Tag Archives: rest stops

On the Road Again

10 Dec

For a lot of us the holidays mean traveling.  My husband’s family still lives on Long Island and we live in South Carolina.  We make the trek a few times a year, and we usually drive it.  A toddler, a dog and my small bladder usually make for many stops along the way.  The trip always takes us between fourteen and fifteen hours.  It doesn’t matter what time we leave our house, somewhere along the way there will be traffic.  There was one time, however, when we made it in ten and a half hours.  This is the trip against which my husband gauges the success of all other trips.  But it’s a bogus yardstick.  First of all, it was before the kid and the dog.  A pit stop in those days was actually a pit stop.  We fueled up, peed, grabbed a drink and a snack from the racks of the gas station and were back on the road again in three minutes flat.  Secondly, that ten and half hour miracle was performed on National Hangover Day.  We had spent New Year’s Eve with friends in New York and then hopped on the road at ten the next morning.  The roads were dead.  It was eerie. We rolled into our driveway at eight-thirty that night. It was a once in a lifetime feat. 
Now that we travel with a three-year-old and the dog we have to unload the tribe every time we stop.  It’s not that incredible of an undertaking, but it’s definitely more of a time suck than our former three minute pit stops.  My husband, Brendon, understands this on some level, but once we get into the car he develops logistical amnesia.  Every time my daughter or I ask to stop to pee we are greeted by the exaggerated and exasperated sighs of Brendon the Toilet Nazi.  His sympathy for my tiny bladder is limited, as he is what I refer to as a Piss Camel.  He can drink a gallon of Gatorade and drive comfortably for five hours.  I cut off my liquid intake at 6 pm the night before a trip.  That morning I will allow myself a tablespoon of water to wash down breakfast and will only suck on throat lozenges until we are at least six hours into the trip.  I wish I were making this up. 
Our three-year-old, Phoebe, has inherited the Piss Camel gene.  For this I am thankful.  But she is what I refer to as a Turd Terrorist.  You never know when one of her crap attacks will strike.  When she is at home on her regular routine she poops at pretty regular intervals.  On the road?  Well….let’s just say it’s a crap shoot.  The only predictable aspect of a Phoebe crap attack is that it will most likely occur when it is most inconvenient, when you’re stuck in traffic, or when the only place to go is a farmhouse only barely visible from the interstate. 
This year on our way up to New York for Thanksgiving, we were delayed for forty-five minutes on I-81 in Virginia for “dynamiting.”  Yes.  Dynamiting.  There was no detour.  Just a dead stop.  Some asshole had made the decision to dynamite the side of a mountain beside an interstate on one of the most busy travel days of the year.  We stopped the engine and got out of our car to join the other travelers in conversation on the side of the road while Phoebe took advantage of an opportunity to actually play in traffic and pet other dogs.  Just when it looked like we were going to get moving again, Phoebe announced to everyone within earshot that she had to poop.  Now. 
A friendly trucker retrieved a crusty towel from his vehicle for Brendon to use as a privacy shield while Phoebe joined the ranks of her newly made canine friends who were also crapping in the grass along the road’s shoulder.  Just as she was squeezing out the last bit of chocolate soft serve, the construction vehicle just ten car lengths ahead started its engine and gave everyone the go ahead to return to their vehicles.  We had just enough time to wipe her rear, toss the nasty towel back to the trucker and strap Phoebe into her car seat before people started to honk. 
On the return trip Phoebe was kind enough to reserve her crap attack for a clean and accessible rest area.  She must have been saving up all the mashed potatoes she had consumed on Thanksgiving for this one massive dump.  It lay in ambush in that shallow part of the bowl hidden from view as I reached back to wipe her tushy.  The poop was piled so high that my unsuspecting hand actually became lodged in the stuff. When I retracted my hand it looked as if I had just dipped it in thick brownie batter.  Phoebe took advantage of the acoustics in the restroom to inform everyone of the disaster.
“Ewwwh!  Mommy!  My poop is all over your hand!”  Then she laughed maniacally. 
After using toilet paper to sweep the poop from under my nails and scrape it from my palm and Phoebe’s tushy, we exited the stall and doused ourselves with soap. 
“Mommy you’re using a LOT of soap.”
“Sometimes Phoebe, you just can’t use enough.”
We returned to the vehicle where Brendon offered me a bag of chips.  I checked my nails one more time, just to be sure.  Then I reached into the bag and silently thanked whoever invented soap.  And we were on the road again.



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