Whenever we head out on a trip, preparations always follow a predictable pattern. There’s the frantic couple of days of “attacking all the chores I feel I must accomplish before we blow town”. That leads directly to the whirlwind of organizing and packing. During all of this, I operate at an elevated level of tension. (Don’t ask me why, I realize it’s not a life-or-death situation even if we DO forget a toothbrush or (heaven forbid) underwear, because after all, we’re not bound for, like, Siberia, where you can’t buy any more due to the tragic lack of Target stores…but it still causes me to stress out.) Anyway, when all the prearranging work is done, hitting the open road feels like a rush of freedom and happy anticipation. We’re leaving town! We’re going to explore somewhere new, fresh, and exciting! Whoo hoooooo!
However…once in a while, the trail to adventure betrays us in quite a disappointing manner. For example, our drive to Chapel Hill yesterday was nothing short of…a Highway to Hell situation. Oh, sure, it began innocently enough…for about 20 minutes of smooth sailing (um, “driving”). Then, before we even were able to cross the Potomac from Maryland into Virginia, traffic crawled to a standstill. And it remained a veritable freeway-parking-lot for all the stinkin’ miles to Fredericksburg. Now, I’m a very serene, patient person in these situations—hahahahaha, NOT—so I was sitting in the passenger seat absolutely fuming at the utter futility and waste of time involved in this doomed endeavor. (Although I did manage one productive thought: “I wonder how difficult it would be to obtain a helicopter pilot’s license?”)
But I was mostly proud of myself—there was no cursing, no screaming, just relatively minor sighing and the occasional vehement “I am NEVER doing this again!” (Derek, my ultra-calm child, remembers it much more emotionally…but he has little tolerance for dramatic displays, so his filter is a little suspect…) Fortunately, my kids are veteran travelers, so they managed the whole scene with aplomb and remained unflustered. Of course, we finally did arrive, and received our great reward: a gourmet dinner at Husband’s cousin’s house. The meal was an elaborate, delectable affair cooked by her son…and it completely erased the traffic-jam blues.
Now, we’re ready to hit the hay, then hit the ground running tomorrow as we begin to navigate our next hometown! Get ready, Chapel Hill, here we come!