It’s been two and a half years since Mr. and Mrs. Cat last left Southern California. They were itching for adventure, but nervous at the prospect of traveling with a toddler for the first time. In the end, they were right to be nervous. Not entirely because of the toddler! It turned out the Cat family had a secret enemy all of these years. A secret enemy that only now chose to reveal itself.
The entire state of Washington!
Let me backtrack.
The traveling party consisted of myself, my husband, my younger sister, and my toddler. It was a one week trip with two days in Seattle, two days in the mountain town Leavenworth, and two days staying with friends just outside Seattle, bouncing in and around town.
- It was nice to get out of town for a week!
- It was very nice to see my friends!
- The Museum of Pop Culture rocks!
- Murder bear!
- Bad timing,
- Or perhaps it was a witch’s curse,
- Or some wrong committed in a past life in the greater Washington area,
- Or perhaps it was murder bear all along.
I should have known when we arrived at the airport and the diaper bag promptly split apart that we were in for a stretch of bad luck, but we ignored the omen and kept going. We arrived safely in Seattle–and thank goodness the toddler absolutely LOVED flying, so it wasn’t a nightmare plane trip. That afternoon we did a bit of pottering through Pike’s Place fish market and stopped at a Safeway to stock up on diapers and toddler snacks.
While we were shopping, somebody smashed in the window of our rental car and stole my husband’s bag. Thanks for scattering glass all over a toddler carseat, jackhole! Hope you enjoy two power cords and reading somebody else’s travel diary!
What proceeded was a trip in which there were no major disasters…but everything was tinged with slight bad luck, bad timing, misconception, illness. Washington was determined to slightly dissatisfy–but unbeknownst to the state, it was doing battle against folks with STEEL-LINED SENSES OF HUMOR. Once we realized what was going on, the fact that we were under the vaguest and mildest of curses became an ongoing joke and every subsequent inconvenience just added to the hilarity.
My husband injured one wrist carrying our son, injured the other one falling in snow, banged up his shin, and had his bag stolen. My sister was nearly deaf for the first two days after the flight. I had gotten sick overworking myself before the trip, and promptly gave my cold to the toddler. He didn’t sleep for two days in Leavenworth and gave us hell the entire 3 hour ride back to the Seattle area, and as a result for the second half of the trip we could only go out for a few hours each afternoon in order to give him ample rest.
Our timing was consistently bad. It was rainy the day we went up the Space Needle, then sunny the morning after. We were in the mountains during the off season, so the pastry shop had almost no pastries, the sausage shop had no sausage, the beer garden my husband wanted to go to was closed for renovations. The AirBnB we rented had a busted DVD player and we weren’t allowed to raise the temperature over 55. We had to drive an additional half hour to find the last place in the region still offering any kind of snow activity–though to be fair, it was a gorgeous sleigh ride through fresh snow with a nice driver, one of the trip highlights! But honestly, the way our luck was going, I’m shocked we didn’t get snowed into the mountains or run off the road.
We spent 90 seconds at Snoqualmie Falls because it was raining again, and likewise spent most of a Harbor cruise belowdecks to keep the sick toddler bundled up. He was actually WAY ENTHUSED to go on adventures each day despite being sick, and was delighted by new sights, restaurant food, all the cool stuff at the Museum of Pop Culture, playing in snow, and so on. On the last day he finally lost his cool and was bored on an underground tour, so the one thing in my purview (history trivia!) I only half-heard in between lassoing a Totally Done With This Toddler.
When we bought tickets to the underground tour it said “get a discount on food in the restaurant/bar upstairs!” so we arranged the day assuming we’d eat dinner there–and so of course, since we were under a mild curse the bartender informed us, “No we’re not serving food right now.” We ran across the street to scarf down some Subway instead, where a total scumbag looking slacker wandered in and stole some soda and looked like he’d murder us if we objected–and the very hangdog employee told us he usually comes in and steals chips. We left him a tip.
And then…we said our goodbyes and came home, with only a minor catastrophe at the airport when TSA banged up my husband’s brand new Nintendo Switch.
Or…. was it?
It took me a week and a half to write this blog post, because the Mild Curse of Washington followed us home. The toddler had a rough transition back to his usual routine. During my first attempt to write this post, my laptop was knocked off the couch and my USB flash drive destroyed by the impact. The laptop limped on for another couple of days, and then died a tragic death in another couch-knocking incident. I forgot my paperwork for some routine lab work because I forgot I’d taken it all out of my purse before the trip, making me late for work despite getting up an hour early.
But it was all worth it. One, for the endless jokes. Two, because despite everything I’ve just said it was nice to get out of town for a week and visit friends, and I can have fun doing anything when I’m with funny people. My sister and I even made a gallery of increasingly shitty selfies consisting of our faces at bad angles and the barest hint of a landmark behind us. I think they adequately convey the feeling: “we were here, but barely.”
Finally, perhaps most importantly: this trip gave us murder bear.