Saturday, July 23, 2016


Earlier this summer, we went camping with family over a 100-degree weather weekend.  Right now, we're spending time in the Ozarks with the same family and my car has registered 104, 107 and 109 degrees at various points when we have gotten in it to please find a bit of relief.  The air conditioner has been maxed out for a few days now, and my gas mileage has relatively plummeted between that and the up-and-down-and-up-and-down-ness.  We've got the timing for finding those 100-degree days down to an art, it seems. 

But the laughs have been abundant.  We're all scattering back to our various parts of the country in just a few hours, so there's something to look forward to: hours upon hours of Boxcar Children audiobooks, numerous stops, and the inevitable "I have to's an 'mergency."  I don't enjoy a road trip on a good day, and then when you throw in some traffic jams for no reason and 10 cops in a 7-mile stretch of road (curses, Illinois), it gets tiresome.  It seems like the rest of the family either loves a 14-hour car trip or else had a magical experience whereupon their children were quiet for 8 hours. 

Friends, that was not our experience.  We stopped 8 times, and our 8-hour trip took closer to 10 hours.  Interminable.  I quite literally forced myself to only check how many more miles were left on the GPS once we reached another exit rather than every 15 seconds. 

But for the return, we feel like we have some things on our side - namely knowing which rest stop is inexplicably closed and which one has a playset, where the coffee stops can be and where we'll probably switch drivers. 

I didn't grow up with a family that road tripped it regularly.  the 3 1/2-hour trip to my grandparents' house felt like A BIG DEAL the 3 times a year we headed that way.  I like the idea of a road trip, but I'm having a hard time buying in on the boy's sincere desire to just pack the kids up and take off for 2 weeks, wending our way across a handful of states while camping along the way.  I feel like the romance of that just won't take me very far, maybe past the state line. 

It's hard for me to suck it up to get past the never-endingness of the Midwest to get to the good stuff.  The girls don't know it, but this trip is something of a test to see if we can handle a longer (in terms of driving hours) trip together next year.  Perhaps it's just a way to ease me into the idea of getting over myself for the sake of adventuring with my family.

Then again, my daughter started moo-ing at me this afternoon when I was putting sunscreen on her in preparation of heading to the bathtub-warm pool.  I asked her why, and she told me that I looked like a cow because "You have spots" (moles).  There's nothing better than a kid to keep your vanity in check.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Just take me back

Good people of the interwebs.  I've been floundering all around here for no other reason than the following:
1.  I've been buying dozens upon dozens of eggs this past month because CLEARANCE and WE EAT THEM A LOT and CHEAP and BAKING.  Using dozens and dozens (and dozens) of eggs takes time.
2.  I'm teaching 3 classes right now, which one might think would keep one comfortably busy when one's spouse is able to take on a majority of one's child-rearing duties because summer.  One would be wrong.  One is sick and yea tired of grading.  One feels that one is always trying to get through her list of things to grade.  One is weary of life many an afternoon now. 
3. We took a few days off to schlep the girls to a beach, which was f-a-b-u-l-o-u-s but there was then a whole slew of that grading hanging around when we got back.  So life was pretty grand there for a stretch, and we've since been plotting on how to return and when and where.  I'm a fan of just buying a nice vacation place up there.  The boy does his best imitation of a sensible person and reminds me that we are not yet wealthy enough to just throw money around willy-nilly.  This is a topic that we will return to again, I've no doubt.  I'm now determined.

The girls, believe it or no, are just about the easiest part of this summer season.  The boy and I, however, have been scrapping and scraping all the live long days what with conferences, classes, appointments, meetings, and responsibilities.  The girls just have some swimming to do and maybe some reading every now and again.  Otherwise, we just throw a few snacks at them every now and again, and they shriek amongst themselves all day long.

Coming into the summer, we were just forced to replace our cruddy range, which was visually pleasing but monetarily less so.  But crunch time has come with the taste of that bitter pill still lingering.  Our child rode her hand-me-down bicycle between our cars, which were parked in our snug garage.  This bicycle doesn't have any rubber covering the ends of the handlebars anymore.  She scraaattttccchhhed her way down both of our cars.  I have never ever been so furious with life as when I discovered that boneheaded maneuver.  You expect your child to break an occasional table lamp (been there) or stain some carpet.  I never expected $2000+ in a new paint job on both of our cars because my kid was riding her bike.  It's going to be upwards of 2G and about 5 or 6 days of being a 1-car household when the boy and I often need to be in different places at the same time given our work commitments.  This one hurt, to say the least.

And the same day that the first estimate came in on these, I paid for new flooring to replace our beat up and well abused laminate flooring in our kitchen.  That was a weepy, woe-is-me kind of day.  But you know what would help make all of this feel better?  A vacation house on a huge lake with lots of beach access.  At least that's what I've been telling myself.  Here's to more of this someday.