I am a great big giant baby when it comes to jetlag. This is, of course, because I am a delicate flower in general, and when you take a delicate flower and plunk her down someplace where time is magically 3 hours different, no amount of “oh, there’s no such thing as jetlag going west!” and “three hours is practically nothing!” staves off the all-encompassing fatigue which I then feel for the next two days, because I’ve woken up at 3:00 in the morning (6:00! time to pack lunches!) and around the time that everyone else is having breakfast, all I want is a 4-hour nap.
So: I was not entirely jazzed when the family vote was that we would arrive and settle in on Saturday, then hit the Grand Canyon first thing on Sunday. Really? By the time we left our rented house here in Flagstaff at 9:30 in the morning, I was wondering how on earth I could possibly last an entire day, much less an entire day in the sun and walking along cliff edges.
I bravely disguised my fear, by the way, by rattling around in the kitchen until I located the coffee grinder, then brewing a pot of coffee so strong that Otto took a swig from the mug I placed in front of him and it singed his eyebrows. Liquid courage!
I’ve learned many things in the short time we’ve been here, so far, and because it was a really long day and technically I think it’s now tomorrow and I AM STILL AWAKE OH GOD I think I should probably share them with you rather than going to sleep. Right? Right!
On time changes:
The nice thing about having slightly older children is that they can—and sometimes even do—follow directions. The first night we explained to the kids that despite going to bed much later than usual, it wouldn’t be at all strange if they woke up at their normal Eastern waking times, and they should really try to go back to sleep if that happened. They were then firmly instructed on how they were not to make any noise or wake up anyone else until it was clear that other people (read: their little cousins) were already awake. My darling children dutifully entertained themselves quietly in their room until I opened the door at around 7:00 or so, and they were pleasant and agreeable for the entire (very long, very active) day.
By the time we got back from the Grand Canyon, Monkey announced he was going straight to bed, and then… he did. I’m pretty sure he was asleep before his head hit the pillow. Easy peasy.
Chickadee, on the other hand, had a great day, walked into the house when we got home, and proceeded to become completely hysterical. Her rash was itchy and her nose and neck were both sunburned and THE WORLD WAS ENDING. No amount of explaining to her that SHE WAS EXHAUSTED assuaged her panic and sobs. Finally I had to remind myself that a sick, jetlagged teenager is basically just a big toddler, and I took her by the hand, sat her down with a snack and some water and her medications, put lotion on her sunburn, ointment on her rash, walked her up the stairs and talked her through getting ready for bed, and finally tucked her in and just whispered what I hoped were soothing things until she was cried out and ready for sleep.
(Naturally, we’re now considering leaving Chickadee at the kennel with Licorice for all future trips.) (I kid! I already told Otto absolutely not!)
The importance of moisture cannot be overstated. I can say this with certainty, now, because Arizona has about 0% humidity, and while what’s left of my hair looks FUCKING AMAZING (frizz? what frizz?), I’m pretty sure I can feel my skin, my nasal passages, and my throat all turning into desiccated tissue paper. We are drinking about a gallon of water a day apiece and still I feel like I am being mummified before my time. It’s disconcerting, to say the least.
Also, every time I open my mouth to one of the children, now, they shriek, “I JUST DRANK SOME WATER! SHEESH!”
On the Grand Canyon:
Hey, that’s big. Like, really big. And rocky. And big. Did I mention big? It’s pretty amazing. I was duly impressed, no fooling.
Here’s where being married to a photographer gets just a little annoying, though. I barely saw Otto all day; at first I tried to stay near him, but he stopped to take pictures every three feet, so eventually I gave up and went and hung out with the rest of my family. I missed him, but I’m the sort of person who looks at the 87 different views of the Grand Canyon and says, “Wow. That’s incredible. Also, really big. And didn’t we see this already?” But he’s there taking six hundred more pictures.
(Monkey, by the way, is the kind of person who takes six hundred pictures of the Grand Canyon and then takes a picture of every dog he meets at the Grand Canyon. That was kind of adorable.)
On the annular eclipse:
Just to be perfectly clear, I’ve never seen one before, and it was very cool (ring of fiiiiiiire). A once-in-a-lifetime experience, to be sure. But we were experiencing it 1) along with several thousand other people at the particular pull-off where we chose to view it and 2) with my nephew and niece, two very small children. (Beautiful infant Gerber of two-years-ago cruise fame is now, impossibly, three years old, and Banana is now five.) While people around us discussed the mechanics of an annular eclipse and my stepbrother even picked up a few rocks to give Banana a visual demonstration of how it works, I couldn’t help thinking that REALLY the annular eclipse, in our case, is that rare and blessed event when eight adults are reduced to nervous wrecks by two small children who are just not entirely clear on the whole “DO NOT LOOK DIRECTLY AT THE SUN” concept. Banana was pretty good about putting on her special eclipse-viewing glasses, but Gerber is three, and c’mon, you can’t tell three-year-olds anything. He spent half the day coming up to me and tickling me and running away giggling, so really, do you think he was going to hold his special viewer up in front of his eyes to look at the sun just because we told him to? Yeah.
On the distance between Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon:
The drive there is easy and not very long. The drive home when half the civilized world is leaving the park and everyone is hot and tired and DONE takes about five times as long. I don’t know why.
wine family time:
Once back to the house, kids all passed out upstairs, we adults sat down together and the stories began. I’m not saying the wine was the ONLY reason the conversation was so lively, but it certainly didn’t hurt. My stepbrother’s wife (what would that make her… my… stepsister-in-law? weird) joined me in insisting to Otto that I should be allowed to own chickens. My brother insisted that when he bought his house, he was told he had a non-fruit-bearing plum tree in front, but now it’s covered in plums, and they kind of make a mess. First we suggested he get into canning and make jam (hilarious, because he doesn’t cook AT ALL), then it was suggested he go into the Organic Plum Jerky business. That seemed hilarious to all involved, and then my dad commented that sometimes when we’re all together like this, someone comes up with a great idea (like plum jerky!) and he thinks he should really be writing it down, but then he remembers that he doesn’t have to because I’ll probably blog about it.
“But sometimes I don’t,” I pointed out, “because sometimes I think the stuff that’s really funny to us is maybe not that funny to the rest of the world.”
(He assured me that plum jerky is a winner, so my apologies if you don’t see the humor. Also, try having a couple of glasses of wine first; I’m pretty sure that makes it much funnier.)
Then my brother’s girlfriend started quizzing us on our how-we-got-together stories, and Otto and I had to explain how we’d met in college, didn’t date until after my divorce, broke up, and then found our way back to each other years later. She was fascinated by this and wanted to know HOW we managed to restart things. I admitted that my camera was broken, and I knew Otto was the one person who could tell me if it was fixable (and if so, where I could get it fixed). Within about two minutes “broken camera” became a terrible, TERRIBLE euphemism in our family vernacular, as I sat at a table while everyone (including my BROTHER and FATHER) insisted to my HUSBAND that he “fixed my camera real good.” Many of the subsequent stories involved “broken cameras” as well. It was horrifying each and every time.
(Which just goes to prove that no matter where you go, “That’s what she said” is always a workable punchline.)
Now I am up so late that my internal body clock has surrendered (or possibly imploded), and in a few hours we all have to get up and have a wedding. Which is EXCITING. (The sleeveless dress I brought for the occasion is going to look super awesome with the farmer’s sunburn I got at the Canyon!)
For the record, I would not bet on the blessed event being completed without mention of plum jerky or broken cameras, just in case you were wondering.
It’s like christmas has come early for me … a Mir post at 9.30am (in England!). I hope your jetlag wears off in time for the wedding and that the farmers tan isn’t too bad (fake tan on the white bits?). Also that everyone’s cameras are in full working order for the wedding and after… nudge nudge wink wink!
Found the following recipe for you, the next 3 am waking, make this for the wedding hor dorves! ;)
Plum jerky already exists–prunes.
Oh, I just want to hug Chickie. I remember being on family vacation as a teenager and totally losing my shit. Have fun at the wedding!
Glad you are having a fun time out there! Even with the jet lag, dehydration, and sunburn.
Sounds like a wonderful time!
BTW – I had a dream that you just up and quit blogging entirely. Please don’t do that, we’d miss plum jerky & broken cameras.
While lack of sleep may make you cranky in true life, it makes you extra-funny on the computer.
Now, if I ever have a broken camera and have to bring it to some cute, wide-eyed innocent techie, I’ll be giggling like a loon the whole time.
I’m sorry to hear the rash is back, but I’m glad you’re having fun with your family, jet lag notwithstanding.
I think you will not EVER live down the “broken camera.” And to my thinking that is a really awesome thing. Every family needs its own language…Bryan and I just might add this to our dictionary! Travel safely! have more fun. (I also think that jet lag exists going West, and that an oven is “a dry heat” as well.)
I can attest to the fact that teenagers are not necessarily any better than 3 yr olds at eclipse viewing. We were using two sheets of welder’s glass stuff (which combined to make the Magic Safe Number For Staring At The Sun, No Really) and my poor sister nearly had a breakdown by the time her offsprung was finished flitting around and trying out what just one sheet looked like, no how about just the other one? What about FOUR sheets? Two that don’t add up? How about now???? We didn’t kill her and she isn’t blind, but she might get to ride in the trunk on the way to the mountains today.
I’m from the Oregon coast, and when I went to Utah for my brother’s wedding, I had the same issue with my skin drying to crepe. One (gross) thing that really helps, besides drinking a ton of water, is to put Vaseline on the inside of your nose. With a q-tip. Its really sensitive skin, its just like putting lotion on it!
Yeah, that reminds me of why I don’t want to move to the southwest. It’s gorgeous, but I like humidity. At least some humidity. I HATE using body lotion. I would dry up like a prune for sure.
I visited the Southwest for the first time when I was 5 months pregnant. The altitude, the dryness and BEING PREGNANT made it…. interesting. Aside from the almost-falling-to-my-death at the Acoma Pueblo, where what they call a “stone staircase” down from the pueblo was actually “little holes carved into ROCK” for your hands and feet. But again, it’s beautiful and definitely a wonderful place to visit.
Please give my regards to everyone and have a simply mah-velous time.
1) I only shot 457 frames yesterday, so you’re overestimating.
2) On the Chickie, Licorice and the kennel – we can’t afford to have both of them there, so next time, the dog comes with us.
3) Dude, it’s the GRAND CANYON – of course I’m going to shoot something every three feet. Don’t you know who you married?
LOL @ Otto! We warned you it was dry! It is super lovely in June when it 110 and there is a hot wind. Like standing in an oven with a hair dryer on full blast. Delightful. On the upside if you come in December it is 70 degrees and sunny! Still dry though. And i figured your hair would LOVE IT HERE. :) Much like my opposite straight ass hair LOVES HUMIDITY.
Mmm, I would love a couple of glasses o’ wine right now….I guess I’ll have to wait till I get home from work though! Hmph. I’m imagining plum jerky to be like a fruit-roll-up, he could smush them out and let them dry and that would be yummy! I would totally buy some. I sometimes have to do the water/snack/meds/babying thing with my husband. Teenagers and toddlers definitely do not have a corner on the tantrums. Instead of arguing back with him, or even trying to talk to him logically, HA, I’ve learned that’s the best way to dissapate the frustration! I used to love family vacations as a kid; it’s hard to get people together anymore. Enjoy!
oh Mir…you make me laugh. I wish we lived closer so you could watch the Diet Coke spray out of my mouth when I read your posts — or even better, when you told me the stories. EGADS…
As for the college-divorce-dating-breakup-broken camera…just be glad you didn’t meet online. Everyone is always shocked I met my hubby online–apparently I’m the only college educated female in the history of, well, history to EVER meet a nice man online and decide to marry him. umph.
Otto — I take that many pictures but normally of flowers. I could publish a book of pictures of flowers. It’s an illness, really. :) Can we see your pictures of the Grand Canyon? PRETTY PLEASE?
I love family reunion stories, especially ones with plum jerky punchlines! Keep them coming, and have a wonderful time at the wedding!
You need to post on minimal sleep more often, because this was a ripsnorter.
Here’s hoping that if He and I decide to ever get married (not likely) his 2 daughters would be as kind and gracious as you (again, not likely). At work we have a ‘fixing the camera’ euphemism – Chinese food. Makes for a tough Friday lunch if we order out at the local Chinese food place.
I would like to join in with your stepbrother’s wife in urging Otto to let you have chickens. They really are so awesome to have. And actually way less work than having a dog. And they give you breakfast! So they win all around.
If you guys are ever in Atlanta together on a non-doctor type visit, we could always schedule a time for y’all to visit so he could meet Mable, Snazzy, and Nicki and then he’d be hooked for sure.
Oh, and I absolutely love the Grand Canyon. I’ve been twice and have even hiked the Bright Angel Trail. Someday I want to be there for the sunrise (as I’ve been there for sunset twice and it’s awesome). Also, since I’m a huge fan of vacationing in the desert, stop by a drug store and grab some Vaseline. It feels great to rub some in your nose once your entire body has dried up from lack of humidity.
Otto just made me laugh out loud. XD
Aw, your mom left a comment! That makes me happy.
@Kate – people being happy makes me happy. And those being as sweet as you make me happier yet. :-)
Speaking of plums and wine, perhaps your brother could go into the plum wine business?
Plum jerky is pretty funny, IMO.
If you can find it at a drugstore, Ayr makes a saline nasal gel that may help. It would be with the saline sprays. Also good in the winter.
oooh, the wedding!!!! I HOPE WE’LL SEE some of Otto’s pictures?…. and please tell me you didn’t stick vaseline up your nose. surely there’s a better solution.
Technically, since it’s a non-fruit-bearing plum, it’s mythical plum jerky. Just try to imagine you’re making it, and then eating it.
this was a good post that made me smile.
You illustrate life for the rest of us and make us realise how boring we are. I wish I had your gift for stringing words together to keep a reader totally enthralled. I miss when I don’t get to come and visit life via Mir and company.