18 July 2012

Out West, Part Three: Suite Togetherness

One should not travel with five children.

I think we can agree that, in general, it's just a little loony to have five kids. Then again maybe you, dear reader, have seven or eight and five doesn't seem at all strange. Good for you! You are in the minority.

The world is not equipped to easily accommodate a family of seven. We fill every seat in our minivan, which is ostensibly crafted to handle our brood.  However, judging from the strangulating seat belt reserved for the rear middle occupant, KIA doesn't think anyone is really crazy enough to procreate with such abandon. And if they do, that last kid must be a mistake, right? So the parents probably don't care whether the three-point restraint allows for normal respiration. To be fair, on occasion they're right.

Hotels share this philosophy. Not that my children should suffer, just that I have too many of them. One cannot legally book seven people in one room, even if it's a "suite" which, for the majority of hotels, was defined as many beds in one room, not separate living and sleeping areas. Despite this design failure, hotels charge more for "suites." So, to save money I only booked us one "suite" per hotel. Yes, folks, we all slept in one room. Actually, six of us slept together, because most nights M.I.L and F.I.L kindly housed One.

From the get-go we established that Four and Five would sleep on the pull-out couch. If there was one king-sized bed and one queen, we gave Two and Three the king so they had a better chance of avoiding contact with one another. The Captain and I bunked together, which is why One got shipped out. He was perfectly happy with this arrangement, even though he missed all the nocturnal fun.

Sharing a room with six men is akin to sleeping in a barn. There is snoring, farting, kicking, cursing, and tooth-grinding. For added humor, the Captain brought along his newly acquired bi-pap machine. He recently found out he has central apnea, which means his brain stops him from breathing in the middle of the night. Essentially his brain is trying to kill him. He's now locked in mortal combat with this cranial traitor, and the first line of defense is the bi-pap machine. It makes a pleasant white-noise hum while forcing jet-powered air into his lungs, unless the mask slips off his face and breaks the seal. Then it emits a high-pitched squeaking sound, like a runaway helium balloon, or a dying duck.

A typical night in the suite, as observed by moi, who hasn't slept in nineteen years anyway:

Four and Five fall asleep on the couch. Twenty minutes later, Five sits up and flops over onto Four, where he will spend most of the night attached to his back, earning him the nickname "Tick."

The Captain straps on the bi-pap machine, and we shut off the lights. The room remains illuminated by the electronic glow of the iPhone and iPad as Two and Three read facebook and the details of the (failed) attempt to acquire Dwight Howard for the Nets.

An hour later, the Captain's mask slips and squeaks. Giggles from the next bed. Cursing and
torn Velcro from ours.

Hours later, "Three, move over!" Grunting as Two rolls his brother to the other side of the bed.

Hours later, the clicking sound of Three grinding his teeth, and snoring from the Captain, who has ripped off his mask in frustration.

"Oh my god, Three, move over!"

Snoring, clicking, shoving, flopping.

Dawn arrives, and a cacophonous crescendo of farting signals the growing consciousness of the roommates.

"Doorknob!"

"Safety!" *

I always said I wanted a farm, so I have only myself to blame.


* Explained here for those of you not fortunate enough to live with gaseous young men.



21 comments:

  1. "Tick". I'm crying. love you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The first morning we were home he climbed in my bed, put his head on my pillow and snuggled up against me. "I'm in full tick mode," he said.

      Delete
  2. I weep with joy that I stopped with one girl and one boy. There is no way on God's green (or sorta brown and crunchy) world that I could have that many boys and remain within the same state as sane.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It gets easier once you let go of any sense of decorum. Or lose your sense of smell.

      Delete
  3. Well. Poop. I hate these new sign in things. I always forget my password and lose my comments. And I'm so witty too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dammit! You are witty! Try again.

      Delete
  4. Ha! I relate. I'm the oldest of 4 kids and my nephew lived with us for awhile too. Though with 6 we at least had the "even number" thing going for us.

    We once got a "double" hotel room...so-called because it had a double bed. All four of us kids slept in a row on the floor between the bed and the bathroom. With one blanket. It was great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We stayed in Yellowstone for two nights at the lake annex. We had to have two rooms because there were only two doubles in each, and not enough floor space to accomodate giant teenagers. Each of them took a turn on the floor of their room, though, because they were tired of sleeping together! Then it was back to the turf wars at the next hotel.

      Delete
  5. What, no thrumming?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Captain's snoring is a bit like thrummimg, but really there's too much variation in tone. He's quite musical, as you know.

      Delete
  6. I'm torn between feeling sorry for you and laughing uncontrollably.
    As to the bipap, I work for an oxygen supply company that also deals in sleep apnea machines. You may know this already but in case you don't, there are hundreds of mask styles. If that one isn't working well, google sleep apnea masks until you find one that does. I talk to people every day who have finally settled on the one that works for them and slept comfortably every night for years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He meets with his techs tomorrow to talk masks (again). I admire his determination, because I would have given up by now.

      Now on to the next challenge: an oxygen converter that goes above 10 liters for Mom. Thoughts?

      Delete
    2. My dad uses one, and finally found a store where they let you try them and return them. It costs a bit more, but at least you can play around a bit. I've heard this is key.

      Delete
  7. oh how i love this hilarious post you are a terrific writer (too bad about not being able to sleep though)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Every since we had One I hear everything. It's the mother's equivalent of sleeping with one eye open. I used to get annoyed that the Captain slept through all the nighttime baby drama, but I guess he's paying for that now!

      Delete
  8. I adore this post. I'm one of seven kids and know exactly what you're talking about. You're so funny, such a good writer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just saw my OB-GYN who said (you know, as we chatted over the stirrups), "Oh, in the old days you would have been one of those women who had ten babies." I was oddly proud.

      The Captain and I are like the Wonder Twins. Our superpowers are activated when we touch, and it took medical intervention to finally put an end to our breeding. Left to our own devices, we would have surpassed your sibling numbers. And then the Captain would have let his brain kill him.

      Delete
  9. If my own uterus hadn't tried to kill me (among other things, like growing a 10 pound baby in 10 months), we'd have outnumbered you, or at least tied. Dan would have NEVER stopped. And we have those same Super Powers.

    Excellent post! On the other hand, I don't hear anything when I'm asleep. I would share some of my slumber with you if I could.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I could give birth to toddlers, I would have kept going. Infants are exhausting, and I'm already exhausted by my teenagers.

      Thanks for the offer. It FEELS like I'm sleeping so I generally wake up rested, but my brain is busy during the night. I should send it and my uterus off on a vacation. They've earned it.

      Delete
  10. Sorry I missed this post somehow! The Universe was clearly working against me that day.

    Ah, the joys of family travel. Carrie and I are two of three (the better two, OBviously) and though that's nothing compared to your five, an odd number always seems to wreak havoc in hotel/amusement park/car/restaurant seating situations. Why is that? It's like the travel industry assumes that everyone will make sure their children don't ever make an odd number, you know to make the travel industry's job easier. Each one of us spent many nights on the floors of hotel rooms. Special memories, all of them.

    Hope all is well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have one teenager who seems intent on making hotel booking easier by forcing me to end his life, but otherwise, things are good!

      Delete

Thanks for reading! Unlike other Diaries, this one isn't private. Feel free to share your thoughts. Politely, of course.