Wednesday, June 2, 2010

16 hours in a minivan = Tennessee & Kentucky vacation. Oh- and moonpies.

We did it. People thought we were crazy (and by "we" I mean me) but we did it. We drove 16 mother fucking hours in a mini-van, together, to see my cousin Rhonda graduate high school. In Tennessee. FYI folks- we live in Wisconsin.

I was worried. No lie. I thought that several things could happen- the worst being that I would kill Matt. A close second is that my iPod would break. Third being that I would die from exhaustion.

Fun fact- I love, love, love road trips. I do amazingly well when I want to and yeah. I wanted to. So we left our house at 4:32 in the morning. But here I am, at some dive of a gas station in southern Wisconsin:
Here's a southern Wisconsin fun fact for you. If you haven't paid the $80 to get updated maps for your GPS then your GPS will look like this beginning from Eau Claire until um...the fucking border of Wisconsin. GPS FAIL.
Thankfully, my dad is an over the road truck driver and can give you driving directions (including correct exit numbers, which lane to be in when you get off the exit, which gas stations are good/bad and which truck stops have buffet) at the drop of a dime. Without a map. I love my dad- his directions saved our ass when the GPS failed us.
I forgot where in Illinois we decided that we were going to stop for lunch. But I remember coming off the exit and having to decide between McDonald's and some joint named Delaney's. Let me tell you that Delaney's was a bad choice. Having the urge to shit for 3 hours after eating McDonald's would have been a lot better. First off, I knew walking in that a place that offers meatloaf and "special sauce" as all you can eat buffet probably isn't the best choice. BUT...we were here and hungry. So our waitress comes who is easily 250 pounds, cross eyed and can't read (couldn't read the specials on the board) and couldn't write (got our order wrong). I mean, I'm all for hiring with disabilities but come on. You just expect a waitress to look at you when you order. Not to mention my "hamburger" was not beef. I don't know what the fuck I was eating, but it wasn't beef. The kids didn't even eat their corndog. Olivia said it "felt weird". Now when a 4 year old tells you that a corndog feels weird- something is up.
Then I had to pee. Badly. So I decided to go into the Delaney's bathroom. One word: SCARY. First off, all but one light was burned out. And that one is flickering. I got into the lone stall and yeah- someone shit right on the floor. Left the toilet paper on there. Disgusting. I got a picture on my phone but of course you can't tell what it is because it's so dark. Gross. AND there was no soap. Or towels. I'm surprised the water even turned on. Disgusting. Matt and I had some serious stomach issues for the rest of the day- we didn't even eat dinner for fear that Delaney's would make a grand reappearance.
Then we made it to Crawford, Indiana. Let me tell you about Indiana: most unorganized road construction EVER. Fuck. You see signs for 5 miles telling you the left lane is closed. So we all merge only to find it's actually the right lane that's closed and we all veer to the left in order to avoid a collision with some giant hole. Nice. That happened three times. But once we got to Crawford (home of Ben Hur, yall) it made sense. Obviously the education budget has been eliminated. McDonald's can't even spell "Reeses". And I was on the phone with my brother while enjoying an afternoon snack and I said to my bro I have no idea where I am but I have entered hickville USA and this kid with NO teeth but a new Apple laptop comes to me, stinking like a fucking dairy farm and is like, "Yur n Crawfurd lady". Ugh- thanks fucktard. Back away from my small children who have never had a serious illness. Ick.
This was Jackson after we left that McDonald's and we told the kids we still had a ton of driving left: (You'll notice he resorted to playing with his striped socks)
And Olivia was chilling in the way back telling me she's fine. No problems.
OH! And we saw a TON of signs for sex shops. Seriously. Midwest America is not wholesome. Jesus. It does not beat the sign for the 4D theatre experience at a sex shop encountered in the butt crack of Wisconsin during the Chicago trip. BUT yeah. Lots of sex shops.
OK- so we left at 4am and arrived in Franklin, Kentucky, where we would be staying at the hotel my uncle manages at approximately 8:30 pm. Not bad for tons of road construction, stopping for pee breaks every two hours, and hitting rain on the last two hours.
The next day was Friday. We decided to have lunch just the four of us and we went to Cracker Barrel. Across the street. I had never been to a Cracker Barrel but have wanted to and I was not disappointed. First off we had a waitress who tells us she's about a week pregnant. Hankering for a tip, eh? Then the food the first time around was ok. Not great, nothing to really rave about, but it was good. But on the way out my heart stopped.
I found me some fucking moon pies. Not just banana (grossest flavor EVER) but chocolate and vanilla. Not just sold individually. But in BOXES. And they were on sale. You know what I had to do.
But while in checkout I saw they had Sugar Suckers. That's what I call them. Basically they are suckers that are huge and like a giant Smartie. You know what Smarties are, right? BEST CANDY EVER. I am notorious for buying jumbo bags of Smarties and eating them all. In one sitting. So I bought just a few suckers, and had my kids try them. It's a Southern thing. I must corrupt my kids now. But it was super windy- so I had to do my gratuitous licking shot in the van. Suckish.
And then we got a group shot on the bench in front of the hotel. If you look closely- my van is the silver one to the left. :) You'll notice Olivia is learning how to be a lady from her mama. Thankfully, she was totally wearing panties.
The kids agreed they were awesome. On our last night there, I told Matt to go back and get me a box of Goo-Goo's (peanut kind) and more suckers. He came back with $31 worth of suckers which means he bought them out. A good guy I have there. Good and smart. AND he got me the LAST box of peanut goo-goos.
So Friday night Rhonda was graduating but because it started at 7 (bedtime for kiddos) they couldn't come. And Matt stayed with them. Which is good and you'll know why soon. But before I left I had to get ready and the kids did their makeup too:
Before graduation I went to dinner with my grandparents, uncle, misty, some of their friends to Cracker Barrel. This time I got the southern fish fry with cornbread. DELICIOUS. OK- so I went to graduation. Which ended up being in a church because they thought it would rain (it would have been outdoors) and it was CROWDED in there. I felt like I was at a black baptist revival church. Seriously. It was easily 90 degrees plus people all breathing and touching you. There were no seats left so someone went into the closet and started pulling out folding chairs and we set up shop in the aisle. Some lady behind us (maybe in her 70's) was like, "This is a crying fire hazard! You cannot be in the aisles!" You know what I had to do. I turned around, flashed my perky smile and replied, "Listen lady. I drove 16 hours to see my cousin graduate and I will not stand outside and miss it. Cramming 1500+ people into a venue meant for 800 is a fire hazard. I doubt a folding chair will stop you from knocking people over in the event of a fire." The guy next to me then became my friend. I heard all about his grandchild and nephew graduating (think about THAT for awhile) and how he has 4 graduating next year all on the same day in different towns and how he's making them compete to see which one he goes to. Oh and he has a hang nail on his finger and do I think it's infected? *sigh* I attract weirdos. What can you do?
My grandpa missed the whole thing. He couldn't handle the heat which tells you something because he can't be in anything under 70 because he feels like he's turning into a popsicle. If even HE couldn't handle it, being from Florida and the hotter the better, that is awful. Thank god Matt didn't go. He would have never made it more than 10 minutes. 12 tops.
The graduation was pretty standard. There was a local broadcaster (sports) who spoke. He would not shut up. After 23 minutes I really had to hold myself back from saying something like "BRING IT HOME" because his story about a stock car race and deciding which tires to use was lame. And had nothing to do with graduation. But the guy wanted to be a pastor I think and kept talking about Jesus helping him with tires. Or something. It was lame.

But Rhonda graduated! I had to crawl on the floor to get this picture.
And then after the fastest reading of 100 or so names (small class compared to my almost 600) we did pictures outside. Obvi.

Rhonda and her mom, Denise.
Rhonda and her step mom, Misty.
Rhonda and my grandparents from Florida. SO glad we got to see them!
Me and Rhonda!
OK- so after that I drove with Rhonda to Lewisburg (graduation was in White House, TN) to drop her mom off and so I got back really late.
The next day was the party but in the morning we went swimming in the pool. We have done this a few times, but really? My kids can't swim. And after this experience I need to put Olivia through classes. She was TERRIFIED even with her floaty vest thing and clinging to our necks until our faces were purple. So she sat on the edge. Look how happy she looks.
OK so after that, we were going to the party. But I have to mention the gigantic freak of a beetle the kids wanted to keep as a pet.
Seriously- they stared at it and followed it for 45 minutes. Loved the beetle. And out of nowhere- Jackson stands up, smashes the beetle with his foot. Olivia cries. I laugh. Jackson claps. *sigh* What do you do?
But here is the best picture. This is of Jackson (obviously) AFTER the grad party on Saturday. Turn your heads because Blogger is being a bitch. He's totally passed out with his beloved Dog and Duck who are never far from his side. Sleeping like an angel. Adorable.

Overall- the trip was FANTASTIC. I loved the area, I want to go back. Soon. The drive was not nearly as bad as I thought. Nobody cried, nobody complained about being bored, I didn't even bring extra activities. We brought the laptop for movies but only used it once when we had the last two hours and that was to keep Olivia awake so she'd sleep decent that night. Not one complaint. It was so nice to be with family, and we miss them a ton already.
Soon. We'll be back soon.


Krysten @ Why Girls Are Weird said...

I'm okay with road trips EXCEPT that I have the world's smallest bladder. It sucks. I will purposely not drink anything, even if we stop to eat, because I know within a half hour of leaving I'll have to pee. It sucks SO BAD.

But I'm glad you got through it, kudos for you! Even that creepy stop at Delaney's. I'll remember that if I'm in Illinois and I see a place like that we will not stop!

Danielle said...

Sounds like a fabulous trip! So glad you made it safely!!! We have a Cracker Barrel here that I've never been to! I need to go tho, I've heard wonderful things about it!

The Smartie lollipops are the shit, I'd forgotten all about them until you reminded and now I need to get some, and soon! :)

Jennifer Kay said...

OMG, have I ever told you that I love you? I thought I was the funniest girl in the world but it seems you are the funnier twin. Damn.

Anonymous said...

Ummm... I hate to confess, but WHAT ARE MOON PIES?!

____j said...

Sounds like you had a great time. It's pretty awesome how well your kids did in the car. I don't even think I could have done that well.

Anonymous said...

Goo-goos and Moonpies! Gotta love the South, baby. And Cracker Barrel, shit....we have one on every exit here in good ole SC.

Glad you had fun on your trip. I live a good road trip!

Ann said...

Mmm, Moon Pies and suckers---YUM! Second, I live in IL and have never heard of Delaney's...sounds downright terrifying. And oh, yeah, sex shops...I see those every time we drive up to MI...they're everywhere...WTF?

The Insatiable Host said...

I can't believe how many redneck mo fo's are out there....PROPS to big daddy for knowing his way around...could you imagine if you would have gotten lost and ended up in some ghetto where noone had teeth and they all talked funny...oh...what was that? were there....RIGHT!!!! lol

I am happy to hear you had a blast though and that you didn't kill anyone or leave your kids behind.

ok, im done.

I move this weekend and will email you soon.

Miss you!!!xoxoxoxoxo Danon

It's Just Me said...

I can't believe that you were in Kentucky and didn't stop by and say howdy. =(

Unknown said...

That last pictures is unbelievably cute!

Sara said...

I love road trips! How can you have reached your 30's and never eaten at Cracker Barrel?! Yech at the Moon Pies. So glad the kiddies did well on the trip. Congrats to the Grad!

FinnyKnits said...

I love the road tripping, too - though only with Bubba or alone.

I don't like to stop unless it's absolutely necessary, which means most people are off my road-tripping list.

Friends that want to stop every hour for some kind of entertainment including mini golf? Not invited.

Thank you for not saying, "The Cracker Barrel" because it makes me totally mental.

Nice score on your Moon Pies. Though I'm told that, to be a complete road trip meal, one must also consume RC Cola.

I don't know, this is just what my hick husband tells me.

Miranda said...

You are a girl after my own heart. "Smartie" suckers are the shiz!

I could set up camp in the gift shop at Cracker Barrel. And I must know which hotel your relative manages in Franklin because I'm pretty sure the hubs and I crashed there on our way home from Tennessee.

Veronica M. D. said...

I personally had NO doubt that you would rock out the road trip. :)

Another David said...

Sooooo many moonpies! I love them, though. Can't get enough :)