Thursday, September 13, 2007

Home Again

On account of my little brother, Andrew, I’ve been evaluating the concept of home. Not any particular home, just houses where I have lived and may live someday. I’ve thought about the homes he will find himself in during the coming two years. And I’ve thought about the difference in the homes in which he and I grew up – two children in the same family but on opposite ends of the spectrum. And here’s what I’ve concluded…

"Home is not where you live, but where they understand you." Christian Morganstern

Obviously, this is not my conclusion but this conclusion speaks to my heart. I hope that my brother finds home many times over in the months and years to come. To be understood is a comfort, and relief, and everyone needs… well, a home.

Wednesday morning I left a home where I have never lived to return to the home that I have lived in the longest. You could say that one belongs to my parents, and one belongs to me. But in both I want to belong. Perhaps I always will. Perhaps I will not.

Anyway, enough of that sap… because I know some of you enjoy reading how I get from place to place… here’s the travel log from the trip.

3:40 a.m.
Good bye, family.

4:29 a.m.
After a frantic hunt to find an open gas station in Idaho Falls we find ourselves on a frigidly cold freeway. The in-car thermometer says 37 degrees but keeps flashing a message I have never seen before, “ICE.” Both the boys are still awake and gobbling corn chex.

4:43 a.m.
Mason drifts off to sleep, dropping only a few chex in his lap.

5:32 a.m.
We cross the Utah stateline. As we do so Cooper falls asleep, too.

6:52 a.m.
Mason wakes up and there is fog everywhere. This area (past Ogden) is truly beautiful.

7:07 a.m.
Cooper wakes up, too. Time to start the DVD. God bless the DVD.

7:11 a.m.
Traffic brings us to a standstill. Ummmm… we’re in the middle of nowhere. Why is there traffic?

7:51 a.m.
Stop at the Evanston, Wyoming McDonald’s for breakfast and bathroom/diaper breaks. Ever wonder why Wyoming has such nice McDonald’s? And such poor McDonald’s service? It’s so weird.

See a cowboy and Cooper says – you’ll never believe this?!??!! – “Look, a real cowboy.” Well, this is not the cowboy to say this to. He later approaches me and the following conversation unfolds. (Seriously, where do these people come from?)

Creepy, old man, cowboy: Hey there. Where ya headed?
Freaked out mother of 2, traveling alone: Meeting my husband in Rawlins. (Also overtly flashing diamond.)
Creepy: Yer pretty. Hope yer old man knows that.
Freaked: That’s nice. Yeah, he knows it. Takes really good care of us.
Creepy: I’ve got a place about 20 miles south of here in the Uintah mountains.
Freaked: The Uintah mountains are really beautiful. (Thinking, is he for real?)
Creepy: Yeah, I was a professional rodeo cowboy for a lot of years. Now my arthritis don’t let me do that stuff no more.
Freaked: OK (Thinking, does this really work on other people?)
Creepy: My son was nationally ranked when he was in high school
Freaked: nod politely
Creepy: I’ve raised two families.
Freaked: Thinking, that’s cowboy talk for I’ve cheated on two wives, at least.
Creepy: Well, if you need anything, you should give me a call.
Freaked: I’ll be fine. My uncle’s following me in his semi truck. He’ll be along to help me out.
Creepy: You’ve got pretty eyes. Does yer old man tell you that?
Freaked: OK (Thinking, are you kidding me old man?!?!!? You are a sexual predator.)
Creepy: Take care. (Also says something about I probably don’t have a cell phone, right.)
Freaked: stiff smile and nod
Creepy: Walks out to his car and sits in the parking lot for like 15 minutes.
Freaked: Thinking, is he waiting for us? I’ll stay here all day before I leave with him in the parking lot.
Creepy: Finally leaves!

I also see another mother of two who is also obviously traveling by herself, too. I approach her and let her know we’re in the same boat. She is happy to have a trustworthy person offer to watch her kids while she uses the bathroom. She is headed to Denver. Family lives in Utah (and she’s wearing “angel chaps”).

Also, I find it necessary to make a comment about bathrooms. It is a recent trend to put the diaper changing stations inside the handicap stall. I don’t mind this, but, do you know how many non-family, non-handicapped people go in that stall to … um …. Stink. It. Up!?!?!? I can’t tell you how many times I go in to the bathroom with my double stroller and have to sit outside the stall and wait, and wait, and wait. Most of the time we get sick of waiting (and the smell) and I just creatively change the boys – have them stand up or try to juggle them in one arm while I wrap the diaper on them with the other hand. It’s a joke. Then I usually have to use the bathroom so I have to leave them on the other side of the stall wall while I go. All the while they are screaming because they think I’ve left them. And I’m worried because I’m afraid someone is going to take them while I’ve got my pants down. Nightmare. So, if you’re reading and you’re one of those people that takes the handicap/family stall when you’re by yourself and just looking for some private pooping time, please stop doing it!

We wrap things up and walk out to the parking lot just as another family is walking in. This one is obviously on their way to the MTC. Young man in suit looks nauseous. Te he he eh he.

Gas up and get going. Watch rearview for Creepy.

8:36 a.m.
Cooper is singing the theme song to Little Einsteins at the top of his lungs. Also, what does this idiom actually mean?

8:54 a.m.
Mason dozes and his little cat naps become an official nap.

9:36 a.m.
Pass through the Rock Springs tunnel. At which time Cooper exclaims, “I can’t even feel my butt.”

10: 06 a.m.
Mason wakes up.

10:29 a.m.
Cooper sings his version of “Ol McDonald…” It goes something like this:

Old McDonald had a farm
With a shake, shake here
And a shake, shake here
Shake, shake everywhere

Don’t know what the shake-shake is.

11;15 a.m.
Oh goody, we’re passing Sinclair, the official zit of Wyoming. Please see photo exhibit.

11:25 a.m.
Cooper and I begin a conversation…
Coop: Where is Colorado?
Mom: In the mid-west.
Coop: Where is the mid-west?
Mom: In the middle of the United States.
Coop: Where is the United States?
Mom: In the middle of North America.
Coop: Where is North America?
Mom: In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
Coop: Where is the Pa-chicken Ocean?
Mom: On the planet Earth.
Coop: Where are the trucks?

12:06 p.m.
Stop at random Wyoming rest area. Bad idea. We are nearly blown away. As soon as we step out of the car none of us can catch our breath. Get back in car and drive as fast as we dare.

12:27 p.m.
Cooper starts bellowing.

12:34 p.m.
Cooper falls asleep.

1:16 p.m.
Stop in Cheyenne. Again, a really pretty McDonald’s and really sucky service. Did I mention this is McDonald’s meal number 2 – in 1 day! Ick, ick, ick. I’m so over it I could vomit. But the last time I stopped in a non-McDonald’s restaurant in Wyoming I was horrified by the hygiene.

2 p.m.
After watching an old lady try to walk her little white poodle in the Wyoming wind (poor thing nearly took flight – poodle kite) we’re on the road, again. Feeling over precautious, so I fill up before getting on the freeway.

2:15 p.m.
Phone call from dad lets us know he’s in Colorado! We are, too. Yipee.

2:23 p.m.
Mason drifts off to land of nod.

3:04 p.m.
Cooper begins singing a song with the following lyrics, “Spiders and bats. Bats and spiders. Spiders and bats…” Just curious, Are we sure he’s a boy. Come on!

3:22 p.m.
Mason awakes just as we come to a screeching halt in late-day Denver traffic. (All those crazy working moms trying to rush out of the office to pick their kids up from school.)

3:47 p.m.
Home again, home again.

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