Skip to content

Why We Almost Didn’t Make it On Spring Break

March 31, 2014

imagesDo you ever feel like the universe is conspiring against you?  I definitely felt like that as we were getting ready for Spring Break as we almost didn’t make it.  Here is why my stress level hit an all time high this year.

T-Minus 4 days

I booked a trip to the Dominican Republic for Spring Break through Costco.  We have never traveled there nor have I booked a trip through Costco before.

Four days before we leave I get a note from Costco of a checklist of items.  One of the items was about passports.  I only glance at this item, because yes we all have passports.  But there was a note about “valid for 3 months” that caught my eye.

My kids passports expire in mid-April.  I knew this when I booked the trip in October, and actually was relieved that we wouldn’t have to get new passports before the trip (what a hassle).  Now it looks like we may need to go get a passport in a day.

I am in a full panic and of course no government offices are open on Sunday to confirm.  Do they not realize that I have a passport emergency?

I take to Google where I begin searching “Dominican Republic passport requirements” and find that 99% of the sites say it needs to be valid for 3 months.  One site from the UK says it just has to be valid on the dates of travel.  Seeing as it will cost an additional $400 per kid for an expedited passport — I’m going with the Brit advice.

T-Minus 3 days

It’s St Patrick’s Day and my house is in full swing.  But of course I still am nervous about the passports and keep trying to call both US offices and DR offices to get clarification.  No one answers a phone; apparently St Patrick’s Day is in full swing in their offices as well.  Finally I get in touch with the airline and they assure me I won’t have any problems. Of course,  she is giggling and I can hear Danny Boy in the background, but I’m going with it.

T-Minus 1 day

The day before I vacation I always have a packed work, family and social calendar.  I had everything planned out when my 6-year-old comes into my room in the morning saying he doesn’t feel well and then proceeds to projectile vomit over everything.  That’s.  Just.  Great.  I’m not sure if I’m more upset that he is sick the day before vacation or that I need to now fit in 4 loads of laundry and disinfecting my room to my crammed schedule.

He seems to be doing better and I take him with me as I pick up my daughter to take to the dentist.  He even asks for food.  That’s got to be a good sign right?  I give him some Ritz and a Sprite in the car.  We are almost at the dentist when I hear a sound from the backseat that can only mean the digestive system is now going in reverse.  Projectile vomit all over the back of my car.  There is nothing that induces vomiting as the smell of vomit and so my daughter and I are now dry heaving in the front and desperately trying to roll down the windows even though it is 30 degrees and sleeting.

I decide I need reinforcements and call my husband to ask him to pick up his puking son.  There is a moment of hesitation on the line that can only mean one thing, he just cleaned his car.  He agrees and shows up with his back seat covered in a plastic that is suspiciously like that used on Sopranos right before someone gets killed.  I don’t ask questions.  I had over puking son and take my daughter to the dentist.

Travel Day

We arrive to the airport at 5:30am and you would think it was 12noon.  It is absolutely packed.  We were unable to check in via the internet the night before (a message kept popping up, “please see an agent for assistance” — again inspiring confidence that we will make it to break), so we need to stand in one of these long lines.  We finally make it to the front and check in goes smooth (they even overlooked our slightly over weight bags).  We then head to TSA and here is the first stumbling block of the morning.

As the TSA agent is looking at the passports, my daughter remarks how my now 6-year-old son is practically a baby in the picture.  Sigh.  It’s always those closest to you that rat you out.

This leads to the following:

“You know these passports are going to expire,” says the agent.

“Yes, good thing we are back before they do,” I say with a cheery smile as I shoot my daughter a look that could kill.

“I hope they let you in.  Not sure they will.” he says

Is it too early for a drink?

We are seated in the last row of the plane which is expert planning by the airline since we have a 20 minute layover in Miami before our next flight.

We arrive in Miami and run, and I mean run, for our next flight.  We make it just in time and find the flight is full.  As I’m putting everything in the overhead I realize I can’t find my phone.  My husband turns on the Find A Phone App and I swear I hear the bell tone.  We tear apart all of our carry-ons and can’t find it.  The app says it is somewhere in the Miami airport and so I flag down a flight attendant.  He asks me to come with him.

I get off the plane and have not 1 ,but 2 gate agents working on trying to locate my phone.  The pilot comes out to see what all the commotion is about and tells us we have about 10 minutes before we need to leave.  I momentarily think of what I can do to delay this flight, but decide jail time probably wouldn’t help my stress level.  The flight attendant takes my husband’s number and promises to call if they find it.

I get back on the plane deflated (pun intended) and my husband still thinks it is actually on the plane.  Our flight is full of Spanish-speaking passengers who speak very little English.  But as my husband hits the “Play Tone” button to find my phone, the older gentleman in front of me says in perfect English, “I hear the bells.  I hear the bells.”  We yet again go through everything, when in desperation I ask the young couple sitting next to me if they would mind getting up as maybe it slipped onto their seat.  Sure enough, the guy next to me was sitting on my phone the entire time.

Dominican Republic Customs

The moment of truth, will they or won’t they let us in with our soon to expire passports. First off, those of you that have not been to DR, you need to pay $10 each for the privilege of going through customs.  Then you enter another line where there is local music playing and dancers for your entertainment.  I’m too stressed and am busy saying novenas to fully enjoy all of this local color.

We get up to the window.  The guy counts 5 passports, sees 5 of us and says, “Hola.  Welcome to the Dominican Republic,” and starts dancing with the music.  This is what I was worried about?  I could have shown up with a bloody axe and a horse’s head and I’m sure he would have said, “Hola.  Welcome to the Dominican Republic.”

But who am I to judge?

Travel to the Hotel & Beyond

We arrive to the hotel in one piece, although I did enjoy seeing all of the police with machine guns lining the highways, because nothing says family spring break like machine guns.

I do have to say the resort we stayed in was beautiful.  Food, ocean, surroundings all were top-notch.  And it wasn’t until the 3rd day that I heard those dreaded words, “Mom, I’m bored.”  That’s a new family record.

Remember that stomach bug my son had?  Well both girls and myself got it on the 2nd day although it could be a blessing in disguise as we were all sporting some serious sunburns.  And that stomach bug did cut down on my usual 10 pd weight gain from vacation.  Only gained 3 this year.  Love a good stomach bug.

Welcome back everyone.  Hope you all had a great Spring Break and have a Smashing week.


No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: