Do you ever fantasize about what a good time you are going to have on a road trip? I do.
Oooo! It is going to be SO FUN to cram 9 people into an 8 passenger van and drive for HOURS! We’ll play the license plate game! We’ll sing camp songs and make s’mores! We’ll take pictures! The kids and the hubby! And, if that’s not enough, let’s throw grandpa and grandma into the mix! Yep, yep, yep… Big fun.
I should have suspected that we were in trouble when I politely cautioned my husband to remember that my mother (tortoise) does not drive as fast as he does (roadrunner) and to keep her in his rearview because she does not know exactly where we are going.
“Oh. Like I’m going to go speeding off and leave my mother-in-law in the dust,” he jeers.
You know, like I’m the idiot. Funny, he didn’t seem as jazzed about this trip as I was.
And so, after five delightful hours in the mini-van, we make it to the magnificent Painted Hills. It’s a bazillion degrees in the shade, but we gamely get out of the van and hike UP the mountain to the view-point. I flirted with heat-stroke, but then I love living on the edge.
We took the required pics. We admired the splendor. We praised God because we are pious, godly people with thankful hearts. We headed back to the van. It was decided that this would be a good time to have Daughter # ONE drive, as she is accruing her 100 hours of permit driving before she gets her license.
She leaps behind the wheel of the van. Hubby calls shotgun. The kids all pile in behind her, with the exception of Daughter #2, poor kid. She and I end up with grandma and grandpa in their car. The car that has no map. Because, hey, why should we need a map when we are following the husband who would not leave us? Forsake us? Without cell reception.
While they are all buckling up, I open the back of the van to get some water. Did I mention we were in hell? While I’m quenching my thirst, Daughter # ONE, in her teenage zeal, doesn’t know (or care) that the hatch is open as she starts the engine and stands on the gas.
I run after them as she tears out of the parking lot. “THE HATCH IS OPEN! THE HATCH IS OPEN!” I’m waving my arms and jumping up
and down. Several visiting families to the Painted Hills are amused at my antics (but, I must add sourly, don’t help). Grandma leans on her horn. Daughter jams on the breaks. Hubby leaps out, slams the hatch and Daughter # ONE achieves warp speed before I can climb in with Grandma.
“Follow that car!” I shout. Have I mentioned Grandma (tortoise) is a cautious driver? It is not until we arrive at the intersection that I realize the hubby and daughter are gone. And, THEY. HAVE. THE. MAP. AND. THE. WATER.
What ensues in our car was not pretty. “Idiot! Big, fat idiot! How could I have married such an….idiot!?” To my way of thinking, my husband—who, if you will remember, I did warn not to abandon Grandma—should be telling the kid to slow down and wait for us. Grandma nobly reminded me that nobody is perfect and that we all make mistakes and that I should not be so hard on my husband. I found this exceedingly annoying.
While we deliberate the route, Daughter # TWO tells us she has to go potty. Grandma pulls over, lets us out at a rest area near the intersection. She then speeds off to explore where Daughter # ONE and the IDIOT might have gone.
By the time Daughter # TWO and I are out of the bathroom, Grandma roars up in her car and is on the verge of divorce with Grandpa who is now—brace yourselves—an IDIOT!
Much arguing ensues. MUCH. ARGUING. There were tears. Recriminations. Accusations. You’re an idiot! No! YOU are the idiot!
And still, no Daughter # ONE or hubby. Tempers continue to soar with the mercury. There is no sign of the van. We locate a tree and park under its shade and out of boredom, turn on each other. Daughter # TWO is looking rather traumatized. And I think, Wow, this is so freaking MUCH FUN!
And then, I start to laugh. Super hard, convulsive laughter. Painful, loud, tears-down-the-face-laughing. Must have been contagious
as everyone else joins in. My father turns around and says to Daughter # TWO, “Honey, never get married.”
I wipe my eyes and tell her, “Nah, get married. Just remember. You’re an idiot.”