Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Choppers, Fire Trucks and Cops... Oh My!

When we last left off, my family and I were about to make the big cross-country move: west coast to east coast. Happy to report that despite many obstacles (many, many, many, many, many obstacles) we made it! 

The plan was to drive straight through for two days. No hotel rooms, just gas, food and potty breaks. We had four drivers: me, hubby, his brother and my brother's best friend (he was in it just for the adventure and oh did he ever get one!). 

I won't bore you with every little detail, but here are the highlights: 

How much longer? 
The kids were warned that if the words "Are we there yet?" were ever uttered during our trip, those words were surely be their last. 

So they got creative. 

About 30 minutes into our trip, the words "How much longer?" left the lips of the youngest teen. <insert smirk on face and the smiling faces of her two smiling here> 

Had I not been driving, my shoe would've flown from the front seat, hit the smart-ass kid in the back of the head and boomeranged back into my hand in 1.2 seconds.  

The "Mommy death stare" in the rear view mirror would have to do. Problem solved.

Excuse me, Mr. Officer... 
I was stopped by a police officer near Houston. The reason? I allegedly failed to reduce my speed by 20 mph and failed to move into the left lane, which would've been impossible with all the traffic. Why is that important? Because two police cars had stopped a couple on the side of the road for what seemed to be the beginnings of a domestic violence situation. (Honestly, I feared for the man's life.) Apparently (allegedly?), it's the law in Texas to reduce your speed and pull the left. 

Officer Garcia: That's the law around here, but I'm gonna let you off with a warning. And the warning will only cost you a $1,000. 

Me: {tears swelling, can't talk} 

Officer Garcia: Haaaaaaaaaa! Just kidding... 

Me: {more tears, still can't talk}   

News choppers, fire trucks and more cops...
Just two hours outside of our new home city, the lug nuts break off on one of the tires on the U-Haul trailer. The tire blows and sparks from the rim (about 20 feet long) set pieces of the tire on fire. Tire remnants end up in the grassy area on the side of the freeway. THIS SPARKS A SMALL WILDFIRE IN THE GRASS AND TREES! 

Within minutes, there are news helicopters hovering over the scene, several fire trucks and yay, more cops... The works! 

Thankfully, no one is hurt. A number of good Samaritans stopped by to help with fire extinguishers and asking if we needed any assistance. This was bizarre and, at the same time, amazing to me. This is something we had never experienced in our old home state. 

As my husband is on the phone with a U-Haul representative via the 1-800 number, an employee from the local U-Haul office just happened to be passing by. Turns out he's the guy that U-Haul sends out to fix broken down U-Haul trucks, trailers and to replace tires that have been shredded to pieces only to start a small forest fire. 

Other random adventures... 
There were plenty of other adventures such as: 
- Food poisoning after breakfast at a Denny's in Louisiana or Florida. Just can't remember anymore... 

- Running over a skunk somewhere in the middle of Texas... 

- PMS hitting the youngest of the three teens with a vengeance! To spare the lives of her two sisters, we had to pull into the emergency lane (in the middle of Texas) to search for a tiny box of Midol in the trunk. I say tiny because compared to the many, many, many bags of luggage, backpacks and cosmetic bags, it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. Her sisters are alive and well today. 
- Watching a deer nearly hit the U-Haul truck that my husband was driving in front of me... Then almost being hit by that same deer in my car... Again, somewhere in the middle of Texas. 

- After a brief stop in Louisiana (pizza!) and discovering that you should NEVER EVER leave your car doors open for any length of time, anywhere in Louisiana, we got back on the freeway only be terrorized by the biggest mosquitoes we've ever seen in our lives! Picture two adults and three teen girls squealing and squatting only to be out-maneuvered for miles by these critters. We looked absolutely ridiculous! We finally remembered they were attracted to the light so we each pulled out our cell phones, pointed them upward and killed each one. That reminds me... There are still mosquito parts splattered on my car's upholstery that need to be removed. Awesome... 

Closing thoughts...
When my husband first approached me with the idea of driving across the country, he said, "It'll be an adventure!" That turned out to be the understatement of the year, my friends.  

But we made it safely (barely) and these adventures will become lasting memories, things we'll be able to laugh about in the future... Right??? 

Please tell me it's true, because I'm not laughing right now. Sure, I have a little bit of a psychotic giggle and a nervous twitch, especially when I hear the word "Texas," but I'm hoping this is all temporary.

What's next? Stay tuned... It won't take long, folks. It never does. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Two Kids and a Fish now Three Teens and a U-Haul

Make that "Three Teens, a Husband and a U-Haul." 

By the way, I got married... twice... yes, to the same man. Surprise! 

That was 7 or 8 months, depending on which ceremony you're referring to. Today, we're a week away from packing up our lives and moving to the other side of the country (west coast to east coast) in a U-Haul with three teen girls in tow (2 his, 1 mine). 

Are we crazy? I think you know the answer. 

But maybe we're not so crazy, just good parents. Excuse me while I brush my shoulders off... 

If you could improve the health of your kids and had the means to relocate to a city where they could breathe, where the climate (pollens, pollution, etc.) wouldn't cause their skin to break out around their eyes, mouths and hands, and the bumps on their arms and legs (that sometimes bleed) would finally go away... Wouldn't you do the same?  

But wait... It's not that easy. It's not just the logistics of relocating that you have to deal with, you still have the exes. We're talking about three teens under 18. 

Cue Michael Buffer: "Let's get ready to rrruuummmbbbllleee!"

Five months later (several court hearings and some cash for one lucky attorney), here we are. 

Sure, we've been knocked down a few times, sucker-punched more than we care to remember, but we've picked ourselves up each time and reminded ourselves that we were doing the right thing. 

And that's why this time, next Friday, we'll be starting our 36-hour cross-country trek, eastbound, in a U-Haul, with three teen girls. 

Three teen girls who are already fighting over who gets stuck in the middle seat, whose music will be played in the car, who better not take the big pillow because it'll take up too much room plus it's itchy and it stinks... and so on and so on. 

OK, so maybe we're a little bit crazy.