As you know, we drive to Sugarloaf, Maine every January for a 5-day ski holiday. You may also have heard the following Sugarloaf misadventure, in which case, stop reading now and find something else to do on this Easter Sunday. If you haven’t yet heard this one – it’s a doozy of a story. It happened long ago but it seems like just yesterday.
Once upon a time, a family of seven was having a lot of fun skiing and snowboarding at Sugarloaf. When you have hundreds of kids come together from all over the Eastern Seaboard during flu season and you then throw them together and give them a free buffet lunch they can serve themselves, it doesn’t take long before disaster strikes. Can you say Norwalk? At the time Lastborn was a toddler so she spent a morning at the daycare so that the parents could ski. By Thursday, Lastborn and Fahbio were awfully sick. By late Friday afternoon when we had to start our 5 1/2 hour drive home, they were on the mend. We sent the kids to ski school all day while Fahbio and I packed everything up and checked out of the condo. At four p.m., we folded our exhausted clan into the van and started handing out some of the hearty food we’d packed for the road.
We had driven about 15 minutes when Venice started complaining about nausea. We stopped in Eustis at a gas station for a few supplies and to request a plastic barf bag, “just in case”. We had driven a total of less than 1/2 hour before she started puking into the bag. Unfortunately, a few miles and several vomitting episodes later, it became apparent that the dude in the gas station had given us a ripped bag. Result? Our basket of hearty snacks was now covered in vomit, as were all our hats and mitts and the insides of Venice’s boots.
We were in a wildlife reserve close to the border. The area is dotted with occasional cabins. We pulled into a deserted laneway and I got out to try to de-vomit the car. Remote doesn’t begin to describe this part of Highway 27 Maine. And yet, as soon as we pulled over, a lady came running out of nowhere with ski poles. We both stopped cold with stunned looks on our faces. She said, “Oh my friend just left and she forgot her ski poles, I was sure she had come back to get them.” I said, “My daughter is puking all over the car and I am trying to dump the puke into the snow beside your driveway.” She got me a couple of huge black garbage bags and gave me bottled water.
At the border, we told the control guard that there might be barfing during the interview and he waved us right through.
It wasn’t long before SWMBO, Paris and Firstborn were also barfing in the car. Of course everyone also had diarrhoea. Luckily, in this part of Quebec, the Subway chain has handily placed a fast food outlet every thirty minutes or so. And thus began our epic journey, hop-scotching from Subway to Subway. Desperately running for the toilet each time and then stocking up on Subway bags to contain the vomit until the next pit stop. Large families are so much fun, until a contagious disease is thrown into the mix. In all my years, though, this was the first time that more than two people had been sick at the same time. Normally, an illness will pass from person to person with the severity of symptoms lessened as family members gain immunity to the pathogen. This time, only Onlyboy was spared this dreaded disease.
When we got to Montreal, the traffic was bad and we came to a standstill. I had to vomit but we were out of bags and I couldn’t get out of the car since we were on the concrete-barriered highway. There was nothing to do but to roll down the window and puke. We were soon driving with frozen vomit down one side of our van.
A mere two hours or seventy-five light years later, depending on your perspective, we reached home. We literally staggered in the front door. Onlyboy ran to the kitchen and vomitted all over the floor. I could have cried. I think I did. Weakly, I asked him why he didn’t just vomit in the sink. He told me, “I was going to but you told me never to spit in the kitchen sink.” For some reason, he picked that particular day to start listening to me. Sigh.