“This is the most ill-conceived vacation plan you’ve ever had,” said BFF.
“What?” I said. “Shut up.”
Because when you’ve been friends with a girl for 17 years, you can talk to her like that.
“Seriously. You cannot do this,” she said.
“Seriously. Just shut up.”
“You’re going to get up there and sell the car and use the money to buy plane tickets home.”
“No. Because even if we sell the Motorized Landfill, we won’t get enough money to pay for the plane tickets.”
“Whatever–” BFF still says “whatever,” like, all the time, even though it’s pretty passe. “But I’ll pick you up at the airport, so that will save you something.”
By now you’ve surmised that it’s time for my annual VACATION ODYSSEY CHRONICLES!!!! Which is almost as much fun (for you) as Oprah’s Favorite Things! Except that I don’t give you anything.
This year we are driving to Cape Cod, where Hot Firefighter Husband grew up and where his mother still lives. The last time we drove this distance, it included a stop in Hershey, Pennsylvania where the Tyrant was traumatized by a giant chocolate bar that thoughtfully posed for a picture, and a visit to some caverns, where my warm-blooded children nearly got frostbite on their toes. Not this year! Husband decided that we should DRIVE STRAIGHT THROUGH! It’s just 24 hours, people. How hard can it be? With three kids and a dog in the Motorized Landfill, now closing in on 145,000 miles? Oh, funny story. One of the headlights popped out the other day.
Well. Last week, after the Pterodactyl’s therapist learned of our plan, she looked at me like I had radioactive lava spewing out of my nostrils. “I strongly urge you to reconsider this,” she said. I couldn’t wait to tell Husband. “Guess what? Dr. Dee STRONGLY URGES us to reconsider driving,” I said. “So I’ve been looking at airfares and–”
“Wait. You don’t want to drive?”
“Well, I just want to make sure it’s the right thing to do.”
“It’ll be great! The whole family, together! It’ll be fun! Anyway, I have a plan.”
“What’s your plan?” This sounded promising!
“I’m going to download Sirius radio onto my iPhone, and use my headphones to listen to it.”
Cue awkward silence, possibly the development of some actual radioactive lava spewing out of my nose.
“WHAT? HOW THE FUCK IS THAT A PLAN? THAT’S NOT A PLAN!” I calmly responded.
I thought about Husband having a private Wilco concert in his head while I listen to Nikki Minaj sing about her Starship being higher than a Motherfucker for the EIGHT ZILLIONTH TIME even as the Pterodactyl whacks his sister in the head for saying his Pokemon smells like poop and I overdose on gummi bears. But apparently it is a plan after all, because that’s what he’s doing right this minute, as I write these words. It’s after 9 pm, and we have been on the road for exactly four hours and 24 minutes, including the dinner stop at Denny’s. I’ve dosed the children with melatonin and they’re all acting sleepy.
At least we don’t have the dog. I left her at doggie camp, where she has her own cot to sleep on and a nice warm pool for swimming. Unlike me, for example.
Husband just took off his headphones and said, “If someone had told you when you were in your 20s that when you’re 49–”
“Okay, that when you’re 48, that in order to save some money, you’d be driving to Cape Cod in an old minivan with three kids, would you feel like you’d really made it?”
“Are you trying to depress me?”
“Oh, and eating at a Denny’s in Yemasse, South Carolina?”
“Shut up,” I said. Because when you’ve been married to a boy for 18 years, you can talk to him like that. He just smiled and put his headphones back on. I’ll just sit here and watch the dark, and listen to the wind whistling through the hole where the headlight used to be. It’s kind of soothing. But not really.