Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Road Rage ...

Sorry for the mysterious disappearance this week. Busy Bea and I packed up and headed out on a week-and-a-half-long road trip back to Western NC for my baby sister's high school graduation. For the first half of the week, we've stayed at my father's house whose computer is powered by a hamster wheel and I refuse to use it for anything more than "Do I have email? OK, great, I'll read it on my phone."

We've previously made this trip twice before just she and I, so I knew it wouldn't be a big deal. But, being the ever efficient little Mommy that I am, I'm always looking for ways to improve the trip and make it faster.

After all, traveling alone in the car with your pre-walking infant (and this time, two dogs) is a hassle and a half when you have to stop to go pee. Couple that with a baby who wants to eat every two hours and well, it can take a while to get where we need to be.

So, I planned ahead. This time, we tried driving through the night, hoping making the usual 2.5-3 hour trip as quickly as possible; all the while, Beatrice Kate could sleepily ride, snug as a bug, in her car seat. In theory, this idea was awesome: Bea would be asleep (read: Not hatching an escape attempt from her carseat or throwing a fit for being strapped in) and traffic would be minimal. I even limited my water and fluid intake throughout the day on Friday so my weak bladder wouldn't be the reason we had to pull off in the dark somewhere.

Of course, somehow I totally forgot the Collins' Family Murphy's Law of Travel and Service: Whatever you planned, it will always be delayed by circumstances out of your control. And it was. It took us nearly 4.5 hours to get home. Bea was asleep most of the time but started losing her cool around hour 4. Here are a few of the reasons why we were so late and lessons we learned along the way:
  • Lesson 1: Never (and I mean never) again will I accept or follow directions from my mother.  Holy mother of God, I thought Casey was bad a giving directions but she's got him beat by miles. Here's a snippet of the kind of direction giving my mother doles out: "OK, go like 5-6 minutes down the road and look for a white-ish blue-ish shack thing. Or wait. Is it black? Maybe it's blue. No, wait, it's white. Ok, wait hold on. No, go past the shack thing and look for a speed limit sign. When you see that, count to 10 and take the road after the first road you pass." Yea, see what I mean? Even if there were such a thing as the "White-ish blue-ish shack" it is nearly impossible to see at 11:30 p.m. because SHE LIVES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BOONDOCKS and there are zero street lights. I wish I could tape record her giving directions because we could win big money on America's Funniest Videos.
  • Lesson 2: Nighttime does not equal less traffic. Actually, this has less to do with the time of day and more to do with the fact that it doesn't matter when we leave to head to my parents' we always get stuck in some sort of traffic. This time, it was road construction that shut down the interstate to one lane. I place no blame on the NC DOT, but rather on the Chuckleheads who choose to ignore the blazing orange signs warning of the impending lane closures and still refuse to merge right. Then, they zoom up to the front, only to be all "Oh, Hai. I didn't know they were closing a lane" and try to skip in line. Hey Buddy- No Pass-eys. This leads me to my next lesson learned...
  • Lesson 3: The crappier your car, the more reckless you drive it. Editors Note: Crappier is defined as what I think is crappy, or tacky; and not by how nice your gold rims are or the amount of window tint you have. Oh, and if you have some Old English writing or some offensive decal- points are deducted for that too. I guess I can see why folks with a super nice car would be more careful to not get it all wrecked up; but seriously- every TransAM, Camero, Mustang or good Lord, even a tricked-out Mini-Van was driving like a freakin' NASCAR driver. Folks- I have a baby in the car (as evidenced by the window shade, infant car seat and the fact that I drive the speed limit) so tailgating me when there is clearly another car in front is pointless. Oh, so is flashing your lights. That just pisses me off and I go even slower on principle.
  • Lesson 4: Sheetz Gas Station is a local hang out for old men.  This isn't really a lesson but something I thought was super funny. About two hours into the trip, I wanted to make a pit stop before it got dark. So, I pulled into a well-lit Sheetz gas station located in Trinity (or frankly, it may not have been Trinity, it could have been Denton, or Archdale, or some other small town halfway between Greensboro and Charlotte). I found it so hilarious that this gaggle of Old Timers were hanging out with their Classic Cars enjoying a summer night. I hope I'm awesome like that when I get old.
Anyway, we're here. I'm now at my mother's house (whose Internet is certainly not much better and there's no cell phone reception so I may go into withdraw soon) and we'll celebrate Baby Sister's graduation on Saturday together as a family. Hope everyone has a great week... I'll probably be curled up into fetal position before all this Family Time is said and done.


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