I feel like since y’all were kind enough to follow our road trip adventures last week that I need to bring the story to a close even though we’ve now been home for two days and I’m currently buried under a pile of unfolded laundry. I’ve always believed that folding is overrated, especially because I live with two people who believe that rummaging through drawers for a certain article of clothing while messing up everything else is a form of high art.
Disclaimer: There will be no pictures from this portion of the road trip saga because the batteries in my camera died. I believe this serves as a metaphor for the last hour of our trip.
On Friday morning, Honey picked up breakfast for us from the only food group we’d neglected in the course of our travels, Shipley’s chocolate-iced donuts and kolaches. I’ve always believed that nothing gets you going in the morning like some fried dough covered in chocolate with a side of sausage encased in a buttery roll. It’s the breakfast of champions, granted probably just champions who win hot dog eating contests for a living but whatever.
Gulley and I weren’t in any hurry to get on the road so we decided to take the kids to a nearby splash pad to burn some energy before we got in the car. Will decided he’d rather go with Honey to visit Nena because Nena styles his hair for him when he visits and he’s a fan of the gelled coiffure. So Gulley and I took Caroline and Jackson to play in the water, which was a great idea until Caroline fell and skinned her knee and the top of her foot.
You would have thought we’d just amputated her leg with a dull butter knife. She was actually fine until she saw the blood and then she went into the vapors. We left the park to pick up Chick-fil-A for lunch (no, we didn’t dress like cows because I have limits as to what I’ll do for free food and I couldn’t find anything to make a cow costume with) while Caroline continued to moan about her injury and the cruelty of life. It was like a monologue from a Lifetime movie and finally ended with me interrupting her to tell the story of the little boy who cried wolf. I’m not sure it was entirely relevant for the situation, but it was the first fable that came to mind since I didn’t recall any about a little girl whose mama leaves her in Bryan, Texas because she is a drama queen.
We got the kids home and settled at the table to eat their lunch. All was well until Honey walked in with Nena and Will. Caroline realized she had a fresh audience for her tale of woe, got up from the table and began to hop over to where they stood while she said in her most pitiful voice, “Honey, I’m not hopping because I want to but because I fell and scraped my knee.”
Did she not learn anything from my recounting the tale of the little boy who cried wolf?
I told her to sit down and eat her nuggets before I started telling her another fable, perhaps one involving children who aren’t fortunate enough to spend part of their summer vacation in Waco, Texas.
After the kids finished eating lunch and got up from the table, Nena leaned over to me and whispered, “Caroline seems to enjoy ill-health.” Gulley mouthed to me across the table, “It takes one to know one.” Nena is herself a fan of any type of illness. In fact, if you ask her she’ll tell you she’s had six surgeries in the past two years even though three of those were root canals.
We thought about leaving after lunch but really wanted to see our friend Tiff and her kids. Our plan was to stay about thirty minutes so we were a little behind schedule when we left three hours later, but it was so worth it even though we were tired and ready to get home.
The drive went smoothly until we reached the halfway point in Bastrop. We stopped for a potty break and the kids all begged to get something to drink. Clearly we were a little off our game because we let each of them get their own 24 ounce bottle of Gatorade. Then, because I am an idiot, I got in the car and made the dumbest declaration of all time, just thinking about it makes me want to bless my own heart.
I turned around, looked them all in the eye, and said, “WE ARE NOT MAKING ANY MORE STOPS. DO NOT DRINK MORE THAN WHAT YOU NEED TO DRINK BECAUSE THERE WILL BE NO MORE POTTY STOPS. I REPEAT, THERE WILL BE NO MORE POTTY STOPS. DRINK ONLY WHAT YOU NEED.”
About five minutes later, Gulley and I were deep in conversation in the front seat when we heard some cheering and yelling coming from the backseat. We turned around to see what was going on and, I KID YOU NOT, Caroline and Will are having a Gatorade chugging contest to see who can finish their bottle first.
My first thought was that their ability to drink 24 ounces quickly does not bode well for their college years. My second thought was to wonder if I need to take Caroline to the doctor to get her hearing checked.
Sure enough, we had to stop fifteen minutes from home so those two clowns could go to the bathroom. I think they each went for about four minutes without stopping.
Finally we were about six blocks from my house when Will announced he needed to go again. Gulley and I both said (maybe yelled) “YOU CAN HOLD IT. IT’S JUST SIX BLOCKS.” I pulled up to my house and handed Gulley my house keys so she could take Will to the bathroom while I unloaded the car.
But it was too late.
Will had let himself out and was happily peeing in the yard right outside my house, which considering that we’re in the midst of a drought isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Unless you’re the person in black Suburban who drove by in time to see the whole thing.