Monday, April 13, 2015

Road Trip (Redux and Retribution)

We drove down to Hilton Head, South Carolina last week because that is what Northeastern parents on a budget do to torture their children (and themselves) and call it a "vacation".  Families pack up their cars as though they're fleeing a zombie apocalypse or auditioning for "Hoarders", then head south after a cold and lonely winter.  Hilton Head is not the only spring break destination by car.  We drive to Washington, DC or North Carolina or Florida (which luckily or unluckily includes all of the aforementioned places).  We go anywhere south of New Jersey because two degrees difference in temperature is like the difference between Lapland and Honolulu after four months of a New York winter-hell-frozen-over.

We left Saturday around noon.  Pete wanted to drive two full days rather than one straight shot.  This is a bad idea.  Don't do this.  Especially when you have children.  Most especially when you have a smarter spouse telling you otherwise.  Most of the traffic we encountered was at the beginning of our journey on the Belt Parkway, Staten Island Expressway, and New Jersey Turnpike.  If there is a road to hell, I imagine it would look like any New York City highway.  There is always traffic, there is always construction, they are riddled with potholes (probably the shortcut to the ultimate, fiery "destination"), and there's always some asshole doing some assholey thing to make the experience even more miserable than you thought possible.  We were supposed to stay in Stafford, Virginia the first night, but never made it.  We got to Fredericksburg by 8pm and were toast by then.  The children and I were hungry and tired and were on the verge of mutiny if he did not stop the car and let us out at once.

There was no way I was going to get a run in.   From the superficial looks of it,  Fredericksburg didn't seem like a running city.  I was too tired to investigate further.  After spending eight tortuous hours in the car, the last thing I wanted to do was torture myself again on the treadmill.

The next day we set out for Bluffton, South Carolina.  Bluffton is basically across the bridge from Hilton Head.  Why we didn't leave a day later and just eliminate Bluffton from the equation is beyond me.  Don't ask.  Or better yet, do ask Mr. I Should Never Be In Charge of Planning Anything Other Than A Kegger.  Sunday was basically Saturday Redux.

What are eight hours in a car with four children and two "adults" (I use this term loosely) like, you ask?  For starters, each child has to use the bathroom at different times, usually right after one of them has just gone, they've "buckled" (I use this term loosely, as well) themselves in, and we merge back onto the highway.  As soon as we're up to highway speed, the next one has to go.  Immediately.  There's no, "I can hold it."  It's always, "I have to go.  Now!  Hurry!  I'm starting to go in my pants...!"  And that's just my 13-year old (Ha ha, just kidding, Sanibel.  That's a little retribution for picking on the little ones during the trip.  Heh heh).  Of course, we ask them each time, who else has to go?  Sometimes we even take them against their will and sit them on the toilets to no avail.  They go when they want, and you don't.

I mentioned seat belts.  Seat belts are optional in their minds.  We buckle them in whenever we get in the car.  At some point during the trip, usually when we're doing 85mph, I'll turn around and see my kids' rendition of Cirque du Soleil in the back of our Ford Expedition.  My 13-year old is laying down as though she's at home on the couch, my 8-year old is undressed down to his boxers sitting upside down on his head, my 5-year old is climbing over a seat so as not to get crushed by the 13-year old, and the baby is climbing on top of the luggage in the trunk.  We do not pull over because we want to get where we're going as fast as we can.  Probably not the prudent choice.  Instead, we yell and threaten them with electronic device withdrawal (because that is what they love more than life itself) until finally compliance.  Twenty minutes later, it's the same scenario.  Redux.

Then there's the matter of "getting along".    I come from a small family, just my older brother and me.  I always wanted to have a lot of kids.  I thought, the more the merrier!  That's what I was taught by the Bradys and the Partidges.  The Bradys even drove to the Grand Canyon without so much as a slap in the face.  Well, I think they wound up in jail and someone got lost, but they still loved each other by the end of the episode.  My children, unfortunately have never seen these shows, so they have no idea how to get along 70s style.  Someone is either hitting or being hit, crying or making someone else cry, screaming or being screamed at, insulting or being insulted.  And that's just their father!  (Ha ha, just kidding Pete.  That's a little retribution for making us sit in the car for 8,000 hours.  Heh heh)

We arrived in Bluffton Sunday night around 8.  There was no way I was going to get a run in.  Ten miler was going to have to wait until Monday.  I'm exhausted just typing this.  My week of running in Hilton Head will be continued tomorrow...

The picture at the top is the only car photo that exists from this trip.  It was taken in Washington, DC on our way home.  We drove almost ten hours, double the predicted GPS time, to get home after this was taken.  Those clueless smiles on our faces quickly turned upside down.  Permanently.  For the same reasons stated above.  It was another Redux car trip.  Thankfully, for legal reasons, no other pictures exist.

(Oh wait.  You don't see a picture at the top of this post?  I tried to upload one, but my evil laptop told me that the startup disk was full and I should delete files.  I did as I was told.  I clicked on what I thought were blank files.  Now I've lost all access to any Word documents and possibly all of my iPhotos.  And the startup disk is still full.  Hating everything right now.  Could this be retribution?  Not funny.)


  1. That was an epically hilarious post. I feel like I was in the car with you. Nothing like taking a few days to relax on a spring break road trip. You should try that sometime.

    I have to believe you can recover deleted pics because deleting doesn't wipe out the data, it just tells the operating system to ignore it. If you have the original product key for Word, Microsoft allows you to reinstall Office apps. You can go to the MS site and "chat" with a support person who can help. If you do. be careful because they'll probably try to up-sell you to Office 365. It might be worth a visit to the Geek Squad.

    1. Don't even kid about such trauma. Mysteriously, my laptop is working. I might have even fixed it myself. I think I should join the Geek Squad, but then they'd have to rename it the Awesome Squad and change the design on all of their cars. Sigh.