Tag Archiv: road trip

Tripping

Fest der Kentauren. Edoardo Ettore Forti. 1880 -1920.

Fest der Kentauren. Edoardo Ettore Forti. 1880 -1920.

I undertook a small trip this week. The four and a half hour trip down with the kids was almost pleasant. I filled the gaps with pep talk reminders about the joys of project work. Despite a late breaking meltdown ten minutes from our destination, we were happy to be out of the car and got down to business pretty quickly.

The boys were pleased to be cleaning out eaves troughs. Our roof at home is too steep to walk around on,and in seven years we haven’t managed to put up the eaves troughs on our house, so it’s not a job they’ve ever done. The girls and I emptied out a small greenhouse, then set to work with hammers and wrenches to take it apart.

The newness of the tasks made them fun. Milk and cookies from great grandma (who said they needed a break before their mother would have) didn’t hurt. Watching the girls play with toys that I played with as a child made my heart happy.

The way home was a little less fun. All we were doing then was going home, and we weren’t there yet. The movie choice was hotly debated by three. Girl one was the swing vote with the two’s (Boy and Girl) duking it out to win her over. Peaceful resolution required intervention. I chose Boy two’s movie with an option for Girl two to vote it down at the fifteen minute mark if she didn’t like it. She magnanimously said she would add five minutes and make her assessment at the twenty minute mark. I mistakenly thought we were home free.

Girl two lost track of time as planned. After half an hour she wasn’t sure if she liked the movie but it might be okay. In five minute intervals for the next hour she was alternately convinced, distracted, or placated with snack. We then declared it too late to change the movie. For the rest, in between watching intently, she told us every three or four minutes how much she hated Free Willy. It was the second worst movie she had ever seen in her life. She liked the sound of a statement so sweeping and repeated it periodically for the rest of the trip.

We arrived home in one piece, albeit not in one peace. I thanked everyone for their help. The kids said they’d enjoyed the trip excepting the return. A furtive tap on my door brought this counsel:

Mom, my advice is, while we’re still in the working mood, you better work us hard this weekend for as long as you can . . .  but don’t let anyone else know I said that or they’ll kill me.

 

In their own strange ways, they look out for me. :)

 

Jr. prophets and teachers

compliments of morguefile.com by dave

compliments of morguefile.com by dave

A week ago I was on a very well planned vacation. I knew everything about who, what and when. There were lists of options and lists of set itineraries. I knew it so well I stopped looking at it.

And then my brain missed an entire day. The plan was to leave Georgia at 6:00am sharp on Thursday morning. Somewhere in there I started saying, “Thursday is our last day.” This despite weeks of excited planning about meeting a friend along our route on that same Thursday. It was 7:15am Thursday when I realized that I had invited my aunt and her family out for the day to a home in which we no longer had accommodations. 7:15 when I realized that there was no physical way to meet my friend by  1:00. We weren’t packed. No one had eaten.

I felt sick. This does not happen to me. Except it was. My aunt was looking forward to another day with us. The much anticipated hours with my very dear friend were being cut down to very little. There was no way of fixing it with either of them.

We drove to my aunt’s home. She met me dressed to the nines in preparation for our visit. I explained the situation and apologized. “It’s alright,” she said. But it wasn’t alright. We visited there for an hour. I wiped my eyes and tried to hold it together. We said goodbye and got on the road. I set to crying in earnest. My husband could not get past the idea that eating a sausage egg Mcmuffin was the answer. I ate it and he felt better.

There was no way to undo anything. Now we were late. For more than 7 hours we were late. I am not wired that well for ongoing failure. I’m big on making things up to people but there wasn’t any way to make it up. Until 5:30pm we were not there yet.

It should be called a good day. Although shorter than intended, the visits with both my aunt and my friend were deeply meaningful. I was still muttering about my massive failures getting ready for bed when my oldest daughter began singing softly.

Everyone makes mistakes oh yes they do . . .

It’s a song Girl two brought it home from school a few years ago. Turns out it’s from Sesame Street:

               Everyone makes mistakes oh yes they do

               Your sister and your brother and your dad and mother too

               Big people small people matter of fact all people

               Everyone makes mistakes so why can’t you?

 

At home a few days later, I was telling the story of Michelle’s most awful disaster. “My aunt, my friend, the kids, they all forgave me, but it was awful . . .”

Which is when a freckled eavesdropper marched over to the sink where I was going dishes and tapped me on the arm.

“You know what I noticed,” said my youngest daughter on her tip toes so only I would hear her. She is missing her two middle teeth at the top. “Everybody else forgave you but you didn’t forgive yourself.”

She turned on her heel quickly and walked away, armed folded across her chest the way she does when she is sure that she is right.

 

Returning in sections

MIA: believed to be en route

MIA: believed to be en route

4450 kilometers (2765 miles) later we are home. Our bodies arrived a few hours of schedule. Our brains seem to have been lost in transit. Hopefully they’ll catch up with us before too many days go by.

Highlights people without brains can remember:

Air BnB:   Has everyone except me heard of this? I had never heard of it until this trip. We rented a small house from a local couple for the week. Full kitchen, two bathrooms, laundry room, porch, yard, living room, 4 bedrooms . . . it was amazing.

Public Transit: Once we figured out how to use public transit (which wasn’t that hard because we ran into so many helpful people) the city became a very easy place to get around. Buses were good. The kids liked them, but the subways were great. Major thumbs up from all parties. The first day we had to ride around on them for a while even though we’d already been everywhere we needed to go. Tired people in their seats couldn’t help smiling and laughing at the kids yammering about what was out the window and doing motion experiments holding on to things or not when the subway stopped.

Fruit: When you drive two days south and go to the grocery store, the fruit is a lot more remarkable.

Cash: We haven’t ever done a trip in cash before but we’ll do it again. It was downright exciting to sit girl one and boy two down at the table and assign them to count out our money for the trip. We attempted to write down everything we spent so we’d have a tally of how much went for gas, food, museum admission etc. but that kind of fell apart. Regardless, there is something really nice about having money that you can count and see.

Blue Ridge Mountains: Our little timeout onto the parkway to see the mountains (estimated at half an hour) turned into an hour and a half. The fog was so thick up in the mountains that we couldn’t see twenty feet in front of the car and had to drive very slowly with the hazard lights on. We had a very good laugh about the view from the mountains

It’s good to be back, with or without the brains.

 

 

 

Road Trip

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Before we had children (back when we thought the number of children you have is the kind of thing you decide) we planned to take a road trip. We would load them the children we did not yet have in a car, as soon as they were old enough to appreciate it, and drive across Canada.

Life happened. Jobs, schools and houses came and went. Four children made it to born. We moved to the farm. The theory of small farms is that one supplements one’s food supply and therefore income, while enjoying the wholesome qualities of country living. The reality is that while working  harder for it, you also pay more than the neighbors for your food. We stick with it because the farm makes us happy, our food tastes great, and we know where it came from.

The kids are now old enough to appreciate a road trip across Canada just in time for us to appreciate that the rest of our life choices have made that impossible. Luckily they weren’t there when we vowed to do it so nobody is upset. We the vow makers are okay with it because we think the trade off is worth it. Nevertheless, I have longed for a smaller version of the road trip. We looked at a few ideas in the last few years but nothing clicked.

This January I sat fretting about a beloved aunt. Should I fly down to see her?  If so when? I batted these questions around until I realized the problem: I really wanted to go see my aunt, but I really didn’t want to leave my family at home and go off by myself on a big journey.

Which is when I realized that a road trip would solve everything.

In January, my husband was ambivalent but willing. Since the end of February, he has been gleefully counting the days. The internet estimates the trip at 17.5 hours of driving. Past experience predicts at least 2 hours of stops for every 8 hours of driving. The return trip is longer. :)

And that’s all the news that’s fit to print. I’m away from the blog for a week to be fully present for our adventure.