Monday, July 16, 2012

Party People

Two months ago or so, I came to Dylan and said, "Hey, so-and-so is having a party in July, can we go?"

He said, "Where does she live again?"

I said, "Oh, you know, I think it's about as far away as it is from Davis to Disneyland, so it'll be a long drive but you are such a good driver and I think it will be really good for the kids to socialize a little bit. PJ told me she was lonely the other day."

He replied, "I have no reason to doubt your ability to judge space and distance since I didn't hear that story about you building that crappy model of Monticello or anything, and since you've hit me with the ever-so-subtle pairing of vague flattery and parental guilt that I definitely can't see through since it's not like we've been together for more than a decade or anything, I say yes. Let's do it!"

Note: He did not actually say most of that. I believe I waited until he was reading some fascinatingly disgusting tidbit about spiders or something on the Internet to ask him and he mumbled, "Okay, sure." So, of course, I took that opportunity to mark the date of the party down on the calendar and book a hotel immediately so that when I would casually mention to him the week before the party,

"Oh, you remember we're going to that party a gazillion miles away this weekend," and he would reply, "What are you talking about?! I'm not driving that far in a weekend!", I could then say, "But you already said yes! I booked the hotel! It's been on the calendar for ages. Why don't you ever look at the calendar? It's like you don't even care how hard I work to plan everything we do as a family! What would you do without me to tell you what day it is and where you need to be? You'd clearly be living in a van down by the river unable to even remember to show up for your motivational speaking gigs!" And thus, having bludgeoned him with the lethal pairing of absent-minded father guilt and an irresistible reference to one of his favorite SNL sketches, he would cave and we'd go to the party as my devious ass had always known we would.

Note Part 2: The location of the party was not, in fact, "about as far away as it is from Davis to Disneyland". It was about 1 1/2 times as far, or about 600 miles one way. And when we drove from Davis to Disneyland and back, we never did it in a weekend and we also didn't have kids then. So this situation was in no way analogous at all. Luckily Dylan wasn't listening to me anyway.

We left at 7:15 a.m. on Friday morning and Google Maps told us we could expect to arrive at about 5 p.m. if we didn't make any stops. Obviously, Google Maps has no children and an endless supply of catheters. We built an extra hour and a half into our day for bathroom breaks and lunch and figured we would arrive around 6:45 or 7 at the absolute latest. "We can go swimming when we get there!" I said.


Here's a highlight reel of interesting things that occurred on our trip and lessons we've learned from them:

1. Google Maps is a dick. It knows that if you're using it, you either don't have a GPS, or you don't trust technology that KNOWS WHERE YOU ARE (we fall into the latter category...or rather I do and I yell really loudly about conspiracy theories I've picked up from watching sci-fi until Dylan sighs and puts the evil tracking device back in the glove compartment) so you are completely at its mercy and it gets all middle-management power-trippy about that and looks for ways to torture you.

For example, if you are headed northeast from Tennessee it will, of course, take you right through Washington DC and the middle of rush hour...because, in the imaginary world in which you could actually drive the speed limit between Washington DC and Baltimore, you would theoretically arrive at your destination 8 minutes sooner than if you took an alternate route. In the real world, you spend 3 hours alternating between stopping on the freeway and driving 12 mph and curse the giant Starbucks you bought in Roanoke, VA while you get a crick in your neck turning around to throw marshmallows at your screaming children.

Google Maps shall henceforth be my nemesis if I ever become a superhero.

2. It costs a lot of money to drive down roads in the mid-Atlantic region. I am not referring to the cost of gas (which, to my Tennessee-acclimated brain, also seems like highway robbery...get it...hehe). I am referring to tolls. By the time we made it to the last toll booth before our destination, we were paying the tolls with gum-encrusted coins I fished, with much cursing and imploring to the gods of purses, from the bottom of my purse. In Tennessee, no one would dream of charging red-blooded Americans to drive down a road. Of course, the roads we drove down in the mid-Atlantic region were smooth and well laid-out whereas the roads in Tennessee look and feel as if they were laid out by a troop of blind preschoolers 150 years ago. But still, you can drive over them flat-tire inducin' potholes for free, goshdarnit (um...unless you count taxes and whatnot).

3. Dylan's bladder is the size of a walnut and he has an uncanny ability to sense the exact wrong moment to drink a bunch of coffee and guessed it...drink a bunch of coffee. A seemingly innocuous Starbucks stop in Virginia led to the moment in Bethesda, MD when we waded through the bumper-to-bumper traffic to make it to an exit only to discover that freeway signs are in cahoots with that dick, Google Maps, and the promised gas stations and fast food restaurants were nowhere to be found.

I voted we get back on the freeway and Dylan made a facial expression that said, "Woman, my bladder is going to explode and I will die here in this ritzy neighborhood near the NIH and it's all your fault for not knowing how far it is from Davis to Disneyland," so instead we pulled onto a side street and, in full view of the occupants of rather large and beautiful houses with immaculate yards, Dylan peed into a Starbucks cup...three times...and I grabbed it from him to furtively toss the pee out the door into the gutter...three times...and then we sped away before we could get arrested for public urination (um, hello, does it count if you didn't actually urinate directly into the street but rather dumped urine into the street? Yeah it probably does...).

4. Toddlers whose normal diet consists of organic lean meats, veggies, fruits and whole grains are super-adorable with confronted with the salty, fatty goodness of an honest-to-God french fry. So adorable that they pick up the word immediately and point at every fast food restaurant you pass intoning, "Fwy! Fwy!" What is somewhat less adorable is the greasy, malodorous flood of diarrhea they let loose a few hours later that soaks their gurgly little bodies, their only set of road clothes, and their carseats in the middle of Baltimore rush hour traffic. What is even less adorable than that is the stupidity of the parents who feed them the same g.d. thing on the return trip and are somehow surprised at the second greasy, malodorous flood of diarrhea that soaks the entire world as we know it somewhere around Bristol, TN.

5. Rylan is very attached to his bed, which is not actually a bed at all but a futon on the floor. When presented with an actual bed complete with frame and box springs, he finds the entire situation so troublesome that he has to make up for the uncomfortable feelings by staying up until 2 a.m. laughing this creepy maniacal laughter that no one without an industrial sized pair of ear plugs could sleep through...

6....including Pippa, who, as it turns out, is similarly attached to her bed, and thus will NOT sleep in the pack n' play even with her blankie and stuffed kitties, but will, however, accept the paltry substitute of sleeping in bed with Dylan and me as long as she is allowed to nurse aaaaaallll night long, poke Dylan in the back repeatedly at 3 a.m. yelling, "Dada! Dada!", and wake up at least 57 times to vehemently protest our lack of her specific crib at the top of her tiny lungs.

7. All of this madness was completely 100% worth it, because we got to spend Saturday getting to know in real life people I've known on the Internet for 4 years, because our hostess and other guests cooked up a ridiculously delicious assortment of treats, because the other kids at the party were such sweet and lovely playmates for my little demons and because of moments like this:


  1. <3 and I feel like suuuuuch an ass for forgetting to mention the tolls. It wouldn't have been the same without you!

  2. Oh, you're a trip. (get it? hahahaha). If you stopped in Roanoke at lunchtime on Friday? Whyyyyyyyyy didn't you let me meet up with you a day early and have lunch? Oh, right-- because you had a ridiculously long car ride ahead of you. Yeah.