road trip

Over The River

Who was it that said, “Life is about the journey not the destination.”? What a warm and fuzzy sentiment.

Surely they spoke of holiday driving with four children under the age of ten. An interstate trip of four hours. How bad could that be?

Our planning was impeccable. The van was packed and ready for an after-school pickup. We would hit the highway at 3:30 and arrive at our destination city just after 7:00 which means we would miss all major traffic jams. We even made it to the front of the school pick-up line.

3:15 – All children safely buckled into the van and we are making our way to the Interstate. I hear the standard plea from the peasants, “Dad! I’m hungry. Can we eat something?” and “I have to go to the bathroom.” This was expected…

3:29 – We stop at Sonic and get after-school snacks with the hope that they will keep everyone satisfied through the trip. Small Sprites for the children in the hopes that peeing will be kept to a minimum.

3:35 – We accelerate down the onramp and reach highway speed. The van shifts as we merge into light traffic and Jane’s Sprite flies from her lap only to land top down, driving the straw through the bottom of the cup. Yay. This scene would be fun if we had just won some sort of championship game and the Sprite were champagne. It was not and we did not.

3:37 – We decelerate up the off-ramp and pull into a truck stop/Hardees restaurant. I dump out a pond of Sprite from the center console. We confuse a Mexican gentleman who was sleeping in a station wagon packed full of blankets. In fact, the entire car was so full of blankets there was only room for the driver so it is safe to say that we confused each other.

3:42 – We accelerate down the onramp and reach highway speed. The vans shifts as we merge into light traffic.

4:16 – A whisper floats in from the rear of the car. “I peed”, is announced at a volume that only dogs can hear. I request clarification, “You did what?” A small child erupts into tears. My direct style of questioning decimated her very soul.

4:18 – We decelerate up the off-ramp and drive to a store that is a truck stop/antique store/restaurant. The wet child gets a fresh set of clothes, pajamas because that is all we can get to in the suitcase. I declare a mandatory bathroom break. The offending child swears that she is finished and doesn’t need to go. When Supermom and the other three return the offending child decides that was mistaken and could perhaps go pee some more.

4:35 – We accelerate down the onramp and reach highway speed. The van shifts slightly as we merge into medium traffic. As king of the car I decree, “Anyone having to eliminate any bodily function shall go in their pants and we will deal with it when our journey is complete.” The crowd falls silent. I turn XM radio to 90’s on 9 and jam out to a little Country Grammar.

5:26 – Another whisper floats into my ear from the back of the van. “Daddy. I have to poop.”

5:37 – We decelerate down the off-ramp into the State provided rest area. The ace of deuce pinches her loaf and we return to the highway.

5:48 – An unnamed child removes her shoes. The stench swirls in the air, circulating in the vents. Dead rats in Tupperware containers in cars in Arizona don’t smell this bad. I thought we ran over a dead skunk that had been eating dead squirrels. Once my eyes stop burning and my nose goes numb, the world becomes tolerable again. 90s of 9 starts to play a song by New Kids on The Block. A piece of my man-soul begins to cry.

We complete one quarter of the journey in one half of the budgeted time. The next three hours are a constant volley of question and answer. “Are we close?” and “No.”

The trip started to feel impossible. The questions and singing of random songs wouldn’t stop. Children who are normally as loud as a Boeing jet engine were constantly asking questions in a whisper that I could never understand. And the feet, another child removed her boots. How have we missed these feet for so long? I swear they bathe regularly.

I had a moment of weakness as a person and I allowed myself a daydream.

In my dream, I stopped the van on the side of the road and got out to walk alone across the country like Forrest Gump. The thought of frostbite and hungry coyotes was a comforting possibility. I had visions of fun conversations with highway bums around makeshift camp fires while eating canned beans.


Long, long beards and layers of clothes that I never remove because there is no better way to carry them. Perhaps a few cardboard signs with witty sayings to get me the occasional McDonalds coffee or five dollar bill. I would drift as a vagrant until my body was exhausted and I die peacefully in my sleep from late stage hypothermia.


What is that dude on the right doing? Getting a reference point for maximum shrinkage?

I snap back to reality from my highway depression to avoid a large truck changing lanes without using a signal. Asshole.

The highway rolls on and my stress subsides. We arrive at our destination happy and healthy.

If you enjoy road trips, this post is for you. You’re welcome. I’m sure I will look back on them fondly. One day.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

I Am A Time Traveler

I may be a time traveler.

Correction. I must be a time traveler.

Not the kind of time traveler that you are accustomed to reading about in an HG Wells novel. There are no Eloi living above ground in silky dresses. My character will never be played by Michael J. Fox riding a skateboard to the tune of Huey Lewis and the News. My shiny Delorian is actually a Honda Odyssey with four kid’s seats, 23 cup holders, and a headrest that is well suited for hanging a diaper bag that a wallaby named Tobias calls ‘Home’. My theme song is the intro to Sponge Bob Squarepants. The only thing that would have made the drive worse would be no AC like the picture above of my ancestry in their stylish Ford.

Today, my fully loaded grocery getter, confirmed Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Alien abductions are associated with “lost time” events. Road trips with my group result in “found time” events. The faster I drove the more time I found had passed between each stop. The trip was one we have completed many, many times in the past. All records indicated that this trip should take approximately 5.0 hours from driveway to driveway. We shattered records with an impressive 7.5 hours.

I know this claim is so outrageous that you might not believe me so I have included a play-by-play as evidence.

11:30 am – We departed from a city in the east and were headed west. Since the hour was near lunch the loving grandparents sent us away with Lunchables and snacks for the kids. We even had a box of juices. Supermom and I thought we had better grab some lunch at a drive thru before hitting the interstate. Zaxby’s seemed as good as anything so we zipped around and ordered two snacks to-go. While we waited, Supermom started to distribute Lunchables and noticed that two of them were pizzas and needed to be heated. The minivan is a top-shelf swagger wagon but we did not get the microwave option. She went inside to get a few (4) kids meals because everyone has to have the same meals or a blackhole will form in the universe.

11:50 am – Supermom returns with the meals and Don Threeto pulls off a perfect delay tactic of “I have to pee.” I take her inside to pee and after that ordeal of her explaining to me that she isn’t a boy we loaded up and were on the way again.

12:05 pm – It starts to rain just enough to make me question if automatic wipers are needed. There was not quite enough rain to lube the wipers but enough that I couldn’t see well. We got in a small fight about me hitting the wiper arm manually. This rain continued for the next fifty miles.

12:45 pm – Interstate traffic comes to a complete stop as we see a large gathering of people in the road ahead of us. We pulled out Waze (a super cool app that you really should use on trips, thanks Ben) and we found that there was an accident about 500 feet ahead of us. A truck pulling a large camper had jackknifed and flipped on the side of a mountain. The passengers seemed okay but the camper and truck were in pieces. I hope everyone is okay. Luckily we were close enough behind this accident that we made it around in only 15 minutes.

1:30 pm – I have to pee so we stop. The car could use a full tank of gas so that happens too. Then the three older girls have to pee. I send them into the restroom as a group with instructions to a) not touch anything and b) help each other with hand washing and whatnot. Fifteen minutes later three girls emerge with arms wet from the elbows down. I don’t even care why. We get in the car and start to leave. Lady Bug has a wet diaper so we pull to the side to change it before continuing. Back on the road at 1:50.

2:15 pm – The rain has finally stopped but Lady Bug has started crying. We turn on a movie on the kick-ass DVD player and traffic comes to a halt. Once again, Waze informs us of an accident and we are able to reroute on local roads to bypass. This accident was a large semi-trailer that caught on fire. The cargo burned so hotly that the remains of the truck fit neatly on a flatbed tow truck. We saw this on the exit just past the accident but I am getting ahead of myself.

2:35 pm – We are travelling down a local road in a small town that I haven’t seen before. Supermom is trying to feed Toby (the wallaby for the newcomers). Lady Bug is still crying. Just as we beg her to stop or to tell us what is wrong, she projectile vomits into the back of my seat and her own lap. It looked like her face was pouring out a cup of wet cornmeal. Awesome.

2:40 pm – The clothes have been changed. Wipes are piled with bits of chewed chicken and fries in a Walmart bag. I can smell it in the cloth of the car seat. The three other kids are giving us helpful information like, “She threw up”, “I can smell it”, and “I’m hungry.” Not kidding.

3:00 pm – We are back on the road. And travel uneventfully for an hour before the next round of events.

4:00 pm – Lady Bug starts crying without any clear reason. Supermom knows what is up and starts to climb in the back to be prepared. Sure enough, she rockets the pacifier out of her mouth using only bodily fluids. I keep my eyes on the road but I hear the sound of rocks hitting wet mud. A splat of puke spattering around. We are ten miles from an exit so Supermom gets things cleaned up the best she can. The first exit we come to is busy so we opt to keep going a few miles to one that is more user friendly.

4:30 pm – Lady Bug seems better and is watching a movie. Supermom goes into the gas station I assume looking for a large bag of marijuana but returning instead with Sour Patch Kids and a soft drink.

4:50 pm – We are back on the highway On the home stretch. Lady Bug pukes again and gets her clothes this time. We stop at the first available exit which is an abandoned hotel and a small gas station. This time we change Lady Bug into last night’s pjs and the fast food bag from lunch is over flowing with used wipes. Supermom insists that she needs to wash her hands. I suggest we go down to the next exit because this gas station looks rough. She insists we stay there and she goes inside to wash her hands. She returns to tell me about the barefoot lady who was popping pimples into the sink where she needed to wash her hands. We continued to the next exit.

5:15 pm – We decide that Lady Bug is either car sick or has allergy snot that is making her stomach unstable. She is fun and lively right up to the vomit thing. The joint committee on blind decision parenting decided to try some Benadryl to settle her allergies and maybe help her relax for the rest of the ride. The gas station didn’t have a children’s liquid. I started to crush a pill and mix with some Advil (I know the appropriate dosage) and a car pulled up beside me powdering a pill into a syringe to give to my two year old. I felt like a champ once again. She was given the dose and made a terrible face because of the taste of the Benadryl. I gave her the slightest taste of juice to help her out. How does she repay me? That’s right, by vomiting everything at approximately 5:30 pm while we are once again on the interstate. To which Threeto comments, “I didnt see that coming!” Really???

5:31 pm – We are an hour away from home base. Supermom has cleaned the best she can but the car seat is soaked. Lady bug is floating in and out of consciousness. The other three are asking for constant status updates. Supermom is fighting a migraine and Toby is preparing an impressive wallaby scented present of his own. I don’t even care.

5:32 pm – I vow to the Lord Jesus Christ that this van will not stop until it is in the driveway and I will chisel everyone out of whatever crusty coat of excrement they have created but not a second before. We are a solid hour from the exit.

6:20 pm – Almost there. Everyone is tense from some tense question and answer sessions. We notice a beaten up truck in front of us taunting another vehicle. The driver of the truck pulls along side the other vehicle and he reaches out to punch their side mirror. In the back of the beaten up truck I can see the silhouette of a small child bouncing around, I assume drinking Mountain Dew in their underwear.

6:30 pm – Off the exit.

6:45 pm – Into the driveway. I carry Lady Bug into the house and my shirt is soaked in stomach juices leaving a dark green pattern down my front. I disregard and carry in several loads of bags with a dead look in my eyes.

7:10 – Luggage is inside. Lady Bug springs to life and is running in circles and laughing. No fever. Fantastic. The wallaby is another story. Stress of travel has made him into a squirrel shaped salad shooter. I grab the keys and head back out the door to Walmart to get supplies for the week. I notice that I smell like a cooked ham that got left in a bay window in July.

This is why we need flying cars and the knockout medicine that Dexter uses on his victims. I just want it to travel across the state in piece without need for gloves. Snoop dog doesn’t stock the stick icky that I need to get through that again.

If you ever feel like life is against you on a road trip. This post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Went To Colorado But Not For What You Think

We recently took a four day road-trip to Colorado and you won’t believe why. Or maybe you will. I’ll tell you why but along the way let’s look at some pictures. I rarely do anything that doesn’t become interesting/complicated/frightening and this trip was no different. The easiest way to tell you everything is probably a list and everyone likes pictures right?

Here is our roadtrip! Eleven notable things.

1. Turns out that Summer’s Eve feminine products is exploring a new flavor, Urban Musk. It smells like a Convertible Honda S2000 + Gold Rims, Backwards Basketball Hat, Super-white Acne Shoulders Peeking Out of a Tank Top, and an Undeserved Sense of Self-worth. This guy couldn’t have been more douche-y if he was a rubber bag with a plastic nozzle. Yes, I used the word flavor on purpose.


It makes it creepier which matches this guy.
2. It is always concerning to look up and see something like this.

3. One thousand miles is a hell-of-a-long drive so we stopped halfway at Salina, Kansas and attempted to stay at a Best Western. There were several things that bothered me about the hotel. Maybe it was because it was 1:00 am or maybe it was actually creepy.

Horror movie hallway.

Horror movie hallway.

Why is this here? This is an elevator.

Why is this here? This is an elevator.

The conversation with the front desk manager was awesome and it may get its own post. Suffice it to say that I support the Kansas gun laws because I locked the door and sat facing it waiting for a Scarface level gunfight to erupt.

4. There is nothing in Kansas. It is so boring that they moved Kansas City just over the line into Missouri. It is like “The Hills Have Eyes” movie but there aren’t any hills. Super creepy.

5. We think we saw a tornado and we know that our car received hail damage.

No houses falling on witches though.

No houses falling on witches though.

6. After arriving in Strausburg, CO we went one mile south of I-70 and stopped to get the object of our trip. A baby Wallaby named Sir Tobias Dashnap.

Meet Sir Tobias Dashnap

Meet Sir Tobias Dashnap

Toby for short.

Sleepy Toby

Sleepy Toby

The conversation with anyone is always exactly the same;

“We are getting a Wallaby.”

“A what?”

“A wallaby. Like a kangaroo but smaller.”

“Is that legal?”


“Okay… (Reads: WTF?)”

Then people usually try to find something positive to say but are too shocked to think of anything. I’m sure if you are like me, there are several questions that pop up later so I will help you out.

Yes, we are crazy and this isn’t the first symptom of that fact.

It will be small and stay inside sometimes in a playpen and outside sometimes in a little house.

No you can’t ask what it costs because that is crazy too. Less than a private jet but more than a free stray cat.

We did it because life is meant to be lived and I would rather be interesting than normal any day of the week. In short, we did it because we could, why not? Don’t answer that. There are plenty of “why nots” in life and I can’t be bothered with those.
7. Part of the impetus to begin blogging was my admiration for a couple of funny stories by The Bloggess. The metal chicken story and the taxidermy monkey story. Supermom and I have a habit of relaying anything related to those stories to our friends (Familydoctormom and The Professor). On this trip we found a Metal Chicken and a stuffed Puma. Thanks Jenny for the gift that keeps on giving!

Someone was told not to buy towels.

Someone was told not to buy towels.

The eyes follow you...

The eyes follow you…

8. We visited downtown Denver and ate lunch with one of the few college friends I have managed to keep contact with and he took us to the Cherry Cricket. A famous burger spot that was amazing. Thanks to the Duke-of-Earl for being our tour guide. It was really good to catch up!
9. Then we visited Georgetown just inside the Rocky Mountains. A beautiful spot built on a valley between two large mountains. We collected some rocks from the Rockies which the girls loved.


There was a house that concerned me though, it had a creepy stuffed clown with skis mounted in a window because that is normal?

File under WTF?

File under WTF?

10. The line between the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains is abrupt. Denver is flat and at the exact base of the mountains. Driving though the plains was beautiful just because of the views. We saw really cool windmills, oil wells, tumble weeds, stone fence posts, NO TREES, plenty of wheat and cows.

Those black dots are cows. Windmills are huge.

Those black dots are cows. Windmills are huge.

Drill baby drill.

Drill baby drill.

Also, if I were to try and decide the current events of Kansas just by propaganda on billboards I would think they had three issues; People are unfamiliar with Jesus, Everyone is having recreational abortions, and McDonald’s has a shortage of French fries. These were seriously the only billboards I saw on the entire drive. The Jesus billboards were awesome because they were paintings of Jesus but they were placed in fields and sometimes he was painted holding whatever the actual crop planted around the sign was. For instance, one sign had him holding a fistful of wheat and the sign was in a wheat field so it felt like he was hiding and jumping out to surprise you. I have a collection of awesome pictures on my Facebook Page. Go check them out and Like the page if you want to see more of my stuff.

11. The drive home was an uninterrupted nineteen hours of driving. We started home with the intent of stopping halfway but each milestone was at a weird point in the journey so I kept going each time and by 4:00 am I didn’t see much point in getting a hotel room. Power through! One thousand miles is a long way to drive and I am a little delirious. I got back into the car to go get drive thru chicken and I had a small panic attack. Can you get PTSD from too much driving?

The kids had a fun time at Mamaw’s farm while we were away and even diaper dog was thankful for a break. Life gets routine sometimes and a little bit of spontaneity was good for us. What other time would I get out to see Kansas? I don’t recommend going and buying livestock when you get in a rut but for us it seems to work. So if you like to live life on the edge of social acceptance, this post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.