Vacation, Day One

At 6:30 on Friday evening I was pacing through the house looking for things that I had forgotten to pack. I was admittedly grouchy, maybe a bit more than I had a right to be. I had gotten up at 6:00am and taken Gabe (6) to school and then come home to mow the lawn and pack for a four person, ten-day trip. I even loaded the car by myself, though I knew that Phill could have done it better. He messaged me when he left work to ask if I had packed his guitar. Of course I hadn’t, and I couldn’t see any way to do it now without ruining my carefully stacked mess in the back of the Pilot. He informed me that he would re-pack the car when he got home.

I instantly thought of my book, SAM AND MILLIE. Sam’s an exceptionally bright little boy in that he knows a few things about girls—or at least he learns from his mistakes. He makes a mental note to himself:

Be a brave boy. Don’t point out that she isn’t.

It’s good advice, and it isn’t restricted to bravery. I won’t try to speak for all women, because we certainly differ, but I think this is good advice in general. We like to see that our men can do some things better than we can, but we seldom want it spelled out for us. Show, don’t tell. Can Phill load the car better than I can? Yes! Do I want it pointed out? Nope. I’d much rather watch him and figure it out for myself. He had really only put a toe over the line, never having actually said he could do it better, but I was already crabby.

We set out at 7:00 to make a four hour trip to Octavia, Oklahoma in an inexpertly packed car with one patient husband, one ominously silent wife, and two hungry boys. At this point I was wondering what had possessed me to plan our exodus this way. Oh yes—I had wanted to be close to our destination on Saturday morning. It’s funny how that sounded so smart a month before we actually had to do it.

We didn’t even make it out of Forney before we had to turn around.  There are several different ways to reach the interstate, but we chose the only one where the road was closed. We already knew that it would be at least 11:00pm when we reached our cabin, so turning around and backtracking so early was disheartening.  As my husband calmly sought a new path out of our hometown I stared morosely out my window wondering why I wasn’t at all excited about the trip. I think I know the answer, but it’s a whole other blog entry.

We got through supper on the road—narrowly—and I came out of my gloomy trance just in time for Gabe to announce that he could no longer sit in his booster seat because it hurt him. I quickly ran through all the reasons this could be true and came up with nothing solid. It turned out that he was sitting on an upturned half of a silly putty egg, which you might think it would be easy to correct.  But once Gabe had my attention, there was no letting up. I got to sit for over an hour in a space too narrow for even my tiny frame on an uneven and less than soft surface so that Gabe could rest his head on the pillow in my lap. I learned that it’s possible for pretty much every body part I have to fall asleep.

Our cabin, as it turned out, was deeper into the wilderness than we had anticipated. We arrived at 11:30 and stumbled from our car into the crisp mountain air. The cabin itself was cozy, and we were all more than ready to fall into our beds. In the end, I have to admit that the plan had been a good one. Hard though the trip was, it was good to be away, and it was a relief to have the initial drive behind us.

Our cabin:

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~ by Rachel McMahon on October 6, 2010.

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