Sunday, July 25, 2010

2 Year Olds Don't Travel Well

Awww, isn't he cute? Okay, so I just found this picture on my hard drive, and it took me right back to this trip. In September, 2001, we embarked on an ambitious road trip to visit family in Oregon and Washington. It seemed like a good idea, when we were planning it, but the reality of it was much different. I must digress for a moment, from the two year old, and say a word about the 37 year old male that traveled with us. We'll call him "Scott" (okay, okay, Scott is my husband and father to the 2 year old).

We'd planned this trip for weeks, nay, months, and are about to leave. We had it mapped out perfectly......just the right amount of time in the vehicle, interspersed with overnights in our timeshare condo, so suffice it to say, that we're on a SCHEDULE. Here's the scene: 2 year old (Sam) is strapped into his car seat, the portable VHS video player is wedged between the two front seats to provide entertainment to said 2 year old, wife (me) is wedged into her seat, and we're waiting. And, waiting. And, waiting. This might be a good time to mention that we wait for Scott A LOT (that's another story. It occurs to me that I have an endless supply of blogging material).

ANYHOO, finally I am forced to exit the vehicle and seek out my husband so we can BLOW THIS JOINT, and what is he doing? Frantically searching for his wallet. Again. He "thinks" he left it at work, so we drive to town, search his place of business, and do not find it. He keeps saying, "Let's just GO", but as I sweetly remind him, "YOU HAVE A CREDIT CARD IN THERE, AND WE NEED IT FOR OUR TRIP". Yes, I have the same credit card, but if we don't know where his wallet is, couldn't it be A) innocently sitting in a dark crevice or B)in the sweaty hands of a thief, filling gas tanks and buying electronics. If we can't find it, we need to cancel it!

I bet you know where this is going......we never found it, so had to call and cancel. Luckily, I still had a separate credit card, in my name, alone (WHAT? It was left over from pre-marriage. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it).

Back to the road trip. The toddler was hanging in there, at this point. We made it to Klamath Falls, Oregon, and spent the night, then left the next day for Bend, Oregon. That leg of the trip also went okaaaay, if you don't mind hearing the Tellytubbies say "Uh Oh", 8,000 times (the videos, remember? I know the Tellytubbies were weirdos, but if your kid likes 'em, you're watching 'em)

So, this is where the story gets serious, for just a moment. We were in Bend on Sept. 11, 2001. We woke up to the TV showing those horrific images in NYC, and I remember feeling like I just wanted to go home. It was so scary. Plus, we were heading to the Seattle area, which at that time, was being considered a "target". It's probably a blessing that we had to drive, because we didn't sit in front of a TV all day, seeing all that chaos and mayhem. We DID listen on the radio, but that wasn't as traumatic. Okay, serious part over.

What happened after 9/11? Remember? The country pulled together, and in a show of our united patriotism, everyone was displaying the flag. EVERYONE. EVERYWHERE. Why does this matter? Because Sam was captivated by the flags. He kept saying "Whassat? Whassat?", and you HAD to answer or he wouldn't stop. Wee little problem, though. He couldn't say "FLAG", it came out, "F**k". Yep, THAT four letter word, and amazingly, not only was his pronunciation dead on, he apparently enjoyed saying the word. So, say it, he did. OVER AND OVER. Oh, hello, nice elderly lady, sporting your flag sweater. Yes, this is our sweet child. Say "hi", sweet child. I don't have to spell it out, do I? He didn't say "hi". He pointed to her sweater, and said (you know).

Aside from his potty mouth, I have to say, he did pretty well, for quite awhile, on this marathon road trip, but then he started to lose his little toddler mind. At one point, he just started yelling. Not crying. Just yelling. So, I also yelled. That is when Scott looked over at me, like, "really?", but I kept on. Sam actually stopped, and he also looked at me, like, "really?", but, hey, it worked.

Then, there was the stretch of endless highway, where, out of sheer boredom, Sam began removing his clothing. No small feat, when you're strapped within in an inch of your life, in a car seat! He didn't JUST remove, though. As articles of clothing came off, he hurled them into the front seat, which I took to be an expression of displeasure (I'm quick like that). Luckily, his little chubby fingers couldn't get his Huggies undone, or this story could've taken a really ugly turn.

Kids are smart, too. They figure out pretty quickly, when the normal discipline regime has been abandoned by the parental units. You know how it're around other people, and you don't feel it's appropriate to scream, yank, or threaten their lives in front of witnes....I mean, strangers. So, Sam took full advantage, and became a mad man in the condo, in restaurants, at Great Grandpa's dinner table. At 2, he had perfected the ability to not look at me, therefore missing the steady GLARE directed at him. The one that says "I can't get at you right now, but believe me you, buddy, you're in for a world of hurt, when we get home."

When I look back, I am amazed that we even DID that trip. I don't recognize those people, who thought it would be "fun" to drive a toddler over three states. But, we made it home, in one piece. Sam is still with us, and other than the fact that he couldn't say "flag" correctly for THREE SOLID MONTHS, we completely recovered from our ordeal. Oh, by the way? To the Veterans who put on a pancake breakfast, with a large FLAG, prominently displayed? Sorry about that.

P.S. I just realized that I didn't finish the storyline of the lost wallet! Guess what? All along, it was in the toe of one of Scott's GIANT shoes. He had stuck it in there, as he carried stuff in the house, from his truck. Isn't that too funny? (not) He found it a couple days AFTER we got home, and to his credit, admitted it to me. I don't know why we're still married. I really don't.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Men & Women Were Not Meant to Share Beds

I don't believe that men and women are meant to share beds. Seriously, Ricky & Lucy had it right, although, I would take it a step further, and put those twin beds in separate rooms.

Ladies, if your husband doesn't snore, then count your blessings. I don't care if he's a cover-stealer, or a bed hog, there ain't nothin worse than a snorer. I'm not talking a little "light" snore.I'm talking a shake-your-bed, the-kids-can-hear-it-downstairs snore. In case you haven't guessed, I am married to such an individual. We'll call him "Scott".

On a couple of occasions, I was tempted to video tape him, so that all those females that think he's "so cute", could see what he looks like with his mouth all slack, and a line of spittle running down his chin.

And it's not just me that thinks he's over the top. I remember him going to a mens' camp with our church, and after that, the pastor told me that he had a "whole new respect" for me. Actually, from that point on, Scott was banned from their cabin. ACTUALLY, from that point on, they STOPPED having mens' camp altogether, but I'm sure that was just a coincidence.

Snoring isn't the only problem, though. "Scott" has no respect for pillows. I LOVE my pillows. They mean the world to me. I live by the motto "no pillow left behind". My husband (once) actually tossed some pillows ON THE FLOOR. You know what? I don't care if you can't get to the mattress for the pillows. The pillows have feelings, too! I have a system. Two pillows under the head, one pillow clutched to my abdomen, and one pillow ON my head (see "snoring" above).

The clutching pillow is something I learned after having abdominal helps protect a fresh incision from, you know, splitting apart, etc. Now, it's just a security thing. I feel so protected. What do I have to protect myself from? I'm glad you asked....

Kicking, flailing, and other bed shenanigans. My husband works out, as in lifts weights. He has strong arms. Said arms do not feel good when they connect with my person. Nor do his giant feet. If he could rebut this (which he cannot, heehee), he would say that I AM the flailer, but methinks he's projecting.

Something else I don't get. How is it that he can get into bed, turn off the light, and FALL ASLEEP. Like, right away. That is soooo annoying! Especially, if we've been having a figh...., I mean "discussion", and he just drifts off to sleep without a care in the world, while I lay there seething, and plotting his death.

AND, of course, it goes without saying, that he NEVER heard our baby when he cried. Oh no, he slept straight through night terrors, projectile vomiting, and explosive diaper changes. He sleeps like a dead thing. I could be assaulted in the bed next to him, and he would never know it, until he woke up, and saw the chalk outline where my body WAS.

I'm assuming that on the few occasions when I WASN'T there, that he DID respond to our child, but that assumption is based solely on the fact that I never heard from CPS. It will probably come out in the counseling that our son will have in the future (some parents save for college, we're saving for counseling).

Lastly, what is the deal with making the bed? It is not hard. Really, it isn't. I make most of the bed before I ever get out (I will be happy to describe this technique, should anyone be interested), but that cannot be done unless there's no one else IN the bed. Since I have to get up at the unholy hour of 4am, Scott is always still in bed, therefore, it should fall to HIM, to make the bed, RIGHT? He does, sometimes, go on a "run" of bedmaking....sometimes lasting up to a week. I really love him during that week. I should say, I love him up until the moment he climbs back into bed and falls asleep, and starts........well, you know.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Road Trips

I grew up with a very distorted view of traveling via the automobile. My father was in the Air Force, and we moved many times over the years, usually, it seemed, across these United States.

My father had a singular purpose, and that was to make the trip in "record time". I know, I know, there are others who aspire to getting where they're going, as quickly as possible, but my Dad? He was a nut about it. One of his techniques for minimizing time lost when switching drivers, involved a tricky, death defying stunt, where my mother would scootch over as close as possible, on the bench seat, to my driving Dad, then he would start to slide towards the passenger seat. At this point, Mom would either be hovering over my Dad's lap, or may even, briefly, be sitting on his lap. Frequently, at this point, my mother would get the giggles, and could barely complete the maneuver. But, she ultimately would make it into the driver's seat, thereby achieving a change in drivers, WITHOUT STOPPING THE CAR. You must imagine two small girls in the back seat, eyes as big as dinner plates, watching this, and wondering if we were going to die in a fiery crash.

It probably goes without saying, that a stop for any bodily function, was out of the question. We had to limit our food and fluid intake for a couple days before the road trip, and then would only be given some form of nutrition if we started hallucinating.

I have, literally, been across the U.S., probably 6 - 9 times, but have no memory of any landmarks. As an adult, I got into an argument with my Dad, about whether or not, I had seen Hoover Dam. Turns out, my idea of "seeing it", and his idea......vastly different. The fact of the matter is, that we passed Hoover Dam at about 2:00 a.m., and Dad hollered (ala Chevy Chase in "Vacation"), "there's Hoover Dam, kids!". I don't even think I lifted my head off of the back seat, but, rather, glimpsed a freeway sign that said "Hoover Dam Exit".

Yep, those were the good old seat belts necessary, thank you very much! Dad put some plywood over the back seat, thereby creating the equivalent of a full size mattress, and threw in pillows and blankets, so the kids could travel in comfort. Never mind, that the hasty application of brakes and/or or gas pedal sent us flying. What's a little bump on the head? Shake it off!

The really bad news about road trips, for me, was that I got extremely car sick. Seriously, even now, I can get car sick going down my driveway. A particularly bad experience involved my parents, my sister, and my three step brothers, all crammed into a full size sedan, careening up a mountain road on our way to go camping. Finally, I could hold it no longer, and begged for an "emergency stop". As we tumbled out of the car, I proceeded to hurl everything I had eaten for the two weeks prior, and THEN, all my siblings followed suit (apparently, vomiting is contagious).

As an adult, I find that I have inherited my father's tendency toward getting places, as quickly as possible, preferably via a little known shortcut. My Mom says that Dad and I are the only people she knows that come back from a trip to the airport, with weeds and burrs, sticking out from the wheel wells.

When I was about 30 years old, my Dad and I were driving together to Wyoming, and I was on a quest to make record time. He started seeing signs for "Fort Bridger", and started talking about how much he'd like to see it, how much historical significance it has, and how he probably won't have this "opportunity again". Are you kidding me? This is the same man who bypassed any and all historical landmarks, eating establishments, and rest stops, in his all consuming goal of beating his previous time! I pressed on, pretending not to hear, and eventually we approached the cutoff to Fort Bridger. Without slowing an iota, I called out "there's Fort Bridger, Dad!"