rosefox: "My body is sick JUST because my brain is upset! This is SO STUPID." (anxiety)
Rose Fox ([personal profile] rosefox) wrote2016-07-11 12:50 am

"Scared to death, no reason why, do whatever to get me by"

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 [ 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 [ 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 [ 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 [ 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!
sfred: (Default)

[personal profile] sfred 2016-07-11 09:38 am (UTC)(link)
That sounds like a lot of Stuff to deal with. I'm glad you had a good time too.
ironed_orchid: pin up girl reading kant (Default)

[personal profile] ironed_orchid 2016-07-11 11:34 am (UTC)(link)
I'm glad you managed to have fun, despite all the stress.
sixbeforelunch: a stylized woman's profile with the enterprise and a star field overlaid (Default)

[personal profile] sixbeforelunch 2016-07-11 04:35 pm (UTC)(link)
Anxiety dry-heaving is awful. I'm sorry you went through all of that, but glad you had a good time anyway.

[identity profile] 2016-07-11 11:56 am (UTC)(link)
Things that went right for me: I got to meet Kit, if briefly, when J was holding them down in the lobby! Such a cute baby!

Things that didn't go right for me: I didn't see you anywhere! But I'm sure our paths will cross again soon.

[identity profile] 2016-07-12 01:32 am (UTC)(link)
I did indeed! There's always interesting stuff going on, but of course for me it's all about getting to see people I only see once or twice a year. Good friends from far away--or at least too far to travel to regularly!

[identity profile] 2016-07-11 12:28 pm (UTC)(link)
I-95 is more likely to have traffic jams the entire way, plus it tends to have more trucks which can sometimes be a road hazard in and of themselves. The route I've taken for years from Queens and which Waze and Google Maps usually recommend is Whitestone bridge, Hutch, I-95, W Cross Pkway = RT-15 (to avoid New Haven which usually has traffic on 95), I-91, RT-15 (again, it connects to...), I-84 (which has a few miles of a nice express/carpool lane that I take whenever I can), Pike = I-90. There will likely be a traffic jam connecting from 84 to the Pike. Ignore your GPS when it try's to take you around this traffic jam, as it is never worth doing, not even holiday weekends. There's a rest stop right after you get on the Pike if needed.

[identity profile] 2016-07-11 07:43 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm pretty sure you (Rose) know this, since I vaguely recall your driving on the Merritt at least once, but the Hutch (aka Hutchinson River Parkway) turns into the Merritt Parkway, and then (I did not realize this was the progression) the Wilbur Cross.

I tend to not use the I-95 part of Roc's directions, and just stay on the Merritt. There's also the option of staying on Rte 15 once you get the chance to get on I-91, but I tend to get off it before it becomes the Berlin Turnpike, since it then turns into a pit of slow and occasional traffic lights. (Or did. The traffic lights may be a thing of the past, I can't tell.)

I entirely agree about staying on I-84/The Mass Pike through the traffic jam. It does no good to take, for example, US 20. It is a pit of slow.

The merging in the NY area is occasionally hairy, but I like the Merritt as a road enough to put up with it. (And I find I-95 worse.) The Merritt's quite pretty, at times. Also, good bridges.

I'm betting 5 cents you know about Rein's Deli, but if not, it's near the road (relatively) in Vernon, just north of Hartford, and is A Good Place To Stop. The Merritt/Hutch/Wilbur Cross road network also has some pretty OK rest stops. The Mass Pike has boring but extremely functional ones.
Edited 2016-07-11 19:48 (UTC)

[identity profile] 2016-07-11 07:53 pm (UTC)(link)
Yeah, I essentially skip the Merritt stretch of Rt 15, since I-95 seems to do well there and has a higher speed limit. FWIW the signs (and thus GPS directions) say "W Cross" b/c apparently "Wilbur Cross" is too many letters, so I always forget the W stands for something longer. And yeah, the Berlin Tpk is still a morass of traffic lights.

I agree, the Pike rest stops are fine if boring. B/c the Pike is a toll road though, it's a pain to get on and off it if you want more diverse food choices. Moreover, at some of the exits you pay an additional 50¢ if you get off and back on at the same exit as compared to if you just drove straight. I looked into this once when I had a carpool that met in Palmer, though I haven't investigated in detail at other exits. It's just irritating.

W Cross has a couple rest stops right on the highway now, they're like Subways or Dunkies'. There are some exits that are sufficiently urban for more food choices off the highway, but much of it is quite rural.

[identity profile] 2016-07-11 01:05 pm (UTC)(link)
Sounds like quite an adventure with the kiddo. Nice to meet you, and thanks again for Story Hospital! It was great.

[identity profile] 2016-07-11 01:39 pm (UTC)(link)
*whew* I'm glad you all made it home safe.

Kit was, indeed, an adorable baby.

[identity profile] 2016-07-11 01:58 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, wow, y'all had some adventures! I am glad you had a good time at the convention proper.

[identity profile] 2016-07-11 07:44 pm (UTC)(link)
Man. What a series of events. I'm glad there was fun in it, though.

[identity profile] 2016-07-11 08:04 pm (UTC)(link)
That is a packet of news and no mistake. I'm so sorry you were ill with anxiety, and so glad you had fun as well.

Those dryers are an abomination. The first place I encountered them was Itasca State Park, of all places, up in the wilderness where they were profoundly out of place and, in fact, terrifying babies and toddlers alike.

ckd: small blue foam shark (Default)

[personal profile] ckd 2016-07-12 01:10 am (UTC)(link)
I'm sorry you had so much to deal with.

Possibly useful info for next year: the Marriott had what looked like coin op laundry machines on the second floor, so if a similar crisis comes up you might be able to use those instead of a bathroom sink.
ckd: small blue foam shark (Default)

[personal profile] ckd 2016-07-12 04:49 am (UTC)(link)

I hope next year's Readercon trip brings many fewer frustrations and many more joyous moments for you and yours.