Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Riding In Cars With Girls

Last Autumn (that’s what fancy people call Fall) my wife had to urge to drive north to look at leaves in a whole different city. To me it was like going to another country to see what’s on television there. My wife is an adventurous, spontaneous woman while I am a trepidatious, thoughtful pussy. After lengthy negotiations it was determined that we would not be tent camping on Lake Superior with a three week old, but would be getting a cabin near a place called Old Woman’s Bay. Go ahead and Google Map that. I’ll wait... Did you see that? The word unorganized comes up right in the address. That’s a clue that it may be a long drive.

A twelve hour drive in fact, that’s without a three week old and a three year old in the car. Add in those factors and you have yourself a ∞ hour drive (that’s infinity for those who are unfamiliar with John Wallis’ invention).

We don’t own a car. With two children you might ask why. The answer: We are better than you. This means we have to rent cars when we go away. I remember those heady times when I was childless and could tote my bag to the car rental place and drive away. That’s a long gone dream. Now I pick up the car, drive it home, install both car seats, crayons, toys, books and make sure we have lots of kid’s audio books loaded onto our iPods. You may ask, why not bring a DVD player? The answer: We are still better than you.

I try very hard to find a rental place with an after hours drop box for the keys. One time I miscalculated and brought a car back during office hours. The maintenance guy looked at the car and told me I had destroyed it. I was horrified looking for scratches or dents I hadn’t noticed. When I pressed him to tell me what exactly was destroyed he pointed to the dusting of Cheerios, crayon shavings and smushed crackers and asked me if I had even thought about the next renters of the car. I had not, and will continue that policy.   

My wife’s family has special memories of listening to an album called “Free To Be You and Me” on long car trips. This has become a staple on our trips. Listening to the song “It’s Okay To Cry” sung by the New York Giants defensive tackle, Rosey Grier for the 10th time in an afternoon does make my eyes tear up so bad that I risk driving the car off a cliff and killing us all. It’s just that moving. I noticed that my sisters and mother-in-law always talked about this album, but not once did I hear my father-in-law speak of it. I asked him about it and both his eyes and his upper lip twitched a bit.

The kid in the "M" is trying to hang herself.

Another staple of our drives is my wife stepping on my shoulder and right cheek to get to the back seat of the car. Driving with a newborn is much like driving a kidnap victim. You have to tie them up in the car and every few hours chloroform them to keep them from screaming. My wife has perfected what she calls “air lifting”, the act of breastfeeding in a moving car. The woman should have had a career refueling planes mid-flight given this talent.

We have somehow avoided the dreaded “Are we there yet?” repetitive question nightmare, but we do get “How many more minutes before we are there?” The bright side is the 5 year old can’t tell time yet, the negative side is that as a result she thinks five minutes is an eternity. During the trip to Old Woman’s Bay my daughter would suddenly scream, “Daddy, I need to run!”  She was like that character in a disaster movie that snaps and screams he can’t take it any more and starts threatening the other characters with his own sharpened shin blade.

"Let me out of this seat, or I will cut a bitch."

We couldn’t argue with such logic and would stop every three hours or so, just to get out of the car and run around whatever green space there was and them jump back in the car again. Other drivers must have thought a bag of bees had been opened in our car to give us that sort of reaction.

Anyway the trip was worth it, the colours were beautiful, the weather unseasonably warm and I got to cross two more things off my bucket list. I saw the giant goose in Wawa and the giant nickel in Sudbury. Still on the list: the giant lobster in New Brunswick and the giant squid in Newfoundland. While in PEI I did see the giant potato, but my wife would not allow me to go into the potato museum attached to it. And for that I may never forgive her.

If I had a nickle for every time... I would crush your house with it.


  1. thank you for my morning giggle. You do know that morning happens every day. Like... you should find something to write about every day, just for me!! Because, I truly need to start the day with a laugh.
    thank you very large.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I'm going to try and be literate. It was my morning giggle too Amanda. I think Sarcasm is his super power.

  2. I like how you refer to green space like it was hard to find. Did you even look at that Google Map?

  3. I like the "We are better than you." rationale! Now, I have to go and introduce Chloe to "Free to Be You and Me". The fact that I haven't introduced her to the album yet proves I am, yet again, a neglectful mother!

  4. I need to run... can I leave work? - love char char