so I promised to complete the holiday series and by GOD I am going to do it! For those of you that have long since put the torturous memory of Thanksgiving out of its misery, I am happy to reopen that wound for you as I am doing so to myself by authoring this very entry.
As is often the case, we opt to travel for Thanksgiving this year. Only this time we are not on a 3-hour tour, we jump in head first and sign up for the 6-hour variety of road trip. Granted, if I roofie the wife and NyQuil the rug rats , I can make that trip in 5 hours flat. This being said, I am fresh out of roofies and at last check we have two wide-awake ankle-biters in the back seat. Begrudgingly, we head off to the windy, treeless prairies of the Texas panhandle.
Based on previous road trips (see https://genericdad.com/2010/09/21/were-no-donner-party/) you all know my children do not do well in the car over long periods of time. Now, in the past we would typically drive thru a fast food joint and scarf down a high calorie, deep-fried mystery meal while I would attempt to distractedly eat and drive. This is coupled with the wife riding reverse cowboy (on her knees in the front seat facing the back seat trying to force the kids to eat food that they don’t want in the first place)…maybe “Reverse Cowboy” is not the term…In fact, I know it’s not…I have Cinemax ya know. Needless to say, this is not the safest way to transport our precious cargo, so in recent trips we have been stopping at an actual restaurant with actual waiters. This, at the very least, allows the wife and I to enjoy decent food while our kids run around howling like banshees in whatever Small Town, TX eatery we bless with our noisy presence.
The meal goes without incident. I tip the poor 78 year-old woman who had to endure the ear-piercing shrieks of my kids and we are back on the road just as an icy rain starts to fall. Because the kids are somewhat behaving and because they actually ate some lunch we are inclined to let them have some candy while they watch their annoying movies (thank GOD for headphones!). I don’t know if is something that he ate at lunch, car sickness, or something else entirely, but Lil B lets out a painful sounding belch that would put Booger Presley to shame. That air bubble must have been serving as some makeshift cork because as soon as the cork blew, so did Lil B. The kids had each just plowed through a tasty sack of M&Ms, so naturally, what was currently being projectile-vomited all over the back of my seat had the look of a lovely chocolate fountain one might see at a decent reception. The comparison to the reception stops there because this is about the time that the smell hits the front seat. Of course, we are in the middle of nowhere by this time and it’s pouring rain. Luckily we see a roadside stop that we can at least have some cover to get Lil B. out of his Baby Gap Chocolate Fondue gear. Clean as I might, I am not able to rid the vehicle of the scent of chocolate mixed with stomach bile, but some creative directing of the air vents at least keeps the smell in back with the livestock…err kids.
By comparison, the rest of our journey goes swimmingly and we soon find ourselves in the dusty plains of the panhandle on the outskirts of Amarillo. There is not much to do in Amarillo other than binge drink and get pregnant. Since we are already saddled with two fun babies, we opt for binge drinking. We relax and visit with family in the days leading up to the turkey day feast(s).
Our first feast requires a short jaunt to the metropolis of Dumas, a small agribusiness-centered community in which the wife’s family resides. Dumas is filled with good people and…hispanics, but mostly good people and I do not mind our brief visits. It is actually a nice departure from the busyness of Dallas. Things are quiet and simple and there is not much to do and I kind of like it…if only I could get 4G to connect so that I could Facebook and watch internet porn…maybe I don’t like being out in the boonies after all…at least there’s binge drinking…
After a delicious Thanksgiving meal with the wife’s family we are forced to exit rather quickly as we are already running late for our 2nd feast at my folk’s house back in Amarillo. We arrive at my parent’s place just as my family is sitting down to eat. So as not to disappoint, I heap the fixin’s onto my plate as though I had not seen food in days. You can’t show up to mom’s and not eat after she has spent an entire day preparing a meal…So, the wife and I take one for the team and eat our second complete Thanksgiving meal within a two-hour span. I am a fat ass and this is not much of a feat for me to accomplish, but I give the wife credit as she made a great showing at both feasts. I am not positive, but I could swear I hear the sounds of a desperate woman purging her system later that day…it reminds me of high school and for a short time I bask in the nostalgia of my hometown.
The voyage home is uneventful. There is no projectile vomiting, no crying, and no rain. As we listen to an audiobook my mind drifts in and out of the story. My liver and colon wreaking havoc on me for a week’s worth of overeating…and drinking, I am left with a warm sensation knowing that we are blessed with such a great family…nope, that’s not it…I think I just sharted…where the hell is that roadside stop!
A quick note that I wanted to share with you all regarding a commercial that I recently saw on a channel that my 4-year-old frequents. Typically, I do not pay much attention to the crap that is on the television when M is watching. I make the mistake that many of you make in that I trust in the “children’s programming” format of the network with which my daughter is enthralled.
So, I am sitting there picking my nose or adjusting my junk as I often do in my spare time when my attention is brought to a commercial on the TV. View the commercial now and then rejoin my discussion below so that we are all on the same page:
Now that you have witnessed at least some version equal to that which I saw. My question is simple; what are we teaching our children with games like this? I may be an idiot, but what I see in that commercial is that handling, playing with, and collecting feces is fun. Not even during the depression was playing with your own, let alone animal shit a fun thing to do. Fine, they added some happy colors to the fake dog shit so that it’s appealing to everyone and a good time is had by all…playing with faux shit. I can only assume that there is no realistic feces smell included. I don’t know about you all, but if I let my near 2-year-old watch that commercial, I would soon have a mound of randomly collected turds in my house.
What is a kid to learn from this game other than, “If I collect the most pieces of shit, I can win in life”? What about that game tells a child that feces is disgusting and carries bacteria and diseases? Nothing! Instead, they make shit seem colorful and fun. Hey kids, it’s okay to scoop up that turd from the yard. In fact, take a bite because we have colored it to look like a friggin’ candy cane. Plus, it’s worth 5 points! I can only imagine the repercussions involved on the first day of school when my kids show up with a cache of dog shit or worse acting like they own the joint. According to this game, shit is the new bling. “You like my new grill? Yeah, it’s thoroghbred horse shit, dawg. Fo reals”
This game is not the only source directing our kids to embrace poop. Mr. Hankey has been around for years and recently the Easter Bunny movie made it socially acceptable to eat rabbit shit. That movie alone has made me start systematically eliminating the rabbits from my yard. I feel like the Hitler of bunnies! Something has got to give…I think I will just keep my kids playing Chutes and Ladders or Candy Land …at least until I see them gnawing on the furniture.
Tonight the Wife and I were slapped square in the face with some harsh reality…from our four-year-old. While battling through yet another meal of brow beating M to eat something, she decides to pull a Maverick/Goose fly by of the tower.
For those of you that don’t know M that well, she is the most loving little girl I have ever known. I know this sounds like proud-parent-syndrome, but I am not exaggerating. If there’s a chance for her to hug or kiss on Mom, Dad, or Lil B she is going to take it and she will run it into the ground. In fact, tonight she licked me on the cheek as if she were a friggin’ dog, er…cute little puppy. However, the over-licking and kissing are for another day.
So M is sitting at the table when she decides that, rather than take a bite of dinner, she will deploy her patented delay tactics and tell Mommy that she wants to give her a hug (one of multiple hugs deployed during any given meal). M drops her ordinance of hugs and then, instead of her typical reroute back to base (her chair), she decides that this mission is going to require the use of nuclear force.
Upon completion of the hug mission, M steps back from Mommy and drops this 5 megaton whopper, ” Mommy, do you have a baby in your tummy?” After what seemed like an eternity of silence and several awkward wordless exchanges between Mommy and Me, I burst into a hearty belly laugh. Meanwhile, Mommy is sitting at the table with fail-smile trying to figure out how to tell M that there is no baby in her tummy without letting on that this comment cut Mommy to the bone.
So Mommy tells M that there is, in fact no baby in her tummy as she fights back a wave of tears. I am over across the kitchen belly laughing when M says to me, “Daddy, do YOU have a baby in your tummy?” The laughing abruptly ends and Mommy and I enter a few moments of quite self-reflection while M awaits a response. “No, neither Daddy or Mommy have a baby in our tummy.” One would think that this would end the line of questioning and everyone would proceed with dinner. Not M. She disputes what we have told her and goes further to insist that Mommy does have a baby in her tummy. This goes over like a lead balloon.
After adamant refusal from Mommy, M finally relents and goes back to pretending to eat. The rest of the meal is a blur of sorts because both Mommy and I are locked away in the depths of our own self consciousness trying to assess the damage from the massive bombs that had just been dropped by our sweet, innocent daughter. Not to be insensitive, but I felt how the survivors of Hiroshima must have felt as they crawled out from the rubble to see that their entire existence had been wiped out. Fine, I am a overexaggerator. Regardless, the seemingly innocent questions from our daughter had obtrusively opened our eyes. Yes, Mommy and Daddy are severely out of shape…
Our evening ends with gentle hugs and kisses as the kids are tucked away in their beds (while internally struggling with issuing M a severe beating…we’ll show her little ass who’s out of shape!). Mommy straps on her trainers and knocks the dust off the ole treadmill while I retired to the pool with my awesome sixpack…of non-light beer. I can only assume that the next line of pregnancy questioning will be directed only at me…Cheers
I am sorry that this has become such a habit to have to apologize at the beginning of every post for not posting more frequently. Alas, I am busy at work, busy with the kiddos, and truthfully, I am quite possibly the laziest person that you know.
Regardless, on to the long-overdue update. Let’s start with M since you all know her a little better than Lil B. M is approaching the start of her 2nd year of Pre-K at the little Christian school. She has progressed nicely as far as curriculum is concerned. She is also making interesting strides in her social development. At the end of last year she was anointed “Most Friendly” by her teachers. We were proud of her for not being the thumb-sucker that sits in the corner and shits herself while not having the communication skills to let anyone know about it. However, we have recently been made aware that our daughter is the cause of much drama at the little Christian school. Apparently all of her classmates want to play with M and she has not exactly rolled out the welcome waggon to some of them. While we understand that someone known as “most friendly” might draw a crowd in the realm of the 4-year-old, we are not prepared to have other parents complain that our little baby is excluding her peers. The important thing here is what we do with this information. There are several ways to look at this situation. We could be happy that our daughter is the object of every post-toddler’s desire regardless of who she has to step on to reach the pinnacle of Pre-K stardom. Or, we could scold and punish her for not being nice to others and try to strain some sort of life lesson out of the situation. In the back of my mind I feel as if I am creating some kind of pre-pubescent sorority super-bitch…and I kind of like it. I mean, why should my little girl have to be scolded because some half-wit’s parents can’t handle that they have a child that is an undesirable playmate. Problem solved! M, continue on with your natural selection-style of making friends. I feel like Will Farrell in Old School as he takes a tranquilizer to the jugular, “Is this bad?
On to the main man who is going to carry on the Henderson name, Lil B. The last update I did probably had Lil B shitting in diapers and crying like a little bitch about every little thing. Well, I am unhappy to report that nothing has changed! As Lil B nears his 2nd birthday we find him in the throes of learning the english language. While he has a full grasp on conversation (in his mind), he is in that stage in which only us parents understand what the hell he is actually saying. It usually involves crying about a lost member of his entourage. You read correctly, B has an entourage. He has “Baby”, “Rabbit”, Giraffe”, and “Puppy”. When I say entourage, I mean it in every sense of the word. Lil B is NEVER seen without at least one of his trusted comrades. Although, I did notice that none of B’s boys were around when he decided to carpet bomb the kitchen.
It is our own fault. See, Lil B had a gnarly diaper rash and we were trying to let that nasty thing air itself out. So one afternoon I get the kids home and decide that B’s bomber needs a little time outside of the diaper. I slap some shorts on him mainly because M is a little too fascinated with the difference in equipment between the two of them, if you know what I mean. The shorts are designed to avoid M screaming, “PENIS! PENIS!” while pointing and laughing at her nude little brother. That being said, B is going about his normal business of free-balling and following M around one afternoon and things are running quite swimmingly. They aren’t fighting, B isn’t tackling or pulling M’s hair and M isn’t using her height advantage to withhold coveted items from B. Basically, a nice little afternoon in my world. Meanwhile, as I half nap/half ignore the kids. Mommy comes into the kitchen and screeches. I am shaken from my slumber and run into the kitchen thinking that B has fallen on his head (again) or that he has kicked M’s ass again when I almost step in a trail of turds. If I were tracking small game it would not have been difficult to track Lil B from the string of nuggets that he had laid down across the kitchen floor. As I scrape up last night’s dinner reincarnate, I am reminded of one of the many reasons that we are now dog-free. I also made the tactical error in thinking that this was a one-time event. Two kids almost potty trained, and I recently got my first bathtub bombing from Lil B. To make matters worse, I was distracted by a heated game of Disc Driving on my iPhone while I let him play a bit in the tub. I am startled from my game by the garbled sounds of Lil B saying, “Poo Poo”. I give a half-ass glance in his direction and my mouth falls open. Sitting proudly coated in Mr. Bubble is Lil B. holding up a piece of shit the size of a cucumber. He is grinning ear-to-ear with the pride that he has finally connected the term of Poo Poo to its reality. I swipe the ex-dinner from his hand and pull my best fade-away into the toilet. Splash! Nothin’ but net, err…water. I know that B will grow out of his bombing phase, so I am not too worried. Plus, I get to work on my jump shot.
So, you all can see that I have two midgets in completely different stages of childhood. To add to this, I have both sexes to deal with and believe it or not, they are completely different in demeanor from birth. I am thankful for this challenge because I was beginning to get a little bored with being Superdad. Obviously, if you have read all of this you have lost time that you will never get back. Thank you for reading and watch out for those toddler land mines!
I would love some input from you other parents on this one…Our kids seem to have developed some genetic mutation that has given them the super power of projectile vomiting at will. Of all the genes from the multitudes of generations gone by that are carried in my wife’s and my blood, our kids both get hair-trigger gag reflexes.
For instance, B has thrown up on a restaurant table all of the 3 times that we have taken him to a restaurant. You may be thinking, “Wow, they don’t get out much!” You would be correct. We clean enough toddler spew up at our own house. We don’t need the added cleanup duty coupled with the embarrassment that comes from seeing fellow patrons bury their faces in disgust or gasp out in astonishment as they watch our entire meal get glazed with a thin layer of milk spray. You can understand why I no longer eat donuts.
Don’t think that I am leaving M out of this. The poor kid can get a little tickle in her throat, or have a little cough and que the chunk-works. On top of each of them having these separate issues, they both hose down a room with any period of prolonged crying. I recently purchased a John boat and fashioned strap-on buckets for both kids just to get around our own house. Our friggin’ carpet looks like a cheetah with all of the spots. We have been putting off getting wood floors for fear that they will warp under the constant layer of regurgitated food. I even went so far as to trace back our lineage on Ancestry.com to see if some distant relative mated with a fly…or an Irishman. I found a lot of the latter. Coincidence?
On a somewhat lighter note, we decide to take the kids to the Fort Worth Zoo last weekend. The weather is great, the crowds are low, and the kids seem to be holding down their food, so off we go in search of flamingos and elephants. (Don’t think for a second that I didn’t thow the puke buckets in the car) Nevertheless, things are going wonderfully when we happen upon the chimpanzee exhibit.
Like most kids, our kids like the chimps, and any monkeys for that matter.
So we linger at this exhibit just enjoying watching the chimps chase each other around their habitat. It is about this time that I notice a small group of chimps that is up on a high rock above the rest of the group. There are about four or five of them hanging out up there. As my gaze begins to shift from them to the chimps down below something stops my eyes dead in their tracks. I quickly snap my head back up to the rocky outcrop. OMG! Is that what I think it is? Holy S@%*! There is a male chimp just kinda lying back against the rock similar to how a I might sit on the couch and watch a Rangers game.
The reason that I know it is a male is that this guy has the hugest erection that I have seen on an animal outside of a horse (different story…there was beer involved…a lot of beer). As I stand there in amazement of this chimp’s endowment, a female sitting next to him hops up and straddles “Mr. 3-legs”. Am I dreaming? Have I fallen asleep watching internet porn again? This female hops on, grabs the 2-footer that “Long Dong Chimp” is packing and sveltely guides it..well you know what happens next.
It is at this time that I practically blind M with a ninja-like hand to the eyes/headlock spin maneuver to set us down the path away from the chimps. I am almost wishing I had my own puke bucket…As we walk away I can help thinking about the schlong on that chimp. I guess if we consider that Man won the war of evolution with his opposable thumbs, I have to say that chimps won at least one battle…
Ahh the holiday season. The weather is crisp (usually). Football is in high gear. The aroma of fattening treats fills the air. Francine, our Elf On The Shelf, makes his annual pilgrimage from the North Pole to play a month-long game of cat and mouse with our children. Described in this manner, the holidays sound like a fun, stress-free time with Santa, Frosty, and the gang. However most of you already know how cruel the holidays can be at times. Here are a few super happy fun holiday tales from my family. Hopefully, I have not pulled the trigger to the shotgun in my mouth by the time you have finished reading…
Holiday Decorating: Other than the actual putting up and taking down of holiday decorations, I do not mind a little festive decor. I rather enjoy seeing the lights that adorn the neighborhood homes and businesses. This being said, try decorating a Christmas tree with a 4-year old and a 16-month old. I drag the decorations in from the garage one excruciating box at a time. Meanwhile the wife and kiddos destroy the den unpacking the boxes. Despite the mess, the initial setup of our tree looks normal. Within 3 hours of hanging the ornaments the bottom two feet of the tree are as bare as the tree had been in the woods…before it was sacrificed in the name of baby santa jesus. We must have collected the wayward ornaments from around the house and replaced them only two or three times, when we succumbed to having a bottomless tree this year.
Francine: Let me start by singing high praise to Carol Aebersold and Chandra Bell, the creators of the Elf on the Shelf. Without our little Francine, the holiday season headaches would be ten fold. The relief that comes along with threatening your child with no Christmas if they misbehave is truly a gift in itself. I cannot tell you the joy that I feel when M acts up and I get to use the F word (Francine) to put her back in check. Ahh the delightful sounds of M fanatically crying, “NO! NO! NO!” as I pretend to call Francine on my cell (yes, he is sitting right on the shelf in front of me, but the phone adds a dramatic flare). However, I am not sure what the long-term side effects of using the EOTS might be. We have noticed M having a conversation with Francine on multiple occasions. I am talking full-blown two-way conversation. I just hope that she is not actually hearing Francine talk back to her or we will have a schizophrenic on our shelf.
Toy Assembly: Is there any activity in the world that is more painful than assembling toys on Christmas Eve? I almost wish that fat ass Santa was real so that he and his fairy posse could fight through toy assembly while I watch internet porn, er I mean bake Christmas cookies for homeless kids. This year we are tabbed with the assembly of the Barbie Dream House. This “toy” is almost large enough to house Lil B and as you might have guessed, it comes in 4000 pieces. Approximately 2 hours and 2/3 of a bottle of Crown Royal are down when we place the finishing touches on Barbie’s new crib. All the work (and hangover) was worth it to see M’s face Christmas morning, and more importantly to see Lil B doing his best Godzilla as he destroys Barbieville. He is eerily reminiscent of the giant marshmallow man on Ghostbusters…
Christmas Light Viewing: One of my favorite childhood memories of the holidays is when we all piled into the family truckster and headed out to Bishop Hills or Southwest Park to look at the Christmas lights. We mention seeing lights with M in an area of Plano that is known for its Christmas light display and naturally, she seems excited so we plan the event. We shuffle dinner around so that we are eating along with the Senior Citizens, we bathe the kids in the speedy dual bath, slap some PJ’s on them and then just as darkness falls, we are off to see some lights. A quick stop at Starbucks for mom and dad suddenly turns ugly when they inform us that they are out of Pumpkin Spice. Mom had to be subdued by a chop to the throat while I order us a peppermint mocha in place of our normal latte. This is not good and should be taken as a sign of things to come. As you can imagine, the traffic flowing through a neighborhood that is well-known for its light display is similar to rush hour traffic. Once you enter the subdivision, you don’t leave until the subdivision is says you can leave. We take our place in the car line and crawl down the first street filled with lights. I am unimpressed, but holding faith that the good stuff is further back in the maze of overpriced houses. Apparently M is unimpressed as well. Approximately 3 houses in she wants to go home and does not stop whining until we pull out of that subdivision some 30 minutes later. Lil B enjoys the lights so much that he instantly falls asleep. I am thoroughly underwhelmed by the “famous” display and Bishop Hills sounds pretty good right about now.
This & That: Lil B has officially entered the biting stage. He shows no pattern for how he selects his victims and certainly shows no remorse. Mark my words, if that little punk bites me again he is going to be looking like Sloth from the Goonies when I finish with him.
M & Lil B are starting to play together and this is such a wonderful time. We are trying to soak it in before the fighting begins and the years of tattling and brawling ensue. Speaking of playing, Lil B is quite the Barbie fan. He particularly enjoys Ken in his sleeveless tuxedo…pink tuxedo…I am thinking that if Ken were real, he would look more like Perez Hilton…
For any of you guys out there that are looking to escape the fam for just a bit from time to time, I have a solution for you. Install an outdoor TV. I have done this and it is quite possibly my greatest accomplishment (other than the creation of the two kids…which led to the outdoor escape TV…hmm). Seriously, if your patio accommodates, get the escape TV or forever risk your sanity.
Lately it seems that our sweet little angelic daughter is starting to look to the dark side for inspiration. Rare are the days of snuggling on the sofa while we enjoy the timeless stylings of Dora The Explorer. These sweet moments have only come to be replaced by endless battles over what we think M should wear to school versus what she thinks she needs to wear. Pour thing obviously got her fashion sense from her dad.
We still battle at the dinner table each night trying to get Mrs. Thang to eat something besides tater tots. Although, we have experienced a little progress with her palate as she has expanded into the realm of beef in the form of hamburgers and most recently, tacos. Of course, the hamburger must be dry and may ONLY have one slice of american cheese. The taco must be just ground beef with no taco seasoning and ONLY one slice of american cheese. I realize that we did this to M somehow, but we sure as hell cannot figure out how to un-do the damage. Hopefully, by the time M is dating (Age 30 if I have a say) her palate will have blossomed so that she might be able to enjoy mac-n-cheese, or a nice hotdog, or slice of pizza. At least she will be a cheap date, right?
To go along with the wardrobe and diet battles, Mrs. Thang has taken a liking to talking back to us and she has the uncanny ability to tune us out when we are telling her to do something that she obviously does not think she needs to do. Of course, this has resulted in M becoming very familiar with the timeout area in our dining room. I recently walked by the timeout area and caught a glimpse of some markings on the wall. Awww, my baby’s first graffiti. This timeout area is starting to look like a well-used prison cell. There are hash marks that track the minutes spent in timeout prison, there are crude drawings of the things from the outside that M does not get to experience while on the inside, such as the park and TV. I almost lulled myself into thinking that maybe we have been to hard on our little princess…until the last couple of weeks at school.
Mrs. Thang has now taken her undisciplined show on the road. Apparently she has been sent to timeout at school on at least three occasions that we know about. (in the past week and a half!) I am fairly certain that there are more times that were conveniently left out of the daily “what did you do at school today” report. As a result of Mrs. Thang’s willingness to take her bad behavior out into public, we are quickly coming to the realization that timeouts are just not cutting it. We need to step up the consequences for crossing over to the dark side. How do you do this, you ask. I imagine each child is different, but what works for M, is to take away things most dear to her, such as Barbie. (On a sad side note, some of you may recall Stripper Barbie (https://genericdad.com/2010/02/07/is-barbie-a-stripper/). Well, she recently met her untimely demise due to a severe hip problem which prevented her from being able to close her legs…ironic, to say the least…a moment of silence please.)
With Stripper Barbie out of the picture, M now has a new favorite Barbie that has similar hooker boots and skanky skirt, PLUS she lights up when you depress her necklace. This is M’s crack right now, and this is what I took from her when she got in trouble (again) at school yesterday. For a brief couple of hours I had my princess back. She snuggled with me while we watched Glee (her favorite show next to Idol) and she was on her best behavior! We have also taken TV and bedtime story privileges and these seem to work, but only for the short-term. Before we know it, she’s in trouble again at school and I am running out of things to take and I can’t bring myself to spank her. Where does this leave us for discipline options? Perhaps this should have been a Dear Abby letter…
In my last post (https://genericdad.com/2010/09/01/cant-we-all-just-get-well/ ) I teased a review of our first family trip to the mountains of New Mexico. 2 kids, 2 frazzled parents and a wagon full of belongings…
My family recently acquired a cabin in the Sierra Bonita mountains of New Mexico. Upon hearing this news we decided that we must get up there and check the place out immediately. The long Labor Day weekend provided just such an opportunity to embark on a most memorable journey.
Based on previous expeditions, we knew that Lil B was not a good passenger and so we decided to hitch up our wagon and ride to Amarillo late Thursday night. The theory behind riding at night is simple. The kids are used to sleeping during this time and they tend to sleep much the same during travel. The first leg of the journey starts flawlessly. We hit our schedule to be on the trail by 7:00pm. The only significant event from this leg of the journey was the awesome Pink Floyd-like lightning show that we were treated to for two hours. The subsequent huge thunderstorm with high winds and torrential rains was not quite as entertaining. Regardless, we pressed on and made it to Amarillo in near record time.
After a brief overnight stay in Amarillo, we hit the trail for leg two of our expedition. This leg of the journey was one of the more difficult to endure for several reasons. The first reason being that we had joined into and official wagon train with my family and being from a small town, they do not like to ride on major trails. This forces the wagon train off the beaten path so-to-speak. In fact, there was a portion of the this leg where the trail degraded from paving-to dirt-to-boulders. Yes, I said boulders…Imagine yourself trying to navigate an unfamiliar trail littered with boulders while the wagon that you are following kicks up so much dust that you cannot see the trail to avoid the larger boulders, so you inevitably hit all of them. Couple that with a one year-old screaming at the top of his lungs because he is being tossed around like my skid-stained undies in the dryer. Regardless, we pressed on and were eventually rewarded with the site of a beautiful log cabin…where our right rear tire immediately deflated due to the boulder gash it received on the way in.
The next 48 hours are almost blissful enough to make one forget about the arduous journey that had just transpired, nor dwell on the one that lie ahead…almost. There is just something about being in the mountains that washes away all of my stress and my problems fade to the back of my mind. I don’t know if it’s a lack of oxygen due to the altitude, or maybe I am just at home in the mountains. I truly hope that I end up living in a mountainous location some day, but I digress. I got to take M fishing for the first time and it was a beating to say the least (could be an entire post of its own). However, she had fun with her cousin of similar age throwing rocks and catching crawfish. She also got to take her first (of many) ride on a 4-wheeler with her Grampy, which she loved. Lil B was happy just to have someone hold him and he even got to taste test many of the indigenous rocks. Grammy saved the day by bringing the girls their own new backpacks crammed with activities. They had a blast.
Of course we knew that the trip had to end, but as we were loading up the wagons I could not help but feel as though we had just gotten there. The third leg of our expedition got off to a rough start. We stopped no less than three times to let Cousin A tinkle, then we made the mistake of stopping for lunch in one of the desolate towns down the mountain. A long hour later we are back in the wagons and headed east to Amarillo. Just as we reach what has to be the absolute middle of nowhere, we see a sign “DWI Checkpoint Ahead”. WTF? That can’t be right, can it? As we top the next hill we are greeted to six NM state troopers at the intersection of state highway X and nowhere road Y. I am sure I was missing something, but there just didn’t seem to be enough traffic on the back roads of eastern NM to warrant a six-vehicle DWI checkpoint…thank God I only do heroin. After the mystery checkpoint we arrive in Amarillo for a brief overnight stay.
The fourth and final leg of the journey was a blur because I had to find a happy place within. Somewhere between Vernon and Wichita Falls I am contemplating those skiddy drawers again. Only this time I am thinking of using them to gag my screaming son. Poor little guy is just not built for the road. On the bright side I think he may have a future in opera. At one point of the final leg my 3 year-old had to intervene and put a stop to bickering going on in the front seat. It is at this point that I check out for the rest of the way home. The wagon and horses were on cruise control…and so was I.
We Shall Return
We will be going back to NM for sure. However, our wagon training days are officially over. I love you, Southwest Airlines…and I love your free drink tickets.