I’m no fan of cliches, but over the weekend, life handed me lemons and I put on my big girl panties and did my best to make some lemonade.

Over a month ago, I made plans for the first weekend in November with my friends for a girls weekend in the mountains. I arranged for my mom to have the kids and told Hubby he was on his own to do whatever dudes do when they’re alone. (I tried not to think too hard about that.)

Just three weeks before the planned getaway, our girls trip plans fell through and I was left to find another way to spend a kid-free weekend. A writing job surfaced last week that required travel, and I just happened to have the time and the ability to turn that into a mostly fun, little bit of work adventure with Hubby.

The two of us mapped out a weekend that promised to be fantastic — a few craft brewery visits, some outdoor adventure and scenic drives through rural Tennessee. I was thrilled. Mom arrived to take the kids home and just before she loaded them and their 74 stuffed animals into her car, we got a call that my sweet grandma was admitted to the hospital back home in Mayberry.

One of the perks of my extended family is that they all still live in my hometown. And if anybody is in the hospital, everybody is gonna be there speaking the universal language of sympathy: fatty foods. Maybe not always for the patient, but for those who set up vigil with the patient and make sure they are well attended to.

My mom had to get home to stay overnight with grandma, and probably pick up some tacos on the way. So I still had three kids and interviews to conduct. Hubby and I contemplated all of our options, and decided to have a Griswold-style weekend adventure.

We pared down the stuffed animal contingent, loaded up on 6 p.m. on Friday and hit the road to Chattanooga. Did I mention that we had to stop and pick up antibiotics for Bug’s recently diagnosed case of strep? We are either fearless or total idiots. You pick.

In an effort to power through the drive, we postponed eating until almost 10 p.m. and fed our children gross fast food as we were putting on their PJs. And speaking of tacos, I ate an embarrassing amount of food from Taco Bell myself.

Saturday morning went well as Hubby took the kids to the hotel pool while I got ready for my first interview. He then dropped me off and took the kids to the zoo. When he picked me up at 1 p.m., we realized we had yet again neglected to feed ourselves any meals that day. We made a late lunch stop en route from Chattanooga to a campground near Wartburg.

I think it should be obvious that there are no restaurants near a campground in Wartburg. We had a van full of leftover Halloween candy and some gas station junk food. The kids were excited to be allowed so much junk and the freedom to run around the campsite with other kids. All things considered, we thought we were doing well. When bedtime rolled around, the kids were ready to get cozy in the tent.

It should be pointed out that a bag for grandma’s house is much different from a bag for camping. Our campsite on the plateau was quite chilly and the flimsy play clothes and blankets were not sufficient for the weather. All five Holts were huddled together as closely as possible for quite possibly the longest night in the history of the universe.

Sunday morning breakfast before a hike was Halloween candy and it was well after noon before we arrived at our lunch destination — IHOP.  Bless our hearts.

It should be no mystery why our kids were embarrassing (and we were too) when we were trying to appear to be civilized human beings. The best I can say is that we all survived, I got my work done, mom is there taking great care of grandma and I am pretty terrible at making lemonade.

Overheard at the Salon:  “He doesn’t drink coffee or alcohol, I think he’s a robot.”