Hey there…we actually just hung up. Wish we could have talked longer. I guess this is how it’s going to be though, right? All things considered, it was a pretty clear call. I guess it’s been 20+ years since I’ve talked to anyone who was really overseas. Cell phones work, for the most part, in Mexico now. Can’t wait to see how functional the video chat deal is.
The girls are doing great. Right now they are blowing up these special squealing balloons that grandma got them and releasing them to rip through the house. They’ve already been on two nature walks and have pulled every toy in the house out onto the living room floor. Bird has caught some bugs and Lily has crashed the tricycle and the wagon. Twice. Each. Dad hasn’t been a slouch either…I took the van and got it detailed, then got a one month gym membership at this place right around the corner. It was funny, when I took the van in I almost killed a few people by forgetting to put it in park. Maybe it wasn’t funny to them, but I thought it was hilarious (after establishing that no one was injured).
The trip was easy and it was fun. Sooooo much better making that trek in the summer when there is more light and you don’t have to worry about icy roads. We left Friday night around 8 and drove to that same place we stayed before – Effingham, IL. I remembered from last time I drove alone with the girls that I need to think out where we might stay a little bit in advance. With the girls, it’s not like I can just leave them in the car and run inside to get a room. But with google maps it’s fairly easy…GPS my location then search for hotels…then start dialing. What wasn’t easy was finding a place with vacancies. I guess I feel a little retarded for knowing there would be traffic on the road due to the holiday weekend, but not considering that all those people were going to have to stay somewhere at night. For a second I thought we were going to have to gut it out all the way to St. Louis, which I was prepared to do but certainly didn’t want to. Finally…finally we found a shitty Howard Johnson’s that had a room. And I mean it was BAD. While we were filling out our room rental card (because of course this place didn’t have a computerized system), a chubby & disheveled prostitute came in with a coupon and a handful of cash asking “Yo can I get a key?” The room was gross, the mattresses and pillows felt like they were on loan from the Effingham jail. Awful. Ironically, the girls thought it was the best place ever. Of course they played in the bath tub for an hour or so, had some snacks and then they were out – on top of me, all of us in a knotted mess. Of course it was great.
We really did make yesterday a long driving day. After hitting the stale Frosted Flake bar at the hotel, we were on the road by 8:15, driving for maybe seven hours or so until hitting Kansas City. I’m sure I have told you, when I was 19 and working for that combustion company during summer and Christmas breaks, some friend and I spent a few hot months in Kansas City. We had fake ID’s and even though we worked 12 hour days, 7 days a week, we had plenty of time to go out at night. Every night actually. We’d drive from downtown to a cool little neighborhood called Westport. I haven’t been there since then, so I thought it would be neat to check in out on the way home. Still a cool neighborhood. The girls and I got out and walked around, finally settling down for lunch at a place called The Public House. They split an order of salmon and broccoli and had a few chicken tenders on the side. I had a salad.
We got back in the car after lunch and drove until 9:30 or so. Man, at one point we almost got run off the road by this idiot that just wasn’t paying attention. Fortunately I was, and saw him migrating into our lane before he was able to ram into us. Still, we were in the far right lane and had to go out onto the shoulder to avoid a wreck. It was a quick swerve and I damn near lost control. The first sad thing was that the fucking moron never realized he did it. The second sad thing is that I had to just suck it up because I was with the girls. Hunting him down for execution would have been – arguably – irresponsible parenting.
When we finally stopped we were in Colby, KS. Again, a shitty hotel was our only option. This time it was a Days Inn just around the corner from that Taco Johns we ate at around Christmas. Even worse – the only room we could get was a smoking room. You get what you get I guess. There isn’t anywhere else to go in proximity to Colby Kansas unless you’re just going to push through to Denver. The girls wanted out of the car though…me too actually. We took the room and I was happy to find out that it didn’t smell like smoke. It was still a disgusting room/hotel…but at least it didn’t use a carcinogen air freshener. After throwing everything in the room we hit the only non-fast food restaurant in the area – Montana Mike’s Steakhouse. It was awful, of course, but we made do. The girls had corn dogs. I had steak and shrimp. We ALL had broccoli and carrots. I think we were in and out of their inside of 30 minutes then I swung by the little travel mart outside hotel and picked up some milk for them a six pack of bud light for me. It was a long, hot day and I wanted to relax! Less than an hour later they were bathed and snoring on one bed. I was feeling immobile and watching the UFC on the other. Unsurprisingly, before the sun rose we were all in the same bed again.
This morning we were out the door and on the road by 8 (9 actually, but there was the central to mountain time switch). Unfortunately I hadn’t been paying much attention to the gas gauge until realizing that we were 24 miles from Limon, CO with 21 miles worth of gas left. I won’t bore you with all my gas saving antics (going neutral on hills, killing the A/C, etc), but let’s just say we made it. We rolled into Denver at about 11:15am. I’m really happy to be here a day early so I can get my act together for next week.
They miss you a lot. Bird is coping with it better than Lily. But Bean isn’t having meltdowns, she just gets somber every so often. Sometimes while we were driving she would have me turn down the sound and she’d say “I miss my mommy.” I would just say “Me too.” Then Bird would say “Me too.” Then we’d turn the sound back up. She keeps losing her bracelet because she takes it off and puts it in her pocket. Then she gets upset, then we find it, then she loses it again. I keep telling her not to take it off. She keeps saying she wants to hug and kiss it. Every plane that they saw they would say “Maybe that’s mommy flying up there.”
I miss you too. When I was unpacking the girls’ clothes and putting them in drawers, I needed to create my own system to keep track of everything. It had me thinking about how rarely I pack or unpack for them or do their laundry. I took great care in hanging up all their dresses and thinking out the different outfits they wear or that I could put together. I know that my mom is going to dress them quite a bit, but I needed to get everything right for them. I don’t want to subcontract parenting out to my mom. These girls are going to have some up’s and down’s this month. I want to be there for them.
I know you needed to pack for them to feel good about leaving. It was part of your process. I hope you know I can do everything they need. Maybe I can’t do everything as good as mommy (as Lily has reminded me each night when I am brushing her hair). But I don’t want you to worry about anything. This is good for us (me and them). It’s also good for us (me and you). I thought about sending Jennifer Hughes an email and thanking her. This weekend I am feeling good about everything. I have a feeling if we hadn’t made the choice to go see her way back when that this trip either wouldn’t have been possible or it would be a whole hell of a lot more stressful.
Ok…I need to wrap this up. Great Grandma just arrived. Scott just called too…asking if we wanted to come over for dinner. I’m trying to weight that one out. He’s got a little pool in the backyard and I know the girls would like to go swim with Spencer and Sarah…but it won’t sit well with my mom. Cory & Troy were here within 30 minutes of me arriving this morning…heh heh heh… Right now she’s making ribs. Maybe we’ll eat here and go over there later.
Hey I just remembered that my mom has the same camera as us. Battery charger dilemma solved!
Miss you more ~