(post copyright 2012, Dawn Weber. Image from someecards.com)
Road trips: Really, the first 14 hours are the hardest.
It's a proud American tradition, the driving . . . driving . . . STILL EFFING DRIVING vacation. And never let it be said the Webers don't have their own Road Trip Traditions. No sir. In fact, we have several.
"I have to pee," I tell the husband as he eases the car onto the Interstate.
He rolls his eyes and grips the wheel. "Of course you do."
You damn right, of course I do. I am a 43-year-old woman. I drink 64 ounces of water and four cups of coffee a day. I possess a bladder that has been cheerily pummeled by two fetuses - if I am conscious, I have to pee. If I am upright, I have to pee.
If I am breathing, I have to pee.
And I'll tell you a secret: He doesn't know it, but right now I'm, um,
"Well, sorry but I AIN'T STOPPING!"
Of course he isn't. He has a plan, a mission and he's pointed the car south at a cruise-controlled 75-m.p.h. We've been married for 17 years, together for 19. I know this man. He means it.
He ain't stopping.
So I sit in the passenger seat, legs crossed, postponing the inevitable. I try to ignore the rising, sloshing tide by reading on the Ipad, flipping back and forth between Facebook and Pinterest.
Soon enough, more Road Trip Tradition from the little one, the boy.
"Oh . . . I'm going to throw up!"
The husband shakes his head, grips the wheel tighter. "Of course you are."
I crane my neck back to look at my son. We are one hour into the trip, it's 8:30 a.m., but already that kid is covered in Dorito dust. The $3.89 bag of Cool Ranch? The one that was supposed to last all the way to Florida? Nothing but bright orange MSG-crumbs all over his face . . . his shirt . . . his hands . . . his sister.
He's not supposed to eat them all like that. He's also supposed to stop playing Nintendo DS in the car when his stomach starts to hurt, when his motion sickness kicks in.
But he ate the chips. He played DS. He's going to throw up.
Road Ralphing: our boy's Road Trip Tradition since 2002.
And now we have another problem.
"Ahhh! We're out of bags!"
I'm frantically rummaging around the glove compartment for the stash of Walmart sack/barf bags that we keep on hand for Levi's routine. I glance back at my son, his face growing ever-greener, his Cool-Ranch covered hands clutching his stomach. In a panic, I turn to the husband.
But he keeps his eyes on the road, a white-knuckled grip on the wheel.
"Well I AIN'T STOPPIN'!" he says.
Plan B. I shout to my teenage daughter, hoping for some help. Ha ha! I said 'teenage daughter' and 'help' in the same sentence. I am so
"Hey - do you have a McDonald's bag back there or something? Levi is going to throw up!"
Honestly, I am not sure why I bother, but I try again.
"Laura, do you have a bag back there? Levi's getting sick!" I yell.
She is directly behind me in the car, so it's difficult to turn completely around and
He's going to blow.
"HEY LAURAAAA! DO YOU HAVE A MCDONALD'S BAG BACK THERE? YOUR BROTHER IS GOING TO PUKE!!!" I scream.
"Huh? Did you say something? I can't hear you. I have my headphones in!"
Risking death, tempting fate, I undo my seat belt and hoist my body up and around, searching the back seat for something, ANYTHING that could serve as a possible yack sack. There are sandwich bags. There are duffel bags. There are book bags. But there is not one gott-dang suitable barf bag.
I glance over at the boy. His head's in his lap now - clearly, he's reaching critical mass. I plop back down in my seat and turn to the husband.
"You HAVE to stop, on the side of the road or something. We have nothing for him."
"Rest stop - one mile. I cannot BELIEVE we have to stop. Make it quick, son!"
Finally, blessedly, he pulls into the rest stop. My boy and I both get unbuckled before the car halts, and I round the car, grab his hand and we sprint to the restroom, where he quickly loses his Doritos into a State of Ohio-purchased toilet.
There's $3.89 worth of MSG I'll never see again.
He finishes, and we head to the sink, where he rinses his mouth and I wash him down. We walk out of the ladies room.
"Hey Mom - look! Vending machines! Can I get something?"
I glance over at him, and he quickly looks down at the ground. My eyes answered his question.
We get back in the car and buckle up. The husband puts it in drive and coasts out of the parking lot.
"I hope you got it all out of there, son, because I AIN'T STOPPIN' again!"
The boy wordlessly turns on his DS, while my head-phoned daughter, oblivious to the whole incident, bobs her head and sings. The husband mashes the pedal, merging out of the rest stop. Only 13.5 hours to go! We hit I-70 eastbound at warp speed.
And right then, I realize it.
I have to pee.
Of course I do.