We have completed the first leg of our trip. Sunday morning, the kids and I drove to my in-laws' house in southern Indiana. It's the first time we've been here since my mother-in-law moved into a nursing home in February.
The drive had me thinking that those pioneer types were pretty lucky when it came to traveling. Sure, it would take them nearly a week to make the trip it took us less than four hours to drive. But there is something appealing about throwing the kids in the back of the Conestoga. Any complaints or fussiness and the kids had to walk behind the wagon or sit up front in the rain.
The first hour of our trip consisted of "Mom, my Nintendo DS won't work," "Mom, tell Annie I want to watch Twilight on her iPod, too," "Mom, I don't like this song. Can you turn the channel?"
Thank goodness for Wal-Mart, which is one advantage we have over our ancestors. We pulled in, rented a movie from the Red Box (another slight argument over which movie we'd choose), bought a cassette adapter for the computer so the sound of Spongebob Surfer Dude -- or something like that -- could be heard over the radio, and made a quick potty break.
That seemed to quiet the troops who were content to watch Spongebob the rest of the trip, sucking down juice boxes and munching on pretzels that I'd packed.
When we arrived at my in-laws, a few things had changed. The boys ran straight up to the Family Suite -- the big room we all share when we visit -- looking for their presents. GoGo always had presents sitting on the end of the beds. Well, this is Poppo's territory now and Poppo doesn't do "glad you're here" presents. He did, however, have several bags of books and art supplies he'd cleaned out of various closets in the house and offered those to us. The boys thought those were close enough to presents and readily accepted them.
A bit later, we went to the nursing home to see my mother-in-law. She seemed very tired, but in general, good. She was sitting in a recliner, which left her wheelchair open, which invited arguments about who got to sit in it. So every five minutes, I'd interrupt the conversation and yell "Switch," so each of the three could have a turn.
After a pizza dinner that we carried in, we came home and I immediately put Robbie in the bath, then straight to bed because quite frankly he was getting on my last nerve. He's had quite a difficult week and a prescription for early bedtime seemed in order.
The other thing that has changed here is the temperature. I am in the habit of packing warm jammies when we stay with my in-laws because my mother-in-law likes to channel her inner Eskimo and keeps the house quite cold. Well, my father-in-law controls the thermostat now. And so I am sitting in my flannel jammies sweating buckets. Even my boobs are sweating, which is as disgusting as it sounds. And I can't find the thermostat to turn down the temperature.
If I were a pioneer woman, I'd be sleeping outside and would just have to throw off the covers for an instant late-March cool down. Maybe I'll go open the freezer and stick my head in it.
Tomorrow after breakfast, we're headed to my brother's house in Atlanta. My father-in-law has set his alarm for 5:30am to get up and fix pancakes -- a favorite of the kids. I've told him that my goal is to leave by 9am. But he insists we might want to leave earlier. Think he's anxious for his solitude again?!