Family Road Trip

family-car-trip-depositphotos-13736129-Happy-family-going-on-holiday-by-car-320x264-1So this past week my grandfather passed away.  He was 96.  He was an incredible example of what he wishes his grandkids to be…..faithful – honest and hardworking.   I was blessed enough to be able to attend his funeral with my husband and three of my five kids.  This little blog story is about my travel experience.  His funeral is something I would NEVER make fun of – too special!   But the trip itself?   Game on!

If you have read any of my blog entries at all you are aware that my spouse is dysfunctionally frugal.   Really.   I’m not even kidding.  When i travel for work i do not spend a lot.   But i do eat a meal and choose a clean safe hotel.  In the way of background info you should probably also know that i have restless leg syndrome and it is extremely uncomfortable for me to sit for long periods of time.

so we leave atlanta at 6pm to drive to kentucky.   tom is driving and the three kids all grab a seat and throw me and a pillow on the back bench in the hopes that i will doze off and not cause problems.   well i never dreamed of causing problems!  i have a travel agenda that works for me and as long as the family follows that agenda to a tee we are good to go!  Well…it seems that with tom at the wheel this trip is doomed….i don’t think the travel agenda I have filed is going to be followed at all……

i have a nice little spot in dalton where i stop and stretch  and walk and possibly shop a bit.   ZOOM!  we pass right by that!   okay – i can compromise – i’ll just hang tight for the next stop.  ZOOM! Blow right through that too.   ZOOM!   there goes the third lifesaving leg stretching stop in the rear view mirror.   i’m getting a little hacked off at this point.   my legs are jumping all over the place.  i need to go to the restroom and i can’t get the man to stop.   i’m 50 years old daggum it.   i want to stop.   i express this nicely at first.   “hon, are you planning on a restroom stop anytime soon?  cause that sure would make me happy!”  then a little more seriously….”dear, i’d like a restroom stop as soon as you can fit that in please!”  then finally i move into ferocious mode.   “thomas alan, stop the freakin van now so i can get out!”  (at this point the side of the road is fine and it’s more about not being in a vehicle with my spouse than anything else)     he finally responds – “hey kids – do any of you need to go to the restroom or is it just your mother?”   WHAT?????   since when does my bladder take a back seat to my children’s????    i am the one who has been pregnant ten trillion times.   i am the one who is getting old.   i am the one with restless leg syndrome.   i am the MOM – the WIFE – the WOMAN – and i said i have to go POTTY!   this is not up for a vote.  this is not a democracy – it is a DICTATORSHIP!  STOP THE VAN!

instead what happens is that the kids announce they are hungry.  don’t really have to go to the bathroom – just hungry.  None of them thought THAT through! they are all out of the will.  completely.  so tom drives thru a sonic.  yep – a sonic.   i am stuck in the back seat – no way to claw my way out.  this is not a “get out” stop – just a food stop.   i am tossed a Jr Cheeseburger and a water—-anyone see any irony there???? and we drive off.

i put my headphones on and turn on some soothing music so my blood pressure doesn’t make my head explode.  i lay back and somehow manage to fall asleep for about 30 minutes.   when i wake up my legs are going crazy and i’m not even going to discuss my need to find a restroom.   i take a deep breath and remember that you “catch more flies with honey” and through gritted teeth i pleasantly request a restroom stop.  luckily, one of my children announces that she would like the same type of stop so “the driver” (can’t think of anything nicer to call him at this particular moment) announces that we will stop as soon as he finds a place. Well I see about 45 perfectly good potty stops fly by in the rear view mirror.   What the heck is wrong with them??? Well little did I know, Tom had a personal goal of making it to Bowling Green before his foot touches the brakes on the van. I cannot even BELIEVE he is attempting to do this.   If only I was close enough with my jumping legs that I could kick him in the head.

He honestly does make it to bowling green before releasing me from the vehicle. At this point I roll out of the van into a little mushy pile of fat on the sidewalk. It takes a few minutes but when I regain the use of my legs, I walk with dignity and poise into the Kroger and head straight for the restroom. After that I head straight for the van. I have another leg of the trip coming up and it’s gonna be rough!…….

Second leg of trip goes much like the first….i feel quite certain my legs will never be the same…..so let’s just move forward in time and skip to the hotel, shall we?   We arrive in LaGrange, Ky. Where?   Right!   My point exactly!   Did we stay in Louisville? Oh no! LaGrange. Why? Yes….i will concede that it was conveniently located to the church….but the main attraction was the ever so affordably priced Best Western in town. Nestled quaintly between the waffle house and the town car wash. Adjacent to the town’s main shopping resource – a walmart. So the five of us trapse in – no wait – the four of them walk in – I lay on the asphalt and drag my now useless legs along behind me with my arms – imagine swimming with no water and you’ll get the image.   Once inside the taj mahal that is the Best Western, we book one room – yes – you read that correctly – one room – for the five of us.   For those of you who have not had the pleasure of meeting myself and my family let me explain that tom is 6 foot 4…..megan is almost that tall….matthew is over six feet tall….emma is 5 foot 8 and I am 5 foot 7 and 5 bajillion pounds overweight.   Why – in the name of all that is holy – am I the only one who can see that all five of us in a room with two full size beds is not even physically possible???? Well – bless their “agreeable-no-longer-in-the-will-huge-bladder-hearts” – my children all march up to the fourth floor to our awaiting torture chamber and enter like it’s an adventure.   Megan and emma claim one bed. Tom claims the other for the two of us. And matthew announces that he doesn’t want to be caught sleeping with a sister so he’s gonna sleep on the floor. Really????   We can’t just get two rooms????

By this time – even with no stops along the way – it’s about 2 am and tom is exhausted. He drops onto the bed he’s claimed for us and starts snoring almost immediately. Great.   This is gonna be a long night.   Turns out sonic is not a good choice when one is traveling.   It only takes a moment before I hear something ghastly happen in the bed I am supposed to share….did my ears deceive me??? no.   based on the wild laughter coming from all three of my children it’s true.   My husband has developed a wee intestinal issue which is working itself out as he peacefully slumbers.   Um….we are in one room.   One room at the Best Western.   Approximately 23 square feet to be exact.   No windows.   Heaven help me. when the room reaches the zero visibility point I say goodbye to my children – I know they are still in the room because I can still hear them laughing – and I walk out. i will be spending the next several hours till morning in the walmart – where although I may not find much unique to shop for – I will at least be able to breathe.

So I’m gonna sum up with a plea for paint sales…..i am hoping that if you purchase enough paint, we could possibly afford to close the business and leave a day or two earlier on our next trip so bathroom stops would be possible.   We could possibly afford to stop somewhere other than sonic for a meal so that health issues would not arise later in the trip. And we could possibly spring for two hotel rooms so that we still loved one another after the trip.

It’s in your ballpark now……

10 replies
  1. Melanie
    Melanie says:

    O Laura I am in stitches after reading that. So funny! Thanks for the laugh, I really needed that today! Melanie Jean

  2. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    This is the most hilarious story!!!!!! I am laughing so hard and uncontrollably in my office right now. I love it!!!!!!!!! Tom…you have to get separate rooms next time. This just made my day.
    Love you sweet friend. :)

  3. Miranda
    Miranda says:

    Seller 711 at Woodstock Market “Here’s Your Sign”.

    My husband is exactly the same, he is afraid if we stop all the cars we passed going 85 miles per hour will then beat him to some fantasy finish line.. Meanwhile I a nauseous from needing to eat and having similar physical feeling you have shared from having to go potty. On the plus side you made me laugh out loud! Thank you so much for sharing. All we have is our sense of humor and luckily for our husbands and children “unconditional love”..:))

    • Laura Whitlow
      Laura Whitlow says:

      love the imaginary finish line analogy!! thanks for the reply – made me smile – and wonderful to know someone can relate!!

  4. Jerri Devon
    Jerri Devon says:

    Oh, Laura, thank you for the Laugh out Loud … I can sooo identify with your experience exactly (like I’m sure most of us women can, unfortunately), but I could NEVER express it the same way you did … sooo funny!!

  5. Deborah Perry
    Deborah Perry says:

    Laura, I met you yesterday in Midway. Thank you so much for recommending I read your blog. Yes, this is exactly my sense of humor. You can be the next Erma Bombeck.

    You are MUCH more patient than I am I would have found a way to get OUT of that van. My mother once told me that I am scary when I’m tired because I look like I am going to kill someone. That trait would have been useful in your situation.

    Two rooms indeed! One for the boys and one for the ladies. Because, well, I really like eating at Sonic!

    • Laura Whitlow
      Laura Whitlow says:

      thanks for taking the time to comment – and for making me smile! nice to know someone else would have had issues with that trip! haha


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