What child is this

rock city “Daddy, how much more minutes will it be until we get to grammy’s?”

“A long time honey.”

“But, how many minutes?”

“It’ll be about 124 minutes.”

“But that’s a really long time. I wished we lived right here.”

Here, being the middle of nowhere, somewhere between a little town in Georgia and another little town in Tennessee, up Hwy 411. If you’ve ever watched HGTV’s 100-Mile Yard sale show, then you can pretty much picture what this 2-hour stretch of lonely road is like. In fact, they have their own yard sale Web site, aptly named the “Hwy 411 Yard Sale.” Check out the link. (I find it interesting that all of the Points of Interest mentioned, have nothing to do with sales, or yards).

We did finally make it to grammy’s luckily, and after retrieving a bottle of clorox and a scrubby thingy and scouring her in-law suite downstairs until all of the spiders and various fungi had disappeared, we had a great weekend! Honestly, I can’t even begin to relax until my surroundings are clean!

We swam in the river and played with critters–catching four turtles and three crawdads (crayfish for your northerners).  We explored Tuckaleechee caverns (which I HIGHLY recommend!) and I only had to carry MLI for 1/2 a mile…500 feet underground (I think the closer you are to the center of the earth, the heavier you are because of gravity or something). We rode bikes and watched DVD’s. We ate junk food and took very unflattering pictures of daddy’s belly in his swimsuit. All in all it was a really good weekend.

As I drove back, I reflected on how different MLI is away from his brother. At home he’s constantly competing for attention; however, away from MLE, he’s actually a pretty calm, well-spoken, fun person to be around. It was good spending time away from home where I could actually see what his personality is becoming, rather than the hollering, near-incoherent whirling dirvish he is around his brother and his friends. It’s amazing really, the difference.

I’m going to have to make it a point, as the boys both grow, to spend time alone with each of them, in addition to all the things we’ll do together. Because I honestly enjoyed this weekend alone with him, which is more than I can say for any “Family” adventure we’ve all done together.

Of course though, all good things come to an end and it wasn’t 15 minutes after getting home on Sunday that I remembered WHY we went away in the first place.

Ah well, it was good while it lasted…yeah, it was REALLY good!

Well, there is the water, and caves and horses to ride…

Roadtrip I ‘m in a bit of a quandry. Help me out here.

My mom (one of them anyway) lives in Tennessee, in a tiny little town called Walland. It’s just on the other side of the mountains from Pigeon Forge and Dollywood and all of that tourist greatness.

She also lives right on Little River. In fact, I can wade right into the river from her back yard.

All of this adds up to a whole lotta reasons why I should go see her…more often. Except that it’s a 3.5 hour drive from Roswell and the drive isn’t especially kid-friendly. We’ve only been up there once this year, and that was in the spring, so we’re really due to go back up.

CareerMom is in New York this week on Thursday and coming back Friday afternoon and we’ve discussed my taking MLI and heading up to see my mom, leaving CareerMom and MLE at home. What really shouldn’t be that tough of a decision, is laden with choices:

Pros:

  • Getting a break from the constant attention needs of MLE (who is a HUGE daddy’s boy!)
  • Getting to spend some quality time with MLI playing in the river and drinking too much soda pop (what an “old” phrase) on the road trip
  • Seeing my mom
  • CareerMom suspects she left her glasses there last time and without them at night after she takes her contacts off, she can’t see much of anything. I could verify whether or not this is true and potentiall retrieve said glasses, thus potentially saving CareerMom loads on a new pair!

Cons:

  • The price of gas
  • The 7 hours of drive-time
  • My mom really wanting to see MLE since he’s “the baby” and arguably, quite the draw from a personality standpoint

Frankly, the price of gas isn’t THAT big a deal, but I felt I should throw it in regardless. And admittedly, a huge thing for me is that I feel guilty leaving CareerMom at home to deal with MLE by herself all weekend. At least when I’m home too, we can switch off for a few moments of sanity.

Whaddya think? Suck it up and take a road trip, or stay home and keep CareerMom sane?

At this point, the 8 hour drive home sounds like bliss…

golden arches I owe that great big, yellow and red clown at McDonalds an apology!

For years I have derided McDonalds for their fast food ways; their McNuggets that honestly aren’t any better now that they are “all white meat” than they were before 60 Minutes got ahold of them; and for their greasy fare that just never seemed to be something that any health-conscious person would ever, in a million years, consider eating for any reason other than a life or death situation.

But then, I had kids.

And then we wanted to go on vacation with said kids.

And then, after three hours in the car, said kids were driving mom and dad batty and needed to exercise.

What is a parent to do?

Oh looky! Is that a McDonalds with an indoor playground? Holy Cow! Stop NOW!

And that is the wellspring from whence my repentance flows. And be darned if McDonalds doesn’t have some gloriously sweet tea!

And it was good–for about 30 minutes until dad’s “schedule” reigned supreme and he forced them all back in the car for the rest of the trip to Kiawah Island, SC, where he would spend the next few days slapping 50 SPF sunscreen on his wonderfully 35-year old body, while schlepping sand-laden plasty-crap back and forth from the beach to the condo and back again; all the while praying to the gods (whichever ones rule over beach vacations) that the boys would sleep soundly at night allowing mom and dad to relax for a few minutes.

But someone remind me again how, after the first day, when you’re tired of the beach and you’re spending the bulk of the time in the A/C in the condo, or at the pool, how this is better than going to your neighborhood pool and relaxing in your own home where a half gallon of skim milk doesn’t cost an arm and a leg? Tell me again how that works?