You know, anytime you go on a trip...it can be stressful before you even get out the door. The preparing-to-leave part. The packing, loading, cleaning, stopping mail, newspapers...getting all the laundry done...leaving out food for our cat. Stuff like that. Stressful.
And some things are stressful because we make them that way. I like to come home to a clean house, so in addition to...see above list...I was washing sheets, cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming...stuff like that. Not fun, but I so appreciate the extra effort when we drag back home after a long week and a long drive.
Getting 7 people out the door with a happy heart...also stressful...because packing 7 people's stuff into the back of two vehicles? Challenging, and...yeah...you get the drift. But we shooed the cat out of the garage, backed out and were on our way!
And, yes, we leave our cat outside all the time...please don't judge. And don't leave me any mean comments about it because I just got back from 5 days in close quarters with 7 people and I'm exhausted. This is the cat that one of our boys "rescued" from the Wal-Mart parking lot in Bryant, Arkansas. I am highly, HIGHLY allergic to cats...but this cat stays outside, as does our Black Lab, and does fine. In the cold weather, we bring her (and our dog) into the garage, and that system has worked out well for the past 3 years or so since we got the cat. Jim even moved her from where we lived in Bryant...to where we live now, 40 minutes away. We feed her well. Jim gives her the shots that she needs, and he and the kids give her a lot of attention. Our son-in-law promised to come by and check on her while we were gone...to make sure she had plenty of food and water. BUT, he said he would draw the line at rubbing behind her ears...he's also very allergic to cats. I wouldn't have even brought it up except that it relates to something I was going to share later in the story when we started thinking how it was ODD that none of us saw the cat in the driveway when we left and that started the whole "I hope she's not locked in the garage the entire time we're gone because we'll come home to a dead cat" discussion. But now I've already talked about it and I don't know if I'll feel like talking about it more later or not. (pbbbbth)
This year, we had to take two vehicles on our vacation. We tried our best to figure out a way to get everyone into one, but it just wasn't happenin'. Not with All The Stuff. We do have a Suburban, but it is 12 years old, and Jim was just afraid to take it on that long of a trip. Personally, I am not a fan of driving more than one vehicle...if we are all going together. I get soooo nervous. I was constantly watching for the kids in my rear-view mirror, no matter who was driving. They all did great sharing the driving...it's just my own neurotic #momprobz.
We ended up driving my newer vehicle, and one of the Camrys. Joshua rode in my car, along with two of the other kids (they switched off who rode in the Camry and who rode with us). My vehicle came with a built-in dvd player when we bought it, which we have never in all our born days had in a car. We've always had to have the portable tv and all the cords and paraphernalia that go with it. Jim said he could just hear his mom saying that the newer vehicle was worth the price just for Joshua to be able to watch movies on long trip.
Anyway, back 15 or more years ago, my kids were into Power Rangers...and I was the mom who did.not.allow.that.in.my.home. I was not havin' it, because Joshua was so impressionable and I thought it might be too violent and he might not know that "hi-yaw-ing" another kid at church was not a good thing to do. But my mother-in-law, Mammaw Jack, she didn't see the point in my logic...and she bought the VHS tapes for the kids ANYWAY, and just kept them at her house. Not only did she buy the tapes, she bought the stuffed Power Ranger toys and the lunch boxes and the birthday plates and the costumes. You name it, she bought it. My kids had it all.
Well, now the Pow-Pow-Power Rangers are on DVD, and my mother-in-law bought a couple of sets for Joshua. He has been in ALL his glory. We've heard him upstairs watching the movies and laughing. One time, I heard some crashing around from his room, and called up to see if he was okay. He said, "I'm finnnnnne. Just doing some martial arts."
So, on our way to the beach, Logan kind of wanted to watch the old Power Ranger episodes and Joshua was only too happy to oblige. I looked back at one point, and Joshua, Logan AND Holly all had their headphones on and were staring at the tv screen. And laughing their heads off.
Just like old times.
We hadn't gone too far south when Jim hit a bird. Correction, we were just driving our car down the road in South Arkansas or Mississippi, minding our own business...and a bird hit our windshield. What made it even worse was that it was a Dove...and Doves mate for life. We saw the two birds flying together right before...one just made a wrong turn. Hmmm...
Sorry. Just thinking about a previous post.
Anyway, the bird. It splattered all over the windshield. YUCK. Jim was sad because of it's mate, and kept on talking about what would the other bird do now. Logan said, "Dad, you might as well turn around and try to hit the other one." Such sympathy. (sigh)
We had "bird juice" all over the windshield, so Jim turned on the wipers and used the washer fluid to clean it up. It was at this point that Joshua looked up, saw all the water on the windshield, and said "well, THAT bird must've had a FULL BLADDER."
And we all fell out laughing.
Clark called us from his car...behind us...and said, "WHAT just happened? I was driving...and then there were feathers everywhere...and bird juice was hitting my car...and then I saw a bird "fly" off...and I realized, Dad just smoked a bird."
(and I think it goes w/o saying that the bird did not fly off, per se...it bounced off...our car)
But, other than that, things were fairly smooth, and we made it to our condo safely. We unloaded all the luggage into our rooms and opened all the curtains. We like to keep the curtains open and the doors partially cracked the whole time we're there. Love seeing the ocean, and hearing the waves hit the shore.
All of a sudden, Jim yells, "PORPOISE!" and practically hurdles a chair to get to the balcony. It.was.hilarious.
Everyone got ready, and we headed out to dinner. As we were walking down the stairs, guess what we saw? A lone Dove, sitting out there in the parking lot...watching our every move.
I'm not even kidding.
"...You see me when I travel, and when I rest at home." Psalm 139:3