Thursday, July 13, 2006

Statesboro Blues

God help me, we’re planning a road trip. My grandmother’s 75th birthday is just around the corner so we’re going to see how many Italians we can cram into a La Quinta Inn in Statesboro, GA. Statesboro, GA, you have been warned. We’ve been on road trips with the three older kids and they do just fine thanks to the Mazda MPV minivan with built-in DVD player and cordless headphones. It’s as if the angels reached down from heaven and put that DVD player in themselves. The first trip we ever took with the angelic DVD player was the quietest eight hours I’d had in seven years at that time. But now we have GK, who will be eight-weeks-old at the time of lift-off, and is not one to be reasoned with when she’s unhappy. And we’ve never found out just how unhappy she can be when strapped to a seat for eight hour stretches at a time. What she needs to realize is that she has it easier than any of us with her ability to urinate in her own pants making pit stops unnecessary.

I called the La Quinta Inn in Statesboro, GA, this morning to reserve a room. To be honest, I thought of reserving two rooms – one for me and one at the other end of the hotel for the kids – but that seemed unfair, and expensive. I told the nice lady who answered the phone that there will be two adults and three kids (GK doesn’t really count and can be fit in an overnight bag to sneak her in and out) staying, and then the lady said something very interesting. She said, “I can’t put three kids in, so I put two.” Now, I don’t know if she means they don’t allow three kids in one room or if there wasn’t an option on the form she was no doubt filling out on her computer for three kids. Nevertheless, I’m faced with an awkward decision – I have to decide which kid to leave at home (as I said, GK doesn’t count yet).

Coming off of more than a month of World Cup soccer and Tour de France viewing, I believe the only fair way to decide who can travel is through qualifying. What will the qualifying entail? Feats of strength, time trials involving bringing me things from other rooms, cleaning, being quiet, and regular bathing, among others. C has the upper hand with his height and age, but that S is a scrappy one, and I fear JP is on the juice. JP and his juice, or chocolate milk or whatever it is, is an interesting factor because I’m not regulated by the IOC or MLB or any other acronyms, so if it takes a little something extra in their Spaghetti-Os to help them qualify for the trip, then so be it. And that includes bribery. There is no integrity in this tournament and I don’t want them hugging on me and looking at me with those big, loving eyes. I can’t be swayed by that. Cash will work, though. Cash in a plain Manila envelope, or in a sack, or in a Play-Doh can for all I care, cash is cash and it will propel any kid to the top of the list for consideration.

So, again, beware, Statesboro, GA, because we’re all coming, and we’re all going to need to eat and drink. Beware and stock up. Well, not all of us are coming, because an 8-, 5-, or 3-year-old will be left behind in Memphis to fend for him or her self for a long weekend. A long weekend of wondering just where their game plan failed, wondering what strategy to employ for the next round of qualifying for future trips, and wondering just how long to let that can of Spaghetti-Os cook in the microwave.