I recently went on an adventure across the country with my daugher, in my daughter’s car. I word it that way to make my life sound like it has meaning. I actually just went to California to move my daughter and her copious amount of shit home. Now you all know me, and how I am an anxiety riddled stress machine, right? So when I say to you all that two days before having to fly out to California by myself I had a panic attack the size of California, you totally get it. I could have reasoned that I was going to be safe and that the trip was going to move forward without a hitch.
Well, I DIDN’T OKAY!
I instead looked up things like “Wildfires in California!” and “Tornadoes that ripped through Kansas” and not to mention the fact that I also watched a Netflix movie about the end of days for good measure. So I was good and prepared for anything that the Good Lord can throw my direction.
I am also an avid reader so I brought with me three books to read on the airplane and in hotels rooms because I plotted my trip out to take my beautiful nineteen year old daughter out of California up to her equally beautiful sister that is twenty-five who lives in Minnesota and then stay there until the twenty-five year old was on vacation from work four days later. We then journeyed the rest of the trek home all together. It was a total of two weeks.
I made it to my first stop on my flight which was in Phoenix, Arizona. Next was the flight to Monterey California. When I got on my plane for California I had already finished one of my books and had started another. Because I am reading, and also because I am getting old, I have to wear my bifocals. I also have sensitivity to light so I have to wear sunglasses that are also bifocals. Nothing says “Young and Vibrant” quite like a pair of bifocals sunglasses. I mean to look at them you would never know….but I know. Sure they are fashionable and shit, but they are also bifocals. I mean I might as well wear those weird square things the doctors give you when they dilate your pupils. So the spring is a bit out of my step, and no it has nothing to do with the weird click in my knee…it’s the fact that I am aging.
Where was I? Oh, yes, the flight that landed in Monterey California and how ill-prepared I was to be climbing out of the plane onto the tarmac with my bifocals glasses and not the sunglasses and my eyes are super sensitive to the light. I came off that plane blinking and shielding my eyes. I am certain that I came off a bit like a poor refugee that had just been released from the dark cave she had taken shelter in. “The LIGHT! It blinds! MY EYES! They burn!”
My inner-voice is all shouting “BE COOL! ACT LIKE YOU’VE BEEN PLACES BEFORE!”
I get into the tiny airport and I walk trying to read the signs that tell me which way to get my bags. My bags that I have packed to be on the road for two weeks. I can’t read the signs because my eyes can’t focus to the lighting in the airport. I am standing in front of a sign and squinting and rubbing my eyes and trying to see if it says Baggage Claim or Bagel Clam. I mean it seems obvious, but I don’t know. I get over to where the bags come out and I am super prepared to HULK OUT when my bags come out. Because I have packed everything a woman may need for two weeks in several climates. Yes, I may have over packed, but you never know when you may need things. My bags have my initials on them so I don’t make any mistake. So they come out side by side and I handle my luggage like a God Damned pro. I walk outside and a Taxi drive sees me “Need a ride miss?”
“Yes sir!” he takes my bags from me and off we go. Like it was planned. Smooth! Thank God for being gentle to me. My child and I spend the next three days moving her out. She drives a little Toyota and it is filthy. So filthy that I cannot see out of the mirror. It didn’t rain in California the entire time she was there. What it did do was mist…and create a lovely dirt paste all over her car. I now have to find a car wash. Thank goodness I have an iPhone and internet. Imagine life in the dark ages when you had to ask people and stuff. I get her car washed and I climb back in and drive away.
I get to the hotel and valet the car until it is time to pick up my angel at work. She and I are going to eat at the posh place she had been interning at all summer. I am dressed in my nice clothes and sweating my balls off. What has happened to her nice air conditioning? I am not going to lie when I say that I am not a car genius. This is probably going to make my father cry…LOOK AWAY DAD.
I couldn’t figure out how to turn on her air-conditioning. The valet or maybe the car wash guy turned off her air-conditioning and I am all….Oh yes hit the AC button and that is how it is done. Guys……….That is not how it is fucking done apparently. I am sweating and swearing (shocking I know) I turn dials and I push more buttons. NOTHING. It is warm here in California but we are going to be driving to Vegas tomorrow. Vegas is sort of Hell light. IF you want to prepare yourself for what Hell will be like go there. I mean it is 115 degrees there. That’s why Vegas women choose to strip…they are all like, “well I am going to walk around naked anyway I might as well get paid for it.”
I am going to be driving through the desert in this car with no fucking air-conditioning?
I call my husband and try to pretend I am not having a menopausal Hot flash and a nervous fucking breakdown all at once and I say politely “Hey, so, UMMMMM? How do I turn on the air-conditioning in this car?”
The way he yells back at me leads me to believe I am not being as polite as I thought I was “I don’t know honey, I am not driving it!”
So now I am annoyed so I say “I pushed the AC button and nothing happened and so then I turn the dials and nothing happened. I feel like I may be doing it wrong. Can you help me?”
“I will make you an appointment to have it fixed first thing in the morning.” Was his response.
“Do you think it’s broken? I mean it was working just fine until I gave it to the valet.” I think “It appears to have been just turned off, I just don’t know how to turn it on again.”
“You have an appointment at 7:00 in the morning. Take it to them and have them check it out.”
“What if they need to buy parts and have them shipped?” I began to panic for real now because the expert I called is telling me that a professional is needed and I am never going to leave California. It’s like that fucking song “You can check out anytime you want but you can never leave!” Oh Fuck me, the Eagles were right. I’m stuck here.
I start to cry and tell my husband “this is not going as planned.” because I am a rock star and I am rolling with it.
My daughter comes to the car and I am in pieces. “Mom, are you okay?” she asks gingerly.
“I have some very bad news.” I take a deep breath. “Your air conditioner is broke.”
“Oh for fucks sake mom, I thought someone died.”
“Well to be honest I am not even sure your air conditioner is broke because I think it’s just turned off and I don’t actually know how to turn it back on again.”
She smiles and says “Yeah, this happened to me before. You have to turn the dial first and then hit the AC button.”
Once she did this her air conditioning turns on like a charm. Take that Menopause, I have raised a super hero.
We cancel our appointment and the next morning we take a walk before sitting in the car for our eight-hour drive to Vegas. We say goodbye to her home for the past few months and leave with the air conditioning working. I apologized to my husband profusely for being so irrational. He says it was not a problem. He totally understood and was glad that the air conditioner was working.
When we get to Vegas I have realized that we need to get rid of some of her things because there is no place for her sister to sit when we get to her place. So we decide to lug half of her things to the Fed-ex shop in the hotel and ship it home. This was so ingenious and I was so proud of myself for thinking it. It was a bit pricey but we freed up so much space in the car.
Vegas was fun and we saw a show and we laid by the pool until it got so hot that we couldn’t stand it. We went shopping. We ate some great food. We saw a premarital argument out on the street…we knew it was premarital because they were wearing their bride and bachelor sashes. We had the full Vegas experience.
Onward, next stop Utah. We drove through some really beautiful places and scenery and even some smoke because of wildfires in Utah. My daughter was the perfect navigator. We sleep in Utah, the next morning we wake up and go for a walk before we have to sit again. Our next stop was Colorado. I ask my daughter to take pictures while I drive. She then tells me “I am not as excited about dirt as you are!” I then tell her that when we get closer to Colorado it will be greener. I then tell her that I would like to take her to the “Garden of the Gods”.
“I’ll see anything as long as it is not dirt.” she smiles
I grimace because the “Garden of the Gods” is rocks. I then say “Well it’s pretty dirt though.” we didn’t go to the Garden of the Gods. What we did do was go to Target because we needed to get some duct tape. When I pulled into a gas station to gas up and go to the potty….I noticed as I was coming back to the car that some “underthings” were hanging. I call my husband again and I say “Soooo! UMMMMM? There are some underthings hanging down from the bottom of the car, are those important?”
“I don’t know! What are they?”
“The Flaps?” I look at my daughter. She nods in agreement “I think it’s the flaps and they are hanging and dragging on the ground. Is that okay?”
“What flaps?” he asks
“The under flaps.” I explain and preface this with “I think!”
“Oh and my bumper is coming off because some rich dick hit my car!” my daughter chimes in.
“Jesus Christ Becki did you get in an accident?”
“No, I have been driving well. I just noticed this. I mean I am still driving and the car seems fine its just every once in a while we hear a dragging noise. I mean it is probably fine right?”
“Let me think about this and what it could be.” my husband once had to listen to me explain whilst he was in Europe, no less, about the under clunking in my oldest’s car. He was so pissed by my explanation that he told me to just making an appointment. I told the people at the car shop that there was an underclunking and then my oldest produced a handful of clips that she had in her pocket and said “And I found these!” So yeah we are super great with these types of things. That particular day the clips my daughter found didn’t actually come from her car and they fixed the problem.
“I told you, its the under flaps.” in all seriousness.
“Cars don’t have under flaps.” he explains. “Can you just take a picture of it?”
“When I get to the hotel I will.”
“Maybe it’s the splash guards and you can just duct tape them up. I don’t know about the bumper though.”
“Yeah I think duct tape will help.” I say even though I didn’t actually get a good look at the bumper.
We get to Colorado and we take photos of the under flaps and the bumper that I was able to push back into place. My husband tells me that duct tape will work and to not worry about it.
We get the car all duct taped and head onto the next stop, Missouri. Except when I was trying to figure out where the GPS was telling me to turn I was premature and the GPS decided to be a fucking bitch and she was all like “OKAY you can take the scenic route.”
There we were driving down this country road with nothing but farm land on either side of us and we were on this road for a hundred and fifty miles. I start to get nervous, what if we need gas? Luckily my daughter is a savvy little genius and she found on the gps on her phone that there was a gas station coming up ahead. We were happy to stop and get gas and to use the restroom. We had doubts about getting food though. That was until we walked in and smelled the fried chicken cooking. There in behind the gas station was a little fried chicken shop with all of the fixens. My little girl walks up and looks at the menu.
My daughter who is a tiny little thing asks “Can I have an eight piece dinner?”
“NO!” the woman behind the counter says, “All I’ve got here is all I’ve got and it aint even lunch rush yet!”
My daughter looks at me confused because this chicken queen has over a hundred pieces of chicken in her case and we can smell more cooking.
“Well what can I have?” my daughter asks her.
“What ever you want sweetie.” the woman responds.
“Can she have the chicken strips?” I ask
“I guess three?” My daughter asks because she doesn’t know how many is too many.
“Okay any potatoes?” chicken lord asks
“Yes the wedges.” my daughter says.
“A couple?” my daughter answers and the woman drops two potato wedges into the box and then she looks at me.
“Do you want anything?”
“No thank you!” because I am not sure if we have purchased too much already. I grab some sandwich from the store portion of the gas station and then we were back on the road.
We climb into our duct taped car and carry onward to Missouri. When we get to our hotel we have a hard time finding where to park. I have been to New York city and pulled into the walkway thinking it was the valet parking before and had been yelled at by a police officer. So when I see this Parking sign I am immediately skeptical. Also as I pull forward to the parking garage it states to check in first. I park in the fire zone and run in and check in and they notice that I look flustered.
“Are you okay?” the check in girl asks.
“Yes, but I parked in a fire zone and I don’t think I was supposed to!” I say.
She smiles and says “No problem, let’s get you all checked in and I will have the valet go get your car and to help you with your bags.”
One night in this hotel and then onward to my oldest daughter’s home. We stay in a hotel because she is a vet student and she lives with many people and I didn’t want to intrude. When we finally get to see my oldest daughter we all hug and laugh and joke. We tell her about the duct tape and the under flaps. We go to dinner. She works two jobs, one frightfully early in the morning and the other starts at five and goes to the late night hours. So we go back to our hotel. That night my youngest got out of bed to use the restroom. When she came back she stopped before climbing back in and she removed her earrings. I see her there but I don’t know it is her. I just see someone standing over my daughter’s bed. So I yell in my man voice “Hey!”
My daughter screams and I stand up because I think the assailant has got her. I turn on the light and there is my poor little angel all wide-eyed and ready to take me down if need be. We laugh and I apologize.
It finally comes time to leave with both daughters in the car heading to Indiana and eventually home. My oldest is shopping through her sister’s things because we need to make more room. We tetris the shit out of our things and get enough space in the car for everyone and their belongings. The next drive was long and filled with traffic as people are moving back to Universities and what not. Finally we make it to our hotel. We decide on dinner and I have been eating such unhealthy things all I really wanted was a salad. Instead we ate at Five Guys and my stomach is on fire from the grease.
We are in a suite style room and I noticed before I went to bed that there is a door that leads to another room. There is a sign that says to lock door turn the lock this way. I try to turn it and it doesn’t budge. I shrug thinking it is locked and I go to bed. Then as I am sleeping I hear a door noise and I think “Holy fuck it is the murderer that lives behind that God damned door coming to kill my daughters and me.” So I wake up and try to see….as you now know I don’t see very well, hence the bifocals. So I am squinting into the dark abyss and I see the tiniest of a round shape and it looks like this person is watching us sleep.
I have been on the road with the youngest and I call for her first. She does not budge. I then call the oldest and she doesn’t move either. I walk over and I wake her up.
She says “Yeah?”
“I need you to help me.” I say, still sleepy and now starting to come to.
“What do you need help with?”
“I, ummm, I heard a noise. So I need you to be awake in case I get murdered.”
“Okay.” she says
“Oh and I’m going to turn on the TV.” I say as an after thought because I just woke up my daughter to witness my murder I might as well put some light on so that she can be a good witness. When the television is turned on there is my tiny headed person, it was a vase above the couch. The door that I heard was the elevator and I am glad that I am awake because I have to pee.
When I crawl back into bed, my oldest looks at me and asks “Are you done being murdered? Can I go back to sleep?” because she has been my daughter for twenty-five years and she is quite accustomed to my crazy.
When we get home the dogs are happy to see us. My husband had left on a business trip so I won’t see him for a couple of days. My daughter’s best friends were watching the dogs and waiting to see my daughter who has been in California since March. It was so lovely to see them all together again. My son and his girlfriend are coming home to stay a few days and for a few nights all of my babies will be under one roof. We played a card game that made me laugh so hard that I went to bed with a headache and a sore neck. My kids are hilarious and I am so proud of them. They all got their mother’s sense of humor and none of my ridiculous fears. My husband’s trip got cut short so he was able to come home and be with his family. It was lovely how everything turned out.
Moral of my story: Be patient with yourself and trust that everything will be alright. Also travel with duct tape. I totally loved this trip with my daughter/daughters. It was such an adventure and turns out that my imagination was worse than any of the troubles that were in front of me. The Good Lord watched over us and probably laughed along with us.
Until next time 🙂