the road home (3)
We’ve been home, Blake & I, for an hour and I’ve already fallen in passionate hate with our non-vacation life. Reunited with all of his toys and distractions, Blake has reverted to a greedy, object-centred toddler. My dad is being pretty nice, but even his small demands make me so tense I want to scream. When I went out to move the car so he could go back to work, I contemplated the road and wished I still had my wallet, so strong was my desire to flee.
Shit. I forgot how much I hate this life.
The last day of travelling wasn’t too good, considering all the emotional ground I thought we’d all gained in NS. The Boy was preoccupied with his return to school, and as frustratingly distant as before. Blake is okay with one full day in the car, but he always catches on by the second and so yesterday we were treated to intermittent screaming spells (“mashedpotatoes mashedpotatoes mashedpotatoes mashedpotatoes mashedpotatoes AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!” Kid could be a performance artist with this precocious command of the weird.) There was the truck stop of horror (detailed below). There was the strategically-placed hour-long restaurant-less stretch of highway that left me nauseous and desperate for anything we could get in the only open restaurant in Western Massachusetts.
And this morning there was 2 ½ hours of highway driving in the pouring rain coupled with the worst border crossing of my life. (Mix one parent travelling alone with one sleeping toddler with a different last name (could be drugged & abducted!) and fold in a difficult-to-find health card. Marinate with rain, drain gas tank, garnish with lashings of fog, and serve! Sigh. At least I wasn’t wearing yesterday’s Satan-themed outfit. Still, if I wasn’t a Canadian citizen I wouldn’t be here talking to you now.)
Yesterday was also marked by horror-filled meals. We’ve had some excellent luck with food on the road, as I have a stick up my ass about patronizing the gas-McDonald’s roadside barnacles and I force the Boy to strike out into towns. But I always forget that so many American restaurants are closed on Sunday that I might as well stick to the barnacles. We left too early for breakfast anywhere, so when we finally stopped at a family restaurant (sigh) we had been travelling for a couple of hours and we were all ravenous. As soon as we ordered, the Boy went back to the car for Blake’s diaper bag, and I started to chase Blake around the restaurant. We were on our second pass around the salad bar when his diaper fell off.
And out through his shorts.
The two of us stared dumbly at his poopy diaper, lying out on the diner floor for all to see. A trucker looked away in disgust.
I wish I could say that I sprung into action, but it took me a minute to restart my brain. When I had revved up again, I scooped up Blake under one arm, the diaper in the other hand, and headed off to the bathroom without the benefit of the diaper bag. I tried to stay cheerful as I swabbed off his butt first with his ruined shorts and second with damp paper towels, but it was uphill sledding. I was dressed in 8-holes, bare legs, a gauzy knee-length black skirt, a red t-shirt that said “bad kitty,” & the ubiquitous bat purse; though I love this outfit I was terribly conscious from the moment we walked in that I looked as far from these people’s idea of a responsible mother as I could get without wearing a bikini top as a shirt. Nobody showed me sympathy for a situation that was as funny as it was disgusting. I mean, this was a Bombeck moment if ever I lived it. I was so embarrassed that I was on the verge of leaving as soon as the Boy returned from the car with the long-overdue diaper bag. Instead, I did the only thing I could: I carried my clean, bare-bottomed child into the restaurant, signalled the Boy to follow, and when Blake was fully dressed and sporting a new diaper, I rejoined my fellow truck stoppers with my head held high and a triumphant smile on my face.
This mood lasted through breakfast, and screeched to a halt shortly after we returned to the car and I discovered that for the duration of our visit, my skirt had been liberally adorned with baby poop.
Lunch and dinner could not, of course, touch these Wagnerian heights, so they settled for being merely yucky. Since breakfast was late, I made the Boy promise to stop at 1 for lunch. Between 12 and 1, we passed a series of kooky family restaurants right on the road. One pm hit, and the restaurant wasteland began. By the time we found an open lunch counter, I was about to puke and/or pass out (past time for the Boy to drive!). I was absolutely uninterested in the lack of ambience and totally interested in the tuna sub, but the Boy suddenly became snobby and silent. Still, it was food. Of a sort.
Even dinner didn’t work out. We pulled off the highway at Syracuse, but once again, an open restaurant (at 6 fucking 30!) was impossible to find. So I settled for McDonald’s at a (sigh) highway barnacle. Even the Mennonite and Orthodox Jewish families giving me the hairy eyeball (stupid Satan outfit!) couldn’t lighten my mood. At least Blake’s diaper stayed up where it belongs.
The only excellent part of yesterday was that I convinced the Boy to take the scenic 2 rather than the soulless 290, and we spent most of our day in the gorgeous mountains of Massachusetts. It was overwhelmingly beautiful, even when taken at a fantastic clip and trailing flocks of middle-aged bikers. I couldn’t stop staring. Lots of pictures, but nothing matches the joy of swooping through these perfect hills.
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Don't make me send out the Blake. He doesn't listen to *anyone.*