February 16, 2022

travel: who, where, when? & skip school, why not?

I've named this toy squirrel,
Lillie as the 'prize' Suz wins for
guessing the garage door was
 something that wouldn't
open. Do you see the resemblance?
Budapest:  STILL up for discussion. Who, when? It's anyone's guess. I thought this wasn't going to happen.

A few weeks ago, Mini begged me to sit down and peruse the rental options in Florida for spring break. 


Me (head swiveling):  HUH?

Mini:  YIPPEE.


Me:  HUH? 

I booked flights to Florida April 12th - 16th. Mini had no school Wed and Thurs and Reg is scheduled to take the PSAT during school those days. Who cares about that? So, Reg skips the test and Curly skips school. This freed up spring break so that Coach and I could MAYBE go to Budapest. 

It's a Lillie replica,
minus the toothy grin.
See, she's missing
 an ear. This toy was
 inherited. I have no idea
 who ripped her ear off.


Then:  Coach's employee, who had an arranged marriage just before (or during?) the pandemic, will be in India to visit his wife. Coach said that he and the newlywed dude couldn't be away at the same time. 



Me:  OH YEAH. I'LL MAKE A FEW CALLS. (I'm WEARY - Coach does A TON for his company. Patients literally come from far and wide to see him, the company aught to jump when he wants to finally take time off).  

One issue with Coach and I going away: the 3 youngest would be home alone during their spring break. I'm not that worried about leaving them alone. No one would be around in order for them to throw a party. I fear that they'd be bored though. 

I suggested that I go to Budapest with Mini over spring break, and Coach go with Tank in May when he finishes school. Sadly, I never renewed the kids' passports over Christmas break. We weren't going anywhere. It fell off my radar.

I had Mini skip her morning classes the other day to renew her passport, just in case. An expedited passport takes 5-7 weeks, and we'd hope to travel in 6. Why must everything be so complicated? No one answers the phone at the passport office, but you can get an appointment if you're traveling in under 2 weeks. Then what? Am I guaranteed an appointment? Guaranteed a passport? Pay out the nose?


On Sunday, we took the 3 youngest to breakfast (Lad wanted to stay home with Finn). The plan: we take a kid out every month and then each kid gets alone time with us twice a year. Well, the kids begged to all go this time. 


Coach was working out during this insurrection, and I caved. 



During breakfast, Newlywed texted Coach. He'd adjusted his travel plans and he'd be back during spring break. The plot thickens. I still think, Mini and I should go. How does one buy flights when one isn't sure if they will have a passport in time? I looked into flight insurance and not having the correct travel documents isn't covered. 


The day Mini got her passport renewed, I took 5 toddlers/babies to the zoo. I let her sleep late because she'd had an away game and was up crazy late working on homework. She has gym first period, and her 2nd class - also fluff. So, I gave her the filled out application, documents she'd need, and a few blank checks, signed. Told her to call the library and make an appointment, and then call me with  questions.

If there was a way to have a kid renew a passport without getting her hopes up for potential travel, I sure didn't know how to do it. The night before I sent her to get her passport photo taken - I just sort of shrugged, as in DON'T ASK. 

She called me while I was driving to the zoo. She needed to show up to the library with a copy of her license and her expired passport. She didn't know how to use the printer. 


Mini:  HOW?

Mind blown. What? I told her to put her hand on top of the printer and lift the cover. She wasn't able to. Do you not have an opposable thumb? 


She needed both sides of her license copied on the same sheet. I was like WELL, MAKE A COPY, THEN FLIP THE LICENSE AND PUT THAT PAPER IN THE TRAY. IT'S TRIAL AND ERROR. GOOD LUCK. 

Baptism by fire:  printer 101.
College here she comes. 

She managed, but when I came home there was a stack of discarded OOPS pages. Would it have been so hard to recycle the evidence? 


Speaking of travel:  today (Wed) I'm flying to Colorado to visit Joe's brother, JB aka Johnny, my 1st best friend who had the TBI at age 10, and his elderly mother. 

I was looking for a phone number in one of my Christmas cards a few weeks ago and I came across Mrs. B's card. She wrote:  "Joe's coming to visit in Feb." Days after I got her card, Joe died. I decided, HEY, I CAN BE A FEBRUARY VISITOR. Johnny didn't attend Joe's out of state funeral. It would've been too hard for him. 

Mrs. B sent me a note to say seeing my sisters and I at the funeral had made an awful time so much more bearable. She wished we'd had more time. More time? I've got time. I'm looking forward to this visit. I fly home Saturday.

I'm pulling the girls out of school to cover my babysitting gig. Curly will watch 2 kids Thursday. Mini will have the twins solo on Friday. Notice a theme here? I've become a 'skip school' advocate. 

Did you or your offspring ever skip school? With or without parental permission? Or, hit me with your travel tips, passport renewing strategies? Or, do you know anyone who had an arranged marriage? This concept has blown my kids away.  


Nicole said...

Hahahah, oh Mini.

I did know someone who had an arranged marriage and honestly, sometimes I think arranged marriages are no better or worse than regular marriages. I mean, I guess it's luck of the draw, but we all go through good and bad times.

I'm glad you're able to visit JB - safe travels!

Beth Cotell said...

I just let Sarah go into school late yesterday. She had fluff classes the first two periods and she was really tired. It's the second half of senior year so who really cares?!

I have known one person who was a mail order bride, does that count?

Enjoy your much needed time off from babysitting and your visit with your friends!

Kara said...

I'm pretty lenient with the kids skipping school, as long as their grades are up, and they don't skip enough to become an attendance failure. My senior is pushing it, A LOT, this year. After winter break, the school decided that every Monday would be online only. Which means, my kids don't actually do their online only work, and my Senior takes it as an excuse to stay an extra day at her boyfriend's college (that's a whole other story, but she's 18, and we're not thrilled but it happens).

We did expedited passport renewal, and it took under four weeks to get them back. We went directly to a state processing office, not a post office.

My Mom was the stateside liaison for an India based computer company. They basically didn't take on projects for the months of June-August, because they'd lose half the guys to vacation, and more likely than not, one would come back married to his arranged wife. I went to college with a girl who was married off at 18, but part of the agreement was that he would pay for her to go to college for her degree. He lived in another part of the state, and she went home on weekends to see him. They seemed happy. He was maybe five years older than her?

Jenny in WV said...

I did skip school once in 10th grade with my parents permission. My dad took the day off of work to go to a lumber yard that was a hour away from where we lived (why yes, we did lead exciting lives) and I convinced them that if he didn't have to go to work, I shouldn't have to go to school.

As a senior there seemed to be something going on almost every week (holiday, field trip, a couple college visits) that I almost never spent 5 days a week in class.

I have no passport tips, my only international travel was a weekend band trip to Toronto, Ontario in 1998.

Amy said...

My stepson skipped a lot of school...he also didn't graduate. My husband and I tried to get him to go, tried to motivate him, etc, but nothing worked. Eh, he'll learn the hard way I guess.

I know a couple of people who had arranged marriages - they all had no complaints, said they were content with their spouses. It doesn't seem like all that bad a system - they met their spouses beforehand and had the option to say no...

me said...

We'd let the kids skip schoo to go on a family trip - visit Chicago or something - because our schedules never lined up otherwise. I recently let hs daughter skip a day because she hadn't slept well and she needed to catch up on sleep. She'll have her work done so no worries. My one daughter went in late about once every two weeks to catch up on sleep - she managed the work load so who am I to tell her no? I remember those teenage days of not being able to get out of bed. As long as it's not a problem for grades.
I did let #1 son go off to admitted student days right at the worse time - he had play practice, tech week, and AP classes galore. Had I but know that was a mistake... Oh well, he survived, I didn't kill him (though it was a close call when I saw his grade on his English paper), and he learned a lesson. Maybe...
Poor Mini- I know the feeling. Our most recent scanner/printer actually has a carefully labeled button to get two sides of ID"s on the same sheet of paper. I've had to use it so much!
Have a safe trip. What a lovely thing to do for your friend!

Ernie said...

Nicole- ah, yes . . Mini. She keeps things interesting. Wait till you hear about her latest mess up.

I read a book about an arranged marriage once. Was it Namesake? It was very good. And I agree, it might workout just fine.

Just boarded the plane. I haven't seen Johnny in about 10 years. Looking forward to it. Hoping to make him laugh and just serve as a happy distraction from his long days. His dad died in Jab '21. He was in his 90s. He kept johnny entertained.

Ernie said...

Beth- fluff classes are meant to ve skipped. Always happy when those are in the am.

A mail order bride? Wow. Sounds like a similar concept. Imagine taking that chance?

Thank you. My kids are handling my babysitting job, so there WILL BE stories. It has been a long while since I was in Grand Junction. Not an easy place to get to. Requires a layover. Should be relaxing and hopefully helpful to Johnny. This has been hard on him. Need to get phone in airplane mode. ;)

Kari said...

Enjoy your trip to see your friend. Xoxo

ccr in MA said...

Have safe travels and a great visit!

Ernie said...

Kara- Define this thing you speak of 'attendance failure'. Mini doesn't miss a ton of full days but she does miss a TOBN of mornings.

Extending the weekend to a 3 day option is dreamy. A perk of all this craziness, I guess.

That is an interesting arrangement. It must have decent results since it seems to still happen, right?

Ernie said...

Jenny- You must've been very convincing. I thought maybe you would say that your dad needed help at the lumber yard.

I've comedy with yet another travel option. Maybe coach and I at spring break. Tank and Mini in May? Once her AP exams are over school doesn't matter. Still working on it. Will report back.

Ernie said...

Amy- I must say I feel blessed to have kids who are self motivated. Mini does have good grades and she knows what she needs to makeup.

The thing is we are supposed to let kids choose their own college. Imagine if we told them who they were going to marry? I suppose if it was part of your culture, then it would be accepted in advance. The option to say no - well that makes the process sound downright manageable/enticing? Might beat the heck out of dating sites.

Ernie said...

Me- the lack of a good night sleep is an excellent reason to skip school. I remember taking the kids to Disney when Lad was in 8th grade, thinking THAT'S IT. NO MORE SKIPPING SCHOOL. HIGH SCHOOL IS STARTING. Silly me.

I had some days of HORRIBLE cramps in high school. Could not stand upright. Couldn't really eat. I was never allowed to skip. Not once. Grrr.

I do hope my visit will brighten Johnny's days for a bit. And his mom. At the wake, she introduced me to people as WARREN'S GIRL. Warren is her husband who died last year.

Busy Bee Suz said...

I LOVE that you are going to see Joe's Mom. That is the absolute best and I know Joe is smiling down on your efforts. So so sweet.

Mini. She's SO pretty. Also very smart, but you know, sometimes it's the little things that trip up a genius. ­čśť

Lillie. yes, I recognize her. You are too darn funny.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Oh, I know someone who had an arranged marriage and they are super happy. They're from Haiti and she's our CEO; she's super smart and lovely and he's very attractive; they have an old school dynamic, but it works for them.

Ernie said...

Kari- Thank you. I've arrived. And enjoying getting caught up.

Ernie said...

Ccr- Thanks. There was an incident after we landed at the back of the plane. I was happy to get off and stretch my legs so I didn't stick around to find out what the deal-io was but a flight attendant raced to the back of the plane and was pounding on the door of the restroom. A teen came out. Got hollered at. Another flight attendant went into the bathroom looking for, well who knows? Glad we had landed and it didn't delay our flight.

Ernie said...

Suz- I am glad I was able to make the trip too. It's been so long. I saw Mrs. at the funeral but Johnny (the youngest of the 5 boys who was my first childhood friend- who suffered a TBI as a 10 yr old) could not make the trip, so I decided I needed to come see him.

Things are happening on the home front. All fine, just funny. Like people ALREADY forgot who was gonna be where when while I am away. I was SPELLING IT OUT to them while awaiting my connecting flight. Why did no one hear the words WHEN I SAID THEM IN PERSON?

Ah, Mini. She has another blunder for me to share. I might have to rename this blog STUFF MINI DOES AND DOESN'T DO.

I thought you would enjoy the Lillie look alike. I do wonder if Finn chewed the ear off. He has been enjoying sneaking into the family room and swiping toys. The countdown to when Lad can afford his own place continues.

The arranged marriage situations really don't sound all that challenging. If we adopted that culture we could get rid of all the dating apps. Somehow I don't think that's gonna happen.

Look at you, all caught up.

Charlie said...

My in-laws (from Jamaica in the early 60s) had an arranged marriage. It was awful and although it produced 6 kids it was violent and ended in divorce. Luckily my MIL (later in life) fell in love with a lovely man and remarried very happily.

We aren’t allowed to take kids out of school in the UK for a vacation. There is a £60 fine applied to each parent if we do this. If they take too many days off sick it’s also investigated. So really difficult here.

Have a lovely Colorado trip and fingers crossed for an early passport delivery.

Ernie said...

Charlie- I meant to wish you a happy birthday in yesterday's post. SHOOT! The 16th, right? I got sidetracked prepping to go out of town. Hope you enjoyed your day.

Mini would not have survived going to school over there.

Goodness, that arranged marriage sounds heart breaking. I'm so glad she found love on her own eventually.

Ally Bean said...

No skipping school in my childhood. No travel [lately] in my adulthood. You're living one wild life there, girlfriend. Enjoy

[Why Budapest?]

Kara said...

Attendance Failure- our district defines it as 9 unexcused absences in a quarter, in any class. You can Attendance Fail a class, meaning you get zero credit for having taken it, but still have a A average in the class. That means you get to go to Summer school and make it up then. It will show on the transcript as Incomplete. Obviously, medical issues like Covid, are excused absences.

Pat Birnie said...

My grandparents had an arranged marriage in Italy, early 1900s. My mom said she never once saw them show affection but they did have 6 kids, 4 survived. They were married over 65 years. When she died he just faded away and died within 3 months. Who knows? I knew an Indian woman a few years ago who arranged a marriage here in North America for her daughter. The daughter moved from Toronto to Philadelphia to be with her new, unknown husband. I cannot even imagine. The mom kept telling me how happy they were.

Budapest is a BEAUTIFUL city!! You need to go!

Bibliomama said...

Aieee, the logistics make my head hurt. It's like those math problems I always hated. We are ardent pro-school-skippers here. Both my kids did well in school and would sometimes choose to go even when it was a snow day and they could have skipped, so it was a no-brainer if we had something else to do or they needed a mental health day (my mom would do the same for my sister and me, which was great except she was a nurse in mental health and once sent the note saying I was staying home for a mental health day on a notepad sponsored by Haldol). Glad you can visit Joe's family, I hope it will provide some comfort for everyone.

Ernie said...

Ally - I did not skip school either. Budapest is where Eddie is studying for the semester. If it ends up being Coach and I, we would like to visit one more city. Prague, Munich, or Vienna.

Ernie said...

Kara- eek. I hope our district doesn't do this. I think she will be fine because I usually give an excuse. Rarely is it for a full day.

Ernie said...

Pat- 65 years of marriage is crazy impressive. Goodness. The mom arranging a marriage for her daughter . . . that would be so nerve wracking. Talk about trust.

I am hoping for Budapest. New plan, or new possibility, is coach and I go at spring break. Tank and Mini go in May. Coach still debating if he can take off the days we need.

Ernie said...

Ali- That is a good comparison . . . a tough math project is what our travel scenario feels like.

I wish my folks would've let me skip a FEW times. I was a good student. I want a do-over . . . well, that's not true I don't wish to go back to high school.

Our high school actually gives students a few mental health days each year or semester.

Laughing at the note pad she used to excuse you.

It has been a very nice visit. Very chill. Lots of long talks. Slow-paced. The opposite of what my real life like is like.