Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Fine Print aka Don't Try This At Home

The trip was, for the most part, uneventful.

I had booked us a hotel in Winchester, VA which is about a 7 hour drive from Asheville. I figured the trip would take me about 8.5 including stops.

We left at 11 AM on the dot.

That allowed for an hour lunch at a McDonald's Playland as well as some bathroom breaks later on in the day.

For those of you who don't know some McD's have an indoor play structure... and you can actually use the McD's trip planner to find them along your route. The Playland stop is key for many reasons. #1 They have changing tables in their bathrooms. #2 The kids are happy to eat there and it doesn't matter if they are loud. #3 They can play and get tons of physical exercise in; no matter the weather. These are all important on a long road trip. I don't want to eat at McDonalds three times a day but I will if I have to. I try to map these out as a back up plan just in case we can't find anything better along the way.

We made it to our McDonald's and spent about an hour there then loaded back up.

Of course I had to pee about 30 minutes later, so that was another stop. The kids got out and ran along the rest stop's paths for about 15 minutes. Kid sat on the toilet but due to her public restroom phobia (loud automatic flushing and hand dryers not germs) she couldn't go. Baby peed in her diaper as soon as we got back to the car so after all potty time I still had to change her on my partially reclined seat.

The kids did great. Really great. It was harder on me because I was bored out of my mind. In order for the kids to watch their movies (key to Baby doing "really great") I have to listen to them. The kids aren't old enough to tolerate headphones yet and unfortunately for me Sleeping Beauty and Blues Clues lack a little something when you can't see them. I also hate talking on the phone while driving and so... 7 hours of listening to Baby singing and chanting loudly throughout every movie is kind of... well... grating.

Around 4 I was looking for a place to grab my daily coffee. Of course, wouldn't you know, that that would coincide with a random long stretch of serviceless highway. Around 5 I finally got off. Got some gas, loaded up the snacks and headed into yet another McDonald's for a coffee and some chocolate milk. Kid refused to use the toilet... Baby insisted on touching the toilet and so we all had to wash up and then they both refused to use the blow dryers. That's when baby saw a crumpled up piece of used toilet paper in a stall, ran in, and dried her hands on it. Fantastic. So another round of washing and then we finally ordered our drinks. Of course they forgot our order and after waiting for some unseemly amount of time while Baby rolled around on the floor and practically made out with the tiles (so much for the washing of hands) they finally gave them to us.

We got in the car. Baby couldn't find her pacie. We're down to two for the trip so that was not good. I actually (don't call the cops) left them in the car in the parking lot (I had already buckled them in and was not about to take them out again) and ran back in and all through the restaurant and bathrooms... no dice.

So, all in all, that pit stop added another, unplanned for and unnecessary, 30 minutes on to our trip.

We had about 2 hours left to go.

Things we're going pretty well again.

When we were about an hour from our hotel and I had just finished this...

We ran into this...

People, there was an accident about 1/8 of mile ahead of me on the highway. About 5 seconds before we got there a car ran off the road and burst into flames. An 1/8 of a mile beyond the accident was the next rest stop. I sat there wondering how long before I had to take off my underwear and put on one of Baby's diapers (I'm not kidding). There were miles of cars and trucks lined up behind us so it's not like I could just pee on the side of the road. The kids were happily enjoying The Little Mermaid. I was tired and ready to get this day over with. At least I was able to get out and stretch for awhile. During this time I decided that next time I'm going to plan my trip for no more than 6 hours of driving just to take this kind of thing into account. While I can handle 7... I really can't handle 8... by myself... with absolutely no help... with the sun setting into my rearview mirrors. Because it's not like when I finally get out of the car I'm not still on duty for the rest of the freaking night.

About 30 minutes later (surprisingly fast) we started to move and I drove straight to the rest stop like 95% of the cars around me.

60 minutes later we finally got off the highway. We were hungry. It was now 8 PM. I was truthfully right about where I would have need to pull over even if we hadn't gotten to our destination. I saw a sign for Outback and we drove straight there.

The kids enjoyed it.
I was happy to be at a nicer restaurant (well comparatively). They actually both ate decent dinners. I let Baby hang out under the table... whatever... it can't be worse than the McDonald's floor. We even ordered dessert.

They sprinkled Meth on Baby's.

We got to our hotel around 9 and planned to check in and go swimming. Our hotel is really, really, nice. It's a new Courtyard and the bed is fantastic. The kids ran in our room and Kid called out "Hey Mom! There is a shower!!" And as if it couldn't get any better "The toilet paper is folded in a triangle!!". See? It's fancy here.

But within a minute I realized I had a problem on my hands. Baby. She was really out of her mind. She was yelling everything and running and jumping and... well... I'm always paranoid about disturbing others. It was really stressing me out. I told her we weren't allowed to run or jump. Baby doesn't really know how to locomote without running or jumping so I might as well have asked her not to breathe. When I tried to hold her down in hopes of settling her she just started screaming and then started banging against the walls. I decided running and jumping was better and released her.

We went swimming. The pool was clean... and... had towels! I was hoping that the exercise would run them down a bit.

I realized for Baby, who is really physical, I need to make more playground pit stops during our drives. She is great at holding it together while she's in the car... but... once you let her out she's totally out of control as she tries to release all that pent up energy.

In the pool she decided she could swim. She was adamant and kept yelling at me and trying to get out of my arms. As it so happens she can't. So... that was fun and relaxing. I put up with that, in combination with Kid's insistence that she, in fact, can't swim for a good half an hour before calling it a night.

It didn't wear them out... at all.

Baby was literally bouncing off the walls.

Kid was anxious about sleeping on the pullout bed a good... oh... 1.5 feet away from my bed.

I'd try in vain to snuggle wrestle Baby down in the bed only to have Kid pipe up some ridiculous question from her bed... which of course only provoked Baby more.

You know it's kind of cute to listen to a two year old screaming out the lyrics to "Somewhere Out There"... but not so much at 11:45 PM.

After lying with them both, separately, ... while silently screaming in my head... they are now asleep.

And I can't wait for tomorrow when I get to do it all over again!!

Thankfully tomorrow is a "short" day and I only have 4 hours of driving (theoretically).


inkelywinkely said...

Oh MY GOD, you poor thing.

Next time, make a pit stop through Louisiana and I will come along and help you out.

Atleast you have a little quiet now. Punk kept us up from 7 the other night until, get this:


Swearing on all creation that he was scared, even though nothing has changed in his room since he was two and he is now six, though he was acting about 2 at the time.

He came every hour ON THE DOT screaming at the bedroom door. We kept having to fall back asleep, then decided we would make a day of trying to catch some z's...well, at 2:30 in the afternoon when he still claimed to be scared, even though his room was full of light, and we could not be outside the range of 2 feet from him without him screaming like someone was murdering him..we finally decided to get up.

I HATED him that day (if you remember I think I mentioned hating him in your comments. LOL).

It could be much worse, girl. Your children could both decide that they have mental illnesses that can never be reversed, and the symptoms include making you want to kill them. :D

Preppy Mama said...

You are brave!! I love reading your play by play...almost feel like I'm with you!!! Good Luck!!

Feener said...

sounds like my trip last weekend to see my in laws. i went all by myself on friday so hubby could work and just take a bus. left the house at 5.30 got there at 10.30 (not as bad) but hit traffic while i had to pee and i had planned on having a diaper in the front seat with me and forgot. i would have peed in it no problem. also couldn't stop in bad areas. then hit traffic for a darn strawberry festival, then got lost b/c it was dark and i couldn't read the signs on my own.

julie said...

I feel for you with Baby's antics in the hotel room. Murphy is just like that...even still at 7.

Oh, for the record, those baby diapers do not hold much pee...well, not an adult amount. I'm just sayin'. 4 freaking hours stuck in traffic. Now you all know my shameful secret:)

4 hour drive today will feel like a breeze today after your day yesterday!!

Take care.

Staci said...

LOL Julie! I love it! :)

Your "secret" just made my day. Thanks!

katieo said...

Love the update. I'm convinced Baby IS Thomas. Good luck today, 4 hours is going to go really fast. That's only 2 movies!

(Julie - "Now you all know my shameful secret:)" LOL!!)

Haley said...

I'm going to go pick up a case of the Today Sponge.

P.O.M. said...

Whoaaaaaaaaaaa I'm lovin' the play by play and do not envy you at this moment. But it will be worth it when you get there.

julie said...

I'm going to go pick up a case of the Today Sponge.Haley--LOL!

I may actually buy a pack of Depends to put in my trunk.

Torey said...

I freak out about the hotel noise factor too. Remember, you will never see these people again. They can complain about you all they want when they get to their family reunion, and tell stories for years to come about that "Family at that hotel" It's not going to affect you one bit! Just get through. It is what it is.

Good luck!

Haley said...

And to add to Torey's commment -- I once spent a sleepless night in a hotel room listening to a crying baby next door, and I honestly never held any bad feelings towards the parents or the kiddo -- it was no one's fault. I did change rooms the next night, but I didn't hold any hard feelings. So don't worry too much about it -- I think most folks recognize that kids are kids. :)

P/F said...

...Dated a cute boy from Winchester, VA in college for a tiny bit. Remember him sharing how beautiful the apple blossoms are there in the spring, so much so that Winchester has an Apple Blossom Festival each year.

Have a good trip.

Deb said...

"They sprinkled meth on Baby's" has to be the funniest line I have ever read in any blog. Ever.

If my husband EVER suggests a road trip, I am going to make him read this. I thought it was bad enough that we ate at McDonald's 80,000 times when we were in Florida at a hotel. I can't imagine being trapped in a moving vehicle, listening to kiddie movies AND having to eat McD's the whole way.

You are my idol.

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