Seth and I both worked all day Tuesday, so we knew it was going to be a long night driving to Maine. I had been planning to make Pizza for us and for osewalrus, beckyfeld and Aaron, but by the time I got home from work, I realized what a horrible idea that was. I was exhausted and had a lot to do. Seth kindly stopped at Ben Yehuda and picked up a couple of pizzas. We had a nice, but slightly frantic dinner, after which we all went back to frantic packing. Seth, having asked our Rav if it was okay, went out to the grocery to buy soy milk for Julian while I started packing the car. Our clothes suitcases were already mostly packed, so there wasn't much to pack, but getting it all into the car and pulling together all the odds and ends (toiletries, dvds for Julian, medications, etc.) took some time. At 8:30 we did bedikas chametz. At 8:45 Harold called to say they were about to do bedikas chametz. At exactly 9pm, Seth, Julian and I left the house and stopped to pick up gas and got on our way about 1/2 an hour ahead of H, B, and A. It didn't take long for them to catch up, and this would be a continuing theme in our vacation. :) We took turns driving, stopped, I think 3 times and got to the hotel in Maine at 6am. As we were driving up to the hotel, we looked to our right and the sun was rising over the Atlantic. I only wish I'd had my camera out at the time.
Unfortunately, we hit a snag immediately upon arrival. A miscommunication led to us not being able to check in to the hotel early. The hotel policy is check in at 2pm as standard, but no earlier than noon. We wandered around the hotel, Seth davened and went to a siyyum, we ate breakfast (which was thankfully provided), and then our patience was really running thin. Fortunately, osewalrus's brother and sister-in-law (S & S) were kind enough to let us hang out in their room for a while. I'm not completely positive what Seth did the whole time, because mostly Julian and I hung out there. Oh, I know, I kept sending Seth up to check on the status of our room and then once it was available, he unpacked the car before calling me up there. Spending time with S & S would also become a recurring theme in our vacation. They were my saviors a lot of the time. Finally, we got into our room and had a bit of a chance to relax, settle in, unpack everything, take showers (badly needed, I might add!), and wander the hotel a bit (I wandered, Seth and Julian napped). And then, next thing we knew, it was time for...
I sat across from osewalrus, beckyfeld and Aaron and next to S & S. They all made for lovely dinner companions, but it was very difficult to eat anything because I felt miserable and they four of them kept me laughing hysterically at most meals. Harold's brother S definitely wins the award for number of times he made Karen snarf over the course of the entire week.
We had a terrific, amazing, wonderful, incredible, unbelievably good nanny from a nanny service for both sedarim. I wish I could take her home and keep her! She was out of this world amazing. She was very flexible, didn't mind the late night, was really good with Julian, brought a little craft for Julian to do, got him to actually sleep at some point, and just generally exceeded all expectations for the good nanny of the year award. She didn't have to stay as late for the first seder as we'd anticipated because I could barely make it through dinner. I made it through two cups and half of dinner before I gave up and finished reading the hagadah myself, and stumbled upstairs. My throat was killing me, I could barely swallow, it hurt to breathe, my head was pounding and drugs weren't helping. So off to bed I went and Vicky (super-nanny-extraordinaire) got to go home early. I have no recollection of what time Seth climbed upstairs and stumbled into bed with Julian (Seth and Julian shared a bed and I got my very own bed sans kicking, squirming toddler!).
Julian got a cornucopia of presents at the first seder: a bag from S & S with a monkey kippah and matching tzitzis, a lion flashlight that roars when you turn it on (they gave it to us before yom tov), and um, gosh, I can't remember what else there was. H, B, & A also gave Julian a bag of fun: a bead and string set, a nifty screwdriver mini-workbench set, a kid-kits animal book, a bunch of matchbox cars (which made Julian exceedingly happy), and um, again, I forget what else. osewalrus's parents also gave Julian a pewter seder cup (they gave one to each of the children).
Second Seder was much more pleasant for me and for several others, in large part because we had slept a whole lot. My head hurt worse, but I took a couple dilaudid and had a grand ol' time. Harold's brother S (a rabbi) gave me specific instructions on how much wine was "enough". I absolutely did not want to switch to grape juice (I just don't do that. I just don't.) and Seth (one of two pharmacists at the table) told me that I'd be fine with wine even though I'd taken the medicine, so there you go. S did suggest that I switch to the lighter, sweeter moscato rather than the merlot I usually stick with. I prefer red wine in general and particularly for the seder, but he was right. Unfortunately, S spilled a full glass of merlot all over my sweater and skirt early on in the seder. This wouldn't have been a big deal except that I was drinking crappy wine and SMELLING delicious merlot all night! Anyway, the seder, was again lovely, puncuated by interesting commentary by all present (except Seth and myself... we were still both far too out of it). Rabbi S pretty patiently explained to me the jokes that went over my head and quietly answered the questions I didn't want to ask the whole table. I was still getting used to the group dynamic, and I can, believe it or not, be quite shy around new groups of people. Seth and I both made it all the way through the seder this time, which was great, since we were both still exhausted and icky feeling. We sadly bid our farewells to the nanny who we will forever remember as Super-Nanny.
We checked a couple of times on the nanny to make sure it wasn't getting too late for her and that she would be okay driving home. She said we're terrific and most people aren't that concerned about her comfort and safety. This appalls me, by the way.
Harold's parents gave each of the kids (there were 5 there, including Julian) an age-appropriate Pesach book, and gave the men black cases from a leather shop, and promised the women a day of shopping at the outlets during chol hamoed. We promised Harold's dad we'd spend his money wisely. ;)
Other Stuff to Come
There are lots of other things to talk about from Pesach, but they more fall into categories than day-by-day accounts which all sort of blurred together in my head anyway. I'll talk more about Pesach in a subsequent entry, I hope (if I get around to it!). Things to look forward to: