Thursday, November 15, 2007

end of the road

Just as we had about given up we hit a real town. One with hotels and everything. We collapsed on our beds, too tired to even go get anything to eat, and munched on leftover trail mix from the night before. (And leftover wine, now that I think about it). On the television, (on AMC, so help me) - was Psycho. We couldn't watch it for long because my mom has Psycho issues. (1960's mind altering substances + watching a first run movie in a theater by yourself = no showers for quite a long time. And no reruns either. She was clutching her wine and giving the bathroom nervous glances when I finally broke down and changed the channel).

All in all I think my kids did beautifully with me being gone. The FG definitely rose to the occasion (as we both knew he would) and everything went very smoothly. But around day three Surfer Dude started getting a little antsy. He called me several times a day, which was great. (How did parents ever manage without cell phones?) One conversation started with him telling me how much The Most Perfect Dog in the World missed me. He was quick to point out that he didn't miss me at all, but that my dog was all mopey and flat and put his head between his paws every time SD showed him a picture of me. (Pictures of me have that effect on a lot of living things). He even held the phone up to the dog's ear while he chased him around the house to try and make him "talk" to me. The dog was blatantly disinterested, but couldn't help being amused.

So the second day of this trip involved several phone calls asking when we would be home. Even though I had told them the night before that it would definitely be Saturday, SD called around dinner time Friday to ask what time that night we'd be home. Now, this is the one person in my family who usually pays attention to what I say, so this was definitely a case of not wanting to hear rather than not hearing. We went through it again - we would be home early Saturday afternoon (at the latest). Completely reversing himself he said Wasn't it supposed to be Saturday morning the last time we talked? I said Yes (you little pisher) it was. And what happened to your whole Friday spiel? Can you not keep your stories straight?

Saturday morning we got up in the dark, picked up coffee at the breakfast buffet and grabbed our bags. Never looked outside. Never saw the evidence of the dense fog advisory that had the entire area socked in. Even when we saw the fog we didn't believe it, so we turned on the weather channel. Believe it, sister. The entire Texas panhandle and the southern half of Oklahoma were down to a 2/10 of a mile visibility status. Nice. We did what any two rational women would do. We went back to sleep and waited for it to burn off. At that point I didn't care if it didn't burn off until Spring. My mother, who had been remarkably taciturn on who it was who had pushed for this particular route, gnawed her lip to bits but stayed silent.

At 8 am my phone rang. It was the FG. Sasquatch was refusing to go to his Saturday morning detention (for six tardies to his first class) and the two of them were going head to head. Sure, drag the fogged in woman in to mediate. Let the uterus be the judge. The FG said (suspiciously) Were you asleep? And I said Of course(yawn) not. So with temperatures in my house at the boiling point we got in the car anyway and drove. It was hairy for a while, let me tell you. I can't drive well in fog, so my mom was doing it. We're still alive, so she obviously knew what she was doing, but the visibility sucked. A regular intervals SD would call to check on our progress. I left out the fog, because the kid worries like me, but it was still clear that we weren't making fast enough progress for him. Or for the dog. Whatever.

Very soon we were in Oklahoma. And this is where my strange blogging question came to a head. As soon as we changed to the Southern route I immediately knew that it was going to take me right by two blog buddies (who shall remain nameless unless they choose to out themselves) whom I would dearly love to meet in person and say hello to. Straight through Oklahoma City and through Wichita before skewing east was the route. (I didn't get far enough south in Texas to see anyone I knew there. I'm a step ahead of you, Kathy!)

But how to pull this off? I had no computer so I couldn't just email and say I'll be there for dinner and I like pasta (heavy on the garlic and light on the cheese). What in the world made me think these people would even want me to show up on their doorstep? Think of what it would do to the property values. Besides scaring the children. And making them think they have stalkers. So, reluctantly (because I really wanted to), I gave up on the idea as silly and moved on. But I gave a big old wave at what I thought were the right places on the highway as we sped by. I'd love to do it someday, but I had to accept that this was probably not the best time. I have looked better than I did then. Trust me. All the taffy was still not off of my teeth. All of the taffy is still not off my teeth.

(I thought Oklahoma was lovely, by the way. But since I got such a limited view, I'm afraid these pictures sell it way short).

The last leg was completely uneventful, except for the fact that I had no souvenirs for the kids. I had planned to get something in LA and hadn't, but figured we'd have plenty of time to get something cool on the road. But we were so chronically behind that I never even had a chance to look. (That fact - and the fog - are also why photos are scarce here, too). An hour away from home we stopped due to bladder limitations and my mom found little LCD flashlight things that the smaller boys absolutely adore and a cell phone case for Sasquatch. Bingo. They all think they came from some fun place and who am I to burst their little bubbles?

This is a very bad picture of Kansas. It really looks a lot better than this.

All told it was almost 6 pm when we finally got here. I wasn't able to make my Bunco sleepover, due to a combination of lateness and maternal guilt, but got quite a rowdy phone call much later to make me feel like I was there in spirit. And the spirit was about all we had left at that point. The energy had left the building. I had car ass, from sitting in basically the same position for three days. It was not attractive. Take a (big) ball of clay. Stomp it with your foot. Get the picture?

This is a very cool photo of Kansas that I didn't take. It usually doesn't look like this, though.

It was a great trip. It just wasn't what we had planned. I should realize, at my age, that they almost never are. But for three days my mom and I had a chance to catch up on anything and everything that caught our fancy, and I wouldn't trade that for a side trip to Roswell, New Mexico for anything. I drank 64 oz Diet Cokes and ate Nacho Cheese Doritos and slurped up authentic diner food in three different states quite happily. And I came home to a family that had missed me but gotten through without a hitch (except for the detention). My dog was so excited to see me that he took liberties with my leg. Such a welcome.

Cost of tacky souvenirs at a mega gas mart - $15.42

Dental work to replace four fillings and a crown - $3,412.00

Estimated cost of a new radiator - $ 500.00

A event filled road trip with my mom - Priceless


wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

What a saga! My mother and I would have killed each other. What town in Texas did you stop in? I just know this route so well.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kathy said...

I love it, you actually thought of me!

Eileen said...

I loved hearing about your adventures!! I think you and your mom will remember this trip for a very long time, and I bet you had some nice chats in the car. Sounds like fun. Maybe next time you can hook up with some blogger buddies, that would be a treat.
Glad that your home safe and sound, and glad that your family is smiling.

laurie said...


not to mention my brother! who doesn't know you and doens't lbog and seldom reads my blog but who would have invited you both in anyway, for pasta, heavy on the garlic. but no alkyhol.

and let me tell you, i think that trip would have been a lot better without cell phones. if the kids can't reach you every two minutes, they can't obsess. well, that is, they can't let you know theyre obsessing. which makes it good for at least one of you.

Kaycie said...

Oh, honey, I would have made you pasta to order on quite short notice.

I thought I heard someone yelling at me on Saturday. ;)

Stacie said...

My mom and I (and my 8 year old niece) had a road trip from hell one year. We were actually only going to make a 10 hour drive to good 'ole Winslow, so it wasn't as long of a trip as yours.

It started with my mom driving over the concrete slabs at the front of a parking space. She got the concrete stuck between the two front wheels. It took 3 hours for my dad to find us and another two for him to stop laughing long enough to break the concrete to release us.

My niece got sick on all of the up and down hills on the Pear Blossum Highway. There was a lovely odor in the car from that point on...

Then we were stuck just outside of Kingman because we didn't have chains for the car. (Who uses chains in California for goodness sake? And where did the snow come from? It snows here, too? Hey, I was 17, so what did I know?) Finally the snow either melted enough or the police officer felt sorry for us and we were able to drive into Kingman to get chains. Good thing we had them, too. It snowed pretty good the rest of the way.

The last of the excitement was when a semi jack-knifed in front of us and we had to slam on our brakes to avoid colliding with him. The snow on the ground made that tricky and we started to slide all over the road ourselves. When we finally stopped, I swear I was looking right into the semi's headlights. Nearly crapped my pants.

I do believe that was the last time my mom drove to my grandma's!

Kaycie said...

I think Laurie is madder than I am that you didn't stop to see me. And her brother.

And Oklahoma is kinda lovely.

ped crossing said...

I'll take a road trip with you. Sounds like a hoot. And you leave the cell phone off and claim you were out of range.

I think a blog buddy road trip would be a blast.

Flowerpot said...

it sounds an incredible trip - not sure if my mum and I would still be talking afer that!!

Jo Beaufoix said...

RC, it sounds brill. I can't imagine spending that much time with my mun, but I think it would probably be good if we ever did.
So cute that the dog, hee hee, missed you.
I bet you got some good hugs when you got home. :D

Mya said...

So glad you're back home safe - and off to recover at the lake by the sound of it!
Your mum sounds cool.

Mya x

Jen said...

Great story, RC. Spending that much time with my own mother would be the death of one of us. Especially if I had to drive through the fog with her.

I'm glad you had a great time!

Akelamalu said...

Such a shame that you didn't have time to visit your blogging buddies. If you do a road trip in the UK please call I'd love to meet you! :)

Stepping Over the Junk said...

I want to travel with you!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Quality time with your mum. If you ever visit Northumberland, let me know. You will be welcome, don't just wave!

Crystal xx

PixelPi said...

I was so tired and butt-sore at the end of your post I decided to go take a nap. What a great trip! But I have a feeling that my butt isn't into long car trips anymore, even the 3 hours to Chicago. I've entered the planes and trains era. Still, your adventures were wonderful and I'm so glad you didn't drive off a cliff at the end so we could all read about it.

-Ann said...

Great story - I very much enjoyed it. Since I was 16, I've driven my mother in the car twice (and the only reason for both instances was that I was the only designated driver available). There's no way we could do a road trip.

Swearing Mother said...

Brilliant RC! I would love to do that with my daughter, but don't think she'd like to do it with me.

But let's just get one thing straight - if ever you're in the UK, Birmingham in particular, you have got to get in touch. No driving past and waving allowed!

Potty Mummy said...

You must have Blackberries in the US, RC? If so, I think that's your next birthday present - and road-trip blogging partner dilemmas - solved. PS - let me know if you're ever in London. We do a pretty good supersized coke...