So I didn’t put a blog post up last night, but I think I can be excused because of SUMMER VACATION.
And also because of the level of tiredness at our house.
Oh, sweet mercy! The LEVEL! OF! TIREDNESS! Believe me when I say this, but y’all wouldn’t have wanted to read ANYTHING that I had written LAST NIGHT. It would have been nothing but a series of run-on sentences that would have made you ask, “Has Mama been hitting the pipe? I can’t understand a single word she has typed here.”
So, you know, it would have been a blog post exactly like all the other blog posts I’ve put up, I guess.
Regardless, I chose to spare you the reading grief.
Hubs and I hauled ourselves and the boy into our house somewhere near the midnight hour on the 4th of July. (The 4th of July will be its own post. Eventually. Complete with many pictures. Because that’s what I do: I get trigger happy with my Canon.) And then we set our alarm for the unholy hour of 4:30 in the morning, because Hubs needed to travel to State Capital to fix a computer, and he was dead-set on leaving our house before 5 AM.
Hubs had invited the boy and I to ride along with him, when he first knew that he would be driving south to get a computer and a firewall working, and the boy and I were happy to do so because of OUTLET MALL SHOPPING NEARBY. I told Hubs, “We’ll just get up slowly on the 5th of July and try to leave Small Town by — what? 8:00 AM?”
Hubs said, “Try 5:00.”
And I said, “Nonsense. 8:00 it is!”
And then Hubs said, “If you’re leaving at 8:00, you’ll be driving down alone. I’ll be three hours ahead of you.”
Hubs can be so stubborn sometimes.
So yes, people. At 4:30 in the morning, after getting a solid three hours’ worth of sleep, thanks to a Benadryl tablet, I shuffled into the bathroom yesterday on an allergy-pill hangover and brushed my teeth. I washed my face, slapped on some mascara and threw my hair up into the messiest bun the fashion runway has ever seen, and then we threw some odds and ends into a suitcase, yanked the boy out of bed, propped him upright while I helped him get a fresh T-shirt on, and we hit the open road.
Yes, I had coffee. Yes, it had more coffee than Coffee Mate this time around.
And by 8:00, which is when I wanted to leave, I was finally in a good mood, and I had seen a full sunrise happen, from start to finish.
We expected the boy to sleep while we drove, but he didn’t. He played video games, chattered on endlessly about how HE would have ruled the high seas if HE had been a pirate during the olden days, and then he read a book.
After hours and hours AND STILL MORE HOURS, and a lot of ARE WE THERE YETS (so many, in fact, that Hubs told me to QUIT asking that question), we made it to State Capital, where the boy and I dropped Hubs off at a law office who was trying to wade through the morning without their firewall and their main computer. And, since Major Thriving Metropolis was only an hour away, the boy and I trudged on alone.
Alone, but with Doris, our GPS.
We had a lone destination in mind, which was the Under Armour outlet, because the boy thinks he needs everything (from underwear to shirts to socks) with the UA logo on the front, because IT FEELS NICE. And because it’s COMFORTABLE. And because he can flop on the sofa in it without buttons digging into his skin anywhere. Brother’s Wife had told us which exit to search for, and I was fairly confident that I could find it with her simple directions.
And then I, in the MIDDLE OF IT ALL, remembered how crazily people drive across the state border, in Major Thriving Metropolis, and I had some small mental seizures while Doris kept talking to me. At one point, I was in the far left lane, doing 220 mph in the Suburban, and I just wanted to MIGRATE RIGHT, where all the MeMaws and PaPaws were driving along slowly in their Buick Regals. I am actually quite good at keeping up with the MeMaws and the PaPaws, and I had a Keebler truck trying to shove his grill into my back window at breakneck speeds.
All that to say that I have my reasons for never having joined the NASCAR circuit.
(Reason 1 being that I don’t like how my hair looks when I pull a helmet off. Reason 2 being that I panic when people box me in at the speed of light.)
Without a single incident, the boy and I found the Under Armour outlet, and listen to this, people! My kid wanted to try EVERYTHING on! Everything. All of my dressing room woes, during which my child whines and complains about trying on clothes, vanished like pizza at a ten-year-old boy’s slumber party, as the boy kept grabbing shirts and saying, “Look at this one, Mom! See how great it fits me?”
So we may have gone off the deep end with our little plastic card at the cash register, because of SCHOOL SHOPPING. And now we are pretty much done!
When we walked out of the Under Armour store, the boy spotted a Reebok outlet across the parking lot, and he shouted, “Zigs, Mom! Maybe they have cheap Zigs there!” So we looked, and listen, y’all. I bought Zig Tech sneakers for my kid for CHEAP AMERICAN DOLLARS.
So now we have new school shoes sitting in the closet, too, and I was grinning from ear to ear when we left the outlets, because DID Y’ALL HEAR? For the first time ever, my kid was VERY HAPPY in the dressing rooms. Apparently I have been shopping with him at the WRONG STORES all of his life.
Good-bye, Gap Kids. Good-bye, Old Navy. It’s nothing personal; it’s just that the boy brings a lot of tension to your dressing rooms, which causes me to melt down a little and beat my head against your full-length mirrors as I contemplate joining the circus, where life is much easier than it is in a dressing room with a small boy who loathes the simple act of trying a pair of jeans on to see whether they fit or not.
With a Suburban full of Under Armour golf polos in a rainbow of colors, the boy and Doris and I set off to return to State Capital.
And that’s when all manner of craziness broke loose, as Doris told me to enter the round-about and take the third exit. So I did, because Doris, the level-headed GPS lady, usually knows where she’s going. And then I PLUM MISSED the third exit in the round-about at 90 mph, and Doris YELLED AT ME!
“Break left! Break left! Turn! Turn! Turn! You’re missing your exit, you nincompoop!”
We ended up shooting off in a direction I had no desire to go, which led us to a wide open area of UNDEVELOPED-NESS. I pulled over and began to breathe hard, and I glared at Doris, who was plastered to my windshield, as she said, “Trying to recalculate to get you out of this mess.”
So, with Doris breathing down my neck, we spun ourselves around, and I went back into the round-about, where she growled, “Take the third exit, Woman!” at me. Apparently Doris cannot count, because I took the THIRD EXIT, and she hollered, “No! No! NOOOO! TRYING TO RECALCULATE!!” at me, until she MADE. ME. CRY.
Don’t even go there with me. A GPS unit made me bawl.
The second time, we ended up on a very busy highway, where we had to pull over and dash into the parking lot of some obscure accounting firm, and the boy said to me, very quietly from the backseat, “Mom, would you feel better if I drove? Just listen to Doris.”
After telling Jesus that I was having a difficult time LOVING Doris like He does, the boy and I went into the round-about — FOR THE THIRD DANG TIME! — and I took the SECOND exit, even though Doris told me to take the third, and low!
We were on our way to State Capital, which is exactly where we wanted to be, and I used the boy’s inhaler to restore my breathing back to normal.
It’s just that Doris tends to give driving directions better to MEN than to WOMEN. Whereas Hubs wants Doris to tell him, “In 2.7 miles, turn left. Head South for .4 miles,” I want Doris to provide me with directions exactly like this:
“In about a half mile or so, you’re going to see a house with a yellow front door. It’s a BRIGHT YELLOW door — kind of like a lemon. Not one of those PALE YELLOW doors, like you see on the walls of a baby’s nursery. Oh! And there are big pots of red geraniums sitting on either side of that bright yellow door. So, yeah. When you see that house, with THAT DOOR, you’ll need to turn left. And then you’ll go — oh! I don’t know…maybe three blocks? Maybe four? — where you’ll see a red-brick building that USED to be a salon, but which is now a BOOKSTORE. There will be a big sandwich sign on the sidewalk outside advertising the bookstore, so get ready to change lanes when you see it.”
Doris and I would be the best of friends if she spoke to me LIKE THAT.
If she spoke to Hubs like that, he’d throw her out the window and run plum over her.
Which is what I wanted to do when she kept telling me to get into the round-about and take the third exit and BREAK LEFT! BREAK LEFT!
I’m just a simple country girl trying to drive; I’m not a flight student at Top Gun.
By the time the boy and I returned to State Capital, Hubs announced that he was DONE. Done, done, done. The computer was fixed and the firewall was up and running smoothly in record time, and hey! He wanted to drive BACK HOME.
Back home, which was many miles and many hours away.
Even though we had a suitcase loaded with overnight gear.
And the boy’s swimming trunks.
And somewhere between the boy whining and me throwing my head back and shouting, “No! No! I WON’T get back into the Suburban for that long,” Hubs won out.
We ate a late lunch, and we piled back into the vehicle, and we drove back home.
Because we are crazy weird like that.
By the time we had made it to Sorta Big City, we were two hours from home, and fidgety, so we whipped through a Dairy Queen and we went to a park for a fun game of Family Tag. The three of us slopped our ice cream while we ran, and we chased one another all over the place, until everyone was out of breath and fell down in the grass.
We learned a few things about our family dynamics in our tag game, too.
1. Hubs doesn’t understand the rule of NO TOUCH-BACKS. If you tag him, he smacks you back as fast as a rattlesnake can strike.
2. I am VERY GOOD at keeping a slide or a swing between me and the IT person. This prevents me from becoming IT.
3. Hubs tags HARD. Very hard. Some of his tags will almost knock a mother down.
4. The boy can lose approximately HALF of a chocolate milkshake while he’s running and laughing.
Afterward, we piled back into the Suburban, because DID YOU HEAR? We were making the pilgrimage back home, ALL IN THE COURSE OF ONE DAY.
It was Hubs’ idea.
I take no responsibility for it.
We had to play some intense travel games, too, so that the boy and the DRIVER, people, could stay awake. We played Twenty Questions.
It took 400 questions to guess that the boy was an octopus.
It took 275 questions to guess that Hubs was a grizzly bear.
It took 3 questions to discover that I was a frog. (Do you live in the water? Are you an amphibian? Oh! Are you a…FROG??! Game over.)
I hate Twenty Questions.
By the time we got home last night at 9:00, everyone was so tired, we were hard pressed to remember our own names.
And we were all sound asleep, in our OWN BEDS, by 9:20.
Except for Doris.
I left her out in the Suburban all night, because I’m still mad at her for making me cry.