The Road to Hell

d3f64f5b77695f1e5d199db2ace120c6If you ever feel like your family is in need of some special bonding time to reconnect and rejoice in togetherness than look no further than a 12-hour car ride to your spring break destination to eradicate those emotions. It starts out all good and then by hour ten you’re fantasizing about escaping to sweet, sweet, freedom by hitching a ride with the driver of the Frito Lay truck you “I spied” at your last bathroom break. There’s at least a 30% chance he could be a serial killer but at this point those odds don’t scare you.

 To be sure the long car ride of today is a massive upgrade from the road trip of yesteryear where as a child all I had to keep me busy was license plate Bingo and riveting games of I Spy with My Little Eyes. An added bonus in the excitement department was my father threatening, about every 125 miles or so, to pull the car over and “give us what for.” Which he never did but it certainly was a vacation cliffhanger. Would this be the time he finally stopped the car? What kid would be the first to get the “what for”? Would all of us be “what for”ed and what really was the “what for”? It was so riveting one year my oldest brother started a betting pool. The winner was the kid who correctly guessed the first and last city my dad would threaten us with the “what for”.

 Today, you would think there would be no need for a “what for” because when most families hit the road they’re basically driving a mobile Best Buy. iPhone, iPads, laptops and heck our car even has one of those thingamabobs so everyone can get the Internet 24/7 thus lulling me into believing that all this technology will ensure a peaceful 12-hour ride down the interstate punctuated by a few brief gas, bathroom, and food breaks.  Sadly, this is not how it goes down. The first couple of hours are a breeze but by hour four I see signs of a breakdown in communication and by hour six, the half way mark, I’m beginning to question the intelligence of my family.

 It begins when not one but both kids violate the prime directive and take off their shoes. The smell is overpowering and not even a two pack of Gain Febreze can power through the stench. I roll down all the windows for a fresh influx of clean air. My mom math tells me that a car driving down the interstate at 80 miles per hour for five minutes with the windows down should equal a vehicle that no longer smells like a high school locker room that time forget. Something must have been wrong with my addition because when I rolled the windows back up it still smelled to such an extent I felt woozy leaving me no choice but to pull over and seal both pairs of kids shoes in gallon size Ziploc bags.

 Just as my nasal passages are healing I’m greeted by a request to stop yet again for a bathroom break. This has me worried and ticked off. What in the hell is wrong with my kids’ bladders? Are they deformed and reduced to the size of cashews or is there some kind of blockage? I swear I can’t drive for more than an hour without one of them pleading for me to stop. Reluctantly, I exit off the interstate for another potty break and while both kids are taking care of business I discover what the problem is.  While reaching into the cooler in the back of my car for an icy cold beverage I come up empty-handed.  Nothing but ice chunks. My kids have consumed what amounts to a 12- pack of Vitamin Water.  No wonder I’ve had to stop so much. I guess the good news is they’re fully hydrated.

 One of the by products of hydration must be the need to freely and zealously express one thoughts because both of my children start fiercely complaining about the other one. It’s like the floodgates of “everything you ever did to annoy me” have been opened. When my daughter starts bringing up perceived injustices her brother committed during the Christmas of 2004 (which I’m dubious she can even remember) I’m forced to go full “what for” on the both of them. I sound so much like my dad I’m freaking myself out a little but I don’t stop. Oh no, I’m on a roll and then I get it. This is what the “what for” is all about. It’s a parental stress reliever. A vacation mantra. A chance to let it all out without ever taking your eyes off the road.

***For all things wonderfully Snarky go to www.snarkygear.com where you can find the new winter Snarky line of clothing and accessories. (Flannel Snarky P.J.’s anyone?) Plus, there’s my book – Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. (Click here for purchase information.)
 Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you. To stay up-to-date on new posts and take part in my not so deep thoughts click on this Facebook link – http://is.gd/iEgnJ (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.

 

57 thoughts on “The Road to Hell

  1. Di says:

    LOL. I can so relate to this. I just got back from spending three days in the car with my kids. Never again, I tell you, never again.

  2. Suzy says:

    A tip to get rid of that stench in kid’s shoes… Tie the shoes in a plastic grocery bag and put them in the freezer for 24 hours. It kills whatever that nasty bacteria is that causes that funky smell. I swear it works! Try it! Let me take a 12 hour drive with my children if I’m wrong. 😉

  3. Pearl ;) says:

    So, we will be road tripping in June. You are the 1/2 way point. If we decide to split up the drive, we have go out for a drink in the 913.
    My dad had the uncanny ability to shut out 6 kids, my mom and the dog. 1960’s Chevrolet station wagon, vinyl seats, no A/C. Car Bingo and crayons…that was it. Something about the hum of steel belt radial tires on the open road…..opens up every box Pandora ever had.

  4. The Guat says:

    Ha! This one cracked me up… the mom math and the Ziploc bag and stinky shoes … dude you had me on that one. Definitely Freshly Pressed-worthy…congrats! I can so relate to those long drives, but we never had anything more than six hours. But we still had our own vacation mantra and it usually involved “La Chancla”. I have yet to take my kids on anything longer than a three hour drive…I think I have enough childhood memories of the car…but we’ll see if I get brave enough to take on this challenge.

  5. Carolina Rose says:

    Growing up, my family – Mom, Dad, and 4 kids – would spend three hours in the car to visit grandparents out of state. Somehow we managed to keep our grievances to ourselves. We would read (real books), look at scenery and listen to our parents conversation. They would make one stop for lunch (packed from home) and visit a restroom. Good times, wish we could do it again.

  6. Alex J. Hughes says:

    Hilarious post, same thing applies to camping. All it takes is a few nightmare days in the woods to bring relationships to the brink of disaster and remind me why that’s always a terrible decision. I think there’s something wrong with my long-term memory. Without fail, I forget this about road trips, camping, etc. after a year or two and am convinced the next time will be complete with rainbows and unicorns.

  7. lmarks04 says:

    I drove across country once and gained two pounds during the nine day trip even though I wasn’t even eating that much. Moving around is important apparently!
    dailyquizquestion.wordpress.com

  8. cepstarbucks says:

    It’s always good for families to go on vacations. You get to explore something new and spend quality time with eachother. Just stay safe and have everything organized and well planned so no issues happen.

  9. pezcita says:

    Growing up, I always complained that my family never went anywhere, but now I can see why. I could tell myself that my only sister and I got along so well that there wouldn’t have been any fights, but I know that’s not true. Heck, we got into fights driving across town – over the middle seat belt of all things. She claimed it was a “giant putty knife”, and literally-minded little me wasn’t going to take that lying down. The few times we did go anywhere, my parents insisted that we stop at unkempt Wendy’s and wouldn’t let us touch the chairs. To think I’m actually considering going somewhere with these people next week!

  10. rohitmaiya says:

    Why do you even have to wear shoes while in a car especially when on a vacation. The Indian way is to wear slippers. A few jasmine flowers in the car will remove any other stench the car may have amassed.

  11. mirrorgirl says:

    Sounds like an exciting trip. Remember they also got a lot of vitamin`s in the water. Ipad`s and Iphones do certainly get kid`s attention, and I guess its not easy to monitor what they use them for (probably angry bird or something)

    It was an entertaining read, and you are good at being introspective at the same time as you describe what happens in a very readable way:)

    Have a wonderful day:)
    Nina

  12. lruthnum says:

    This is hilarious – I can totally relate. Always remember the hours spent with six of us crammed in the car on our way to visit the grandparents – just be pleased your didn’t have to cope with travel sickness – that was the worst!

  13. pscapp says:

    One time while on a road trip somewhere in northeastern Pennsylvania we had to make a pit stop to accommodate my young daughter. The place where we stopped was a combination truck stop, bus depot, diner and bar. There was a Confederate flag on the wall behind the bar and the general atmosphere of the establishment and it’s patrons made me wonder if we were ever going to get out of there in one piece. We called the joint a ” Pee and Flee.”

  14. smackster says:

    We’re taking a 20 hour trip in a car. I said we shouldn’t do it…I keep saying, it’s not too late. This post is like an oracle telling me what our trip will be like. I will be threatening to pull over. I will be grumbling at rest stops. I’m glad there are people like you who have gone through it like I’m about to. It’s a nice sense of relief.

  15. Andy says:

    Enjoyed reading this could really relate and almost smell the smelly feet. what is it with kids wanting to get rid of there shoes and socks!!!

  16. Kevibee says:

    I’m considering a road trip later this year to a rugby tournament; My girlfriend and I got into an argument over who would survive the 24-hour-trip in her car.

    I say the experience is priceless and makes for some funny stories to tell; reading about your experience was golden (pun intended), hahaha.

  17. kerisamccarn says:

    Loved this! I shall share and read again. Can’t wait for another installment. 🙂 snarkynsuburbs –> best name every.

  18. Donna says:

    My sister, brother and I always did the “he/she’s touching me” routine. We criss-crossed the USA multiple times while my dad was in the Air Force. I’m surprised at least one if all of us weren’t left somewhere like Joe Dirt. LOL

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