Monday, August 29, 2005
The wheels on the Jeep go round and round and round and round and round and...
We survived our insane overnight! Hooray for making ridiculous decisions that involve the whole family! It was a long couple of days, but our children truly behaved far better than we deserved for them to behave, given the sheer amount of travel time involved.

Let's see, it started Thursday, really. I spent much of Thursday evening just sort of mentally processing my first day in prison (Hallmark just doesn't make cards for that sort of occasion), sitting on the couch and thinking, "I really should pack for tomorrow." And not packing.

So Friday morning rolls around, and we got up at 7:30 because we had already established A.I.S. ("Butt In Seat") time as 9:00. A hugely helpful way of viewing things, I must say - there's the time we need to start getting ready, which varies for everyone, but the A.I.S. time is pre-established and carved in stone. Anyway, so we're all up and in varying states of consciousness by 8:00. Willem had bloodwork scheduled for later in the morning, so he had to fast. Which put him in a truly fantastic mood to be packing and organizing and generally preparing for a long drive, yes it did. On my way into the shower, I asked him to toss my and the kids' clothes into a suitcase - the clothes had already been selected and put on the couch, even. Our conversation when I got out of the shower was something like:
ME: Okay, are we almost ready?
HIM: Well, no, I have to get another suitcase. There wasn't room for all of our stuff in one.
ME: Huh? How much did you pack? We're only going for one night.
HIM: Yeah, I don't know. It just seemed like we were out of space.
ME: Where is the suitcase now?
HIM: In the car. It's full.
ME: Okay. (went and got suitcase) Um. Willem. This suitcase isn't even half full yet. I could pack another two days' worth of stuff in there.
HIM: Well, I don't know. It just seemed like it was full, so I gave up.

Fantastic. This bodes well for our 8-hour drive, no?

We remained snippish at each other through much of the morning, but then once we all had lunch and raised our collective blood sugar, we were all much happier. Which is a good thing, because New York is a really, really WIDE state and it would have been unpleasant to snipe all the way across it. Now, mind you, I would have done it if circumstances had so dictated, but it would have been unpleasant.

At one point, Jacob was getting fussy so we stopped at a Walmart to give everyone a chance to walk around and to pick out a new special car toy for each of my progeny. So we're wandering through Walmart in Troy, NY (affectionately known as the armpit of the state to those of us who went to colleges that rival RPI). I had a long, tasselly scarf tied around my waist, and every few steps I would whap Emily in the face or neck with it, she would giggle, we'd keep walking. We made a bathroom stop while there, and from the adjoining stall I hear, "Mom? I really like it when you hit me with your belt."

Child Protective Services did NOT immediately show up.

We arrived in Rochester and tossed the kids at my mother-in-law, who had agreed to watch them while we went out to celebrate Willem's friend's birthday. Though, of course, nothing is that simple... my mother-in-law had apparently had a rectal-cranial inversion while we were en route, because she was suddenly unable to figure out how to care for the kids on her own. "What should they eat? How late should they stay up? Should I feed them? What should I do?" Which sounds all nice and concerned, except that Willem and I were both pretty explicit on the idea that, "Look, enjoy them! Feed them anything, let them stay up as late as you want, have fun! Whatever you decide to do is fine!" You would think she had never been around small children before. It was weird.

We did finally get out to the bar, and we hung out with grown-ups in a grown-up place! It was amazing. It became a very girls/boys evening, with the boys playing bar games and the girls sitting and chatting on the other side of the room. Willem thinks that we spent the night discussing length and technique.

I can't seem to convince him that we actually spent most of the time discussing girth and stamina.

No, really, it was just fun to be out and not have to feed anyone else or correct anyone's table manners ("Please don't eat that off the floor... oh. You already have. Well, at least, chew with your mouth closed."). My friend Jessi had an astounding moment of Mommy Dementia - mid-sentence, lost her train of thought - and it seemed to me that her biggest disappointment was that the reason for it was motherhood and sleep deprivation, not acute intoxication.

At the very end of the night, it was just Willem and me, and Mike (the Birthday Boy) and his fiancee Jen. Willem had had a goodly number of beers, so was just tipsy enough to make fantastically stupid comments such as (while I was sort of perched on his lap), "Hey, when you laugh your thighs jiggle." Mike, on the other hand, was drunk with a capital DRU. He got it in his head that we all had, HAD to go to the local "adult" themed store after the bar closed.

So we did. I believe my purity rating fell down a few notches simply by walking in the door. I have come to terms with the fact that, as Mike so delicately reminded me 6 or 8 times, "You can't come in here and not buy anything! You won't be cool!" I accepted my uncoolness a while ago, this wasn't too much for me to cope with.

Came home the next day, even though between driving and stops it took us 11 hours to get there on Friday. It "only" took us 10 1/2 hours to get home Saturday, and that includes a stop to pick up a load of my dad's stuff to move in here. The kids really were great. Jacob has started growling like a little cave man, which I'm sure will attract all the ladies.

So we're in the last little calm before the storm of the school year strikes. It's SO WEIRD not to be going back to school myself - this is the first time in 23 years that I haven't gotten geared up for some sort of schooling. Willem starts tomorrow, and Emily starts Wednesday. Yee haw....

P.S. Yes, I know that "Butt" doesn't start with "A."