Total Eclipse of the Heart

This is the story of a woman who had no interest in science.

She has a sciencey husband. He was all:

“Hey! The eclipse! Once in a lifetime! Let’s drive to Nebraska!”

She was all:

“I don’t want to. Because: packing, leaving, planning, lists, snacks, endless endless snacks. Just the snacks. Oh Lord, all the SNACKS.”

We drove to Nebraska. Husband accidentally booked us a hotel room in a smoking room. YES THEY STILL SMOKE IN HOTEL ROOMS IN NEBRASKA. You should be ashamed of yourself, Nebraska. I opened all the windows (possibly broke one, I don’t care Nebraska) and there was A LOT OF COMPLAINING.

Then: Ate chicken cacciatore that was… really good. Less complaining. Too busy eating bread slathered in garlic oil and herbs.

Then: Drove to a place called The Crane Nature Center. Who knew? Cranes! In Nebraska! The complaining has now cycled down to about one or two per hour. Sunshine. Hiking paths. Pretty nature stuff. IMG_6942.jpgIMG_6943.jpg

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If you look closely: SNACKS. Of course.

Then: made friends with the all the people. All of them. Everyone was all, “This is so cool! It’s nature! And barbecue! And we’re all in this together! Look at us being all together in this sciencey, once-in-a-lifetime moment!”

Complaining: 1/2 per hour

Then: WHAMMO

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And yes, my pictures don’t do it justice. BECAUSE IT WAS AMAZING. TOTALLY.

I was wrecked. We all applauded and I cried and people hugged and the whole thing just made me realize two things:

  1. Once in a lifetime things are so cool. I wish they happened more often. But, that would change the verbage.
  2. Nebraska is awesome.

Husband and I held hands and I wiped tears. Then, Blonde came up to me and said, “Thank you. Thank you so much for bringing us.” Then Red said, “THIS IS AMAZABALLS.”

And then, a bit later, Blonde came over to me and flopped down in a chair. I said, “You ok?”

He responded, “I’m recovering.”

And Red asked, “Where are the snacks?”

Of course.

Complaining: ZERO

And THEN: We all packed up and walked past the river and the pretty butterfly field and all the people were smiling and saying hi and it was like a Happy Village of Everyone Getting Along Despite 2017, and I was kinda blissing out.

And then we ate at Tommy’s Diner in Grand Island, NE and I had the BEST BUTTERSCOTCH MALT EVER IN THE HISTORY OF EVER.

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ACTION FOOTAGE OF OUR HIPSTER WAITER WITH MAN BUN. I love him. He brought me my malt.

It was, quite simply, a once in a lifetime experience.

Complaining: NEGATORY. NEVER AGAIN. I AM SHOOK.

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Also, there is the hot fudge sundae experience.

I call this photo essay “THIS IS THE SNACK OF DREAMS”

 

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You might say I had a change of heart. A “total eclipse” if you will.

And then: on the drive home, we listened to The Last Battle and I kissed hubs on the cheeck. “Thank you,” I said. “And I’m sorry I complained so much.”

And hubs said, “You complained? Nah. I don’t remember that.”

The world is a wonderful place.

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The end.

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This is the post where some apple juice breaks me.

Warning: It is possible that Momsie uses a teensy weensy bit of bad language in this post. Mom, don’t read. Dad, you’ll feel right at home.

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This is a poster of Yoda, made entirely out of Legos. Note the coffee. Much needed. Note the caption. Much appropriate. Go ahead, visit the Lego Land. If you dare. Just be prepared to get in touch with your dark side.

Recently, my Red had his fifth birthday. And, since I am a rather frugal and practical parent, I had planned a small, simple celebration for him. Because, we don’t spoil our kids.

So, we took him to Kansas City to Lego Land, Sea Life Aquarium, thirty thousand restaurants that had really awesome play centers so your meal is a deafening echo of squealing, cake, three times, and, the epic center of wonderfulness: Chick-fil-A. With vanilla shakes! And der marshmarino cherries! And fifty thousand dollars worth of Star Wars Lego sets!

Be warned: the shake is gonna show up again later in the post. On a very literal level. (Oooooo! foreshadowing! Go English teacher!)

I will detail this little, simple, and practical celebration later, when I know that my parents are not reading and cannot taunt me about loading my children up on the ride we parents take called: Lets Make Hugely Expensive Memories.

Anyhow.

The point of THIS post (the lawyer, ever-present, rolls eyes and adds a “humph”) is to tell you about the three-hour trip home after our weekend of kidpalooza.

Why, you ask, is a three-hour trip so interesting as it merits its own post?

Well, I don’t really know, actually. Perhaps it’s not. In fact, the trip was just rather gross and unpleasant. So, of course, I’m gonna write about it!

Let’s begin.

We started out in the car.

We had: snacks, and waters, and books, and comic books, and Cheerios (I didn’t pack Cheerios. They just appear when we drive), and all the other accessories that children mysteriously gain while in a car. I swear, last time we took a road trip, we got out of the car with an extra kid and a new sofa sectional. I dunno. Perhaps it’s a metaphor for life. We always come out with more than we put in.

So then, we drove. It all seemed to good, as we were heading west and that’s where our house is. Hubs had found some   endless barking radio commentary about the Royals and the Slide Into Second Base-Gate. If you don’t know, it’s some sort of event that happened at this Royals game and the fans are ALL riled up, and so therefore, we need to talk about it for about four days straight on talk radio. Because that is so interesting. And really, really insightful. Especially when dudes phone in with a caller name of “Matt the Machine,” and he likes to say, “You know what I’m sayin’?” at the end of each eloquently worded sentence.

But I digress.

The drive was just fine until Blonde started puking everywhere. Boom. So much for rising action.

And all I’m gonna say is this:*

Three stops. As God is my witness, I will never eat chicken nuggets again.

Evidently, car sickness is a thing. I had heard rumors of it. I think it was something that my sister had at some point, thus the coffee can in the back of the station wagon and all that. On our trip, Blonde had been reading his Overpriced Comic Book from the land of Legos. I would look back, and his little brow was all wrinkled, reading the book, chin on hand.  The cuteness! And, the reading! So adorable! And smart! At the same time! I was so proud.

But then, I looked back a bit later… and I noticed that the cuteness had been overtaken by a green pallor. He wasn’t a deep green yet, but more of a light celadon. Or a soft olive. And I thought, “Wow. What a pretty shade… Hey, WHOA he is starting to do that thing my cat does at 5 am on my bed!”

And then I did the most logical, smooth, and caring parenting move ever: I scrunched way down in my seat. Why, you ask?

Well, I DON’T KNOW. I guess I hoped that no puke would hit me. Or that, perhaps, the scrunching would make this all just go away.

Let me explain: I really, really don’t like puke. (It is at this time that the lawyer snorts and says, “Really? Well, I LOVE the stuff! Most of us, do you know. You’re the EXCEPTION. AS ALWAYS.”)

I really need to fire that dude.

The scrunching did not help. So then the hubs, noticing my paralysis, looked back, summed up the situation in two words, “Whoa, dude.” and handed him a cup.

And the kid filled the cup. With puke. While we were hurtling 75 miles an hour down I-70, and I wondered why in the world did we EVER have children if they were just gonna betray you like this with Chick-fil-A that COMES BACK?????

Ok, I did help him. I did. I turned around, handed him about twenty Chick-fil-A napkins, cooed a bit, while he bravely spewed all the meals he had eaten for what seemed to be the last week.

“WE’RE ON CUP NUMBER TWO. I REPEAT. CUP NUMBER TWO. WE NEED ANOTHER CUP. CUP NOW. STAT. NOW AND STAT. CUP CUP CUP.”

And that’s when my hubs had inner conflict. I know. He doesn’t have this happen to him very often. He is a simple man, with a really kind of single lane road kind of mind. But, you see, the only cup left in the car was his 1980-something special commemorative Kansas City Royals special thing they had won, cup. Let me describe it for you: it is a white, plastic cup. Most of the writing has been rubbed off. He insists it gets hand washed. It is very,very special.

Hubster, also, I guess, prefers that his six-year-old doesn’t make this amazing cup a receptacle for you-know-what.

No more suspense. He gave him the cup. Dad of the Year.

As the Blonde very thoroughly took care of his stomach contents from 2012, we found a place to pull over. We stopped, and Red, always accurate, started to describe how the car smelled. I love that kid. Always available to take a moment fraught with tension and accessorize it.

As soon as we all got out of the car, Blonde loudly informed us, “I’m all done! Feel a lottttt better, too! Can I have a snack?” I just stared at him and wondered what was wrong with him.

Nothing. Evidently. Until we started driving again. Then we had a repeat performance of How to Gross Me Out So Much that I am Mute for at Least an Hour Afterwards. Luckily, I guess, we did pull over for this to halfway happen outside the car. During the halftime show, with Royals arguments about cleats or no cleats blaring from the car, I had to downward dog and breathe for just a minute. The hubs, ever perceptive, asked, “What’s wrong?”

Now, I ask you, what ever could be wrong in all of this?

“I JUST SAW A MARASCHINO CHERRY COME OUT OF HIS NOSE. I WANT MY MOM.” (And then I was mute. For an hour. And for that, I think, we were all a little bit grateful.)

We made it home. None of us had died. We all were able to walk inside. I grabbed Steve the Cat and held him to me like a furry life raft, and he patted me on the shoulder. I swear the cat was purring, “There, there,” to me, as I made it into the kitchen.

It was at this point that the hubs approached me with two of those tiny, overpriced water bottles with the Spiderman or some sort of Mutant Jedi Turtle or something on them. They were Very Important. I guess. They had held apple juice for the boys, which had been fifty percent spewed at me and elsewhere on the trip, so I eyed them rather testily. And then this conversation ensued:

Hubs: We need to rinse these out and keep ’em. We can use them again. The boys will, won’t they?

Me: (Fed up with plastic bottles and apple juice that costs two bucks, and apple juice that comes BACK, and, really, with just life in general). Dear. No. Just toss ’em. We don’t need them…

Hubs: But, we could use them again.

Me: YOU SAID THAT. NO. USELESS CRAP, MARRIED ONE. I GOT APPLE JUICE BOTTLES COMING OUTTA MY ASS.

Yep. That’s what I said.

Not one of my finer moments in the history of all my… moments.

The hubs calmly said, “Sounds painful,” and walked away. And I noted that despair and exhaustion often go hand in hand.

But later? Red did tell me, “Mommah? I wearlly liked our trip to Kansas City.” I nodded. Then,  “You know what the best part was? The BATHROOMS.”

It pays to live your life with really low expectations. Thank you, Red, for the reminder.

Action shot of reading. Same expression as when puking.

Action shot of reading. Same expression as when puking.

*The lawyer would once again like to point out that that was not ALL I said. Not anywhere close. He’s a pain, but he is accurate.