I have made countless road trips with my kids. I pride myself on "enjoying the ride" and making these trips fun so that they won't dread the next one. I usually plan for our travels to begin early in the day, leaving the house by 8am at the latest.
That was my plan this time as well. My hubby and DJ rode on the charter bus with the team and the rest of us stayed back in order to give Katie a couple of days to get used to being home from camp before hitting the road again. We were going to meet the team Wednesday in Charlotte, NC for the final two days of the tournament.
The boys arrived Sunday morning and my hubby realized he had some wrong information. The tournament ends Thursday, not Friday. No biggie, right? We'll just come up Tuesday instead of Wednesday. But wait, I had rescheduled Mari's OT appointment for Tuesday instead of the usual Friday because of the trip. Confused? Me too. I hated to change the appointment again and inconvenience her therapist so we loaded up the car before her 10am appointment and planned to hit the road as soon as we walked out of the clinic.
I really shouldn't be such a people-pleaser.
We left around 11:15 and drove in peace for what felt like a long time. It felt like at least four hours, but was really only about an hour and a half. I did a quick mental calculation, realizing we still had six hours to go. I determined to put on a happy face and pretend time was flying.
Mid-afternoon I started to wilt. We were three hours in and I desperately needed coffee. We pulled off at the next exit and apparently chose the one exit that had not a single place to stop. A few clothing stores and business offices, but not so much as a gas station nearby.
So I got back on the interstate and tried the next exit. Seriously, people? Where do you buy gas in this godforsaken town? Katie wondered if all these people drive electric cars. I kept driving and finally found a hole-in-the-wall gas station. We filled up, visited the surprisingly clean potty, and I got a bad but strong cup of coffee. I took a bitter sip as we pulled out of the station and grimaced. Then I turned left and there was a STINKING KRISPY-KREME four doors down.
For crying out loud. I could have had decent coffee and a donut?
I comforted myself with the fact that at least the hot sign wasn't lit and drove on.
I flipped through XM Satellite Radio and found Dr. Laura. Katie was all, "who is she?" and I just waited for the counseling to begin. We laughed for three hours. The little kids watched a movie and dozed off for a while. Road-trip awesomeness.
But all too soon, Dr. Laura's show ended and it was a no-man's-land of radio desert. Nothing floated my boat. Katie was hungry. I was sick of junk food. Sensory kid started making random noises. The loud one kept yelling just for the fun of it. The impatient one rolled eyes and asked "how much longer?" and I just flat-out told Katie, "you are tired and crabby and I am tired and crabby so let's just own it."
Which we did.
Thirty miles from the hotel we had to stop and eat or we would not survive. Bad Mexican food hit the spot and I dumped out my tea, deciding I deserved a Diet Coke.
Mexican food + Diet Coke = stupid
We finally, finally arrived at the hotel an hour later than planned (I forgot to mention rush-hour traffic. For. The. Love.) and I almost wept with relief when my husband appeared. I could never, ever be a single mom. At least not a nice one. We took the luggage to our room and then the kids hit the pool, except that the pool room is itty bitty and 20 boys were screaming and splashing out their testosterone and that was not ok on these frazzled nerves. Did I mention I wore a too-snug baseball cap all day? Oh, my head. I gave my hubby the "I've gotta get outta here" look and went upstairs.
To my room.