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Day 2 Continued

We finally arrived at the Museum of Science and Industry, and we discover the very best invention for a family of sleep laters like us – it’s called the Central Time Zone!!  Have you heard of this fabulous creature?  As we are pulling up to the museum and I am bitching casually mentioning to my husband that we are an hour behind schedule, BAM!  He hits me with this incredible Central Time Zone thing and we’re back at 9:30 in the morning – just in time for the museum to open!

We head inside, and the first thing the kids want to see is the inside of the ladies room.  My kids seem to have some sort of incredible, built in potty radar, and whenever we are near a new, unfamiliar rest room, they have to try it out.  As we are leaving the restroom and heading upstairs, I realize that even though the stairs are moving, I am not on an escalator.  Then when I get to the top of the stairs and the room starts revolving, I have to take back my wonder and amazement at the incredible technology on display at the museum and admit that my sugars are crashing.  So much for trusting that the syrup in my morning latte was sugar free.

So, while the girls admired the giant Swiss pinball machine, I grabbed a bite to eat at the food court.  I wanted to bring my sugars up quickly, but they didn’t have anything like what I would have used at home – peanut butter and bananas or peanut butter crackers.  So I did what any responsible adult facing unstable sugars would do – I bought a piece of iced lemon pound cake and a large chocolate chip/M&M cookie, and prayed.  Okay – I shared the pound cake and the cookie, but still risked an even bigger crash later on – but it was all they had.  I couldn’t even find a piece of fruit, that might have helped just as much.


We – meaning me – made the decision to go see the 10:30 show Poop Happens.  You would understand why I thought this was an appropriate show for my family if you had driven the 13 hours from Jersey to Chicago with the lot of them sharing one of those natural biological processes that we all wish people would keep to themselves.  Did I mention that our rental car has a window that doesn’t roll down?

Because of the wonder of the Central Time Zone, we are way early for the Poop Happens show, and we decide to see whether Granuaile or Eilis can hook up a cow to a milking machine faster (let’s just say Granuaile should not quit her day job – but taking into consideration her age, she wasn’t too far behind Eilis’ time), then we went over to the Idea Factory, where the kids played in the water and put puzzles together, and Granuaile ran around like Agustus Gloop in the Chocolate Factory.

The Poop Happens show was hysterical – at least watching Eilis and Granuaile sitting in front of us laughing hysterically like a couple of kids telling, well, telling Poop jokes.  The show was entertaining, teaching the kids the whole process of digestion in kid friendly terms.  I spent most of the show wondering if the one kid who acted in the show’s name was really “Dash” – since the other actor did call him “Daschle” instead of Dash at one point – because I think that’s kind of a cool name for a boy.  And how do I convince Jim that we need to adopt a little boy, so I can name him Daschle.  Okay, so it would have to be two little boys, because Jim always said he’d want to name our first son Jim, Junior.  And then I wonder if we’d be on this trip with two little girls AND two little boys, and what mental hospital I’d be most comfortable in if we did do this trip with four children, all farting and giggling behind me in a car with a window that doesn’t roll down.  Wait – where was I?

Back in the museum after the show, we check out a few more exhibits before realizing that our children are headed for a lack of sleep melt down.  In the nick of time, with only one of them on the verge of tears, we head to the gift shop, where I promised she could look around and spend a little of her money.  The shopping spree yields a valuable cache of an astronaut ice cream sandwich and a ball of owl puke.  Yes, owl puke.  Apparently, it’s great fun and exceedingly educational to pick apart owl puke to determine what the owls had for lunch.  Yeah – I have hidden the owl puke in a bag among the luggage, hoping they forget about it by the time we get home.  $5 well spent.

Gifts in hand, crabby children in tow, we set out to continue on the journey.  There may be a something wonderful in the next leg of the trip….

Day 2 – Westward Ho

Again, we are so diligent with our planning, that no one is surprised that our decision to leave at 5 AM turns into a 6:45 departure.  We don’t have long to travel through Ohio before we reach Indiana, and we are expecting to arrive at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry around 10:30.

The things we most want to see this trip include maybe another trip through the Harry Potter exhibit.  I loved this exhibit, especially the room that looks like the dining hall at Hogwarts.  The kids want to see te trains, and there were quite a few things we missed that they want to go back and examine.  It’s a wonderful place, and the kids could spend hours there.

I’ll let you know what we see if we ever get there!  These United States certainly are big!

The Pilgrimage – Day 2

After a rather uneventful coffee day yesterday, with easy access to my Starbucks fix on the Pennsylvania and Ohio turnpikes, we are finding Starbucks a bit more elusive between western Ohio and Indiana.  We have passed rest areas with Gloria Jean’s coffee, and while I’m sure ol’ Gloria knows quite a bit about coffee, she’s not Starbucks.  We saw Bigger’s coffee, but as we all know, Bigger is not necessarily better.

The one place at which I was tempted to stop was Tim Hortons.  I don’t even know if Tim Horton would know what a latte is, but they had a commercial running for blueberry doughnuts.  I love blueberries baked into anything, and the blueberry bloom doughnut looked like a little blue slice of heaven!  I may have to stop at a Tim Hortons before the end of this trip.

So the journey to my coffee Mecca continued through about half of Indiana, when finally, there was a Starbucks in a rest stop.  Enjoying my latte as I type, wondering where I might get my fix on the long trip home through some of the desert states….

Four Dead (Tired) in O-Hi-O

So, we thought we’d make it to Chicago on our first day, but that was when we were wild eyed optimists, with nothing ahead of us but the open road and the promise of a new adventure at every mile marker.

Once reality sets in, we find ourselves praying to make it to Toledo, where we will be at about 8:30.  We are still planning to hit the Museum of Science and Industry in the morning, but we’ll be leaving Toledo about 6 AM, instead of sleeping in Chicago until 8.

The girls have really been pretty well behaved.  Well, if you discount the “She’s kissing me!” complaints from Eilis and the “She’s not being nice and letting me kiss her!” complaints from Granuaile, they are being on their best behavior.  Thank goodness for the advances in psychiatric treatment that allowed for the development of portable DVD players to keep mothers from abandoning children from one end of the Pennsylvania Turnpike to the other.

The worst part of the trip so far is Jim’s choice of radio stations.  I was thrilled that our rental contains Sirius satellite radio.  We opted to shut ours off after our satellite radio broke a few months ago, and I haven’t heard Howard Stern in weeks and weeks.  Well, with Jim doing the bulk of the driving, he’s been listening to classic radio shows from the 40’s and 50’s.  Thank goodness for the advances in psychiatric medicine that allowed for the invention of air cards to give you internet access in the car so you don’t abandon your husband on the Ohio Turnpike.

The Pilgrimage

I, like many people, have a morning routine.  I get up, shower, brush my teeth, get the kids off to school or summer activities, and then slip over to Cherry Hill, where I have carried on a three year love affair – every morning, sometimes in the afternoon, and even an occasional evening.

I head to Starbucks.  After some experimentation back in the early days, we have settled into a comfortable and monogamous relationship.  Me and a Venti seven pump skinny vanilla latte. 

I have not been to Seattle since I discovered the joy of Starbucks coffee, so this cross country road trip for me is like going to Mecca.  The mission is to venture to the original Starbucks location, see how wonderful the latte tastes in the hallowed halls of the flagship venture, and then report back to my wonderful baristas in Cherry Hill that they are, of course, FAR better than any Starbucks baristas anywhere across this great big country.

The journey begins, as it should, at my Starbucks in Cherry Hill, NJ.  Sandi, the best barista (and hairdresser) on the planet, is there; and so is Andrew – the second best barista anywhere on the planet – and he’s only second because he can’t highlight my hair.

Let’s see where the journey shall take us!

2009 Cross Country Road Trip – The Adventure Begins

A few weeks ago, Jim brought up the idea that we should take the family on a cross country road trip.  Yes – as in our country, not one of those tiny little ones where you find characters like Balki or Latka.  He’s talking the good ol’ US of A.

Many years ago, when Brighid was nine, we did this cross country expedition.  We did it with my sister in tow, and planned it out for weeks, bought books like “Just Where the Hell Is the Largest Ball of Twine?”, and set out to spend a full month between the drive out from Florida to Seattle and back.  It was pretty easy then.  There were three adults – me, Bean, and Jim (well, okay, he’s a man, so that technically doesn’t count as an adult – more like a junior) – and Brighid, who at 8 years old was a fairly sophisticated kid.

I kind of put the thought of going in the back of my mind, because, well, Jim is crazy, and it’s very difficult to know when he gets too wrapped up in his computer game and says something out loud that I take to heart.  Imagine how red my face was, standing at 2 o’clock in the morning one morning in my night gown, on the front lawn, looking for the epic battle taking place somewhere in space after he yelled into the headset I didn’t realize he was wearing, “Get out there!  Go!  NOW!  Don’t you see what’s happening?  Look at that *@#>ing planet!”  You can imagine, after that, when I realized he was talking to someone in the battle alliance in his game, that I don’t listen to him all that often anymore, and if I happen to overhear something, I assume it’s directed at another gamer.

So on Friday – last Friday, just 5 days ago, when he says, “I won’t know until after my call on Monday if I can take the ride”, I naturally assumed he was talking about going for the ride to Starbucks to get my morning latte.  On Monday, just after Jim’s phone call, with my mother having just been admitted to the hospital via ambulance, you could have knocked me over with a feather when Jim said, “Okay, so how long until you’re ready to go?”  To steal a phrase from my Disney Mom BFF Karen, we shall call this WTF Moment #1.

We decide to wait and see if my mom’s condition stablizes before I commit to taking this trip, and Jim gets incredibly disappointed when he realizes Brighid doesn’t want to come.  She has her driving test coming up, concert tickets, and college stuff going on.  It makes me not want t go – I will, after all, be the only adult on the trip with two children and that irresponsible junior of a husband.  To make it seem as though all the stars have aligned against the trip, I come down sick.  I can’t talk, my throat hurts, I’m coughing and crabby. 

So yeah, we decide to go.  How effed up is that?

After doing some running around on Tuesday, including a trip to the hospital to see my mom, a stop to get an air card to motivate me to blog for all of you kind people, a visit to the uniform store to get Eilis’ school uniforms for this year, and a trip to get new school shoes, I head home to spend my evening packing.  Between coughing fits, bites of soup, the season opener of Hell’s Kitchen, the Phillies beating the Cubs, and Rescue Me, I manage to have all of our stuff ready to go by midnight.  I set the alarm for 4:45, knowing we’ll never be up in 2 hours to leave at 2 AM, and I head to bed.

At 4:45, the junior gets up, shuts the alarm off, and comes back to bed.  Where is another grown up when I need one?

At 6:45, I wake up, get my shower, grab the suitcase from out in the garage that Jim was going to get last night, find him sitting, wearing only a towel (yeah, the only thing you can use to get that visual out of your mind is battery acid), playing his computer game.  I am beginning to think that the trip was really just a misunderstood comment he was making to his online buddies, but then he says he’s heading to the shower.

Some time, way too long later, we are heading out to get my coffee, pick up our rental car (aren’t they going to love us when we return it with 8000 more miles on it?), then back home to pack up said rental mobile.  A quick, 40 minute stop at Walmart for emergency provisions (two portable DVD players, two styrofoam coolers, ice, snacks, drinks, and cough drops – hey, do you know what MacGuyver could do with that stuff?  Build an atomic bomb!), lunch at Arby’s, since it’s Free Food Wednesday and we’ve never eaten at this Arby’s, and we are on our way!

It’s gonna be a bumpy night!