…that the last shreds of my sanity began to unravel…and the seeds of The Deal Mommy were planted.
Let me explain…no, let me sum up. I hate cold. Hate it hate it hate it. Spent my childhood on the Mexican Border and Florida, spent my first real winter (at 19) on my a$$ because I bought “cool” boots instead of boots with traction, need a jacket at 70 degrees.
DC is generally pretty temperate. With a few exceptions we don’t get more than one or two real cold snaps a winter and 1/4 inch of snow is enough to send everyone screaming “BREAD MILK TOILET PAPER!”. In other words, just enough winter for me.
2010 was an exception; the first one we’d had in a long time. Deal Kid was in first grade, Deal Girl in pre-school, and we got hit. Hard. Snow after snow, none record setting, but each just enough to keep them home from school…which in our snow-averse county doesn’t take much.
Adding to the fun a cloud of malady descended upon Chez Deal Mommy right after Halloween and lasted until after Easter. It began with Poison Ivy for Deal Kid. The leaves got mixed into a pile made for autumn jumping. This episode is burned into my brain (and I’m sure his) because he must have gone to the bathroom right after diving into the pile so the rash began on…you got it. That made for a fun doctor’s visit!
Following the Penis Poison Ivy adventure was a plethora of totally random illnesses that often sent me to google…none life threatening, but all enough to keep the kid home from school. There was hand-foot-mouth, conjunctivitis, stomach flu, regular flu, colds, strep, you name it, one or both of my kids got it…but never at the same time. Like clockwork, one would get better and six hours later the other one would spike a fever, vomit, or otherwise signal freedom was not to be for me.
I should also mention that a milestone birthday was coming up…and that after six years in the bubble of full time parenting (and four years out from my last International Trip, which left me covered in red wine and poop) my mental state was, well, a bit mental.
And here is why Deal Dad/Dude is perfect in every way: he gave me an escape pod.
Before I cracked, before I cried, before I totally lost it (after months of not being able to leave the house during the weekdays) he said to me: “I’ll take the kids to see my parents this summer for 10 days and you just go. Go wherever you can for $1,000. We’ll just call it your Birthday/Anniversary/Christmas/Mother’s Day/2010 present.”
Besides the money, which was wonderful in itself (but guys, think about it: that $1000 covered at least 4 holidays and he didn’t have to shop for a year) , Deal Dad gave me two gifts that are priceless:
- Time to myself
- Something positive to plan
It was in the planning of my 2010 trip (which ended up being to Panama) that I first figured out how to leverage credit card points more effectively than a penny a point for gift cards or to pay my bill. I cashed out 15k Amex points for an upgrade on my Copa Flight to Panama City. As I strolled out of the Hyatt Orlando Airport (bought on Priceline for $59…hadn’t discovered Hyatt Diamond yet!) to first class checkin, I felt like hot stuff…and I wanted more.
Fast forward 4 years…and here I sit telling you this story on snow day #3 in a row of a seemingly endless winter. However, next Thursday I’m taking the kids down to Myrtle Beach in a 3 bedroom townhouse I picked up for $249 a week, in March I’m headed to Denver to hang with some F2B friends, I’m just back from NYC with Deal Girl, and this summer I’m spending 2 weeks in Italy and Prague via Seattle.
I’m hoping by sharing this story one or more of you reading may be inspired to do some digging of your own…and next time you’re stuck in the house with a sick kid you have an adventure of your own to plan. Please let me know if I can help!