Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Second Time Around

It was August and I was 22.  My husband John and I met a lovely couple who were visiting San Francisco and they invited us to visit them in British Columbia, Victoria, to be exact.

We were looking forward to our road trip, despite having a year old baby with us.  It would have never occurred to me to leave my son with anyone.  He was the most important person in my life from the moment of his birth.

We drove from San Francisco to Portland where we spent the night with a relative of my husband's.  The next morning we drove on up to Washington State and drove on to a ferry headed to Victoria, British Columbia.  The baby gurgled and smiled at us as we all admired the scenery and the ocean waves.

We arrived mid-day and called our friends who gave us directions to their home.  We were very happy to see them and looking forward to a really fun week.  Jim and Edna were an "older couple", meaning that they may have been 50.  (When I was 22, anyone older than 30 seemed like a grandparent.)  They showed us to our room and everything was charming and comfortable.  Jim and Edna said they had a surprise for us.

After we got settled, and the baby was left sleeping on our bed, we joined them in the living room where they had prepared cocktails for us all!  They said they were going to make us very happy and looked at each other and sort of giggled.  "Oh come on!  Tell us!" I begged.

"Well," said Jim, "We realized that having a baby with you would be an inconvenience and keep you from being able to relax and have fun.  So we have paid for a Children's Hotel for the baby for the week!"  I was struck dumb (as in speechless, not stupid) and must have had a very peculiar look on my face.  My husband said "Oh my God!  What a great idea!  How can we ever thank you enough!" and pretended not to notice that I was looking at all of them with daggers in my eyes.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I did hire the occasional babysitter for my son.  I did leave him for an hour or two occasionally when I couldn't avoid it.  But I'm in frigging Canada where two people I've only barely met are talking about sticking my baby in a kennel for a week.  And my so-called husband is "fine" with it.

I stormed out of the room and went to the bedroom where my baby was sleeping.  I must of slammed the door because my son awoke and started crying.  I picked him up and tried to calm him down, although I may have needed calming down more than he did.  My husband came in the room and said "What is wrong with you?  These people have done something really nice for us, and you are acting like an ass!"  I joined my son in crying at that point and told my husband I would never forgive him if he didn't take us out of there right that minute.  I just wanted to go back home.  John put his arm around me and said "Oh let's just try it for a day.  Then if you still feel upset, we'll go get the baby and either stay in a hotel or go back home."  I was trying very hard to be reasonable so I agreed.

When we came back out to join our hosts, Edna assured me that the children's hotel was run by two very nice British nurses and that the place was very highly regarded.  I tried to smile and act reasonable over the whole thing, but I really wasn't going for any of it.  I wished that Edna, Jim, and my husband would also somehow magically drop dead.  But alas, they didn't.  In fact, I was told that "It's all arranged.  We'll drop the baby off at 4:00 PM and then go out for a bite."  I cannot describe the horror I felt as I clutched my first born son even tighter in my arms with tears running down my face.

The three of them seemed a bit amused by my rage, but we went on to the "children's hotel" at the appointed time and dropped off my son with people I didn't know from Adam.  I hated their British accents.  I hated seeing the place out in the country where the two British nurses would be attending to my baby.  I was not allowed to tour the facility but everyone assured me it was quite nice and I wondered what they did with the kids dropped there.  I had seen kennels.  I would have never left my dog at a kennel.  Was this place the same principle?   Oh who the hell knows.

The entire week was a living nightmare for me.  We went salmon fishing.  We went to the beautiful Empress Hotel for lunch.  I saw the magnificent Canadian Mounties mounted.  We went to pubs and restaurants. If I had not been so horribly distraught, I would have loved the place.

I went from teary to bitchy with every waking hour.  I'm sure I wore on everybody's patience.  Being a complete pain in the ass to everyone all the time is exhausting.  When we finally picked up my son at the end of the week, he had a runny nose.  I was enraged.  Two British nurses couldn't keep my son from catching a cold?

So I'm going to Victoria, British Columbia again in a couple of days.  This time will be better.

35 comments:

  1. OMG! That's crazzzzy! I've never heard of such a thing. I take it those people went the way of the first husband, and good riddance. Have a lovely time this time around.

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  2. When our distant cousins from Saskatchewan visited us in Florida, I realized then the extreme cold does SOMETHING foreign to the brain...

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  3. I'm pretty sure that you will have a much better time this time around. And if not, we still have Seattle ;)

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  4. Baby hotel? How did you ever make it through the week? That's awful!

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  5. Conversely, Phil Darling, the extreme heat seems to have a weird effect on the brain too!

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  6. I'm sure we will, but Jayne, this was so totally dreadful!

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  7. Extreme heat makes me really bitchy

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  8. We'll always have Paris, Madge. Seattle too!

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  9. Horrific actually. I was truly a mess!

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  10. Extreme age has made me really bitchy!

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  11. I've never heard of such a thing. I wonder if they exist today. Who would leave their baby there instead of with relatives or good friends. Oops, sorry. Victoria is such a lovely city and the Empress Hotel harkens back to another place and time. Too bad you weren't coming east but it's a bit of a trip to Ottawa.

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  12. Yes, that would leave me in great distress too. My son was my first born and being young and a new parent is scary enough. I was also 22. I had a dr's appt I had to go to and Then Hubby was in the military. I was horrified leaving him with a sitter and never did it again. When his sister was born 8 years later, I made sure he reported everything to me when they were at daycare. You just never know.


    I do believe you'll have a better time, not having to worry about babies being in a kennel and all. You won't exhaust yourself or anybody else this time, being a pain in the ass and whatnot.

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  13. That is the stuff of nightmares for me. And such timing too. This weekend my mother and I are going to the beach house... And for the first time I will have no kids or dogs. We have to go in moms car... No dogs allowed. (They will be home with everyone so that is fine).... And my daughter is camping sat night. I am fit to be tied. I don't know what I will do or how I will sleep with no kids or dog. And I feel so guilty!!! Wow your story is so timely!

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  14. What the hell? You don't just make child care plans for someone! Who does that sort of thing?! And they wouldn't let you tour the place? NOPE.

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  15. I felt very strongly that this was a terrible situation. When I mentioned it to my son, he laughed. My son and his wife were taking their first born baby to Lake Tahoe to go skiing. The plan was that they would ski one at a time while the other parent waited in the ski lodge with Hannah (who was about a year and a half old). When they got to Tahoe, they saw a sign saying "Childcare, day care, 24 hours, drop in's welcome. Lulu's" The address was given on the sign. They immediately drove to a nondescript track home in a nice enough area, spoke to Lulu, and left Hannah in her care. They drove on to the slopes, thinking a couple of hours of skiing together would be such fun. The clouds came in and a snowstorm began in earnest, in fact the snow was coming so fast and hard that skiing was impossible. They decided to cut the day short and go pick up Hannah a bit early. As they drove, neither of them could remember where the turn off for "Lulu's" was, and the sign was no longer visible. In a growing panic they realized they did not even have a telephone number for Lulu. In other words, "oh shit, oh dear!" Finally they did find the right house and got their daughter. My son told me all of this while laughing. It made me realize, all parents are not like I was. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

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  16. I've never told anyone not to bring their dog or their kids anyplace. I loved being around my children. You and your Mom will have a fun time, because you know your kids are having fun and happy. Don't feel guilty! It's fine!

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  17. I was divorced with two babies at 24. I think being a single mom made me a lot more cautious than if I had been in a partnership. I didn't feel comfortable with anybody else taking care of my kids ever. (But Totsy, I don't travel much now because I don't even like leaving my dogs!) My husband being in the Military also was like being alone a lot of the time. I think it makes us feel responsible in so many important ways.

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  18. Wow! I've never heard of a "children's hotel." Kind of spooky.

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  19. add life sucking humidity and Viola! Florida! Habitable 2.5 months of the year, down from 3.5 when I was growing up... Why why WHY my two smart sisters insist on living there when Both have been to CA is a mystery..

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  20. http://ladyfi.wordpress.comSeptember 26, 2014 at 10:49 PM

    Oh my - that is TERRIBLE! I never leave my kids with people I don't know and would be furious for anyone who suggested it. I don't know how you got through your week without your son! Here's wishing you a much more pleasant trip this time round.

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  21. Fiona, this time will be a piece of cake. My husband and I are celebrating our 25th anniversary at the Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria. No babies, kids, or dogs coming with us! LOL!

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  22. Dwight Simmons BurkeSeptember 29, 2014 at 8:36 PM

    Linda,thank you for posting a blog.I missed you. The way you paint a story is amazing. Just being able to see your story as mother and a wife was so very touching. The way you view the world and the love you have have for all people really shines in how much you love your children. I am touched and humbled. Your friend,Dwight
    "What matter is not the idea a man holds,but the depth at which he holds them. Once you are committed never falter and never change.
    -Ezra Pound-

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  23. I had no idea there was such a thing as a children's hotel. I'm not a mother but I can't imagine I would feel any differently than you did. I won't even leave my dog at a kennel for a week. (She goes with us or stays at home with a pet sitter.) I know that must have been very hard for you. I hope this next trip proves much more restful! :)

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  24. Dwight! Thank you for your kind and generous comment. Hearing from you always brightens my day!

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  25. This trip was a fantastic one. Who knew Seattle was so moody, gorgeous and sexy? Who knew Victoria was so damned delightful! Who knew taking a seaplane could be a real highlight of my life! Thanks Nora!

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  26. A kid kennel. Love it. Deciding to leave your baby someplace unfamiliar for a week without asking you -- not kosher. And down right shocking. Enjoy your next trip to BC.

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  27. Lauren, it was fantastic! We had a wonderful trip! All the bad stuff was well behind us and BC is amazing!

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  28. Can't wait to hear how this trip turned out. (And we can all sympathize. Leaving a child anywhere is hard.)

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  29. The Equestrian VagabondNovember 23, 2014 at 7:35 AM

    O. M. G. How horrible and traumatizing that was for you. Sounds like the start of a scary movie. I am so glad you are married to Alex now :)

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  30. Oddly, the scary movie business isn't too far fetched. About the time we left off my son, the news headlines even in Canada were screaming headlines about the Manson Family killing of Sharon Tate and others. And there was speculation they (the killers) could be headed for Canada! Oy Vey! Alex would have never left any kid at a "Children's Hotel". He won't even kennel our dogs so we get "dog sitters" if we go away.

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  31. Renee, this trip was marvelous from beginning to end. I adore Victoria and the Empress Hotel! Just magical places!

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  32. What an awful experience for you - ack! It sounds horrifying. I hope your subsequent trip was better. Did you by any chance see if that baby kennel was still there and finally slap someone?

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  33. Actually, I did try to see if a "Children's Hotel" existed in Victoria but found nothing. The trip in September 2014 was brilliant! I loved every moment of it!

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  34. Victoria was a pretty easy trip because of the proximity to our home. I loved everything about this trip, and Oh My God! The Canadian people are so simply delightful! Seriously lovely people!

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