Tag Archives: road trip

Road trip: Part 4 – The Heat

On day six of our seven day trip to the beach we made what seemed like a very good decision. It was hot. Hot hot. And it was getting hotter. We had been to the beach, the pool, the outlet malls, the board walk. We had eaten crabs and drank some wine. We’d had a good time. And the prospect of dragging our not yet sunburned selves out to the water for one last day in more than hundred degree heat seemed unnecessary. My grandmother always told my mom, and she in turn always told me, that you should always leave a party while you are still having a good time. So, it seemed wise. I had an appointment to get my hair cut at 9 am.

20120707-123220.jpgI went short. And I am glad I did. When we got back to DC it was even hotter than it was at the beach. So, we went to the mall. Naturally. We basked in the glory of their air conditioning. Emily decided to get her hair cut. We took pictures of her new do and we relaxed at my parent’s house. We went to bed early. And I am glad we did.

Some time around 11 it started to rain. I went to grab Emily from where she was sleeping. She is not a big fan of thunder storms and it seemed like we were in for a doozy. I had no idea. My compulsion for checking the weather came in handy. A quick peek at the radar indicated that it was no small thunderstorm. The lights flickered. The ceiling fans turned off. I settled in for some sleep with my girls.


In the morning the power was still out. Em and I went for a ride. We were hunting down a cup of coffee. Seemed easy enough. Wrong. On my third trip through the intersection aptly titled Seven Corners with no traffic lights I told Em that we were going home. With or without coffee. With our lives and what remained of my sanity in tact.

We spent the day preparing for the power to remain out. My mom fashioned curtains for the windows in the kitchen out of pillow cases to help keep it cool. David found the last generator for sale in Northern Virginia. I kept both my children alive while slowly regressing to about fourteen years old. We went out to dinner. We “made the best of it.” A euphemism for “did not kill one another.”

We camped out in the downstairs bedroom. Em, Lucy and I slept in my parents’ bed. They napped on the air mattress. We all woke up warm and cranky. Emily survived watching movies on the iPad. I read. I bickered with my mother like the teenage drama queen I had become over the last twenty four hours. My mother declared that she was retracting our application for Family Survivor.

Every family has a go to coping mechanism. When I was little and the power went out we would gather around the fireplace and read fairy tales. When Things go to shit in your house maybe you go to church. Maybe you go to a local bar. Maybe you go out for ice cream. May God, Buddha, Mother Earth and the whole rest of the gang smile down on my step-dad for all of his days. When everything goes to hell in his world he goes to the Ritz Carlton.


Something about showering with tiny bottles of liquid soap and wrapping yourself in big white towels and drinking a very, very large glass of white wine does a body good.

We survived the power outage in DC.  My almost seven year old daughter knows absolutely every single swear word in existence.  Those she did not learn from me she learned from my mother.  Passed on from one generation to another.  That’s how you do it, right?  And from my step-father I have learned an invaluable lesson.  Tough it out.  Long enough to say that you did and then get your ass to the nicest hotel in town and order a drink. Make mine a double.


Road Trip: Part 3 – The Boardwalk

Some things never change.

That is one of those things that people say when what they really mean is “Can you believe that asshole? They haven’t grown up at all!” But sometimes you get to say it and all you mean is that some things do not ever, ever change.

Zoltar told us our fortune. We piled in a photo booth and had our pictures taken. We ate ice cream cones and greasy pizza for dinner. We went on the Gravitron and laughed as our arms turned to lead. The Freefall had me hysterical. The bumper cars did not let us down.

The Boardwalk at Rehobeth beach. Some things really do stay the same.

I walked over to ask a game attendant a question. “A million years ago there was a mermaid,” I said…. Instead of looking at me like I was tripping on acid she started to point towards the rides for small children. She didn’t need to answer. Because I saw her. And some things really never change.

She has been repainted a time or two in the twenty years that have passed since I have seen her. And it seems someone did something to the water that the boats go round and round in. It is no longer so … tan and sludgey. But she is there. I crouched down next to Em and said “This was my favorite ride when I was little, baby. I loved that mermaid. And now I am here with you and it is so crazy…” I hugged her. Emily more than tolerates my dramatic moments. She feeds right in to them. “I will go on that ride for you, mama. Even though it is for babies.”

I didn’t make her ride it. But I thought about it. But we had big girl rides to ride and more importantly – we had games to win.


I thought I should prepare Emily. Explain to her that carnival games are designed so that you almost win every time. Her first time out, it was the horse races. You roll the ball like skee ball and your horse advances. She won. Beginner’s luck. And then she catapulted a rubber frog on to a lily pad with a mallet. And then she tossed a wiffle ball right on to the red plastic cup. The kid was on fire.

She comes by it naturally. When my brother and I were kids my mom would win us stuffed animals on the boardwalk. It was the horse races that were her ace in the hole. She would get in the zone. The same stare she gets playing skee ball. And we knew that we would be going hone with the Jumbo prize.

Some things never change. And I couldn’t be happier about that.


Road Trip!! Part 2: The Beach

I used to go to the beach.  On vacation.  I got up early and I spent as much time as possible over the week with my feet in the sand.  I read.  I took walks as an excuse to parade my teenage bikini-clad body back and forth.  I ate dinner and went back to the beach again at night to look for shells.  I filled grocery bags with shells and had plans to wash them when I got home and make something spectacularly crafty.

Then in my mid-twenties I moved to the beach.  “Beach days” were good days. Locals don’t camp out on the beach all day nearly as often as they should and a solid beach day was a good day.  I stopped my car at a beach access and took a long look at the ocean nearly every day.

It is the only way to justify your outrageous mortgage payment.  I no longer collected shells.  In fact, I grew to hate the beach motif.  “How do you like living in the Outer Banks?” people would ask me. “It’s fine unless you want to buy some place mats that don’t have a lighthouse on them.”

I have had my fill of sand between my toes.  But “going to the beach” is more than just sitting in the sand.  We trucked it down to the ocean a handful of times.  Enough to get some sun and some sand in our swim suits.  We rode waves.  We peed in the ocean.  We put on sunscreen religiously.

We went to the beach.  But I am at peace with my decision to go to the pool just as often.  So we could just sit.  And relax.  And not pack up the entire house.  20120707-122457.jpg

And I find an even greater peace with our decision to spend one entire day at the outlet malls.  Ahh, Delaware.  Where the beaches are wide…. and so are the outlet malls. 





Road Trip!!! Part 1

The battle cry of ROAD TRIP! used to mean something totally different to me. I would stock up on Marlboro Lights and Diet Cokes.  I might organize my tape case on the front seat of my Geo Metro convertible.  If I was trying not to feel totally reckless I’d apply sunscreen to the part between my pigtails and I’d hit the road.  I always arrived at my destination earlier than I thought I would because I could drive for hours and hours without stopping to pee and I held steady at ten to fifteen miles over the speed limit.

Things are different now.  Lucy and I hit the road early in the morning.  It was almost two weeks ago and I have only just now recovered enough to write about it. To say that we made frequent pit stops would be an understatement.  She was hungry.  She needed a new diaper.  But mostly?  She just needed her mama.  And I cave like a wet paper bag.

I know you, rider…

I picked up Emily and it was smoother sailing from then on out.  Lucy loves her mama.  But her big sister is supremely entertaining.  We laughed.  We sang.  While sitting in traffic I thought I might pee in my pants.  Emily informed me that if she had a magic wand she would turn all my pee to blood.  Not eliminate the traffic, mind you.  We made it to DC.  We regrouped.  Lucy, my mom and me in one car.  Em and my step-father in the other.  We took off for the beach.

A hundred years ago my mom and I went on road trips.  Sometimes they would be small adventures.  Denny’s for breakfast in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep.  She would come down to Williamsburg to visit me in my twenties.  We would tear up the town.  In the summer we would usually steal away for a night or two at the beach.   As we hopped in the car to head to the beach I was reminded of those long ago beach trips.  In spite of the car seats, the pool floaties, the sleeping kids in the back seat, the sun shades and the SPF 3 Million in my car for a moment it was like I was sixteen and we were headed out just “us girls.”

Twice in the car she laughed until she spit her water.  Her Perrier.  My mom likes “bubbly water” without it seeming like a “thing.”  I have some on my dashboard right now and I might not wipe it off.  Not because I am a slob (which I am, in my car only) but because every time I see the splash marks on my window and my dash it makes me laugh.

Rarely is your Vacation complete before you arrive at your destination.  But it had been too damn long since I had made my mom laugh until she spit her drink.  Too damn long.

Annie, showing Lucy that the Party never stops. Folding laundry is fun even on VACATION!