a garden in riotous bloom
Beautiful. Damn hard. Increasingly useful.
earlier sprouts 
rosefox: "My body is sick JUST because my brain is upset! This is SO STUPID." (anxiety)
We went to Readercon and we are home.

Things that went wrong (probably a partial list, since I keep remembering things to add):

* Kit had a cold, and then started teething (which apparently caused many of the cold symptoms).

* I barely slept for several days in a row. I have a very low tolerance for being underslept. At the worst of it I was having screaming sobbing panic attacks and too nauseated to eat. The anxious-underslept-underfed-nauseated cycle was horrific, especially when the air got so thickly humid that I couldn't breathe well because the anxiety and acid reflux from my empty stomach were making my chest tight. When I did manage to eat, I couldn't digest anything very well, leading to a lot of dry-heaving and a spectacularly gross incident that I will not describe in detail.

* The panic attacks were so bad I had to take Valium, leaving me unable to drive for a trip we'd planned to do entirely by car. J can't drive. X is an excellent driver but does not currently have a valid license. So X drove us up to the con--very, very, very carefully.

* The trip up should have taken at most seven hours (from "we're leaving the house to get the Zipcar" to "we're in our rooms with all our stuff out of the car"). It took almost ten hours due to traffic so bad the GPS routed us off the interstate altogether for a while, a rainstorm so heavy we had to get off the road for an hour, needing to unclog the baby's stuffy nose and then realizing the snot-sucker was so deeply buried in the luggage that we had to stop and find a pharmacy and buy a new one, stopping to get me some chicken soup from the Mystic Diner because it was all I could manage to eat (there is a special place in heaven for diners just off the interstate that make their own chicken soup), X having to meticulously drive at the speed limit, and the amazingly lengthy process of getting us all out of the car and getting all our stuff into our various rooms once we got to Quincy.

* En route, the mini ice pack in Kit's insulated bottle cooler split open and leaked gel all over the cooler and the bottles.

* We had one room at the con hotel and another at a motel two miles away. The plan was that X and I would stay there and share overnight babycare and have a kitchen where we could make non-allergenic food and wash baby bottles in a proper sink. This would have worked great if the motel room hadn't been up two flights of stairs (bless [livejournal.com profile] mrbelm for helping us carry everything in and set up the crib), or if we'd had more than one capable driver to do the shuttling between the two hotels, or if I'd been able to sleep in the same room as the snoring coughing baby without having more panic attacks. It was such a logistical nightmare that next year we'll just get rooms at the con hotel and cope with washing bottles in the bathroom sink.

* Kit peed on my only pair of jeans, and it was too cold to wear shorts. I had to wash the jeans out in the bathroom sink and then X ironed them mostly dry. (Obviously they went right in the wash as soon as I got home.)

* Ginger ale bottles leaked sticky ginger ale all over things. Twice.

* When we unpacked the car in Quincy, we accidentally left the cooler full of snacks and perishables in it overnight.

* The tire pressure alert light went on about halfway through the weekend. Saturday night I put air in the sagging front left tire and got it from 24 psi to 35. By Sunday morning it was back down to 32. So I had to find a nearby tire shop that was open on Sunday and would get the nail out and patch it, and then the tire turned out to be so badly damaged that they had to replace it altogether. Fortunately Zipcar understands that these things happen and will reimburse us for the cost, but it meant leaving Quincy close to 4 p.m. today. We'd hoped to leave at noon.

* Since I couldn't sleep in X's motel room, I slept in the second bed in J's hotel room. That meant that when I woke up dry-heaving at 4:00 this morning, I woke him up, and then he had to take care of me through the subsequent panic attack. And then he was too awake to go back to sleep. So he had to do all the babycare on the drive home (while I drove and X navigated) on barely any sleep plus a lot of fretting about me.

* We forgot the medication syringe for the children's Tylenol and had to improvise with an eyedropper that came with a bottle of simethicone drops.

* Kit, who's usually pretty unflappable, was extremely distressed by the very loud hand dryers at our second rest stop on the way home. J had taken them into the men's bathroom for a change, and when X heard Kit screaming I thought they were going to run into the men's room and to hell with societal restrictions. It took us all a little while to wind down after that.

* We got home to find our housesitter in a state of undress, to much mutual embarrassment--she thought we were getting back Monday.

* Being sick before we left means I got home to a pile of work that needs to be done.

And yet despite all this, we had a genuinely very good time. J's mother came to the con and was immensely helpful with Kit. J and I both did several panels that went well, and I got to have the baby on my lap for part of the "Writing While Parenting" panel. My "Story Hospital" experiment was largely successful, though there are definitely ways it could be improved. X remembered how much they like socializing (sometimes) (with the right people). I got to tell Tim Powers how much Last Call means to me. We got to see old friends and meet internet friends, most especially the luminous [livejournal.com profile] mrissa; it wasn't a year for making new friends, but that's fine, there will be other years for that. We finally introduced Kit to [twitter.com profile] roddenberrypie, who absolutely lit up. Lots and lots of people cooed over the baby, who smiled at everyone despite teething pain and crowds and loudness--I was especially charmed by [twitter.com profile] ninocipri's gasps and exclamations over Kit's cuteness ("How DARE that baby!"). Our usual little room party was a little subdued because we were so tired, but we still got to introduce some of our friends to one another and hear some tasty industry gossip. The drive back was very smooth. And on the way home, we went to the Mystic Diner again and Kit discovered that a plastic packet of oyster crackers makes an excellent rattle. I immediately sent photos to my New England–born mother. :)

Notes for future years:

* The drive can be done with two stops. One of them should be the Mystic Diner. It has a changing table and a kids' menu and food all of us can eat, everyone there is really nice, service is quick, there are lots of families with kids, and it's right off I-95. Not sure where the other stop should be, but it definitely should NOT be the Fairfield highway rest stop. Look for another diner somewhere around Stamford, maybe.

* The "take I-95 until the end of time" route works pretty well other than the twisty bit through Providence getting kind of hairy. Might be worth trying out I-84 and I-90 as alternatives.

* Pack two big ice packs for post-drive use when we get to the con. Leave the other two in the freezer for when we get home.

* Do a better job of packing the things we might need for the baby where we can get to them at rest stops.

* We never use the carrier or the car seat cover. We use the stroller and the bouncy seat a lot.

* The natural foods store in Quincy is A M A Z I N G and we should stock up on things from there for room snacks etc.

* X and I both really like driving the Prius.

* Sleep more. Eat more. Have more fun!
 
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