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!