I spent my summers during high school with my mother in Newark, New Jersey. She lived in student housing while getting her Ph.D. at Rutgers and the upshot was that I was trapped inside a high-rise dorm for pretty much two months each year.
She was busy with classes and I was unable to leave the building without her there to sign me in or out.
What a magical way to spend the summer.
I don’t blame her, though. She did what she had to do and I certainly don’t blame her for wanting to spend time with her teenage daughter, such as I was. Sullen, withdrawn, you know, teenagerly.
The highlight of one of those summers was when one of my father’s best friends and colleague passed through.
He picked me up in Newark in a rented car and took me on a trip down memory lane. The drive up the New Jersey Turnpike to his home town in a bedroom community gave me an appreciation why it’s called the Garden State.
New Jersey is lush, green and beautiful, the burnt out hull of Newark notwithstanding.
We drove to Connecticut and the Pocanos where he admitted that he’d been harboring a Lolita-esque fantasy about our road trip.
He earned the moniker Dirty Uncle Ted and has never been able to shake it.
Thank god nothing happened but it was uncomfortable for to say the very least.
I have very fond memories of that trip, anxiety about potential statutory rape aside, and I adopted a tradition.
Whenever DUT’s family (and now mine) go on a road trip, we start out by singing Ho To The Open Road.
I always say that being out of town isn’t stressful, it’s the getting out of town that kills me. This year was no exception.
The kids are always really excited about a trip, which is great, but I require a certain amount of focus when seeing to the billion things that keep the house, animals and businesses running in our absence.
My house is like a giant beast that must be constantly fed and cleaned up after. Like my dog.
Focus. I was talking about focus.
I have to be focused and my hyper and excited kids don’t help the situation. Needless to say they’ve had way too much screen time in the few days leading up to our departure.
I pretty much get everything ready. I pack for me and the boys, organize housekeeping for my rentals, animal sitters, etc.
All Loony has to do is install the rocket box on top of our car (that took four hours because he got it from a garage sale and had to engineer a way to fasten it to the rack) and figure out what he’s wearing to Maggie’s wedding.
Fortunately Wilkins is capable on both accounts. I’m no use when it comes to navigating the fastener aisle at Turduckin’s and I don’t have the patience to humor Loony’s fashion shows. When I go to a fancy event, I just pull something from my closet. Done.
Wilkins knows good clothes and appears to relish digging through piles of clothes (from second hand stores and estate sales) and watching Loony try on suit after suit for fit and style, have an extended conversation about the merits of neck ties, and decide which would be the most suitable for a Boston wedding.
This is all good because I was dealing with a vomiting child.
Apparently Scrotus has the flu. Vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ache, tight chest, sore throat. Kill me now.
The good news (as a Facebook friend helpfully pointed out) is that he hurled at home and not in the car. We also have a very nice pediatrician across the street who gave us the travel go-ahead which put me greatly at ease.
Did I tell you that my car battery died, too?
Twice. It died the day before (stupid dome light) and when we got up this morning. At least it turns me on to see Loony getting all mechanical.
We got moving only two hours past my dream-come-true ETD of 5AM and I pulled up a map of our route. We go through Canada.
And we went back to the house, fortunately we only were four blocks out. And fortunately I am particular about always knowing where our travel documents are.
Ok, now we’re going!
Kid with the flu, ailing cat, freaked out dog, a bazillion guests, it doesn’t matter. We’re on the road.
It’s a really good thing because right now I’m tired of home.
My welcome mat is never worn out, I mean figuratively, but I am tired of being a host … for a while. A vacation is just what I need.
Here are some pole dance videos of me in Nina’s class at Vertical Fusion before I left.
She seems to specialize in elbow and knee pit torture.
It turns out I can’t do that switch thing because I don’t have freakishly flexible shoulders. Who knew that was even a thing?
Here’s little something I’ve been working on. I’ve been lax with my training and feeling generally shitty about myself. I walked into class and declared that I needed something I could video, and I got it! Superman is my move so I’m always trying new ways to get in and out of it.
That’s all for now. Can I just say that Canada Best Hotel has great wifi?