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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Family Holiday : Part 1 - Preparations & THE journey

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times....

Pretty sure I'll be in breach of copyright if I continue that statement any further.  But I've had trouble working out how to start the dedication of our first ever solo family holiday's first post - because it was soooo 'eventful' that I need to break it down into a few different posts in order to fully take the piss out of describe the events that occurred.

Firstly, let me clarify the part of that enormous statement that refer's to our first solo family holiday.

We've been fortunate enough to holiday many times since the arrival of the feral 3some.  Miss5 got her first passport at 4 months of age, and had a few stamps in it before she turned 1.  The twin tornado's got their passports at one, and at the grand old age of 2 and a bit, they also have a few stamps.

But, we always go away with the extended family - share the whining and dribbling among your nearest and dearest, I say.  And, to be perfectly honest, when I see a pool that has a bar attached to it, that has a laminated cocktail list complete with descriptions AND mouth watering pictures - I'm really no good to anyone, least of all my kids.  So it is nice to have others there to pick up my parental slackness share the family holiday joy.

And the big thing, there is Tinah.  Our beloved Nanny.  Until Tinah is prepared to relocate to Australia, or come here to pack us up, and fly with the kids on an earlier flight, so as not to disturb my in-flight experience and fly with us, we will forever be tied to Bali.  Which is great for us - as the cocktails and shopping are cheap, it's close, and the people are lovely.  But, ultimately, we don't have to manage our kids for very long each day, before Tinah steps in and whisks them off to some far corner of unknown kiddy-bliss that cannot be heard from the pool bar.  Or, you know, to their room to play with the guilt-toys I've purchased (in lieu of afternoons and evenings of parental time), and watch the many DVD's I've helped kill the international motion picture industry with, by purchasing them for 90 cents a piece.

So, when I say our first ever solo family holiday - it was just that.  The first time we've been away anywhere on our own, with the kids.  Without a Nanny to step in and beef up the parenting role to an acceptable level.

We went to Port Denison (Dongara) on the WA coast.  It was a thrilling 4 1/2 hour car trip.  Not due to the dramatic scenery, the weaving in and out and dodging rogue caravans being driven by little old dudes who could barely see over the steering wheel (ok, I may be picturing Mr Magoo in my head and making it sound totally worse than it was).  Thrilling is my nice way of describing having 3 kids crammed into the back seat of an old Commodore station wagon, wheels ready to burst from the load of EVERYTHING that I deemed to be of essential and vital importance for a 4 night stay in a civilised place that has all the amenities of home.

This is what we were contending with - in addition to the 3 kids

We praise ourselves highly for not taking the turnoff to Lancelin, to leave the kids with the #1 Grandparents (my folks) and enjoy the holiday solo.  Largely because we know the #1 Grandparents have a bigger and faster car than ours - even when it's not laden down with almost all of our worldly possessions - and would catch up to us and return the feral 3some in a matter of minutes.

#1 Hubby was away all of last week with work (lucky bastard), so I started the packing process early in the week.  I made lists (LOVE the list.  Huge fan of the list.  Can't get enough of lists.  Regularly make lists of lists that I need to write. Seriously) of logical and necessary items, and I packed them in a neat and orderly manner - symmetrically where possible, because you may remember my thing for symmetry from my post re: Christmas tree decorations.  

This lasted for 2 days.  By that point I'm counting down the hours until #1 Hubby gets home to assist with the kid-wrangling.  I'm now going from room to room with empty nappy boxes and shoving anything inside that looks like it has the potential to distract the feral 3some for any length of time.  The amount of time I devote to this task is measly, as they're following behind leaving a wake of destruction as they decimate everything I don't shove into a nappy box to take on our trip.  So you can imagine exactly what vital items I'm hoarding/packing by day 3 and 4.

As a result, our family of 5 going on holiday for 4 nights were packing TWELVE nappy boxes of supplies.  I kid you not.  Twelve.  This did not include clothes, porta-cots, twin pram, baby safety gates, shopping bags of groceries, naively purchased magazines for the mythical leisure time that would materialise for #1 Hubby and I to laze on the beach, or the esky of food and drink, or alcohol.  No wait, it did include alcohol, because I worked out I could fit more wine bottles in a nappy box than in a poxy layman's box.  But, it may surprise you to know, the alcohol only accounted for two nappy boxes.  I know, totally restrained of me in my panic-packing state to only include that much wine and vodka, right?

So I spent the entirety of day 5 and morning of 6 - AKA 3D DAY : Disturbing Driving Disaster Day - packing the car.  At one point I had successfully crammed everything in, but then had to unpack part of it and start again, as I had left no room for the kids.  In hindsight, this was not necessarily such a bad thing.

#1 Brother came out of his place next door late, late on night 5 to tell me to shut up with the noise - I had been slamming all the doors and the boot, to test them for safety (and as stress-relief therapy), as I had crammed everything in to the last degree - and didn't want the doors flying off at 100Km/hr, spewing our valuable drinks possessions over the highway.

This is only a slight exaggeration on how over packed our own car was

So....3D Day arrives.  I'm like a hopped up junkie with the twitches.  LET'S GET THIS SHOW ON THE ROAD ALREADY.  #1 Hubby arrives home after already having driven a few hours. No time for him to see his beloved offspring and reacquaint himself with them after a week away.  We need to leave.  NOW.  And so we do.  All 5 of us smiling.

By the time we hit Yanchep (approx. 40 mins in), we were down to forced, thin-lipped smiles.  The kids were randomly slap/smacking each other, whenever they could be bothered with the effort of reaching over the contents of our house to find a sibling to whack, that is.

By the time we hit Cervantes, there is much door slamming.  Possibly some frothing at the mouth, but that could've just been a pool of spit from the tirade I was launching into with #1 Hubby.  Can't even remember what it was over.  Neither can he.  But after  around 3hrs in the car, who cares.  We've been bursting to let off some steam, so - so be it.

It is with great reluctance that I trudge out of the solace that is the service station bathroom, watery half-assed flat white in hand.  I shove $1.50 service station cafe banana's at the kids (this is the highlight of our outward journey, as they worked out cheaper than my beloved cheap market banana's were the day before we left).  When the bananas are gone, I am down to the bag of marshmallows I bought in a frantic state of panic as I was leaving the service station counter.  I just grabbed for whatever was closest, and they should count themselves lucky that I didn't reach the Nicorette anti-smoking gum first.

I need this bumper sticker. Not just for holidays like this one, but also regular trips to the supermarket.

About an hour later, the marshmallows are gone as we turn off the main road.  We are a mere 20 minutes from our destination.  We are perking up again.  Well, a little bit.  Mainly #1 Hubby and I.  Miss5 is indignant doom and gloom for having to sit in the middle seat between the slappy smacky twins, doing her best B Grade actress woe is me every time one of them breathes on her.  The twins are just over being stuck in a seated position for more than...oh...their preferred time limit of two minutes.

As we come down the little hill into town, and turn the corner into our accommodation - we are beside ourselves.  The kids have seen the playground and the pool (the ocean), and we have seen our escape from the 6 x 3 prison that is our overloaded car.

To be continued tomorrow, with Family Holiday : Part 2 - Denison, we have landed


  1. Oh god I'm exhausted just reading this! I will donate to the "Bring Tinah to Perth" fund for your next trip. I need to go have a drink now.

  2. Bless you greatly. I will loan her to you timeshare style if it happens.

  3. LOL - it is not only little old dudes who tow caravans . I am quite good at it now - as long as it doesn't involve reversing.
    We are heading from Sydney to WA via the top end and taking the long road home this year - sans Nanny ...with almost 5 yr boy twins. Should be fun.
    Came via NUffnang ;)

  4. Great post... will come back and read more LOL

  5. Trish, that's ok - because I'm sure you at least stick to the speed limit. Not sure I could do such an epic journey in such a confined space with my twins!

  6. Hey,thanks to the sharing..I'm always feel so good when go with my family on vacation..!!
    You remember me my all old days that i spend in a spain through my holiday journey...I really do so much enjoy with my family..!!

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