We had a nice weekend. We drove to Ryan's hometown to see his parents and celebrate his dad's retirement. We had such a good time, relaxing with the family, playing outside, going to our nephew's soccer game, eating great meals together. I just wanted to get that out there, about what a nice time we had, before I go on a crazy pregnant lady rant about the drive home. OH MY HELL.
We left at two thirty. Under normal conditions, pre-kids, it would take us about three hours to get home. With kids maybe three and a half. So I'm thinking we'll get home around, say six-ish? Plenty of time to slap together some PB&Js and hit the hay on time?
Ha. Hahahahaha. So, yes, we had dinner at the halfway point. At FIVE FREAKING THIRTY.
And I foolishly thought, based on all my years' experience making this drive, that we were through the worst of it. Nothing but smooth sailing from here on in. I gave the kids some quarters for the jukebox and enjoyed my burger and fries like we had all the time in the world. We had a nice time. We joked and laughed together. The kids talked to the owner of the restaurant. So much fun.
And then we got back on the highway and were greeted with a sign that said "Next town 18 miles, 53 minutes."
One. After. Another. Those stupid, smug, blinking signs portended our automotive entrapment doom.
"Next town, 10 miles, 25 minutes."
"Next town, 5 miles, 18 minutes."
"Next town, 7 miles, HAHA SCREW YOU SUCKERS!!"
Ryan rifled through the map supply and found Kansas, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Oklahoma, but ironically we had NO TEXAS. Why? BECAUSE THERE IS ONLY ONE ROAD YOU NEED WHEN YOU ARE TRAVELING NORTH AND SOUTH IN TEXAS. This is, obviously, a big part of the problem.
Meanwhile the kids were entertaining themselves by howling, shrieking, clucking like chickens, clucking the National Anthem like chickens, and poking each other.
I told James that if he would rather, he could get out and run beside the car and probably beat us to the next town if he was going to continue making that HORRIBLE SOUND.
After about the five thousandth time we rounded a bend only to be greeted with a line of red tail lights as far as the eye could see, my blood pressure would have qualified me for immediate hospital bed rest. But at least the kids had quieted down. They asked me to tell them a story.
I said to Ryan in a sing-songy voice, "Once upon a time, there was a pregnant woman who wanted nothing more than to get into bed but who was trapped in a minivan for six hours with three loud children in a two-hundred-mile-long traffic jam. Thankfully, Texas is a concealed-carry state because..." and then Ryan cut me off.
He thought it would be best for all if he took over the storytelling, which he did, for the rest of the drive, despite having caught James's horrible cold and feeling awful himself. He told the kids stories about growing up, stories about how we met, stories about long hiking trips he'd taken with friends. Ryan is wonderful.
I passed the time by muttering angry things about tailgating truckers like a crazy person. I am, well, clearly, kind of a crazy person. Who says things like "I'm sorry, Sweetie, Mom can't tell you a story right now because SHE IS TRYING TO NOT GET US KILLED BY THIS BIGSTUPIDTRUCKOMG." (but seriously, by that point we were going seventy, by some miracle, and that truck was so close all I could see in the rear-view was its grill, this despite it having two full lanes to choose from if it wanted to pass me!).
The trucks only became more aggressive and obnoxious as we got closer to our exit and by the time we were headed down the road towards our house I was slightly embarrassed by my behavior. Even though Ryan totally backed me up. In less colorful terms.
We got home a little after eight. Not counting dinner, it took us almost FIVE HOURS to make the drive. That almost beats our Thanksgiving Hall of Shame Number One of SIX HOURS, but seriously. This should not be happening on a random weekend in April with clear weather and no wrecks. I think it would be better for everyone if I just stayed in town for the next few months.