Once upon a time we attempted to travel more than a few miles. We also had company for more than a few minutes but less than a few hours. The events leading up to the actual event that we were trying to get to made it that much more interesting…
The weirdness commenced when my son tried to go to Sunday School with no shoes on. He waited until we were walking down the sidewalk to tell me this information. “MOM, I don’t have any SHOES ON!” I hadn’t even noticed, apparently he didn’t either. Our church is very close to our house, so we often walk. Now that his little sister is also attending Sunday School, he has to walk with her. Our state has had a rash of child stealing people (always in a white van), so he can’t walk by himself anymore anyway. Apparently he forgot that he was to wait for his sister and his Mom afterwards. He went home while I was waiting downstairs. What made this even more pleasant was that there was a potluck that we weren’t attending, and Princess Tantrum was EXTREMELY unhappy about this fact. We had waited almost 15 minutes while inhaling wonderful smells coming from the other room when we saw Evil Genius come around the corner with The Professor, obviously from the direction of our house. Yeah, he was so busted.
The reason we didn’t go to the potluck is that we were trying to get out of town for a family gathering. My nephew turns two this next week, and my sister was throwing a party for him. Apparently they live a lot further away than I thought they did. I’ll get to that in a minute.
I had spent the morning trying to get presents wrapped, because as usual I had put it off until the last second, because that’s what I do. I had actually planned on doing it the night before, but we had Evil Genius’s Dad and a Random Somehow Related Person come up. Cousin? Nephew? Evil Genius has a very interesting family due to divorces and remarriages and divorces and remarriages, sometimes even to the same people they divorced. Don’t ask and I won’t tell. Anyway, the Random Somehow Related Person was not interested in playing with Princess Tantrum’s ponies or Barbies. She could not fathom how a boy in 9th grade would not want to do this. It brought darkness across the land when they then departed along with her father to go to car races in another town. Evil. I spent the evening trying to make it up to her and to her brother that didn’t get to go along, and of course got nothing accomplished. Pajama Popcorn Party-best distraction ever. Who knew eating popcorn in pajamas was so fun?
Due to them not staying more than a little bit we didn’t get to have the six expensive pork chops (to me, the one who doesn’t like to buy meat) we had bought and thawed. Wasting meat in our house is a sin. So we had to try to figure out what to do with those pork chops already marinated in the refrigerator. We would have to return from our trip in time to eat pork chops, lest we waste meat.
Back to wrapping. I actually had no decent wrapping paper. We do Christmas paper really well. The Professor has a birthday right after Christmas so we tend to recycle gift bags and use less Christmassy looking paper that is actually Christmas paper for his gifts. I was out of boy wrapping paper. So I grabbed gift bags. Our gift bags are never thrown away unless they are horribly mangled. We keep them and recycle them year after year. So you can always count on finding something appropriate for the gift. So I did gift bags. Remember the card we made that could deflect the sun? We still have it-yeah, I never sent it.Princess Tantrum made yet another card for my nephew, and I finished it up that morning-she did the inside and I finished the outside. It turned out pretty cute. As I finished wrapping and present stuff I gathered up the 57 pieces of artwork that we were taking with us to distribute amongst the family that would be there, and take stuff to the car so I won’t forget anything. A classic Jedi mind trick utilized by the ADD folk.
12:30-I check Google Maps. I’ve been to her house several times but only once have driven myself there, and due to a horrible Mapquest error I got very lost. In horror I discovered it was almost an hour further than I had thought. At that point we were already going to be late. It was almost three hours to get there, according to Google. The party started at 3:00. I panic because I am still in my sweatpants, grubby shirt and hastily combed hair at this point. I wasn’t even going to get to take a shower. I get stuff together to wear and throw it in the dryer with a wet towel to dewrinkle, because of course what I want to wear is a mess. Meanwhile I try to get the children to finish their lunch, and get their things they need together to go. They must take many things to do or they will kill each other. And the things they take must work or have all of the parts. The last two times we traveled my son has brought his DS. The first time he forgot to bring a game for it. The next time he had forgotten to charge it so it was dead as a doornail.
1:00-We get out the door and go on our way. I can’t find my water bottle but at least they have theirs. I’m not going back to find it at this point. I tell them they just had milk and they WILL NOT get their water bottles for a little while. I drive out of town and on to the next one before I realize I have forgotten to take my meds that day. Not just some of them, ALL of them. I felt pretty good-maybe I’d be ok. I am NOT going back now. We were maybe ten minutes gone at this point. I call my mom and tell her I’m going to be late. I’ve already texted my sister and didn’t want to bother her again. Then the Princess pipes up “Can I have my water bottle now?” NO! The reason they don’t get them is the minute I hand them the water “with flavoring” in it the liquid will be sucked up in less than ten seconds. Ten minutes later the bathroom requests begin.
1:10-The Professor is already bored with everything he has brought with him. He was even told to bring more than one game to play. He is threatened multiple times to not cause trouble. Princess Tantrum is actually quite well prepared, she has brought her Leapster, 15 ponies, a sparkly scarf, and a wooden thing she made in Bible School (not sure why she brought that.) Ponies have a magnet in their foot so they stick to the door frame. That is very entertaining.
2:00-The Professor announces he is hot. He gets carsick easily, so this is not a good thing. I check to make sure he is not wearing too many layers of clothing. Often if it’s 100 degrees he will want to wear a sweatshirt, sometimes leading to spewing and blowing chunks. He’s appropriately dressed. I tell him maybe he needs a drink. I prepare the water with the “flavoring” while going down the highway, opening the little packages with my teeth and the water bottles between my legs while wearing a skirt. I’m pretty talented. They are consumed in six seconds. No throwing up-that’s a good thing.
2:45-The kids have to pee. Eyeballs are floating and stuff. I have to go too: since I couldn’t find my water bottle I just left a 12 pack of Diet Sunkist Lemonade in the car to drink and I’ve drank quite a few. We arrive at a rest stop relatively close to where we turn off the interstate to go to my sister’s house. I text her informing her that apparently Google is wrong, because it was not going to take anywhere near as long to get there as it had indicated. So we’d only be “somewhat late” instead of “really late”. I usher the kids inside-I chose the rest stop because I didn’t want them asking for stuff since I’m broke. And I needed a new map-they’re FREE you know! But as we came out my son had found what he considered the most amazing thing he had ever seen in his whole life: The DOT Traveler Information Network screen that is interactive. Nice, but very distracting. I almost had to drag them out screaming. Luckily I had the prospect of birthday cake to bribe them with.
3:30-We arrive at our destination. Children play, adults visit, food, cake, ice cream is consumed. Many pictures are taken because cuteness abounds here with both children and animals. I worry about pork chops. Pork chop anxiety is never good.
5:45-I start giving the warnings that we will be leaving soon. Warnings are ignored. I finally am able to coerce the younger one into the house by mentioning there are kitties. Remember there are pork chops involved. We must leave so we don’t waste meat.
6:00-We are close to leaving. Both children are urged to use the bathroom so we don’t have to stop immediately. The toilet is too tall, and I have to hoist Princess Tantrum onto it each time. And there are ducks. A Momma duck and baby ducks that ride on her back in my nephews’ bath toys. I was surprised she ever came out of the bathroom. Then there is a busy ball popper in the living room. NO! Not those-my kids cannot resist the evil ball popper. Ours mysteriously disappeared recently. It “accidentally” fell out of the back of my car into a Goodwill donation bin. Not sure how that happened. We try to convince the children to take a family picture. The final result is my parents strong arming the children, The Professor is obviously distracted by the ball popper to the left, Princess Tantrum is trying NOT to look at it with really big eyes.
6:15-We finally are able released from the Ball Popper’s clutches and are down the road at Caseys to fill up the car. I have to go back into the parking lot three times because the Professor keeps dropping things on the floor, and has to unbuckle each time to get them. He will NOT be bored on this return trip.
6: 45-We had to return to the rest area because although both kids were forced to “try” to go to the bathroom before leaving, they had to go again. Maybe because they guzzled down the water right away? Hmmm. So we went back to the rest stop. I even let them play with the DOT thing for a couple of moments. Now the sun was getting low in the sky and it was that really bad time of day when you can barely see. If you look at the sun you wreck havoc by possibly getting your retinas burned out. Not fun. So we thought we’d come up with a solution. I had handed The Professor a Walmart cooler bag to help shield his face from the dangers of the sun. He decided it would be more interesting to wear it on his head. Princess Tantrum began wailing that she needed one too. It was in the trunk-so while we here I grabbed it. I decided I had better take a picture while we were parked. It’s now my profile picture on Facebook. Creative, but weird…
7:15-Now remember I didn’t take my meds. My anxiety is getting a little out of sorts and it’s REALLY time to just go home. Between this, the sun in my eyes issue, getting hungry and getting tired I was really pushing things. And then I thought I saw a meteor shower. Or UFOs. Little lighted trails of smoke that were odd looking, and there were many of them. I’m surprised I didn’t wreck my car because I was trying to get a good look at them. I even tried taking a picture while driving. It was driving me crazy-what ARE those? I was really disappointed when I figured out it was just some sort of jet. 😦 I wanted aliens.
8:15-I give in to hunger and floating eyeballs and stop at McDonalds just off the interstate. Arguments ensue about what we can actually afford to eat versus what we want to eat. Did you know fries are NOT on the dollar menu anymore? Two hamburgers, three small fries, and a snack wrap later we return to the road.
9:15-We arrive home. My kids are exhausted, but need to get right to bed because tomorrow is a school day after all. I pick up my stuff to go inside, and there under my bag is: MY WATER BOTTLE.
We still didn’t eat pork chops…