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Vacation, all I ever wanted.

Yesterday marked our seventh wedding anniversary. Every year since we've been married except for the year after Quinn was born (because he was six weeks old and we were, like, one dollar per week above the poverty line), we go on a trip without kids. Luckily, we have my awesome mom who always agrees to forego sleep and sanity for four to five days so we don't have to worry about our kids' safety. And the kids like this too, because it means we don't lock them in the basement with a week's supply of macaroni and water while we pretend to be jet setters. Each year, we try to go some place we've never visited before. Last year it was Vegas. This year it's Portland.

We always manage to stress ourselves out as the vacation approaches. I end up thinking, "God, is this WORTH IT??" as I pull out clumps of hair while making thousands of lists for all of the people involved in making sure our house and our dog and our kids aren't neglected while we, gluttonous pigs that we are, spend days eating and being tourists and pretending we haven't a care in the world. And just when I think I've covered everything - BAM! My memory shocks me awake like a bolt of lightening with the thought, "Holy crap, what about the stupid dog?!" or "Did I remember to tell mom about Quinn's ritualistic fingernail clipping bedtime routine? Holy hell, HOW COULD I HAVE FORGOTTEN?"

Speaking of the dog, you all know what makes him high maintenance enough to live on the Fringe, right? He's epileptic. We still don't have his phenobarbital dosage figured out, and we're running out of medication. Since we roped my poor mom into keeping him AND the boys, we wanted to make sure we had plenty of his meds to get her through the weekend, but when John called our vet and tried to set up the necessary blood draw appointment for the dog, he had the audacity to become annoyed when the receptionist asked him for his name and what he wanted NO LESS THAN THREE TIMES. And then! When he took the dog and Quinn IN to the vet (after making an afternoon appointment) before picking Bryce up from school, he had his expectations set so unrealistically high that when the receptionist at the vet's office ignored him for 20 minutes and answered 8-10 phone calls without actually acknowledging the pissed off man, hyperactive 70-pound dog, and terrorist-in-training three-year-old who was knocking over 50-pound bags of dog food in the waiting area, HE GOT ANGRY! So incensed was he that he decided to use THIS VERY MOMENT as the moment he would stand up and fight for The Principle Of The Thing. "That's it! You just lost a patient!" he said to the receptionist as she finally decided to look in his direction and maybe, uh, TAKE THE DOG from him. "I find it ridiculous and unacceptable that you would sit here and continue to answer and resolve phone calls when you have a client and patient standing right here in your waiting room! Go get one of the doctors RIGHT NOW." When the vet came out, to John's intense dismay and absolute disgust, she defended the receptionist and seemed downright uninterested: "It's her job to answer the phones, you know." John told me that right at that moment, he was expecting to hear a laugh track and see cameras peek out from behind the bulk size bags of kitty litter: Ha, ha, ha! You're on candid veterinarian camera! We've never had someone wait as long as YOU did to be acknowledged! Here's your million dollar prize! Ha, ha, ha!

Shortly after this heart-poundingly infuriating incident, he called me at work and said, "We need a new vet."

Oh, good. That's great, John. Because we didn't really have ANYTHING AT ALL going on right now anyway. Bags to pack? Laundry to finish? Lists to write? Rental cars to book? School officials to inform about the non-kidnapping grandmothers who will be picking up our kids during our absence? No problem. I'm sure a new vet will have no problem writing us a prescription for A CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE for an animal s/he's never seen in his/her life who exhibits absolutely no signs of seizures and for whom we have no medical records. This should only end up taking...say, another day or two of our time. Oh, what's that? We're leaving in 30 hours? La la la la la la la la!! I can't HEAR you!

In his defense, I am usually the one to make rash decisions when standing up for The Principle Of The Thing. Technically he could blame his crazy behavior on seven years of living with me. And he's not the only one acting crazy this week, anyway. I apparently have not learned the art of keeping my mouth shut when discussing anything up for debate in front of the kids, and I chose to say tonight, as we were all outside being entertained by Quinn's completely random yelling sprees from our driveway to our front porch ("AAAAA!! The roly poly is going to get me! RUN AWAY!!"), "maybe we should just eat out tonight." There was no turning back after that. We ended up at our usual Mexican joint, torturing all of the patrons who didn't realize that gibbon swallowers were still allowed in restaurants in this state. Oh, the crying and the shrieking when Quinn decided after one grain of rice that he was done, and I, in my cruel, cruel treatment of his highness, didn't let him run all the way across the long bench of the booth that spanned four tables. THE SHEER AND UTTER HUMANITY! Doesn't that count as child abuse? Please, someone, remove him from my evil clutches. In the meantime, Bryce couldn't stand not being at the center of attention, and so every two minutes he was either face down on the booth, pushing with his feet against the wall and his head against John's knees, OR he was literally trying to put a quarter in John's ear.

Thank God we had margaritas in which to temporarily drown our humiliation. Portland has lots of breweries and wineries and nice eating establishments that will feel so peaceful without our bundles of joy that I'm sure we won't even begin to recognize the experiences as any sort of form of reality. We'll get home next week and, travel-weary, fall into bed, and then without notice, we'll trip over our hyper demanding dog as we bolt up the stairs in a pre-dawn haze when we hear Bryce yell out, "are you going to tell me when it's 7:00?! You said you'd tell me when it's seven! IS IT SEVEN YET!?" and assume it was all some sort of crazy margarita-induced dream.

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