Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Eastbound and Down

We left the house this morning for the 500-mile trip to my grandparents’ at 8 a.m. This is an hour later than I wanted to leave because Kristy was cleaning. I’ll say that again – Kristy was cleaning the house. This is because her sister and her family are coming to town and staying at our house since we’re not there, an idea I’m completely against. I love her sister as if she were my own, but right now there are people who are not me in my house, touching my stuff. Can you even imagine? I’m trying not to think about it. I’ll try not to think about it for the next four days.

The first stop occurred at 8:15 so Kristy could clean up S who had just puked, mostly into a plastic bag, but partly on herself. This happened approximately every 45 minutes to an hour or so, all day. How do you make an eight-hour car trip with four kids longer? See to it that one of them drinks scotch all night the night before or has a stomach bug, we’re still not sure which. I need to apologize, first of all, to everyone who was trying to eat with their children at the playland inside McDonald’s in Jasper, AL, for taking my own kids there. S has some sort of stomach virus, which your children all probably have by now. If not, you can expect it to show up tomorrow, all over your giblets. And JP has had a nasty cough for a couple of days and he was doing that all over the slide, stairs and ball pit. I would have offered to pay for all of your lunches, but there were a lot of you and I’m not made of money. So, again, sorry about the vomit you’ve no doubt experienced, and for exposing Typhoid Mary to your McRib.

I really don’t mind long road trips. I kind of enjoy them, actually. And I realized why on this one. For eight hours, all that is required of me is to drive. To drive and to sing to my family (that’s probably not required, more of a perk for the kids). It is completely acceptable for me to bark out orders, “CD change!” “Coffee!” “Quiet that baby!” So why did that change this time? Why did Kristy spend the afternoon asking me (me!) where her water bottle was, and where the extra napkins were or if I could hand her her purse? I’m driving, woman! I was so confused by everything going on, it took me until we arrived at Mimi & Pop’s to think about earplugs. Earplugs! Of course!

Just outside of Social Circle, GA, I saw a trailer abandoned on the side of the road with one of its tires missing. The trailer had been hauling, and was still piled high, with tires. So, considering the vomit and the demands on my time, the trip could have been worse. I could be stranded right now, someplace between home and irony.