I had a plan. (I always have a plan.) The dog sitter was coming at 8:30 to pick up Bailey, Dan needed to pick up the car, we would have some last-minute packing to do, we all needed to have breakfast, and Dan and I each needed a shower. I set my alarm for 7:30, with a goal of leaving the house at 10:00, but I really wanted to be on the road to Salzburg by 11:00. We’d have a busy morning, but not a crazy one.
But, things did not go according to plan. Dan, who was in charge of packing for this trip, left everything until the last minute. The morning became a flurry of tracking down boots (Dan had packed two right foot boots in two different sizes for Liam), finding winter clothes and accessories not yet unearthed from last winter, and keeping the kids out of piles of semi-organized but as yet unpacked clothes. But the last-minute packing was to be the smallest of our delays for the day.
Running only a little late (the 10:00 departure time was now impossible, but leaving at 11:00 was still a reasonable goal), Dan left to pick up the rental car from the other side of central Vienna. And then he came right back, because he realized that he had booked the car for the wrong dates. A somewhat frantic Germenglish phone call to the rental car company later, and he was off again, with a new car reserved. Except that when he got there, it wasn’t there. They had arranged to have the car brought over from another location (at the airport) but it wouldn’t be there … until noon.
Our schedule was quickly slipping away. But Dan managed to get the car, install the two rented car seats, and get back to us by shortly after 12:30. We were late, but it was still manageable. We could still arrive by late afternoon, with time to relax before dinner. We gathered up our things, got the shoes on the kids and went downstairs to pack the car … only to discover we had the wrong car seat for Benjamin.
We’ve run into this before. B is quite small and light for his age, so when we reserve the correct seat for him and also provide his age, they second-guess us and provide him with a booster (appropriate for a bigger child, but also technically ok for a 5 year old). Of course, he saw it and was so excited to have a “big kid” seat, so I was the most unpopular mommy (and wife) when I insisted we take it back and switch it for a regular car seat.
Of course, the original rental place didn’t have an appropriate seat, so we had to pick it up at yet another rental location. The one *they* had was too small for B, though, so we had to switch Liam to the new seat and put B in the one that had been “Liam’s”. Sigh.
At this point, we were exhausted, starving, and still in Vienna. What’s another 40 minutes, though? So we stopped for lunch.
At 3:45, we were finally all in the car, strapped into appropriate seats, fed, and on our way. Nearly 6 hours after we had planned to leave. 6 hours late for a just-over-3-hour trip (really, closer to 4 hours with several bathroom breaks). We could have almost driven to Salzburg and back in the time it took us to get out the door.
In all, it felt like the day that we didn’t have on our trip. Instead of a leisurely drive, stopping as we liked along the way, we instead started out tired and wishing we were already at our destination. Instead of having time to play and shop for groceries when we arrived, it was a stop at McDonald’s for dinner and then nearly straight to bed.
This was a hard one. I try to be flexible. I try not to let circumstances, mistakes or other frustrations take away from my experience of the moment. I try to stay mindful of the fact that although our day did not go as intended, nothing actually bad happened. I try to remember that we will remember this as a great, fun, relaxing trip, and that if remember the day spent watching tv and wandering through Vienna at all, it will probably be with humor. It truly was a fine day. At the end, we were safe and happy and where we wanted to be. But this was a tough one for me in terms of staying positive and choosing to be happy. I managed, but it wasn’t easy.