Tag Archives: road trip

You Can’t Pick Your Relatives

2 Moms in New Orleans

2 Moms, Sister, Hubman, and Me in New Orleans

First of all I want to apologize to all my beloved readers for not getting around to posting the pictures and tales from the road trip and wedding in Key West. I promise I’m working on it and will do so soon. I’m sort of working through the trip backwards.

Trying to sort out these pictures are part of reason I went sailing into the high seas of this physical and emotional upheaval, catharsis, entire life passing before my eyes, everything looks different now, semi-nervous breakdown, bah hum bug, hissy fit.

The truth is there are very few pictures on my phone. My body was there but didn’t take many pictures. That was a shock and also a sort of twilight zone feeling. Most of the pictures are on the Hubman’s phone. 2 revelations hit me hard. 1) I don’t take pictures when I’m not happy, and 2) Hubman is a much better photographer than I am….when he chooses to be. He’s not very cooperative when I try to get him to photograph something, but when he wants to he’s damn good at it.

Scrolling through all the pictures on his phone I also realized that we existed in 2 different dimensions on the entire trip and had an entirely different vacation. He went to the Hemingway House in Key West while I was sick in bed at the resort. He took pictures of all the shenanigans at the wedding reception, while I left early to go upstairs and hack up a lung. He took pictures of the resort in Alabama while I was upstairs choking to death. He went walking on Royal Street in New Orleans and ogled all the beautiful antiques and other gee gaws while I was in the hotel hacking up my remaining lung.

I blame it on string theory and alternate universes. If all these physicist brainiacs can figure out the very nature of the universe, why can’t they figure out how a man and woman can cohabitate without killing each other? Maybe that’s why they are all eccentric loners. That’s my theory.

All along the way Mother-in-Law cruised along, unflappable, like the Queen Mum, occasionally raising an eyebrow and saying “well you can’t pick your relatives.” She’s right in a way. But, you do sort of pick your relatives when you marry someone. Because we don’t just marry one person, we marry the entire damned family. And now instead of 1 set of bizarre and colorful personages there are 2, and we’re saddled to them for life unless we call it quits.

I hit a relationship nightmare wall in New Orleans with one of my relatives who has a major drinking problem. Was talking to my sister about it later and I had a rather disturbing revelation. At least with a drunken relative, no matter how bad it gets, you count on them eventually passing out and then you heave a sigh of relief and can go about your business.

However, with a wacko relative who doesn’t drink, they can drag the craziness on and on and on and on. Until you are tempted to slip them something in their coffee to knock them out cold for at least 3 days. Also, since they’re sober, they remember everything and can store up every little thing anyone said or did, take out of context, twist it around, and stab someone in the gut with it at a most inopportune moment.

People who do this have the most annoying tendency to act all high and mighty because they don’t drink. My response is; do the world a favor and have a drink, a pill, go to bed or just shut the hell up! Preferably before someone shuts you up, shoots you with a tranquilizer dart, or vows on the life of their first-born child to never be in your exalted presence again for the rest of their natural life. Or perhaps are forced to identify you in a line up because you finally snapped and tried to run over the bag boy at the local supermarket with your car.

Another thing I realized is that in my biological relatives and relatives that I chose through marriage there is one over-riding tendency that drives me bat shit crazy. And I let myself get sucked into over and over again. This particular hat trick is “hey, let’s do X activity, I really love to do it.”  Silly me, I always think that means that we are going to jointly participate, do it together and collective share in the joy and creativity of the activity.

Nope. Ding Ding Ding. Way wrong answer! What it really means is that the person suggesting or demanding that the activity occur is going to sit around on their ass and tell you what to do, how to do it, and refuse to budge on anything that is not exactly how they want it done. All while they are sitting around complaining about how hard they are working. They will also get all bent out of shape and put on a pout that rivals the tantrums of King Leer if you don’t do it with a gleam in your eye and pretend to enjoy every moment of your inadvertent indentured servitude.

So I guess I have some family issues. I find vague comfort in the fact that I am not alone. The holidays tend to bring out the good and the bad in all of us. Everything seems amplified and magnified during this time. All kinds of shoulds, and this is how it’s supposed to be, and we always did it this way, it doesn’t feel like the holidays if we don’t do such is such, tends to glob up into one huge ball of confusion that would bring a horse to its knees.

Perhaps I need to go on a solo trip to Fiji for the holidays next year? Or maybe even this year. It’s not too late.

The Bridge Too Far

Highway to hellThis story of the road trip to Key West seems to be unfolding in a nonlinear fashion. I learned a lot about myself this time around. Travel is always educational. Unfortunately it’s not always things you want to learn. But, I sort of wonder if perhaps some things are better not learned in the first place. Although I still have bronchitis so I may still be in an extremely whiny and frustrated mood.

The main thing I learned this time is that at the tender age of 57 I still stand back and let myself get talked into things that I know are going to be a BAAAAAD idea. And then volunteer to do part of the driving to get to the bad idea.

I’ve driven to Key West from New Orleans 2 times before and both times swore on my future grave that I was NEVER going to do it again. It’s a long boring stressful trip through a whole lot of nothing. Key West is fabulous, but driving there sucks on multiple levels.

So what do I do? I agree to another road trip to Key West from 500 miles further away and somehow tell myself that I have not in fact lost my freaking mind. I should have put my foot down and said “there is no way in hell that I am doing this, and may God have mercy on your soul. Don’t bother sending postcards because I’ve already been there, done that.” Or maybe something along the lines of “hey, I’m going to fly, meet ya there, have fun. Call me from the road if you live.”

I love my Mother-in-law but she is what she is. She still bosses her son around and hasn’t figured out that I don’t take well to getting bossed around. I put an end to my mother bossing me around by leaving home when I was 15 years old. I’m left feeling like I spent 2 weeks with a pillow slammed down over my face. Maybe that’s why my body decided to manifest bronchitis so I could have an excuse to say NO, I don’t want to cram another plate of food down my face or look at one more tree, statue or anything else without resorting to violence. I need a break!!

Part of the problem is that the Hubman has developed this sort of Siamese triplet mentality. A weird triangle relationship has manifested where he seems to think that he, his mother and I are an inseparable unit. It’s not doing our relationship much good. This was becoming an issue before we left on the trip.  If I didn’t go along with the program with his mother, then he won’t go either. It’s as if WE not HE is responsible for entertaining his mother at all times. I have my own mother to contend with, thank you very much. And that is not always an easy task.

As a result, this behavior continued and worsened on the trip and if I didn’t go along with the program then he would stay in the room and crank up the AC to zizz and in general take over everything and every square inch of the room. He wouldn’t do anything with his mother unless I came along, so the only solitude I managed to find was in a random hotel bathrooms or walking around the corner to alleys. The exception being the night I collapsed in the hotel.

My first mistake was forgetting the first rule of travel is that it’s supposed to be enjoyable for ALL members of the party. As defined by ALL members of the group. This doesn’t mean that everyone likes every single activity. Of course compromises should be made. But reluctantly embarking on a 3,000 mile road trip because one of the persons involved doesn’t want to be “inconvenienced” by an uncomfortable airplane seat is a recipe for resentments and disaster. Said person did absolutely none of the driving of course.

Another mistake was my standing by while the Hubman planned out the route and how long it “should” take us to get from point A to point B. Never in his life has he been on a road trip as an adult. He was a passenger in the back seat as a small child and went on road trips with his family. But that doesn’t even come close to counting as experience as an adult traveler. I kept trying to tell him that you need to factor in time to stop, walk around, eat, use the restroom, and just in general not be in the car for a while. Did he listen?  – NO. Did I put my foot down and insist? – NO.

Crazy things happen when traveling. Not everyone wakes up hung over in a hotel room in Bangkok with a tattoo on their face, but things do happen. Time to recuperate, process, be alone, and rev up for more adventures needs to be in there somewhere, or a trip can quickly transform into a death march.

So it seems we have some issues to resolve. Ya think?

Hubman’s 50th Birthday On the Road

Hubman's  7 Sin Birthday cake

Hubman’s 7 Sins Chocolate Birthday cake

Yesterday was Mr. Husband’s big 50th birthday. What did he do on his birthday? He drove his wife and mother 538 miles for Jackson, Mississippi to Clear lake, Florida on this second day of our road trip. What a great guy. I think we’ll keep him. And maybe he’ll keep us. We have got along OK  much better than I thought we would.

I managed to find a halfway decent restaurant using the Urban  Spoon app on my Iphone. It was Italian Greek place that turned out to be excellent. For his birthday cake Hubman chose a huge piece cake call “7 Layers of Chocolate Sin.” I tried a bite of it and it was indeed sinfully delicious.

It was a long haul and it rained all day, but it wasn’t that bad trip.We’re hope to get to Miami earlier in the after noon to tomorrow to get settled into a hotel and visit the prospective bride and groom on there last few days of single hood. Then we’ll all be heading to down to Key West for the Wedding Saturday.  I’m looking forward to some beach time and relaxation, and drink lots of with little umbrellas in there 🙂

So tomorrow we will be on the road early as possible and skeedadled Miami. The soon to be newly weds life in a swanky high-rise right in downtown Miami on Brickell Ave. That’s a pretty prestigious address from what I recall when I lived in Miami many years ago.

I’m hoping that we get a chance to drive by the house in Miami that I lived in until  I was 15 years old. I wonder if the old banyan tree that I played in as a kid is still standing. That would be hoot if it still looks the same.

There’s No Place Like Home

Great Camping Trip of 2011

There’s no place like home and I’m might glad to be back there. I missed Mr. Husband and our huge hot shower. But, don’t get me wrong we had a fabulous time.

The round trip took 2 weeks and covered 4,300 miles including a stop off in New Orleans to drop off my mother and backtrack home to Dallas. Mom is 72 but still ever ready to take off on an adventure. We fell into a groove after a day or two and everything was grand. We saw more different types of mountains, hills, rock formations, lava flows, flat lands, deserts, hay and dirt that we imagined possible. The people we encountered were every bit as varied.

In Colorado and the Dakotas I never felt like more of a city slicker and flat lander. We toodled around in my Ford Crossover like we had good sense. Surrounded by huge 18 wheel trucks, 4 wheel drive jeeps, RVs the size of small hotels, and hard-core  motor cyclists, we felt out-of-place occasionally, but hey, this is our adventure and we stuck to it!  The one thing we all had in common was that we were out on the road seeing the country and all its amazing sights, natural beauty and glory.

On one stretch of desolate South Dakota road my mother announced the she had no idea that the U.S. had such vast stretches of nothingness in the middle of it. I told her “wait til you get to Kansas.” No offense to Kansasians, but come on,  driving through after harvest time there is nothing but hundreds of miles of dried up corn stalks or dirt. But I do thank you sincerely from the bottom of my heart for popcorn and cornbread.

Our main scenic destination as Yellowstone National Park. The first national park anywhere in the world, by the way. It was incredible and deserves posts and posts all to itself, which I will do. Then we went to see Mt. Rushmore. Another wonderful feast for the eyes.It’s amazing what men can do when they set their mind to it. Mr. Husband sometimes acts like opening a can will take every ounce of strength and fortitude that he can muster. Maybe he just needs a bigger project? Or the right inspiration. I bet he could have a 300 foot high paper mache statue of former presidents Reagan and Bush built on our front lawn by next weekend if he decided too. Ah patriotism and the human spirit.

But anyway, it’s good to be home and get a big hug from the hub-man. It’s nice to know I am loved and missed. After I vegetate for a few days, I will look over my notes and pictures and reconstruct the trip in a little more detail. Hugs to all.

What’s Important?

Campsite in Bernalillo, NM

What kind of baggage do we haul around? I’m looking around here. Beautiful mountains, cool breeze. This stuff just doesn’t fit in your luggage. I’m in a little campground North of Albuquerque, New Mexico. We are the only people here camping in a tent. All the others are in Rvs. Seems like the way to travel now. The majority of the population is older couples, with or without grandchildren. I am without grandchild now that Mr. Grandson choked and decided to quit the National Guard.

I’m sad and happy at the same time. He was a huge over grown toddler. This camping stuff is hard. My Mom and I had some re-realizations. Don’t wait till the end of the day when you have driven 11 millions miles to go shopping for food. Duh! We both knew better than that, but we did it anyway. A road weary float through Wally-Mart is positively surreal after a long day on the road.

It’s beautiful and peaceful here. No TV, thank you God. No radio, no nothing. Well OK, almost nothing. I’m typing away furiously on my little net book. It was a dollar extra for electrical juice, so what the hey?

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