We’re all going on a…winter holiday!

That sounds fun right? A winter holiday! Yay! No – it’s a logistical nightmare.

It all started innocently enough. My husband’s uncle emailed us announcing that my Grandmother-in-law’s 90th was fast approaching and that Grandma had chosen a weekend in June, the 17th to be exact, to celebrate her birthday. I quickly calculated the expense of such a trip as a family of five and assured my husband that no matter what, we would get him there. It was going to be way too expensive for all of us to go as the girls were now ticketed passengers and you don’t get a discount for domestic children’s fares.

Then ANZAC Day came along and wouldn’t you know it, a flight sale popped up and all of a sudden I was booking sale fares. My first obstacle was quite early in the piece when I clicked on PAY and the website kindly advised me that the flights I had chosen were no longer on sale. Cue swearwords to make a sailor blush. Right, back to the drawing board then. I checked the day before, the Wednesday and they had the flights on the same special at the same time of day. Excellent, I quickly paid for the flights and locked it all in.

At the time I booked the flights I booked check in luggage for 25kg. I figured 5kg per person would do us. I was WRONG! Maybe I wasn’t, to be confirmed I guess as I haven’t finalised my packing. Yes, that’s right – this mum right here is leaving to final pack until the night before/day of the trip. The kids are in daycare tomorrow but I still have errands to run, prescriptions to fill and dogs to get to kennels.

Here is the rough timelines of events that I have experienced for this trip so far.

7 Weeks Ago

  • Booked and paid for flights.
  • Researched the best options and booked two nights’ accommodation at one location – because it is family friendly and we decided to make a family holiday out of this trip and really enjoy the event.
  • Researched the best options and booked three nights’ accommodation at another location – because it’s close to the family events and 15 minutes from Grandma’s house.
  • Researched the best options and booked a hire car.

4 – 7 Weeks Ago

  • Spoke to various friends and family to organise catch ups, play dates and rest stops up and down the coast on our way to and from accommodation 1, accommodation 2 and the airport.

Last Wednesday

  • Made a packing list – left it at work.

Last Friday

  • Went last minute shopping, thought I had everything (spoiler alert – I didn’t)

Last Saturday

  • Had a failed attempt to try and pre-pack on Saturday.
  • Had a failed attempt to clean the house on Saturday.
  • Told my husband how stressed I was getting, his solution was to tell me to halve what I’d packed because we could do washing half way through the trip.

Last Sunday

  • Had a failed attempt to try and pre-pack on Sunday while my husband took the toddlers to their grandparents for the morning, but I slept in until 10 after a rough night of no sleep and they arrived home in the middle of me trying to organise the girl’s clothes and just wanted to touch everything.
  • Had a failed attempt to clean the house on Sunday.
  • Told my husband how very stressed I was getting.
  • Asked husband to put his packing in a pile so that I could include it with my final pack – was assured I would have it “tomorrow”.
  • Went shopping for the last minute things that I forgot on Friday, will only know if I was successful when I finalise my packing tonight or tomorrow.

Yesterday

  • Spoke to hire car company to confirm that I do indeed need three car seats and which configuration I need them in.
  • Booked Rental Car Excess Insurance (found a great deal through RACQ if you’re interested – is much cheaper booking directly through an insurer than via your car rental place FYI).
  • Spoke to a very unhelpful lady at accommodation 1 to cancel the portacot (that they want to charge me the same amount for two nights as it would cost to purchase one) but she couldn’t help me.
  • Logged on to my accommodation 1 booking and send an instant message to accommodation 1 to cancel the cot. Accommodation 1 responded almost immediately that they change had been made (I suspect the same unhelpful lady who nearly brought this ship crashing into an iceberg was also the very helpful instant message person).
  • Researched all of the things that I thought would be most suitable for our family with young children near where we are staying.
  • Researched meal options at the accommodation place to ensure that we were getting best value for money.
  • Researched shopping centres, Kmart (for portacot) locations, supermarket locations in and around my sisters place and accommodation 1 to make sure I could get supplies if I needed them and a portacot for bubs.
  • Printed off my packing list that I’d made last Wednesday on my lunch break but had failed to email myself or print off.
  • Made myself a schedule of events to try and get my head into a calm sea of tranquility – didn’t work!
  • Asked husband to put his packing in a pile so that I could include it with my final pack – was assured I would have it “tomorrow”.
  • Had a failed attempt to try and pre-pack last night.
  • Decided that I’d forget about the cleaning to try to cut down on the stress factor – didn’t work!
  • Told my husband how extremely stressed I was getting and how I was very worried that I was going to run out of time.
  • Started talking to and answering myself about how much work was involved in this trip and questioning exactly how crazy I am for undertaking such a trip with three kids.
  • Started to question whether this experience would indeed prevent the excited booking of last minute fares ever again.

Today

  • Tried to organise for my husband to collect the girls from daycare so I could have an extra hour of no-toddler time to get my shit together. He’s working late!
  • Wrote a blog post about how anxious I am organising and going on this trip – somewhat helped with the realisation that the reason that I’m anxious is because this is a massive undertaking no matter which way you look at it.

So, now we are within 24 hours of take-off. I haven’t got any pre-packing except for everything I think I want to take in washing baskets and the suitcase we’re taking (which so far is about 30kg of stuff without husbands stuff and without my make-up and last minute essentials). I am hoping that all will go to plan tonight and kids will be in bed at a reasonable hour that I’ll be able to relax enough to concentrate on exactly what I need to do, that I’ll be able to get this packing done as much as I can.

And then I have a full list of errands for tomorrow morning that I want to get done before we pick up the kids from day-care, shove them into nice clothes for the plane ride and organise every man and their grandparent to the airport for the all-important drop off that in itself is a nightmare because of the need for two cars, two designated drivers and a trio of kids that all need to get through airport security with enough time to make the flight,  but not enough time to get unruly before said flight.

Needless to say, there’ll be updates at some stage in this crazy trip, whether it be on FB or Twitter or a news report with a headline that reads, “A mother lost it today at the airport when she had 26kg of luggage instead of the 25kg she had booked”. Ok, I’m clearly never going to get a job as an editor at a newspaper, but you get the gist of it.