Monday, June 6, 2011

Getting There

Getting away from the house was the usual madness, and then some.

As usual when we travel, i was up before the alarm went off, and didn't try to get back to sleep. It's always more trouble than it's worth to try, and if i do doze, i wake up groggier. Because i get up so early, the rest of the family snoozed while i got dressed and cleaned up after the midnight snackers in peace the way i usually do.

One thing i didn't have to do was make the milk for the kittens. They are all in other foster homes, and so i just made sure i cleaned out their bowls well and put them away, then tossed their disposable litter boxes.

The first to get up after me was Sweetie. He came barreling through, already up and dressed a half hour before i expected him, muttering under his breath about making sure his guitar case had all of the picks he wanted in it. Never get in the way of a rocker who wants his guitar picks, just leave him be.

As i wandered through the final details, the clomp clomping of teenage feet that has replaced the pitter patter of previous years began to echo as one after another of the kids made an appearance.

"Mom, are we near ready yet?" #2 Son began at 7am, more than an hour before we could even think of going. "I want to get on the road!"

Son, i reminded him, the condo isn't ready until after 3pm, so its no use leaving this early. All the cold groceries would melt in the car while we wait.

"Mom, where're my goggles?" Little Girl was plaintively wailing and digging under chairs in the library.

"Mom, when we shop, I need a new toothbrush," Bigger Girl informed me.

And on it went like that, all of us getting in each other's way, searching, making sure last minute items weren't forgotten.

Then, "Mom, dad's already putting his stuff in the car!" #2 Son was aggrieved, as we usually wait until we have everything assembled, and then fit it all in, jigsaw puzzle fashion. So off i went to take care of this latest disaster in the making, and it turned out he wanted his guitar either in the car with the A/C on or in the house. Since warming the planet further with extra emissions from running his car for no reason is not one of my long term goals, he hauled the gear back in.

A knock at the door told us Teresa had arrived, and it was sweet relief. We had been concerned, up to the last minute, that her mom would change her mind and not let her come. First i told her not to knock next time, that she is family, to just come on in, then i sent the kids to help her get the rest of her bags.

She was very fashionably dressed as usual, more for show than comfort it seemed to me. Her parents won't let her out of the house, or even out of her bedroom, until she is dressed to their satisfaction, even to having matching shoes and purse picked out for the day! She informed me that her mother had taken away her one piece swim suit and given her a skirtini, whatever that is, and told her to tell me that i was to tattle if she wore anything else! In response, i told her that we would buy her a decent swim suit, and that my only words to her mom would be that she was beautifully behaved and impeccably dressed the whole time. She smiled with relief.

At promptly 8am we had the whole crew and all luggage assembled in the driveway. Now came the fun part.

Mayhem ensued as we crammed, shoved, climbed over, and just generally smooshed everything in somehow. The ice chests, one of which had my breakfast in it, ended up on the bottom, of course, so when the time came for me to dig out my bananas and sunflower seeds, i had to tilt Sweetie's box fan at an odd angle and try to keep it from falling with one hip, and lean over with a very hard something in someone's bag jammed into my abdomen. The hanging clothes got moved twice, the music stand 3 times, half of my Vita-Mix was in one vehicle and the other part in the other, and we almost left the computer case sitting in the driveway.

One last check of the house. Make sure the water to the leaky toilet is turned off, and a clean towel behind it to soak up any tiny drips. Cover all the beds in plastic to make sure the cats don't tell us how much they miss us in their usual stinky way. Key to man cave on fridge so #1 Son can get in there to the fuse box if needed. Money for him to get more milk and bread if he needs it, a list of things to remember that i forgot to write everything on, lock all the doors, and we are off. Well, i'm always off, but in this case down the road.

Little Girl rode with Sweetie in the Honda, so Bigger Girl and Teresa sat in the middle seats of the van and #2 Son in the back. They put in a DVD and i was treated to some of their crazy music as we went all the way to...the traffic jam between us and the next small town, where we would stop for coffee and breakfast.

Yes, traffic jam. On Saturday morning. There is construction, you see. No lanes closed, no accidents, no breakdowns. But someone freaks and slows too much, so the people behind have to slow, also. Then those behind that. Finally, you end up at a complete stop on the interstate. It happened 3 times between where we live and the state line. What should be a one hour and 10 minute drive took a good two hours.

Ah, the breakfast stop. No, i didn't want to make it. Sweetie did. The kids are always up for eating, especially at McDonald's. So coffee and juice and biscuits and everything else, and back we went into the fray.

The Mississippi Welcome Center is where my bladder always calls a halt. I'm not sure if it's because by that time i've been up since before the crack of dawn and it catches up to me that i've had two cups of coffee and my water bottle is empty, or if it is a Pavlovian response to seeing the highway signs. Either way, we have to stop and stretch.

That welcome center is a treat. It's large and looks rather like an old southern home from the inside, like you are sitting in someone's living room, with old rockers and couches, lots of tasteful pictures, even the brochure areas manage to be small and neat and look refined in that setting. The rest rooms are as clean as they can keep them with the number of people who come through there, and if we had time, there are picnic areas and places to walk under shady trees.

As usual, there's no time, at least by the kid's clocks. Back to it, with music i'm not all that thrilled to listen to, and later a movie that was nothing but explosions for #2 Son. Ignoring it as best i could, we drove on to Alabama under sunny skies that boded well for the rest of the journey.

Today is

Bonza Bottler Day


Dragon Boat Festival -- China (commemorates ancient hero Qu Yuan)

Memorial Day -- South Korea

National Gardening Exercise Day -- Get out and exercise with your plants.

National Huntington's Disease Awareness Day

National Yo-Yo Day

Samantha Smith Day -- Maine, US

SjĆ³mannadagurinn, Iceland (Seaman's Day, first Sunday in June)

St. Claude's Day

St. Martha's Day

Svenska Flaggaans Dag / National Day -- Sweden

Teacher's Day -- Bolivia

Queen's Birthday -- Niue

Queensland Day -- Queensland, Australia

YMCA Founder's Day

Birthdays Today:

Staci Keanan, 1975
Max Casella, 1967
Ena, 1966
Bjorn Borg, 1956
Sandra Bernhard, 1955
Harvey Fierstein, 1952
Robert Englund, 1947
Gary U.S. Bonds, 1939
Thomas Mann, 1875
Nathan Hale, 1755

Today in History:

Twenty-four wagonloads of Talmudic books are burned in Paris, 1242
The Qing Dynasty Manchu forces led by the Shunzhi Emperor capture Beijing during the collapse of the Ming Dynasty; the Manchus would rule China until 1912 when the Republic of China is established, 1644
The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, England, opens as the world's first university museum, 1683
A devastating fire destroys one-third of Moscow, including 18,000 homes, 1752
Napoleon's brother, Joseph Bonaparte is crowned King of Spain, 1808
The Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) is founded in London, 1844
More than 100,000 inhabitants of Bombay are killed as a cyclone in the Arabian Sea pushes huge waves into the harbour, 1882
The Great Seattle Fire destroys the entirety of downtown Seattle, Washington, 1889
The Chicago El begins operation, 1892
The eruption of Novarupta in Alaska begins, the second largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century, 1912
The Chrysler Corporation is founded by Walter Percy Chrysler, 1925
The first drive-in theater opens, in Camden, New Jersey, United States, 1933
A new Instrument of Government is promulgated making Sweden a parliamentary monarchy, 1974
Mongolia holds its first direct presidential elections, 1993
A near-Earth asteroid estimated at 10 metres diameter explodes over the Mediterranean Sea between Greece and Libya. The resulting explosion is estimated to have a force of 26 kilotons, slightly more powerful than the Nagasaki atomic bomb, 2002
Tamil is established as a Classical language by the President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam in a joint sitting of the two houses of the Indian Parliament, 2004


  1. I'm mildly envious of the road trip... it's been a while. Enjoy. :)

  2. Thanks, Hilary. Familiarity does not dull the fun, either.


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