We made a last minute decision to drive up to Pennsylvania Thursday afternoon–all 3 of us in the pick-up truck. That meant I spent most of the drive crammed in the back of the cab in a fold-down seat with only a lap belt. Calvin had the most comfortable seat in the vehicle, his car seat. Don’t worry, the air bags were turned off in the passenger’s side of the pick-up. He didn’t have to cram into a seat that wasn’t designed for long road trips, and he didn’t have to worry about driving and staying awake (that was my other big challenge). He just relaxed in his seat and could keep both of us in plain view the entire trip.
We chose to drive up to PA because we had to haul our dryer and a few other things that won’t fit in our apartment back to Steve’s grandparent’s basement (AKA our temporary storage unit). In turn, we brought some stuff back to Virginia that we DO need that make the apartment feel more like home.
The last minute decision for all 3 of us to go to PA also meant last minute packing. Calvin was a sport, but by the end of 6 hours, he was SOOOOO done with the car seat. The plan was to get there early enough for him to relax and hang out with his grand- and great-grandparents while Steve and I took a date night to go out for dinner for our 8 month anniversary.
Unfortunately, we had to drop off the boy and then turn around and bolt to make it to dinner before the restaurant closed because we got in to PA so late. Calvin didn’t get an opportunity to acclimatize to non-parent people after having his schedule totally warped from the car trip, so he totally felt abandoned. He pitched an absolute fit when we handed him off. This is the first time we’ve seen him act unsure about hanging out with people other than us–he’s going through that clingy “where’s Mom? where’s Dad?” stage.
The restaurant where we wanted to eat dinner was 48 minutes away in New York at the Blue Dolphin Diner. We called ahead and even ordered what we wanted, and they had it ready to go (since we were pushing it close to their closing time at 9pm). I actually phoned and asked if they’d still serve us since we wouldn’t arrive until 8:40 PM. I mentioned it was our wedding anniversary, and that we were driving up from Virginia. Yes, Virginia to New York…quite a road trip for an anniversary dinner…at a v-e-r-y casual diner with food quality that would easily rival most prix fixed and 4-star restaurants in Charlottesville (for a fraction of the price).
Calamari, Greek salads, delmonico steak, and lamb chops. We seemed in a hurry, not because the wait staff rushed us, but because we were bloody starving since we hadn’t had a proper lunch since we were rushing to get on the road. We practically inhaled our food–not so much taking time to savor every last morsel.
Dinner conversation revolved mostly around Calvin. We were sad that we left him so suddenly and in a state where he was a little disoriented about his surroundings. So, instead of being relieved to have a date night out for the first time since Calvin was born, it was instead bittersweet. We loved the meal and the opportunity to not have to entertain Calvin while balancing a fork, but we missed him terribly and prayed that he would have a better evening.
We took our NY style cheesecakes to-go. On the drive back, I called Steve’s parents and asked if Calvin’s bedtime went smoothly. His dad’s reply, “Not really. He was just screaming his head off a few minutes ago.” (When I called, it was 9:40pm).
When we got back, Steve’s mom had definitely had a tough time trying to calm Calvin down. She sat exasperated in a chair retelling the events of the evening which mostly consisted of various techniques to try to calm him down. The second time she put him down for bed, she put him in nothing but a diaper–it was then, around the time I called at 9:40pm, that he’d finally crashed out in his pack ‘n play–only 2 hours past his regular bedtime.
We wanted to head back to Virginia in the morning, but things always take much longer with a baby. After going through boxes and figuring out what we really needed to take with us and what would fit in the bed of the truck, Steve decided we should head home at 6pm–close to Calvin’s regular bedtime. The plan was that we’d entertain him shortly, then allow him to sleep most of the way so we could really press it with travel and make fewer stops. It was a good plan, although the late night travel and unloading really sucked for us.
The highlight of the drive home was at the Visitor’s Center Rest Area in West Virginia along Interstate 81. Boy Scout Troop 29 was there serving up free hot dogs, sweet tea, and lemonade. They offered me a free hot dog. And, I asked for 5 (for Steve and I to share), and I gave ’em a healthy donation.
We bedded down at 3:30AM and woke up bright and early at painful 8:30AM. We had to “git a move on” and run a few errands before the traffic was gridlocked from the University of Virginia home football game crowd. We live less than a 1/2 mile from the stadium, so traffic was imminent. So, instead of fighting it, we capitalized on it and sold parking spaces in the yard. Calvin enjoyed watching me direct traffic toward our street for parking sales, and he even made a few friends from the tailgaters in the backyard. He’s such a social baby!
We had a great weekend and are currently enjoying this lovely Labor Day. How was yours?