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Thanksgiving - Travel = ?

Started: 2009-12-01 20:34:45

Submitted: 2009-12-01 21:56:01

Visibility: World-readable

For the first time since 1997, I did not travel anywhere for Thanksgiving.

When we got married, Kiesa and I suddenly had to share holidays between two families. We decided to split Thanksgiving and Christmas between our families, and alternate the holidays each year. With a few ad-hoc modifications, this worked well enough until this year, when the dawn of the Calvin Era meant we needed to bring him along as well. In addition to a 50% increase in our airfare budget (Calvin flies in his own seat, and the cheapest, restricted adult fares have always been cheaper than "discounted" child fares), Calvin means a 100% increase in our traveling hassle. Given that both sets of grandparents are a few hundred miles away from each other in Washington, and the chronological proximity of paid holidays at Christmas and New Year's Day, we decided to try a grand new experiment this year: Skipping Thanksgiving entirely and doubling up on Christmas. It remains to be seen how Christmas works out, but Thanksgiving seems to have worked out.

Calvin got sick the week before Thanksgiving. He stayed home from daycare on Tuesday, threatening Kiesa's plans to come to Gunbarrel to pick up her new prescription glasses and meet me for lunch. Empowered by my "if we never try it, we'll never do anything again" mantra, she brought Calvin to pick up her glasses, then took him to lunch at Gunbarrel's Indian restaurant. We tried several seating arrangements (propped up in his carseat, sitting on the floor, sitting in our laps) before we hit on a workable option: Put him in a high chair between us and give him some toys to play with. This let us finish our meal and seemed to work well enough.

I stayed home with Calvin on Wednesday morning so Kiesa could work. I amused myself by showing Calvin the graphemes for the phonemes he was working on (ba and da in Latin, ब and द in Devanagari), but he didn't seem particularly interested. He was not inclined to take his morning nap in his crib, so I took him out on an hour-long walk and left him in the stroller when I returned; he ended up taking a two-hour nap. When he awoke, Kiesa declared him healthy enough to go to daycare, so I dropped him off and returned to work from home.

On Thanksgiving, we amused ourselves by cleaning up the drawers in the living room in an attempt to improve the child-proofing. Late in the afternoon, I took Calvin to our local park and pushed him in the swing, which he seemed to enjoy. He fell asleep on the way back home, leaving us to wake him up in order to put him to bed. We planned Thanksgiving dinner after his bedtime, which relieved us of having to worry about him at the same time. Kiesa made baked brie with cranberry sauce, which seemed to be a worthy Thanksgiving dish.

On Friday, I got up with Calvin (though Kiesa got up with him in the middle of the night in a series of attempts to get him back to sleep) and took him running in the BOB jogging stroller. According to the manual, we couldn't take Calvin running in the stroller until he was eight months old, which happened to be Thanksgiving. Running with the stroller was a bit more effort than running without the stroller; I had to worry about keeping the stroller on course and avoiding obvious traps that I could simply jump over. I hit a patch of stickers a mile into my three-mile run. The organic caltrops covered the right rear wheel and damaged the left rear wheel as well. I kept going as both rear tires deflated. Calvin fell asleep (despite being propped all the way up in the seat) and I finished my aerobic-intensity run with two flat tires. I limped the stroller back home, picked off the remaining stickers, and tried to figure out how to get replacement innertubes.

It turned out that our BOB uses 12-inch innertubes, which (apparently) are a standard kid's bike size. I patched one tube and picked up a replacement tube in a short excursion into Black Friday chaos. While putting everything back together I discovered that the geometry of the wheel was such that I couldn't fit the head of my bike pump between the spokes to latch onto the top of the valve. I headed out again to a local bike shop and failed to find a pump that would work but found a Topeak Pressure-Rite right-angle adaptor for a standard Schrader valve. This was the key piece of hardware; I pumped up the tires and BOB was as good as new.

On Saturday, we took Calvin for a walk on the newly-opened eastern section of St. Vrain Greenway, running from Sandstone Ranch back towards Longmont through fields and ponds. Being long and flat, the eastern section seemed better targeted toward biking than walking, but we did cover half of the new section of path on our walk.