Seriously, I am not a person who should be in a car for more than a few hours at a time. It is just not a good idea to ask me to not only be in a car for 9 hours, but to be the one not only driving, but in charge of keeping the rest of the crew under control. I am just not mature enough for the responsibility.
So, we left Houston at around 4:00pm. I considered it good timing since I had planned on leaving at 3:00pm. (If you know anything about me, you know that schedules are more like suggestions than something that is “set in stone”. I sort of take a schedule as a guideline.) Anyway, we are on the road and it is really raining. Usually, this stresses me out, but I was rather calm about it this time. Okay, maybe I was calm because all 3 kids were entertained with various technological lifesavers.
That’s another thing. I am not one who enjoys the family sing along or “I Spy” while on the road. I don’t want to sing Old MacDonald or The Wheels on the Bus. I want to listen to the radio and chill out. Sure, that probably makes me a less than excellent parent and I am probably not going to be writing any “Using Travel Time To Bond With Your Kids” books. But it works for me. I praise the technological advances that let one child play GameBoy, another watch a video, and the third watch a DVD (all with earphones of course) while we make our way across this huge state of ours. I am not ashamed to admit that I think of it as my quiet time. Blessed be technology!
But I digress.
The drive is going well. Kidlet Sr. says he feels “weird” and “may need to stop”. Kink number one. I pull over at a gas station and get him a drink and have him take some Benadryl. (FYI: Benadryl is great for motion sickness.) Crisis averted. We move on.
DVD player is suddenly not working. Pull over, fiddle with some cords and wires, push some buttons, say a few profanities…DVD player works again. Crisis averted. We are on our way again.
Okay, so yes, I am a bit tired of pulling over, but really, with 3 kids, this isn’t too bad. Everyone is happy. I am listening to a comedy CD and all is well in the land of the happy travels. And then we hit The Big Traffic Jam of 2004. If you have ever traveled from Dallas to Houston (or vice versa), you have encountered the stretch of road on I-45 south of Corsicana that goes down to one lane. I have traveled this road for more than 12 years and it has always done this. It has been under construction for over a decade. And I am sure that in thousands of years, archaeologists will uncover this stretch of road and it will still have construction cones and signs up.
But, this can’t be that backup. That part of the interstate is miles ahead of us. Surely the backup can’t be this far back. Wrong. It was that far back. Cities away from the construction. The not so lovely thing about this, there are no exits. At least none with anything there. (Remember this. It will come into play.) So we sit. And sit. We pull out the DVD player and start to watch some Simpsons DVD’s. After 3 episodes, I realize that my 4 Diet Cokes are coming back to haunt me. Badly. There are no exits around. None.
I begin to contemplate the diaper in Little Diva’s backpack. (Don’t judge me. I mean I really, really had to go!) But then I realized that I had jeans on and that I wasn’t sure if therapy could fix the emotional damage it would cause my children to see me whip out a diaper to pee. But really, I am in pain and this is no longer funny. As we finish the 5th episode of the Simpsons and I am still only about a mile further down the road, panic sets in. I see cars cut across the grassy median and get on the service road. But, it has been raining and I know I will get stuck. Finally, I see a rest stop up ahead. One with bathrooms. Nothing is going to stop me from reaching that goal!
I pull out of my lane and begin to race down the shoulder of the highway towards my salvation. Of course, some cars think I am trying to get ahead of them and attempt to cut me off. They got to see my manicure and hear me yell about bladder issues as I maneuvered around them. Finally, I reach the rest stop. Along with the other 50 cars that are there. I have never in my life seen a rest stop with so many people. It was like a big “We Hate The Traffic/Meet Your Neighbor” party. I was in no mood to party. I was in agony. I race to the bathroom, barely remembering to grab my children in the process. Then I almost cry. The line for the women’s bathroom in about 25 people long. NOOOOOOOO! Trust me, as I stood there, I knew the pee-pee dance was not going to do the trick this time. Then I see it. The men’s room. With 2 men in line and 3 inside. Should I? Hell yes, I should. So, when there was no line I just barge right in declaring, “Relax. You don’t have anything I haven’t see and I have to pee right now. So either stay and take care of business or wait outside. Thanks!” For the record, no man seemed to mind and a couple thought it was funny.
But oh-my-hell was that bathroom disgusting. I mean, there were probably diseases that have not even been identified by the CDC yet. And frankly, it has been years since I had to do the ‘squat and hover” method of peeing. But a gals gotta do what a gals gotta do. I have to admit, I am so very out of practice with the “squat and hover” method and there was probably some missage in the process. But ahhh the relief.
I did expect to get some strange looks as I emerged from the bathroom. I did not, however, expect the cheers and applause from the women still in line to use the ladies room. Yes. I am the champion of women who need to pee everywhere. (No, not “pee everywhere”. Women everywhere who need to pee.)
As we neared Dallas, I nearly cried with relief. Until I saw the brake lights and emergency vehicles up the road. This time I had to laugh. I mean, come on! It only took about 30 minutes to get through that one. Piece of cake after the drive I’d had.
At around 1:00am, I pulled my weary self into my driveway and helped sleepy children into bed. I am pretty sure that I unloaded most of the car and maybe even put some things away, but I was too tired to remember that this morning. We all slept in.
So remember this: If you see a half crazed woman doing the pee-pee dance at a bathroom near you, you can be sure that she will be barging into the men’s room to take care of business. Pay her no mind. She is harmless. She just has bladder issues.