Sunday, June 29, 2008

confessions from the road

We are at that point.

You know.

The car is FILTH. The children are GRIMY. It is RAINING. We have 127 miles to go before arriving at my father's house and it is DARK.

But, we are pushing on.

There is NO WAY I want to stop and spend another night in a hotel. I don't want to lug our stuff in to a hotel and pray that the elevator works if they put us on anything other than the first floor. And that we are relatively close to where the car is parked. Unlike that time we were in Boulder and the elevator was broken - we were on the opposite side of the hotel - and we were on the THIRD floor.

Have you seen the volume of stuff we need for ONE night??

Portable crib?

Six bags?

Two laptops?

Diaper bag?

FOUR children that are usually too tired to walk?

We just made a quick stop outside of Fort Plain, New York. After a little "conversation" Charlie and I had this afternoon following a brief stop in Buffalo when he ran in to a Target for twenty minutes and came out with only a sleeve of diapers >> and not the cough drops, diaper wipes, snack food and drinks that I had THOUGHT he should also get >> we decided that I would do all the errand running for at least the rest of this leg of our trip. Apparently my husband isn't a very good mind reader which is somewhat of an inconvenience for me.

Turns out, I have inherited some traits from my family that Charlie thinks are questionable.

One of those traits is that when I've got my mind set to something - like work (or the last leg of a 3,000-mile driving adventure, apparently) - I don't stop to eat. Or, if I do eat, it's grazing as I go ... a handful of crackers, a banana, some raisins, a bottle of water.

Charlie, on the other hand, eats three square meals a day. I've often joked that if it wasn't for my husband, I would weigh 50 pounds less. Although it's not much of a joke, because I hardly eat when he isn't around.

Maybe if our children were hungry, I could see stopping to eat. But whenever we've stopped to eat while driving thus far, and I order them a wide assortment of food, they will take a bite of this, a bite of that and be done. Henry, will take a bite of one thing and then throw everything else on the floor and SCREAM. You know, the kind of screaming that conjures visions of duct tape.

Then, because the kids don't eat everything that we order for them, I feel compelled to eat everything that remains on their tray because I cannot see throwing away food that I just paid MONEY for. And with all the eating I've done of their food AND my food, I'm absolutely SICK of road food.

So we just stopped for a quick break.

During the stop, I ran in to the mini-mart and bought cough drops, diaper wipes, snack food (crackers, yogurt, M&M's, canned peaches) and drinks. When I came back out, Charlie looked in the bag and asked "Where's my sandwich? Didn't you at least get me a burger?"

And I responded "What? Are you KIDDING me? Didn't we just eat a HUGE lunch six hours ago?? How many times a day do you need to eat?"

I don't want to stop.

I don't want to have another burger.

I don't want to smell another burger.

I want to push on and get there.

So we start to drive and I'm turned around backwards trying to feed the kids canned peaches from the front seat. There is peach syrup running all over me, all over them. Henry is screaming. I am so sticky my fingers are sticking to the keyboard. If I was left outside for 10-minutes I'd be covered in ants.

Charlie is asking "So, how is eating M&M's better for me than eating a sandwich? Woman, I need a meal! Can I at least have something nutritious? What about some crackers? OH MY GOD, Nutterbutter?! What IS this?! I need some damn food!!"

I respond, "Eat your cookie, Bud. I need a damn shower."

Then, I grasp his hand with my sticky one and sweetly say "Love, you can eat tomorrow."


  1. First!!!! I hope you get a shower tomorrow too!! Still sounds like so much fun! We just ran up to Omaha Zoo.(24hr trip) Unbelievable! You will HAVE to stop next go around! LOL

  2. 18 wheels and a dozen roses, ten more miles on the all-night-radio then....... Hang in there!

  3. Deep breathing.... deep breathing... You're going to make it... everything is going to be OK. You will be eating yummy New England food for the next week, which may or may not include Lobster Rolls, Samuel Adams, possibly award winning Bloody Mary's at Cheers, and deliciously fresh oysters at The Union Oyster House! I heard that they have a nice Shower or two in Concord, as well...

    BTW, you are driving the same route that I took from Ohio to your wedding... by myself. And, yes, I was wearing my Wayne Gretzky hockey jersey for the drive!

  4. Ha! You are such an amazing writer. I think TLC should pick up your family for a show.
    Have a wonderful time and New England food with beer sounds fabulous!

  5. I just love reading about this trip! You guys are so awesome!

  6. I have enjoyed reading about your adventure. I so want to make a trip like this with my family! Will you be taking a different route on the way home?
    Keep the posts coming!

  7. I'm with Charlie. When I'm hungry I need REAL food - not cookies, crackers, etc. When we were house-hunting, the real estate agent kept wanting to push on and not eat. I finally told her, I'm not looking at any more houses until we stop for lunch. There must be 2 different types of people when it comes to food.

    I hope you get some good non-road food soon!

  8. You think it's bad now, wait till you turn that car around and start heading West. :)

    It's possible you may not stop at all. I once made potato salad while Greg was driving the RV, because he wouldn't pull over at all in Texas. You can hold a pan on the stove for an hour while in a moving vehicle if you get bored enough.

    I'm thoroughly enjoying your trip. You've so inspired me that we are looking for a more fuel efficient mini van for our own road trip next year!

  9. And you can *BLOG* in the middle of all that!? You must have an amazing store of energy!

    Thought you might like to know that I have started posting Dismaying Stories again. Drop by if you get a chance.

  10. I agree with Charlie, real food!

  11. You sound like a woman in need of chocolate! How about Ex. D. on July 23 or 24? Jessica, Jm, and I are all free that night. C'mon, say you will... chocolate . . . chocolate . . . chocolate . . .


    P.S. LOVING the updates on the trip. Oddly enough, seeing someone else's vacations photos in this manner isn't at all a bore. Must be your sparkling personality. Or the fact that I like peaches.

  12. You are so brave to take that long trip. I eat like you and my husband eats like yours and my kids do the same- I can so relate.

  13. HEEHEE! I hate stopping on the road too. I just want to get THERE!
    And yeah being on the road makes you hate any and all fast food and convenience food.

  14. This past weekend we went camping at the La Jolla Indian Reservation. First time I've camped in 8 years. Kids had a blast! None of us got any sleep - our tent was too small. We were all filthy! No showers..and it will be much too soon if I have to smell a port a potty again. When I was in the tent at 4 a.m. - not sleeping - and planning my escape to the hotel at Harrah's Rincon Casino...I thought of you and said to myself...I bet that she is just about full on the whole road trip experience. I should suck it up because I'm just doing this for 2 nights!
    Maybe your route home can revolve around a few stops at a Whole Foods Market or 2 (and all of their lovely prepared foods). You are amazing!

  15. jen- usually i just lurk. but i am coming out of the shadows to tell you that i gave you an award. come by and pick it up when you aren't wrangling children or the open road ....

  16. I'm a lurker who seldom comments but I had to comment..
    Today I had to make a quick 10 hour drive to pick my niece up in Maryland. Somewhere around the Maryland and WV border a silver mini van passed us with California plates. It was so loaded down I couldn't see inside from the back and had what I think was a chair tied to the roof. The first thing I thought of was you and your trip.

  17. Hi Jenna and Charlie,
    Checking in to see how your trips going. Sounds like an wonderful adventure despite today. Remember "like if good!" Hopefully you guy's can take a couple days and decompress in Mass. Enjoy the good NE eats. Looking forward our clam bake when we all return.
    God bless! Say Hi to the kids and Charlie for us. Tom and Dawn (France)

  18. We just finished a 2300 mile trip from Saskatoon, SK, Canada to Boston and I was SO GLAD to get out of the car. And with only 2 kids along I honestly thought about you frequently during the trip. When I was ready to stop the car and leave the kids by the side of the road I reminded myself to suck it up because you were travelling with twice as many children and still managed to sound so damn perky on your blog! I don't know how you do it! I was at "that point" the first day!