We planned to go on a trip to Cincinnati to visit my brother's family and attend my nephew's birthday party. But something I have learned as a parent is that "we planned" and "we did" are two totally different statements and too many things can happen to prevent the "we planned" from becoming a "we did." Needless to say, I am now writing this blog and not enjoying birthday cake at this moment. So let me tell you how "the trip that never was" happened.
I guess it all started with an apple.
I thankfully went to work this Saturday morning. A lot of you may be saying, "why were you thankful to work, its a Saturday?" But then there are the parents out there saying, "you lucky dog, you got away from the children. How can I work on Saturday? Is McDonalds looking for weekend shifts?" While at work, I get the dreaded '3 calls in a row.' The '3 calls in a row' means 1 of 3 things: blood, puke, or nervous breakdown ('maternal' nervous breakdown.) I get a chance to return the calls and my wife tells me a story that Nate, the 22 month old, was walking around eating an apple. Now we have a hole in our upstairs wall in the shape of my wife's size 6 shoe which is a result from a previous '3 calls in a row' moment. But it was not for the reason of blood or puke. Draw your own conclusions; it was just one of those days. Anyway, the hole has been there for 2 years and it is out of the way so I have not gotten around to fixing it because its going to take more than a little putty on the wall. So Lindsey was upstairs and hears Nate saying "Apple? Apple?" She turns around and Nate is standing with his arm down the hole asking for her to get his apple he has now dropped down the hole and could have probably fallen 1 whole story to within our staircase in the wall. Needless to say, our house will soon have the rich aroma of fresh apples like an aromatic Glade Plug-in which will eventually then turn into the putrid smell of rotting apple and mold exuding from behind our walls.
On the way home from work, I stop and pick up my car from the repair shop. It had a rattling sound in the engine which turned out to be a loose alternator bolt which was fixed (important for later.) The plan was to leave for Cincinnati as soon as I got home so the 2 younger boys could take their naps in the car. And since my car was fixed, we thought we would save some money on gas and load the 3 car seats into my Honda Civic instead of the minivan to take the 2 hour car trip. I barely fit the seats all into the backseat, but I did it. We are looking to save money anywhere we can including on food. So for lunch, Lindsey had made perogies for me and the kids but forgot I was picking up my car. An hour later when I got home, the perogies had turned into a rubber-coated pasta filled with a cold gelatinous mass that used to be spinach and feta cheese. I literally had to use a steak knife to cut into them cause a fork couldn't do it. Of course the kids hated them so they had tortilla wraps with turkey and Drew had a peanut butter tortilla roll-up. I ask for some tortillas to make a quesadilla but she used the last one on the kids. Well they didn't finish their roll-ups, and because there was no other food in the house, I took their half-eaten roll-ups, ate the half-eaten slices of turkey, and put cheese on the half-eaten tortilla shells. And as I am scraping the peanut butter off of Drew's, I think to myself, "We are by no means poor. Why am I recycling tortilla shells?" So my lunch is made up of rubber perogies and half-eaten, recycled, peanut butter tasting quesadillas. On the island in our kitchen is the last slice of turkey I am thinking for one of our kids since they were still hungry. But while I am thinking this, Lindsey comes over, picks it up and feeds it to the dog! While choking down perogies I yell, "Why is the dog eating better than I am?" To which my wife stands there and pees herself laughing at me. And at the same time, Drew comes up to inform me Joey, our puppy, just pooped behind the couch. Then Zachary tells us he is hungry, so Lindsey decides it would be a good idea to get McDonalds for the kids on the way out of town, to which I dump the remaining rubber lunch in the garbage.
So we all load up the civic, 3 kids in the back and luggage in the trunk, and leave for Cincinnati. We stop at McDonalds and my wife gets out to retrieve her purse from the trunk. I know the trunk latch tends to not always connect so it takes some slamming of the trunk to close, which she tries but it doesn't close. I give the kids the 20 piece mcnugget bag and I go out to close the trunk. But it wont close. I started slamming and slamming and slamming. But it will not latch. So I try more slamming, while Drew and Nate start banging on the windows to imitate the slamming trunk. Now I am just slamming it in anger when a random stranger comes over to try his luck. But it still wont close. So we drive to a nearby fire station to get duct tape to build up the latch to try to get it to connect. But no luck there, so the fireman graciously duct tapes my trunk closed. And while this is happening, the 6 and 3 year old have an embarrassing screaming match with one another in front of the fireman because the boys are literally 6 inches apart from one another. I get back in the car frustrated at the whole situation and ready for my chicken mcnuggets to find out that my 3 wonderful children left me 3 nuggests out of the 20 piece. I am surprised though that my wife didn't save some, not for me but for the dog. So we begin to drive home to figure out this trunk thing when after some debate, we decide the duct tape will hold so lets just keep going. Well we make it another 5 miles down the road and guess what...the rattling that was fixed this morning is back again! And it is worse than before. When I call the auto repair shop, they state that they are closing in the next 10 minutes and tell me to bring it in on Monday. Knowing we wont make it down to Cincinnati safely, we turn around again and head home for the last time. At this point, we are 10 minutes from home and look in the backseat to see all 3 children asleep. I don't know about you but our children do not transition well from the car to their beds. A 15-20 minute car nap typically replaces the usual 2 hour bed nap leaving the children exhausted, frustrated and in bad moods for the rest of the day which causes the parents to be exhausted, frustrated and in worse moods. So at seeing our 3 little sleeping angels knowing that in 10 minutes when we get home they will be 3 screaming devils, I look to my wife and say, "I hate this day. I really do." We get home and carry the 2 younger ones up to their beds to which they immediately wake up and both start crying. Lindsey grabs Zachary to take to a friends house, but we all know she is escaping, and I am left with the 2 remaining screaming banshees. But by God's grace they both fall asleep again in 5 minutes with little parental interaction. Because if not, I might have still made the trip, alone.
And side note, tonight Joey, our puppy, decided to leave a giant pee spot at the top of our stairs literally 5 minutes after spending 30 minutes outside, which I walked through twice.
So that was our trip that never was. We spent 2 hours in the car, drove 15 miles and ended where we began...without cake.
So next time you "plan" a trip, think to yourself, "Can't they just come here?"
The Joyful and Tired Dad