Saturday, April 2, 2011

On The Road...The Squeakquel

While my family could easily be described as a circus, I don't think we're cut out to be the traveling kind. Today we came to visit my grandmother for her birthday, and a trip that should have taken three and a half hours took a little over four and felt like eighteen. Partly because I had to put up with Alvin and those other wannabe squirrels running around and singing pop hits in shirts and no pants, and partly because the "Are we almost there?" interrogation started 20 minutes outside of Raleigh. My husband and I got so irritated with that question that we seriously considered driving all the way to Canada just to spite them. The only thing that stopped us was the prohibitive fuel costs.

There were other minor frustrations, like accidents, construction, and speed limits. And then despite my rationing out water like we were miners trapped underground with no hope of rescue, Reckless still needed to use the restroom. "When are we going to stop?" she asked me as we passed by one exit after another. Clearly, "We'll stop when I see a place that doesn't pose a DEFCON Four level threat of infectious diseases!"

Later, we realized we just weren't trying hard enough to distract them. As we were traveled through what we on the East Coast refer to as mountains, my son looked out his window and hopefully asked, "Is this where the Presidents' faces are painted on the mountain?" Carved, I corrected him. And, "No, Mt. Rushmore's in South Dakota." In the spirit of honesty, I'll admit that before I answered, I conferred quietly with my husband on whether it was North or South Dakota. But, then we realized that we should have them look for things. Things they wouldn't easily find. Things that weren't even there. "I mean, there could be Presidents' faces painted on the side of a mountain out here somewhere," I said. And, don't judge me; there really could be, you know. "Do you see any buffalo?" my husband asked the kids. Their eyes widened and suddenly it was like we were traveling through Jurassic Park, everyone was on high alert.

We had a lovely time visiting with my family at my grandmother's 87th birthday party, which was off the hook, and now the kids are nestled all snug in their hotel beds with visions of breakfast buffets dancing in their heads and I was just sitting here trying to determine what it says about my packing and organizational skills that we made it here with more pillow pets than toothbrushes. And thinking about packing brought to mind one of my favorite posts ever. The one about the "go bag", and I thought I'd paste part of it on here:

"So, I pack. And, in order to pack economically, I try to ask myself what's essential. Kind of like packing a "go bag". The kind it was highly recommended we keep on hand post 9/11. (Those people at FEMA are all about being prepared, ya know.) And anyway, once that train of thought left the station for me, I started wondering what I would pack in a real "go bag". The obvious approach is to say, "What could I not live without?"

1. My glasses. I'm not sure if this unknown and hypothetical emergency is an "on the run" scenario or a "fleeing disaster" one, but, either way, I'm supposed to take my contacts out at night and would love to be able to see where I'm going.

2. My cell phone. How our world made it so many eons without cell phones is a complete mystery to me. And I even lived in those very dark ages. If the emergency is so serious that I need a go bag, I don't know that calling 911 would be a viable option, but I'd still need to text my friends. Like. . .No tennis 2nite. Running from Attila & Huns. Or, to my Texas friends, East Coast destroyed. Can we come 2 ur house 4 dinner?

3. My iPod. I can't run from anything without music. And, don't worry, I already have a "go playlist".

4. A ponytail holder. The only thing more annoying than being forced from my home and running for my life is not having anything to put my hair up with.

5. Chapstick. I seriously question my will to live with chapped lips.

6. Running shoes. Should be self-explanatory.

7. Water. I'm not the kind of girl that could sniff out and identify a safe fresh water source during an emergency. I could sniff out a Sonic and they have many drink choices, but I'm not sure I should count on that.

8. Cash. I'll still use the Visa if I can because it has cash back rewards, but if the Huns are holding my husband hostage and I have to buy his release, I might need the cold hard stuff.

And, if there's room for just one more item (and isn't there always), it would be white-chocolate covered pretzels. Because if my time on Earth is limited, which a go bag would imply it may be, I'm done counting calories.

FEMA suggests a compass (I don't know how to use those things at all), and your passport (mine's expired, but I have considered investing in some fake ones, a la Jason Bourne), and duct tape. What's with the full-court press on duct tape, anyway? Is duct tape the official sponsor of the end times and all natural disasters until then? I'm almost 33 and have never needed duct tape, so I'm not wasting valuable go bag space on it. I'm pretty sure it would just get stuck in my hair." (quoting myself in "Can I Get That To Go?" from June, 2010)



  1. I don't leave my apartment without a ponytail holder, my cell phone, and a tube of chapstick. I'm so with you on that.

    ...and also a pack of tic tacs. The white kind.

  2. They make awesome travel duct tape, without the cardboard's in my "Mary Poppins Bag"....I've used it to be a hero to strangers, tape a birthday balloon to a kids hat, and make a box, I'd say I'd be lost without it.