insomnia may lead to travel planning

I have been waking up at 1:30 in the morning all week. It’s kind of annoying me. Tonight, I might have slept through it – except that Ben woke up and started crying at 2am. Sigh.

I don’t see how – but the sleeplessness coincided with my return to antibiotics. The respiratory infection I’ve had since early March came back after we returned from Philadelphia. I went back to the doctor, and was prescribed antibiotics again. I’d like to get better now, please – I’m tired of bouts of coughing, shortness of breath, and general exhaustion. I feel better now because I have hope of recovering, but I’d also like the course of antibiotics to end as well. Just in case that’s why I’m still awake right now.

On the bright side, I did use my awake time on Wednesday morning to plan a much-belated honeymoon! Paul and I never took a honeymoon. I took maternity leave instead. We had plans to go to Europe, to see Venice and Prague and Budapest, but that was kind of cancelled when I got pregnant. I was disappointed, but not terribly so: as cliche as it sounds, the experience of having my baby, and being his mama, has been well worth the loss of a trip. But now, Ben is bigger, and we can finally plan a trip for just the two of us. We’re just going to drop Ben in Pittsburgh on the way to stay with his grandma and grandpa there, and then we’ll keep going to London.

I chose London over other European cities for several reasons. Most importantly: free flight. I was able to use the tens of thousands of air miles I accumulated in last year’s Business Trip Tour Of America for two tickets from Pittsburgh to London, changing planes in ORD on the outbound, and JFK on the return. My Alaska miles were applicable with American Airlines, and they have fairly frequent flights to the UK. But also, I didn’t get to see a lot of London on my last visit – I was too overwhelmed with the city itself. I could have spent a month there. And I feel completely at home in London, thanks to growing up in Victoria with a British parent. Some parts of the city even reminded me of home, and I could see how homesick English transplants influenced the former colony I grew up in. And, of course, London is the birthplace of some of the punk movement, and all of the goth subculture. Where else would we go on a honeymoon, my indie/punk husband and I? And finally, Paul has also never been overseas, so I thought it would be easiest to start with someplace where we speak the language (fluently).

We have also planned to back this trip into Thanksgiving. Since we would be going to Pittsburgh anyways, this way we combine the holiday trip with the Ben dropoff. We’ll fly out twelve days before Thanksgiving, on Saturday the 13th of November, and spend a few days settling Ben in with Grandma and Grandpa. Then we will fly out on the Wednesday afternoon, arriving the Thursday morning at Heathrow. Then we have five nights in the city, and return the following Tuesday. We’ll stay for Thanksgiving, and fly back on Saturday the 27th. Ben gets two weeks with his grandparents, and we get five nights of vacation, plus we’ll be in Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving.

While I’m desperately excited for the trip, I’m also already anticipating that this will be hard on all of us. I have been away from Ben for three or four days at a time, but Paul has never been away from him. And I miss Ben more each subsequent day I’m gone – like part of me is missing. And Ben may understand that we’re gone and are coming back, but he will miss us. He will be with his grandparents, whom he loves, and who love him, but it will still be a big separation and a big change for all three of us to be apart.

This trip was what I spent early Wednesday morning planning. It took me over an hour to find the airfares: I had to do a lot of trial and error with the Alaska Award Travel Finder to track down the free flights that took less than eleven hours each way, PIT to LHR. I also had to estimate how much it would cost to fly in and out of Pittsburgh for the three of us, and whether we could cut that cost with airmiles at all (Answer: no. It’s Thanksgiving.) And then I also had to transfer my Starwood hotel Starpoints into Paul’s account to cover accomodations, since his account was just a little short of the total we needed. But the end result was what I wanted: an almost-free trip to London. Of course, we had to pay the $355 in taxes and fees on the airfare, and we will have to pay the $1200 or so for our fares to Pittsburgh…but our hotel is covered in London. I estimated hotel and airfare, as planned, would be a trip cost of well over $3,000, so, yes, I am a rock star at using miles and points. It just took a little time, but with insomnia, I had it to kill.

Now, I expect a tiny boy will be stirring at any moment, so I’m going to either try to go back to bed…or get up with him and just power on through the day. Hey, I got a whole five hours sleep last night! I could make it until at least naptime!

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