To Hell with Strategy: Bring on the Crazy

My husband has lost his mind. I’m certain by the end of the day, whatever was left of mine will also be gone—hanging out along a desolate roadside trying to hitchhike its way to a sane body.

It is that time of year—when we make the major trek from Austin to Iowa and back again to see family.

This year? We’re driving.

The trip is carefully planned—stops strategically located along the way so my children can run amok and burn off some energy. Normally it is split into two days containing seven hours of total drive time, but nine hours of travel time thanks to the aforementioned stops.

It keeps us sane.

It worked perfectly on our trek to Iowa, aided greatly by the sheer brilliance of the built-in DVD player and Pixar.

Without this small bit of technology, a 10 hour car-ride would not be possible. It played four movies during this trek–all Pixar.

We planned to leave last Friday, but due to circumstances beyond our control, we stayed.

We didn’t leave until around 5 PM on Saturday.

This worked, because we had initially planned on taking three days to drive back, allowing us time to visit friends along the way who were too busy during the first leg of our trip. The first stopping point: Kansas City with my college friend Katie and her family.

Which was awesome, but far too short, thanks to previous plans of theirs and our late arrival.

The second leg (Part B) was to be to Tulsa to visit my aunt (and her pool). Because it is only about four hours, it gives us plenty of time to play in the morning and in the evening, and the children are happy.

Only Part B is now shot to hell.

My husband wants to get home. ASAP. His brilliant idea is avoid Tulsa entirely, take the interstate, and be in Austin tonight.

I allowed him to talk me into it, although he claims I’ve done nothing but bombard him with passive-aggressive delays.

It is the fear of the reality of driving ten hours in one day with my children.

Even if we drove straight through—not even a bathroom break, which is impossible with two children—we would still not be there until dark and after bedtime.

And you cannot drive ten hours without many breaks for a five-year-old and two-and-a-half-year-old.

If we make it before midnight, I shall be shocked.

I just remembered how the interstate is supposed to have construction after 9 PM between Dallas and Austin.

And it’s raining in Kansas. With the possibility of severe weather.

That’s right, I’m typing this as Finding Nemo and the headsets my children will now both wear render the car silent, minus the rain pelting the windshield and the occasional synchronous high-pitched squeal of delight at key parts of the movie.

Thank God for headsets—it just reached the drill part—which I cannot listen to without plugging my ears and chanting loud.

I doubt the headset wearing will last the entire car ride, as even Pixar will lose its appeal after many hours.

If I get wi-fi before my battery dies, you shall be blessed with this tale while ongoing.*

Assuming my brain hasn’t abandoned me for saner pastures.

*Note: This was not posted until almost 1 AM on Monday—after unloading and carrying the kids to bed.

We are home. We are safe. 

And very, very tired.

I won’t know if I’ve lost my mind for sure until tomorrow.

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About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos (www.writingwithchaos.com) sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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13 Responses to To Hell with Strategy: Bring on the Crazy

  1. Jaime says:

    glad you are home safe.

  2. Liz McLennan says:

    Sweet blessed home. Glad you made it. LOVE the P.S. :)

    • I’m still not sure as to the exact state of my mind.

      I mean, I bought fish to cook for dinner, and I rarely eat fish.

      Then I bought a lot of other foods to cook at home.

      I’ve either lost it from the 10 hour drive, or am so thrilled to have a freezer that actually freezes it has short circuited my brain’s normal processes.

      You decide.

  3. I am laughing – either near you or at you – take your pick, my friend. I understand the love/hate relationship with traveling by car with children. We have driven from Michigan to San Antonio, Texas for Christmas for the past 10 years. And we drive all 25 hours in only two days – gasp! Yes – two days. The first day we drive all the way to Texarkana before stopping, which is about a 12 hour drive. AND – we drive 13/14 hours to Virginia Beach in the summer all in one day. We are insane by the time we get there. We are barely speaking by the time we get home at the end of the vacation, but, my children will remember spending time with family, eating rice krispy treats in the car and singing stupid car songs. They are memories I wouldn’t trade for the world, not even for a few plane tickets. Hugs.

    • So tell me, is the 25 hour drive a bit easier now that both children are potty trained?

      I’m honestly amazed your family is still alive, because one day is bad, but two days back-to-back???

      My husband and I used to do the drive in a single trip (ranging from 13.5 to 15 hours long, depending on weather, construction, and accidents), before we had children and just barely survived. One thing we learned: driving en hours is workable, even tolerable. But add four more hours and suddenly it was torture. With my children, I’ve found seven hours (often with a 1-2 hour break in the middle) is the ideal.

      They watched FOUR movies yesterday, then slept the last two hours of the trip.

      Yet I contemplated throwing myself from the speeding van about 6.4 minutes into our trip.

      I’m only here because at 10.2 minutes I started Finding Nemo.

      That and I can’t open the sliding van doors unless the vehicle is in park, which it can’t be when driving 75 mph.

      • The potty training days were tough – I succumbed to pull-ups for a while, “just in case”. I doesn’t really get easier – just different. Now they fight about which movies they want to watch, especially since only one of them is allowed to watch pg-13. It was imperative that they each have their own source of music and thank goodness neither gets sick reading in the car. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of whining and “how much farther?” I think this year I plan on buying myself a portable DVD player and some earphones so that I can block every body else out.

  4. Glad you made it home okay. I couldn’t imagine being in the car for that long with my brood. A two hour trip to my mom’s seems endless sometimes. 1o hours… no way. You are a brave woman.

    • See my previous reply as to the only reason we survived: FOUR movies were watched by my children.

      There was also a pizza buffet lunch, countless potty breaks, and a sprinkler park in the Oklahoma City ghetto, so the trip took more like 13 hours on Sunday–just 10 hours of driving.

  5. It gets easier.
    Believe.

    Glad you’re all home safe, if not completely sane. :-)

  6. John says:

    A few years ago, my band contacted me – we had a gig the day I was supposed to leave on vacation. We were going to be driving to vacation, anyway (a week at the shore), but would it be ok if we left at 10/11 at night, instead of 1/2 in the afternoon.

    I talked myself into it . . . we’d drive through the night, so the kids would sleep through the night, and there would be family to help when things are all haywire in the morning. It was a big mistake — the kids were up, there wasn’t enough coffee. In short, it was a bad, bad situation.

    Now, we’re talking about a trip to Florida — my mother wants to take her grandkids to Disney before “it’s too late,” and she refuses to fly. So, I think we’re renting a large van and heading down. There better be wine in Florida.

    The silence in your driving would have killed me . . . seriously, I don’t deal well with silence. If the kids had on headphones, I’d have had an audiobook going, somehow (and, seriously, how did people manage car trips before the DVD screens? Though they’re more of a danger than people think, as I’m incapable of driving past a van with a movie going without trying to figure out just what the family is watching).

  7. Invest in one of those lovely books that have plenty of old-fashioned games within that are ideal for little and big car travellers. It makes such a difference. And sticker story boards. For littler folk. :)

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