Assuming everything goes well with the FDA (update: it did!) and CDC (we’ll find out tomorrow!), DC2 (age 9) should be fully vaccinated before Winter Break (WOOOO!)
Because SIL now has 4 kids instead of 2 kids and both BIL and SIL’s respective families live near each other (<1hr away) while MIL and FIL live 4 hours from them, the in-laws decided that we would go to BIL’s town for Christmas this year and his wife would host rather than everybody going to MIL/FIL’s place. Of course, we can’t drive straight to BIL’s town (we can barely make it to DH’s parents in a day) so we will be stopping at DH’s parents for a day or two before we all travel to BIL’s town and another night on the way back home.
After some fragmented communication between MIL and her kids, she decided to dump all the decision-making and AirBNB purchasing on DH. Which is fine with me. I like getting things over and done with.
Poor BIL’s MIL is not as easy-going as my in-laws (that is to say, as his parents), so he couldn’t guarantee that we could stay at his place. Currently she says she doesn’t mind ceding Christmas to BIL’s family this year but she has reneged on these kinds of promises in the past and he figures he should leave the guest room available in case she wants to join us instead of having a second Christmas back in their original home town. Plus they really only have one extra room so it would be tight fitting DH’s parents and my little family of four. So we decided we would need an AirBNB (not wanting to deal with hotels and all the people). And if we were going to get an AirBNB over Christmas we needed to book ASAP because most of them were already gone for some number of days within Dec 24th-Jan 1st.
We had some options– we could get a reasonably nice place near BIL for $650 but would only fit 6 people, and while SIL didn’t want to stay herself or leave the babies (now toddlers) in BIL’s town, she did express a preference for leaving her 8 and 6 year old with us so they could spend more time with our kids. So we ended up booking a $1600 place with 4.9 stars and lots of reviews that is 10 min away by car from BIL’s. It only has three bedrooms, but one of the bedrooms has one of those fancy bunk beds with a double bed on the bottom and a single bed on top and they said an air mattress was available on request, so I figured the four kids could stay there. We’re rich and we can splurge, especially since we haven’t paid for travel in years. There were less nice places that fit with our plans at various price points, and DH wanted to expand his search to farther away, but I was like, let us just book this. It fits our criteria and everyone in the comments remarks on how clean it is (unlike another place that would have been perfect except for the low rating and the comments about mold and mildew on the third floor) and we can be done with this now.
MIL offered to pay for the AirBNB but since we ended up going with an unnecessarily expensive option when we would have gone with a much less expensive option if she was paying, we declined. There’s a nice freedom in holding the purse strings. One can get nice things without feeling guilty.
We decided to drive instead of fly because my last flight experience was not great in terms of people on the other end paying attention to masking protocols. Why risk it? We’ll also take my hybrid instead of DH’s plug-in because it is a lighter car and gets better gas mileage for trips that last longer than the electric charge. I am hopeful that we won’t be in gas station bathrooms long enough to get covid. It’s a shame that we have to drive through so many unvaccinated Trump-loving states to get to the in-laws. Even in non-panemic times, the bathrooms don’t start getting clean until we hit the midwest. In the past when we’ve made this trip we have a nice lunch at the halfway point in one of the cities, but this year we’re just going to pack something and eat in the car.
Driving isn’t free, but if my calculations are correct, gas will cost around $100. Wear and tear will also add to depreciation and my car certainly isn’t used to salt or snow, but what can you do. It’s still less expensive than flying the four of us.
We will have to figure out which John Scalzi novel to listen to while we drive! It has been a while! Sadly the Kaiju Preservation Society won’t be out yet so not that. Probably the second Dispatcher book.
It was nice staying home last year, but it will be nicer still with DH and the kids being able to see his extended family again.
Are your holiday plans back to normal yet? Have they changed from last year or the year before? What has changed and what is the same and why?
p.s. For Thanksgiving we’re hosting my sister and her boyfriend but she’s asked for Friday because she’s not sure if his family is going to be doing Thursday. I’m hoping we’ll be able to order out this year even though it’ll be Friday instead of Thursday, but asked my sister if not-Turkey would be ok if we can’t. Though I guess the turkey isn’t usually the hard part and we could just make the turkey and get other food take-out. I am not looking forward to cleaning.