Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Road Trip!

(Not really from the trip. On the way to swim lessons.)

So we survived the road trip to Michigan. It went better than expected during the day, and far far worse during the night...

Thursday, Phoenix, 4 AM: Drag ourselves out of bed, load up the last minute supplies, and hit the road. Kids conk out in the backseats for a while.

Somewhere in New Mexico, 12 Noon: Stop for lunch, I can't even remember where. Kids are doing great, watching movies, playing with toys, etc. I've even managed to listen to about 4 hours of Mark Driscoll already.

Amarillo, 9 PM: We've made something like 900 miles the first day. Dang good start. We stop a Chucky Cheese and let the kids terrorize the place for a while. They've been cooped up in the car all day and have done great, so they get all the pizza and games they want. Paige and I decide that we still feel pretty good, so we might as well try to get a few more hours on the road. We figure the kids will fall asleep in the car, we'll drive 'till we get tired, then find a hotel somewhere.

Oklahoma, 11 PM: Ok, here's where it gets interesting... It's 11 PM and all three kids are still awake. Not a good sign. We are getting tired, so we find an Econolodge. It's one step above the rent-by-the-hour hotels... not exactly the cleanest place in Oklahoma. Get a room on the second floor, and start dragging kids and luggage upstairs. Set up pack-n-plays, get everyone in PJs, Paige jumps in the shower, I watch some nature show with the kids. Turn off the lights, put the boys in pack-n-plays and they have an immediate meltdown. Screaming, wailing, and gnashing of teeth ensue. OK, so that plan isn't working. Take the boys out of the pack-n-plays, and put them in bed with us. Ella goes in the pack-n-play, cause she says she wants to sleep there. Boys start to relax, everyone is finally drifting off to sleep....

Paige: Ella, SHHHHHHH. Be quiet and go to sleep!
Boys: Snoooooooooore....
Paige: Ella, you are going to wake them up!
Noah: Hi Dad-dy!
Levi: Ha-ha-ha
Noah (climbing on top of me and jumping up and down): RIDE DAD-DY!

Now they are all awake, and tearing around the room like rabid monkeys. Jumping on the beds, wrestling with each other, screaming... completely out of control. Paige and I try to get them calmed back down, but at this point it is hopeless. We have no clue how to regain control of the rugrats. At this point, we are just waiting for the Indian guy in the office to call and complain, or for one of the neighbors to come over and yell at us.

Oklahoma, 1 AM: It's too bad we didn't rent the nasty room by the hour. All three kids go kicking and screaming back into the car. Levi is wet from playing in the toilet, Noah has been splashing in the tub water that never did drain from Paige's shower. The room looks like some rock band stayed there and trashed the place, except this rock band ground cheerios and fruit snacks into the beds. I throw the key at the guy at the front desk, who looks at me like I've lost my mind (he might be right). We head back on the road, planning to let the kids fall asleep, then pull over somewhere and sleep in the car ourselves.

1:05 AM: All three kids are passed out in the backseat. That didn't take long.

1:30 AM: Finally, an exit! We pull off, find a nice dark side road, turn off the lights and car, and lean the seats back...


1:35 AM: Back on the highway, Noah fast asleep again.

2:00 AM: Pull off in a rest stop. As soon as the wheels stop rolling...

Jason: Is there any way to stop the car, but make it sound like it is still driving?

2:05 AM: Back on the highway. This time Noah doesn't stop. I climb into the backseat and hold him in my lap. Paige and I are so exhausted we can barely keep our eyes open. Neither of us dares to go to sleep while the other one drives.

2:30 AM: Find our second hotel, after stopping at three others with no vacancy. This one is a slight improvement over the first. Specifically request a room on the ground floor away from everyone else. Guy has one. Pile into room with no luggage. Room is like a sauna, so we crank the AC on as high as it will go. Paige, Levi, and Ella pile into one bed, I set Noah on the other bed, and then climb in with him.


Ok then, guess I get to sleep on the floor. Curl up on the floor between the beds, and fall asleep almost instantly.

3:30 AM: Holy cow, it is freezing in this room! Wake up on the floor shivering. Noah is fast asleep, so I climb in with him.


Oh great! Paige wakes up and climbs in with Noah, who promptly calms down and goes back to sleep. I see how I rate! So I go to the floor by the other bed, and try to pull some of the blankets over to keep warm.

I have no idea what time: I wake up shivvering again. Try to climb in bed with Ella and Levi. Ella is not too fond of the idea, and starts yelling and kicking Levi. Paige switches beds again to calm them down. I go take a leak in the bathroom, and discover that it is much warmer than the room. So after doing my business, I sit on the floor, lay my head on the tub, and go to sleep. Keep in mind, we paid something like $29.99 for this hotel room. I wouldn't exactly qualify it as sanitary. Good thing I am not squeamish...

6:00 AM: Noah wakes up and claims to be hungry. Paige finds me in the bathroom, with half a roll of toilet paper stuffed up my nose. At some point I had a bloody nose, although I really don't remember it.

Get everyone fed with muffins and milk, pile back in the car, and start driving again. Next day on the road goes pretty well. Kids watch movies, play games, color, etc. We each drive for a while, and manage to get a little more sleep. We decide that our mocking of the families who all sleep in one bed on Super-Nanny was mistaken. The whole co-sleeping thing suddenly seems like a much better idea.

St. Louis, 7 PM: We decide to try to avoid the fiasco of last night. Find a decent hotel, with a swimming pool even. Get some Arby's for dinner, get the kids in their swimsuits, and
head over to the pool. Kids have a blast jumping around the pool.

Hotel, 10 PM: Back to the room, read lots of books to get them all nice and calmed down. Make a "nest" for Ella on the floor with extra blankets. I take Levi, Paige takes Noah, turn off the lights, and we all go to bed. Everybody goes to sleep...

Paige: Ella, SHHHHHHH. Be quiet and go to sleep!
Paige: Ella, you are going to wake the boys up!
Noah: Hi Mom-my!
Levi: Ha-ha-ha
Jason: Ohhhhhhh crap...

We dropped the hammer on them this time. Levi and Noah kept trying to get out of bed so they could play. After getting dragged back into be and told "NO" about 10 times, Levi decided to go to sleep. Noah, on the other hand, has an iron will. The kid is more stubborn than a mule. He ended up getting a swat on the butt everytime he got out of bed. After about 15 of those (literally) he finally gave up and cried himself to sleep. Ahhhhhhhhh...... sleep...

Back on the road again the next day. The kids are now officially done with the road trip. Whining, crying, fidgeting. We broke multiple speed limits though Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan but made it to GR that night. There was no way we were stopping for another night in a hotel...

I am back in Phoenix now. Poor Paige has to drive back with her Mom in a few weeks. I hope she doesn't decide to just stay there instead of endure the drive back.

2118 miles of memories... :)