Live Blogging the Drive. . . Sort of.

I can’t actually connect to my blog while driving, but I DID scribble on a piece of paper.  Because I am a freak.  Of course, I couldn’t look at the piece of paper, because focusing on anything in any way (reading, map-looking, needle work) makes me car sick.  I’m actually pretty useless in a car.  I hate to drive, I have no sense of direction, I get sick if I look at a map, and I’m not great at spotting landmarks.

  • 7 am: we leave and scrap plans to drive before breakfast.  Instead, we hit Breugger’s as we roll out.  Garmina (that’s our pet name for the GPS) tells us we’ll make Raleigh at around 5 pm, if we make no stops.  Which means we won’t be there around 5, but whatever.  101 Dalmatians is the first feature.
  • 7:29 am: first crisis when W mistakes J’s cream cheese dribble on chin for vomit.  It’s not.  Phew.
  • 9:40 am:  M is inexplicably putting her drinking water on her feet.  What-ever.
  • Did I mention that I’m listening to an audio book downloaded via NetLibrary?  I love technology.  The girls are on The Sandlot.
  • 10ish am: First rest stop.  W declares bathroom break mandatory.  J gathers flower blossoms off the ground.  It’s a beautiful day to spend in the car.  J is incredulous about the New Jersey gas station attendants who pump gas and clean windshields:  “Is this really part of their work?”
  • 12:30 pm: Lunch at McDonald’s.  There is a stench in the parking lot.  My girls are strongly anti-fry.  I can hardly believe this.  I feel perversely proud  In fact, M hates McDonald’s and basically only eats her apples.  W & I are feeling good.  More than five hours in and all’s well.   We book a hotel in Raleigh using McD’s wifi.  There is mild drama when M hides J’s fake plastic dragon fire.  Outside, M says scornfully, “They don’t deserve to fly a [n American] flag.”  We finally realize that the stench is from a nearby landfill.
  • 12:45 pm:  We’re all using separate technology now.  M listens to tapes of All-of-a-Kind Family.  I love this book series about a big family of Jewish girls on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the early 20th century.  Love them. Meanwhile, Josie’s watching Princess and the Frog, I’m listening to my book, W’s listening to music.  I thought that I’d feel guilty about our lack of togetherness.  Instead, I’m grateful.  I love technology.
  • 1:30 pm: We hit traffic.  I distribute apples.
  • 1:33 pm:  I finish J’s apple.
  • 1:38 pm:  I finish M’s apple.
  • 2 pm:  It’s been a sneaking suspicion and now I’m sure.  I’ve read this book before.  Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith.  Crap-crap-crap.  I do this all the time.  I’m a fast reader, but I just don’t retain.  Dang it.  I fast forward because I’ve forgotten how it ends.
  • 2:30ish:  We try a different route.  Worse traffic.
  • 2:45 pm:  M vomits.  Or should I say, she vomits for the first time.  But of course, if I were live blogging, I wouldn’t know this.  Alas, I know.  W, eyes locked on the road, peppers M with questions:  “Are you okay?  Do you want to get out?  Do you need water?”  Until I snap, “She can’t answer you because she’s too busy puking.”
  • 2:46 pm:  As I’m suggesting possible stomach settlers like ginger ale or a hard candy, J says, “This is making me hungry.”
  • 3ish: We head back to the interstate again.  Still traffic.
  • 3:30 pm:  My mom calls to ask about our progress.  I answer, but then she has very specific questions about where we are and how far we are from what.  I have no sense of direction and after an hour of traffic and a session of vomiting, W’s frazzled.  I hedge.  M comes to the rescue with. . .
  • 3:35 pm:  Vomit number 2!  She is hanging out the door on the side of the road and bored drivers and passengers watch attentively.  I rinse her hair with the water bottle and a nice lady offers napkins.
  • 3:42 pm:  W accuses me of bringing this entire chain of events on when I decided that a live blog might be amusing.
  • 4:35 pm:  V#3.  You might be wondering about OTC medication.  I once forced this on M before a flight to try to stave off disaster.  “It tastes bad,” she moaned.  “It can’t taste as bad as your own vomit,”  I hissed.  At which point, she barfed.  She loves to retell this story.  I remember the same thing happened to me when my Mom made me take Pepto-Bismol.   Anyway, M also doesn’t like ginger ale.  She’s wearing those little acupuncture wrist bands.  They don’t seem to help her much.
  • 5:05 pm: V#4, plus continued traffic.  A nice lady asks us if we need help.
  • 5:12 pm:  We finally approach an exit with a single McDonald’s sign.  We take it, and drive and drive.  No additional signs.  No Micky-D’s.  We go the other direction and finally find a . . .
  • 5:22 pm:  Gas station.  It’s fetid, warm, greasy.  We wander looking for something that M is willing to try to keep down–cheerios?  bread?  a little juice? ginger ale?  please?  a mint?   Nothing.  The girls listlessly watch the tv, which is showing belly dancers.  J picks a dandelion bouquet.  Once we get back to the car, I realize that I should have asked for extra plastic bags.  The man hands them over and suggests, “What about some ginger ale?”
  • 5:30 pm:  W realizes that we’ve gone 30 miles in the past four hours.  Ouch.
  • 5:45 pm: V#5.  The smoothest yet.  We’re prepared this time–M’s been holding an open plastic bag on her lap.
  • 6:05 pm:  We are finally speeding up.  A Jews for Jesus vehicle passes us.  Who knew that they had special vehicles?  Of course they’re hurrying–between Passover and Easter this must be, like, their busiest time of year.
  • 6:35 pm:  We pass Powhite Parkway.  This strikes me as quite amusing.
  • 6:40 pm and on:  We stop for dinner at Buz and Ned’s Real Barbecue.    We offer to allow the girls a soda–a rarity for us.  They bypass the lovely fruit concoctions for a bottle of caffeine-laced cola, which they can’t even finish together.  J takes one bite of a hot dog, both girls poke through some mac and cheese.  M spends most of the time with her head on the table, suffering quietly.   Still, it’s yummy.  W & I are particularly fond of the potato salad & cucumber and onion salad. It feels like vacation has begun for the grown-ups, and we cheer up.  I tear into a rib, thinking of the forlorn sweet potatoe & lentil stew which I forgot to toss out of the fridge.
  • 7:30ish and on:  I’m driving the last leg.  The girls are finishing The Rescuers.
  • 8ish:  We stop for gas.  The movie is over.  A lady in the next car yells over to me, “Where are we?”  I tell her that I have no idea.
  • 8ish + 5 minutes:  A soon as we begin again, everyone else falls asleep.  I listen to episodes of This American Life, which I love, love, love.
  • 8:50 pm:  Ira Glass is right.  What kind of person do I want to be?  A freeloader?  I have to donate some money tonight.
  • 9:20 pm:  Omigod, do we have a power cord to recharge this MP3 Player?  I’m almost out of batteries.  Crap-crap-crap.  How will I survive tomorrow?
  • 10ish:  W wakes up.  He has a power cord.  I love him so much.
  • 10:14 pm:  We arrive at our hotel.  There is much joy.  J remarks on how clean the bathroom in the hotel room is.  I point out that no amount of scrubbing will make our nasty old bathroom as pretty as a normal modern hotel bathroom.  We’re chattering excitedly, and I mention that we were supposed to have gotten here around 5 pm.  “Well, at least we got here around 10 pm,” M answers cheerfully.  Yes, the same girl who has puked five times today.  There was no whining or crying the entire day. Am I jinxing myself by saying that?  Maybe.  But this was, you know, a difficult day.  It was an impressive performance by both girls, and I tell them so.  We high-five each other.  Then we get in a circle for a family high five.  Life is good.  Only five more hours of driving to go.


  1. Cheri

    Thanks for a good laugh this morning! Here’s hoping that you breeze through the remaining five hours vomit free! Have fun!

  2. Sunny Savannah

    If you get up early and only stop for one bathroom break, you could be in sunny Savannah by lunch!!! Just think of the loved ones at the end of the road ready to care for you.

  3. Oh my god. I can’t even imagine. Thank goodness for This American Life. The Planet Money podcasts are *almost* as good, once you run through all the TALs.

    Wishing you a great visit and an uneventful ride home.

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