about.  

Still angling for couch time and bonbon eating and someone else slaving away at meals and laundry and housework.  Fingers crossed, well - carefully crossed anyway. 

October 28, 2019

gut feeling, red flag, totally screwed me

This couple leaned towards the odd side.  The woman, Jackie (her real name, because if you know her then I want you to tell her what a lowlife she is), appeared to have difficulty executing conversation.

And here is her real photo from - recognize her?  
Our first phone call took place when she called me while I was at a department store.  The lengthy pauses left me wondering if we had been disconnected. I kept pulling my phone away from my ear to look at the phone, checking to see if the call was still in progress.  

When Jackie did speak, I cringed at her monotone, dreary voice.  Perhaps I should not make fun, because maybe she took a bad fall on her head as a child and cannot infuse inflection or feeling into her tone.  My grandmother would have called her a 'drip'.

She and her husband came to meet me at my house, and I was shocked at his strange communication style. He spoke entirely too fast for someone to process the words. His quick adrenaline-infused speech came out in quick bursts and then abrupt ends.

I showed them the play area in my basement where the water had come in on Curly's stage. The stage had yet to be put back together, and I explained about the window well water seepage. Words bolted out of his mouth about what we should do to fix it. It took me a few minutes to figure out what the Hell he was referring to. Now, who's the drip? Seriously though, how do these two communicate?

On Labor Day this woman, and I use the term loosely, whose children were scheduled to arrive at my house the next day sent me a cryptic text message.  Her text arrived almost 36 hours after I sent a text to her inquiring about a few details. Did the toddler still nap in a pack and play?  Had she managed to grab a second car seat for my car? Did she still plan to arrive around 8 or 8:30 in the morning?

The fact that she was about to leave her kids with me, but was not more responsive to my questions raised a red flag. READ TEXT MESSAGE SCREENSHOT HERE:

What?  So if they weren't starting tomorrow, then why did she not mention when they would be starting?  I texted her and asked for what date she hoped to start.  She did not answer my text messages or my first three phone calls.

I was at the pool. Enjoying the last day, until she finally called me back. In her drippy, monotone voice . . .

she said: 'Well, we met someone today who can watch the kids the week that you can't. And she can watch them for the rest of the school year.'


Perhaps it isn’t just her speech that is void of feeling, but her entire person.  

October 25, 2019

my least favorite ALL SUMMER activity, cheap vs great, and go with the gut

Last spring I poled the folks I was sitting for to see who would be requiring my services again this school year.  I know already that the logistics become complicated for working parents with kids entering preschool. 

Visiting the local forest preserve.
In my line of work, I have always considered preschool my biggest rival.  Back when I only babysat for two families, I agreed to drive a kid to preschool.  That sucked.  The mom enrolled the kid in a preschool with no drop off line.  Is it me, or does that seem cruel and unusual?  What child-focused group would require parents to take their kids out of cars and walk them into a building.  Am I the only mom out there who had more than one kid in a car during preschool days?  I sat in wonder watching these folks wrestle car-seat straps made more argumentative by winter coats.  I thought, 'You know there are preschools right around the corner that provide a drop off line?'

I vowed never to agree to such lunacy again.  (It didn't help that when I pointed out the non-drop-off-line dilemma the mom suggested that I leave the other kids I was sitting for in my car while I walked her kid into preschool.  Yeah, we parted ways after that academic year).

The results of my pole revealed my biggest fear.  My little in-home daycare was going to take a hit thanks in part to preschool.  Two families left because of preschool schedules.  

Another family fudged why they left. ('I have meetings after school once a week'  me:  oh, I can work around that - then she had nothing.  She would not be honest with me).  Their departure cut me to my core.  I believe that they jumped ship in search of cheaper prices elsewhere.  Considering my entire family loved their baby so much, I struggle to understand how you opt for 'cheaper.

These are the two 'big' babies I sit for.
 One comes Tuesday/Thursday and
 the other comes Tu-Wed-Thu. 
They are almost a year and 9 months.
Summer of '18 when they interviewed me, they initially took a pass sighting my prices as out of their range.  I wondered if they thought I would negotiate.  I wouldn't.  Weeks later they texted back.  This was where they wanted their baby all along, and did I still have room?  Being the wise-ass that I am, it was tempting to text back and say 'Sure, but my prices just went up.'

There are two kinds of in-home daycares in my estimation:  those with high enrollment numbers and no opportunities to leave the house but downright cheap, and mine with less than 5 kids and a willingness to go on outings to the zoo, library story-time, parks, and other awesome spots specific to my location like forests preserve buildings and the arboretum children's garden.  I also offer each napper his/her own bedroom for naps.  

Ed kept telling me to relax, I would find new families.  I spent all summer (this is exactly what I did NOT want to do) introducing myself on a parent Facebook page, applying to jobs on, and interviewing interested folks.  Finally by mid-August my roster was full.  Each family that hired me only required part time hours, so I managed to organize everyone's schedules to coincide with one another, so that I would have Fridays off. 

Meet Baby Mikey, or more
specifically Mikey's hair.
 He has so much hair for a little guy!
There were two families with new babies that hired me.  The second family wanted to start the same time as baby Mikey.  I informed them that I intended to take one week to become acquainted with Mikey before I was prepared to juggle both babies.  Baby Mikey was on my schedule first so his start date of Sept 9th was all set, and I wanted baby #2, Linda (and that is this poor child's real name) family to work around that. 

Linda was born July 9th.  They requested I watch their kids (they also have a 2.5 year old) the day after Labor Day- starting a week

before Baby Mikey, but then take the following week off while I became acquainted with Mikey.  Ya follow?  This was decided mid August.  

There is something to be said for gut feelings.  Lind'a family - well, my gut felt unsettled about them . . . 

October 23, 2019

cursed by a good sniffer, patience spent, public transportation HELL

I last left you as I stood helpless on bus with no air trapped with some SERIOUSLY AWFUL SMELLS.  I tried to figure out what or who it was, so I could strangle the perpetrator.  

I saw it.  A woman directly in front of me in the row of seats facing the center, took a crayon-like stick from her bag.  She colored clear, but SCENTED perfume-y stuff across her chest - into her cleavage, and then inhaled it.  Little did she know that the HORRID shit she was dousing herself in was only adding to the stench.  I actually corrected her.  

How do you share photos of dirty people and
bad smells?  You don't.  But here is another
 pic of my girls walking around
 on Granville Island.
‘Please don’t do that.  I am allergic to perfume.  You should not put that on in such a small space!’  Curly tensed up, and I turned to escape the awfulness and saw Mini’s eyes as big as they’ve ever been.  I don’t even think my kids minded that I was speaking up this time.  I attribute the shock on their faces to the putridness around us and how horrible this woman was for making it 50 times worse.  Oh, and Curly just reminded me that in the midst of all of this someone broke wind.  Farted.  Cut the cheese.  SERIOUSLY!

Someone on that bus was trying to kill us, and the memory of it has been burned into our minds (and nasal passages) forever.  When at last we arrived in the city, we hopped on an elevated train to get closer to our home-sweet-closet where we could sleep.  I sat in a seat near the door in one section and the rest of the family sat in a section on the other side of the doorway.  A woman about 10 inches away from me, who was standing, took out a bottle of hand sanitizer.  She poured a healthy amount in the palm of her hand and then clapped her hands together.  

I forgot to share this photo earlier.  Check
out this cute little guy - this is what Curly
 won in her dancing competition.  Not sure
 the photo does it justice.  Glass whale
with some colorful strips inside.
The hand sanitizer was scented.  As in OVERLY scented.  Of course.  It splattered.  EVERYWHERE.  Like a light spray actually landed on me.  I gasped loudly and blinked uncontrollably fearing that I might hurl my cafeteria style salad from hours ago onto this subway train.  My family rescued me.  Mini saw the whole thing go down, and she motioned for me to get over by them.  I stumbled across the moving train.  Mini switched from laughing her ass off to consoling me.  

The combination of motion sickness (boat, buses, train), lack of oxygen on the bus, perfume-y cleavage, gas, exhaustion, and now stink-a-rama hand sanitizer was TOO MUCH.  

In case you are wondering, I will not live down the imitation of me that my children gained that night.  It was not pretty. 

October 21, 2019

what is wrong with people? who else is sensitive to HORRIBLE smells?

Sunset view from the ferry
boat after a LONG day.

We witnessed a beautiful sunset just before the ferry took off to bring us back to Vancouver.  The three little kids explored the ship while the rest of us collapsed and charged our devices.  

Little did I know that I was about to embrace the worst part of the entire trip.  (pictures are from better moments) 

A few of the boys napped during the
 whale watching.  Guessing it beat the
 trampoline room at the airbnb.
More from the whale boat - windy hair personified!

We arrived back to the port in Vancouver at like 10:45.  We were EXHAUSTED.  I thought Coach and I were on the same page:  no waiting for a bus, let’s hop in a cab and get back to our jail-cell sized airbnb asap.  That same-page mentality ended up being a page that someone put through a shredder, because the next thing I know Coach was buying bus passes for all of us.  He kind of shrugged at me when I nodded towards the number of cabs waiting for customers as in what-the-EF

We boarded the bus.  Unfortunately, approximately 400 other people boarded that same bus first, so it was a tad crowded.  We had to stand.  Coach estimated that we were about 40 minutes from the downtown area which is where we were staying.

Next issue:  the bus was not set to depart for maybe another 20 or 25 minutes.  AND (as in how can this get worse?), the bus driver could not turn the bus on until that time so oxygen was absent.  You know what wasn’t absent?  Horrible, God-awful, gag-a-maggot odors.  

Let's imagine better fragrances
 like, oh - look, more flowers!
Coach was positioned next to the driver at the front of the bus with most of the boys.  Mini was between us, surrounded by strangers.  Curly and I were clinging to a pole in front of the first row of seats that faced front - there were about 6 seats lining the sides of the bus that faced the center of the bus between Coach and I.  
The stench was INSANE.  It is hard to describe, and I whiled away my time identifying possible culprits.  There was a young woman perched on her suitcase with multiple face piercings, died blue hair, and a thick layer of grit and grease smeared across her face.  I do not mean that she had smudged her makeup, I mean that her natural unclean state had produced said grossness on her skin.  

Oh, look - more flowers!  Breathe it in girls, because little did
 we know we are about to gag ourselves silly!
Curly was breathing in the air inches away from this chick’s face.  I rotated Curly so that she was not facing this person.  Still the smell persisted.  It was more than just unbathed people, although there was certainly enough of that to go around.  It was an overly intense perfume.  Damn it.  Minutes ticked by SLOWLY as I tried to keep myself from screaming or sobbing.  From the window I could still see the line of taxis.  Waiting.  This was one of those occasions when I felt damned for having such a strong sense of smell, and for living on a budget.  

October 18, 2019

garden on overdrive, promised meal, aggressive eating

Ticket bought, the race was on.
We hurried through the gates at Butchart Gardens after we bought our tickets.  Remember we were pressed for time and the kids were dead set on eating at a real restaurant.  Challenge accepted.

We raced through the gardens.  Saw it all, I assume in record time.  It was magnificent, but our crew can only handle so much beauty . . . Especially when they know a restaurant meal is in their near future.  Hot food exiting a RESTAURANT kitchen on a tray is a thing of beauty to them.  

This is the map - not a
 small place, but if you run
and agree to refrain from
 the standard million photos,
 it can be done in under an hour.
We ended up being forced to eat at the cafeteria on the grounds at the garden.  I grabbed a salad from the line and started eating it while the rest of the gang waited for their specific, hot meals to be brought out.  There was not a lot to choose from, so there was some groaning from our deprived children.  

I admit that I, too, was incredibly disappointed.  This place had almost no options for my gluten free butt.  Yeah, a salad.  I had my heart set on eating at a restaurant that we passed when we first got off the boat, but I didn’t understand the logistics at the time.  That place was now an hour in the wrong direction.  

It really was spectacular.
While I ate, Coach’s blood pressure skyrocketed.  He had paid.  For a real meal.  Yet, he feared that we would need to race to the bus without having eaten said meal.  It was a tense time.  I made all the kids use the restroom while they waited for their meals, so nothing else would slow us down after the dinner.  

I got up to use the restroom when my wimpy salad was ingested.  I made a beeline for the cashier first.  I pointed out that my husband my stroke out if they did not bring my family their food.  PRONTO.  The kids were pointing at other tables noting that those people sat down AFTER us.  I informed the guy of our bus conundrum.  ‘Please do not wait to serve everyone at once, just BRING OUT FOOD AS IT IS PREPARED.’  Cashier guy to the rescue - a few plates started to magically appear from the kitchen.  

I walked behind our crew and took a
 few pictures here and there in
 hopes of not being scolded.
I wish I had a video of my family eating, but on the other hand - you might not be interested in my fam doing their best imitation of competitive eating.  It was a unique style of bartering, begging, threatening, and inhaling.  If memory serves, and it usually does, it went a little bit like this:  

‘Do you want those veggies?’  
Are you done with your chicken?’  
‘Can I finish your - whatever that is?’ 
‘Touch my plate again and I will break your fingers.’  
My children:  do NOT deny them
a restaurant meal after it has
 been promised.  EVER.
‘I think you are drinking from my water glass.’  
Where did you find the butter?’  
You know you are never going to finish all of that.’  
I just want one bite.’  

And just like that, in a matter of 6 or 7 minutes our meal was complete.  The busboys had nothing to scrape from our plates.  Their work had been done.  We ran like the wind to the bus.  I decided that we had 3 minutes to spare and I stopped in the bakery and bought a few of the priciest treats known to man for the kids to share/ fight over on the long bus ride.  

October 16, 2019

a mansion, whales, houseboats, and the inevitable run amuck

Look closely, there are two whales here.

The highlight of our Vancouver trip was surprisingly NOT our time stuffed into a cubicle-sized Airbnb.  Coach booked reservations on a whale watching expedition.  We had to be at the place super early, which was a challenge.  

The family's butts.  We leaned over the wall 
to watch this guy perform tricks, but it
 was his great sense of humor that kept us
 engaged.  We sent Curly down after
 he finished to put money in his hat.  

It was insanely windy once the boat took off.  Our cameras were ready, but nothing.  We were nearing the end of the trip when they announced that there were whales spotted ahead.  We all jockeyed for position and took a thousand photos.  So cool.  
Here they are again.  One waving to us.

The whales did not jump completely out of the water because by the time they arrive in these waters from wherever (I think Alaska), they are too hungry and tired to jump that high. Still we saw two of them come up repeatedly.  Lad also spotted a bald eagle, which impressed the crew to no end and clearly made Lad’s day.  Mini claimed afterwards that it changed her life.  We were all thrilled!

Mansion - very cool. This will come up again, but Mini used the bathroom here after our tour- like perhaps for the first time in a month, if you get my drift.  Made for an incredibly awkward situation since the toilet got clogged and there were only two stalls and the girls were ahead of me.  The older woman in front of me wandered into Mini's stall.  Whammo.  I was clueless because I was in line behind this woman.  Mini was unsure of how to handle the situation so she left the stall and allowed this poor woman to walk in after her.  I started to figure it out when I saw Mini's horrified face.  Let's just say, we won't be invited back to the mansion again.  
We could have taken the boat straight back, but Coach arranged for us to be dropped off at Victoria, a beautiful island.  This place hit all the marks.  It was gorgeous.  There were little house boats docked at this little, lively wharf area full of food stands and a floating ice cream place.  So cute.  We enjoyed a street performer who was downright hilarious. We toured a famous mansion where Curly, who had gotten ahead of me as I read the descriptions of what each room was used for, invited me to one of the floors in this way:  ‘Welcome to the open concept ballroom.’  Yes, she enjoys HGTV.  

Ice cream on the wharf area
while checking out the houseboats.
Then we took a bus to Butchart Garden.  This is where the plan started to run amuck.  Coach planned on having us take a ferry back to Vancouver.  He had not figured in what time the last ferry would run or how long it would take us to arrive at the gardens.  To complicate matters, we promised the kids that this night would be one of their few vacation restaurant meals (harps play as they anticipate a bit of heaven) vs a meal heated up on a paper plate in our hotel or airbnb.  
The bus hit traffic and we got to the gardens an hour before it closed.  The lady looked at me like I was insane when I asked if we could in fact tour the garden in an hour.  She was like, ‘Perhaps, but why would you do that?  Why would you not enjoy it?’  

Hey, we are athletic people - we can take in the beauty while doing a light jog.  She helped us look up the last ferry time.  We had to be on another bus out front of the garden in like an hour and 35 minutes if we wanted to make the last ferry.  Don’t forget that dinner needed to be incorporated into that 1 hr 35 min.  The ferry was still another 45 minutes away.  Poor Coach.  He thought it was all going to work out, but it was so hard to guesstimate how long we would take at each stop, then traffic, then the ferry schedule, etc.  

We rallied.  

October 14, 2019

not to be missed post: hilarious airbnb highlights, laughing to not cry

Glad one of us can stomach this stuff.
 This is Coach in the trampoline room
 removing Tank's stitches.
1.  Coach removing Tank’s stitches with a tweezers or a nail clippers - I kept my distance.  

2.  Moments - and I mean literally like 2 minutes - after we were in the apartment, Laddie went out on the tiny balcony.  We were on the 19th floor.  The door locked behind him and we COULD NOT open the door to get off the balcony.  The handle was jammed.  I was totally in blogger mode thinking of the many things I needed to report on, so I managed to capture a photo despite the small amount of panic happening. 
This is Lad stuck on the balcony.
 Reg laughing
 at him from the master. 
Tank in the background
 messing with the door. 
Life is really
 never dull for us.  Sigh.

The windows that led to the balcony were itty bitty so getting him back by ‘birthing’ him thru a window was not an option.  Coach eventually freed him, but he kept giving me looks accompanied by a shaking of the head. 

After years and years of our partnership of parenting the screw balls we like to refer to as our children (really we only claim them while at Church when they are dressed decent and on their best behavior) I know how to interpret his expression:   ‘What the Hell is wrong with our children?  (Often he verbalizes the question.  This time it was implied).  

It is a riddle I have struggled to answer for him over the years, yet he still asks.  I’m not gonna lie, there is often a bit of blame associated with this glance of ‘Goddamnit’-ness, but not to worry I am able to shrug away the blame.  Ahem, I KNOW they do not take after me.  

This photo does not go with the #2 issues
in the airbnb.  You're welcome.  This is
 kids trying out hammocks in a store on
 Granville Island.  I wish I had a video of
 a few of them trying to get in the damn
 things.  Mini was hoping I would buy one
for her room.  Not gonna happen.
 It is treacherous enough already in there.  
3. Anyone brave enough to go #2 in the bathroom took their life in their own hands.  ‘Couldn’t you wait till we were leaving?’  ‘Why’d you do that before my shower?’  ‘You are a pig?’  ‘What did you EAT yesterday?’ 

4.  Then there was the night that Lad insist that we watch ‘Black Fish’ a documentary about killer whales and Sea World, etc.  This suggestion happened the day after our whale watching adventure (more on that later).  This was a great film, but very sad and disturbing.  Not sure the timing was right for it to be shown right after we embraced whales in their natural habitat - kind of a buzz kill, but it is hard to find something the entire family can watch on TV.  

5.  When we finally had everything packed up and I had offered all kinds of odds and ends for breakfast (not the cheese popcorn, because I grabbed that for lunches - it was eons ago, but perhaps you read about that bit already) that I did not want to stuff in the checked bags, Coach and I started asking everyone if they had everything. 

There was a charger in the wall and no one would claim it.  Coach and I did not remember if it was already in the apartment when we arrived or not, so we continued to question everyone.  It wasn't until we got home that Tank suddenly could not find his charger.  SERIOUSLY?  The place was not that big - I think we have established that.  How could you NOT have heard us ask a million times ‘whose charger is this?’  He was bummed because it had additional USB ports.  There are not words.  But hey, at least we found his brand new raincoat on the back of his chair at the kitchen table - NOT with us in Vancouver where it rained a TON.  

It was an excellent vacation - full of sights and adventures and memories.  I am not going to lie, it was great to be home to enjoy personal space, multiple bathrooms, three televisions, a huge fridge and freezer (albeit covered in brown unidentifiable scum), three crock pots, and laundry facilities.  Home sweet home. 

October 11, 2019

airbnb: Hell personified, plus pics for proof

The actual apartment was great, if Coach and I had been traveling with one or two children.  The promised air mattresses did not exist.  There were 5 bath towels.  No kitchen towels.  Four dinner plates, etc.  Two cheap rolls of toilet paper, and one partial roll of cheap paper towels.  There were no garbage bags or a kitchen garbage receptacle.  At all.  

The smaller bedroom had a diagonal wall, so it fit one twin bed that Lad nabbed.  It was not possible to fit an air mattress on the floor in that room because of the angular space.  I emailed immediately and demanded that she deliver the air mattresses that she had promised, plus sufficient bath towels, and bedding. 

Master bedroom with twin air bed
 at the foot.  Can you say cozy?
We left the apartment for a few hours and when we returned they still had not dropped off the supplies. Finally at 9 pm someone dropped off a couple of queen air mattresses, a few blankets that reeked of smoke, and a couple more bath towels.  Trying to figure out where to stuff blown up air mattresses in this itty bitty place was the next dilemma.

One twin mattress, that Eddie claimed, went at the foot of the bed in the tiny master.  We then moved all of the stools into the kitchen from in front of the counter top overhang bar and slid them into the kitchen area.  Then we pushed the two love-seats and the coffee table up against the wall.  Now we could wedge two queen air mattresses onto the floor in the living room making it look like a trampoline room.  

Not sure if someone was being a wise ass,
photo bomber, or if they were just trying to
 move about in the crowded space.  Behind
the hand you can see someone - Curly maybe
sleeping on the coveted hallway twin
jammed down between the walls. 
The last twin air mattress we pounded on until it was stuck between the two walls in the hallway.  This meant that in order for Lad to get out of his room and maneuver down the hall, he had to step diagonally across the twin into the laundry closet, then take another giant diagonal step over the bed to land on the other side just outside the bathroom door.  

Our tribe of Shenanigans is not accustomed to fancy surroundings.  We have slept in tents in Yellowstone - even after they flooded.  We have jammed more people than you could think possible into a hotel room.  Our home sweet home is in a constant state of disarray and chaos.  We were bummed that the situation dictated that we had to reconfigure the space each morning in order to use the kitchen and the couches, and then back again when it was time to sleep.  

Three kids in the trampoline room.
 Reg, far left, Mini in the middle and Tank.
I think this is Curly's hair in the lower left corner. 
We were watching comedian Jim Gaffigan.  Note
 the air mattress turned on its side so we
 could sit on the furniture.  Reg, Lad, and Coach
 are sitting on kitchen bar stools. 
What can I say, we are a close family.
It should come as no surprise that no one wanted to sleep in the trampoline space.  The two twin mattresses were coveted by the kids.  Coach and I had to coax people into accepting their lot in life and assign sleeping spots.  One morning one of the 3 kids assigned the trampoline space, ended up curling up on the love-seat adjacent to the air mattresses.  We asked, but the answer was a resounding ‘No, it was not more comfortable than the air mattress, but so and so (I think Mini was the culprit) kicks too much.’

The times when we were awake, we mostly spent out and about in the city.  One of the days was our whale watching tour followed by time on Victoria.  By the time we arrived home it was basically the middle of the night and we all collapsed.  Lad managed to hook up his laptop to the TV one night and we crowded around the love-seats and the queen air mattresses to watch some Jim Gaffigan on Netflix.  We laughed our butts off.  He is hilarious and mostly acceptable for all ages.  Stuff that was not appropriate went over the little kids’ heads.

Of course I fully enjoyed the full size fridge and freezer, but assigning times for everyone to shower and finding places for towels to hang was a pain.  Of course we ran out of toilet paper and paper towels.  Coach hollered at me from time to time insisting that I must have missed something in the directions from the chick because the garbage was hard to deal with. 

This is the morning we left - bags packed, air beds
deflated, waiting for our driver to carefully take us
out of the building thru the garage.  A bit after
this photo was taken was when our children caused a
 scene at the gate as they fought for the last few
 handfuls of cheese popcorn that I packed.
I finally threw my hands up and motioned around the place, ‘Really?  You think I missed some detail about where we could toss garbage like a garbage shoot?  Look around you dude, this space-case was short on info.  Obviously!’  

Then he left me alone.  We continued to tie kitchen garbage in small grocery bags, stack them on the kitchen floor, and dance around them when we opened the fridge, etc.  

Why oh why was there no hidden camera to capture our airbnb doing an awesome imitation of a clown car at the circus?  We would be millionaires.  

Note:  hallway air mattress raised up at the end
 of the hall to allow Lad to exit his room and all
 of us to exit the apartment.  Ed and Curly eating
 breakfast.  This demonstrates perfectly why no one
 could sleep once anyone was awake.  Sorry, Mini.  
The morning we needed to leave for the airport, Coach and I were up early.  We were not leaving for hours, but we wanted to be organized.  Not to mention, there were 8 of us practically sleeping on top of one another, sleeping late was NOT happening.  I squeezed between the misplaced kitchen stools to make my oatmeal.  Coach showered.  One by one the kids woke up.  Eventually a half asleep Mini asked us what time it was.  We told her it was 8:30 am.  She was APPALLED.  Why were we already awake if our flight wasn’t for hours?  

More wild motioning with my arms around the place, ‘Well, I am sorry but in this place someone breathes and everyone is awake.  Or had you not noticed the shoebox we have been sleeping in for the last 3 days?’