8 hours in the car, driving home from Texas. How did it work out?
Hour #1: Smooth start. Life is good. No one is complaining. No one is yelling. A few fights between the kids. I give the little guy a sippy cup to use as a shield or a weapon as he sees fit. Just trying to even things up.
Hour #2: Into the second hour of our book on tape. It is more awful than a Chinese finger twist. I don't know what that is by the way, but it doesn't sound good. It's called a plot people, try it out, it works wonders. I try to retreat into my own book. I can actually read in the car without getting sick. However, the massive stink from the backseat makes me sick. Stop number one accomplished. Hossmom wants me to talk to her. I want to sleep. The battle begins.
Hour #3: The natives in the backseat are getting restless. I bust out the emergency candy. I'm a little concerned that I'm using it so early but I feel that I have no choice. I have also turned on the DVD player. We are into our first showing of Madagascar. The first of many, many, many reviews of this faboulous movie. I'm throwing more candy in the backseat like I'm feeding chickens. They keep clunking though. Cluck, cluck, cluck. The book on tape takes a turn for the worse as the author tries to describe a sexy sex scene. I don't want to hear the words "pulsating" or "throbbing" anymore. And I never want to "enter" anything anymore either. We make our second stop so that some little people can run around a rest stop, because that's safe, right?
Hour #4: Lunch time. My old self would just get fast food and eat it on the road. New dad self means that we will stop some place, preferably where they have a playground, and eat for an hour. The place is crowded, way to crowded for me to walk away from the milk Little Hoss dumped on the floor. I'll be honest, if it was empty I would just keep on trucking. Because I'm a bastard. But with this many people, there's no way I can slip out unnoticed. And no one eats their nuggets. I'm still done with my meal in 10 minutes though which leaves me a good 50 minutes to run around the place trying to corral my kids. I used to judge parents that did this in restaurants. Then I had my own and realized it had nothing to do with parenting. They are just kids. You can't hope to stop them, you can only hope to contain them. I get a few looks from others trying to eat. I let them know the irony of their judgment is not lost on me. We rent a movie from a red box. My wife's idea. I can't take anymore Madagascar so we get something we know she'll love: Tinkerbell. It's moments like this that let's me know why I married that woman, she's awesome. I'm not sure if I can return it in my city but I don't care, it's worth the 24 bucks if I have to buy it.
Hour #5: Tinkerbell doesn't work in the DVD player. It's scratched up. It plays the first 20 minutes before it stops and Little Hoss wants to watch it again, and again, and again. I begin to miss Madagascar. Bubba Hoss is asleep though and I'll take te silence.
Hour #6: Book on tape keeps going downhill. There's a plot twist involving Nazi's. It gets to the point where I'm rooting for the bad guys. Both kids are asleep, this trip isn't so bad.
Hour #7: Both kids are up and a little cranky. I don't know why they are up. I begin to think that this is some sort of payback for something aweful I did although I can't imagine what it could be. Short of murder I don't see how I deserve this. Little Hoss want's to hold hands. Bubba Hoss keeps throwing his pacifier at my head. Although I don't know why I keep giving it back to him. I'm nothing but a trained dog folks, woof woof. We stop for potty breaks. I take Little Hoss into the men's restroom and the stall doesn't have a door. We have no choice. But what we really appreciate is the big turd floating there because that says Welcome to our State. It flushes though and I have go to ask myself what kind of lazy bastard can't even flush the toilet in a back water rest stop? Come on man. I wish the perpatrator of this outrage has kids someday and he travels across country. I teach my daughter to art of hovering. She's pretty good.
Hour #8: We realize that this 8 hour trip is going to be more like a 10 hour trip. We stop at yet another rest area because this one has a playground that's really nice. Good job Missiouri, way to come through. I will pay my taxes now. Bubba Hoss takes a header down the slide and busts his lip. Hossmom was in the bathroom and I'm wondering what she'll say when she sees it. I concoct lies, like telling her a rabid coyote ran out of the woods and snatched him but luckily Little Hoss and I were able to wrestle him away, with only a busted lip, how great are we. I realize that she'll never go for it so I think of something that sounds more plausible. I tell her that Little Hoss punched Bubba Hoss in the mouth. I'm going to owe her some candy now. Thanks for taking the fall sweaty, Daddy will make it up to you.
Hour #9: I have no idea why the kids have slept so little during the trip. It's past thier bed time but yet they are still up. We have switched back to Madagascar on the DVD player but it's no longer working it's magic. My feet hurt, my ass is numb and the kids are starting to scream. I go to plan B. I start throwing whatever is in the front seat into the backseat hoping that it will entertain them for a while. I throw Bubba Hoss what's left of the newspaper so he can tear it up. I throw Little Hoss old candy boxes hoping that she'll be distracted trying to find any secret compartments. The backseat looks like a warzone. The UN is going to have to come in and clean this up. And of course by the the UN I mean me.
Hour #10: The book on tape hasn't ended because it's that bad. Bad books always go on forever. The kids have literally been having a screaming contest for the last 30 minutes. I have even used my "dad voice" to get them to quiet down a little bit. It worked for about 10 seconds and now my own voice is horse. Please god let us get home. Let us get home. My wife doesn't believe in spanking the children, I'm hoping she's reconsidering that idea. When I was a kid we visited my grandmother's house every weekend for about 5 years. It was only 30 minutes away. We never made the whole trip without stopping to get licks. It was the same place every time, by two dumpsters on the side of the backwoods highway in southern Arkansas. I understand my dad now. I'm sorry Pop, we deserved those and I promise never to spit on my sister again. Home is in sight, I'm almost out of the book on tape nightmare that we have been living. I hope the Nazi's win. I hope that the heroine kills herself. I hope the bad guy wins the day, gets the money, and lives a very quiet and peaceful life. I hope that the author decides never, ever to write again. If he does, he's going on a car trip with us.