Stealing Faith

humor for relationships, family & life

10 Spot Ramble: Road Trips


drniels / stock.xchng

drniels / stock.xchng

We hit the road this afternoon to make a rabbit trade.

 

I love road trips.

 

I love the rabbits.

 

This is a match made in heaven. Maybe you love road trips as well? (I won’t ask anyone to join me on the rabbit obsession just yet.) Let these random facts cement your love of wide open spaces:

 

1. Families spend an average of 10 hours packing for road trips; parents spend 21 per cent longer packing for a road trip than adults without children. We do not match the statistic as a family, we’ve been known to be actually in the car and decide to take a several hour detour. However, it is absolutely true it takes us longer to pack for a road trip now that we have the minions! Somehow needing a well-stocked diaper bag becomes important!

 

2. Seventy-nine per cent of families with children go on two or more road trips each year, which means parents take an average of 36 per cent more trips annually than adults without children. The only way I see this as true is if you consider all the trips to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Otherwise, single people must certainly travel more!

 

3. The two most-forgotten items when preparing for a road trip are cameras/videos (25 per cent) and toothbrush/toiletries (21 per cent). I live with the philosophy most everything you really need can be purchased on the fly. Toothbrushes, no problem – they’re even complimentary in hotels that offer air conditioning and clean sheets. The camera… little more difficult to come by…

 

4. Hitchhiking while holding an axe is not effective. Does this really need any more explanation?

 

5. Approximately 64% of people calculate fuel costs before leaving home. When we were regularly going back and forth across the country I could tell you to the mile what our odometer would read when we got home. These days, I don’t have a clue… my, doesn’t life change?

 

6. Interstates have an official name: “Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways.” I find this fascinating! I also think it’s interesting the name “Dwight” has been repopularized thanks to the Office. That’s all.

 

7. Texas has the most interstate miles with 17 routes, totaling 3,233.45 miles. Everything’s bigger in Texas, including their roads. This number also means if you were to drive every inch of Texas interstate roads at 70 mph it would take you 46.19 hours. I bet your bum would be sore.

 

8. Best road trip interstate is I-95. the North/South I-95 covers 16 states (including Washington D.C.): Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington D.C., Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine.

 

9. Dwight’s Interstate plan was logical. There’s a rhyme and reason to our country’s interstate system: Even Numbers travel east-west (I-4, I-8, I-10, I-12, etc.), Odd Numbers travel north-south (I-5, I-15, I-17, I-19, etc.). Also, routes ending in “0” are major east-west routes (I-10, I-20, I-40, I-70, I-80, I-90, while routes ending in “5” are major north-south routes (I-5, I-15, I-25, I-35, I-55, I-65, I-75, I-85, I-95).

 

10. You may have been fooled by the Interstates. It is not true that one mile of every five miles of Interstate highway must be straight enough to allow planes to land on it. This is an urban legend. This makes me sad an relieved all at the same time. I’ve always been concerned a plan would run me down while driving. Now, I can let that fear go.

 

That’s all from me tonight – do you have your own road trip trivia? Share it in the comments! In the meantime, Happy Trails to You!

 

 

The Terror of the Tweet


I’m mentioned approximately 6 million times we are on a road trip.

Road trips make me happy.

In fact, the time since our move has progressed amazingly slow without the opportunity to get in the vehicle, point our noses toward the wild blue yonder, and drive and drive and drive.

I never thought I would miss Nebraska, the land of grouchy police officers and people who believe red Huskers sweatshirts are haute couture, but I do. Because soccer happened in Nebraska and we road tripped for soccer.

But wait! Before I walk too far down memory lane I need to stop and remind everyone we went on a road trip this weekend! 8.5 hours of road tripping in a sedan where the kids were justthisclose!

Good family bonding. Or torture. Your call, changed by the minute.

The kids were quite excited to get out of the house and go on the road trip. In fact, I almost wet my pants with laughter after listening to what they talked about (toilets not being convenient items on a road trip unless you’re in a Winnebago.)

(I want a Winnebago in the worst way.)

We hit the road and Uno began lecturing Tres on the joys of the road trip. Tres didn’t care. It was their normal bedtime and she was locked in the seat, blanket clutched to her cheek and thumb firmly inserted in her mouth. Down for the count.

Uno recognized she wasn’t getting a response from Tres and turned her attention to Dos.

“We might see an elk,” Uno says. “Deer are really big but elk are really bigger and we might see one.”

Really?” Dos was suitably impressed.

“Oh, yes. if their legs are spreaded together it’s an elk. If they’re spreaded apart it’s a deer,” Uno instructed.

I had a vision of a bunch of large bovine mammals at a tea party, trying to hold teacups with hooves and wearing straw hats.

Everyone wants the elk at a tea party, as they have the good manners to hold their haunches in tightly closed submission…

But the deer! Oh, if you invite a deer to the tea party they sprawl out there like they fortified their tea with whiskey, all their personal junk just hanging out in the open for God and everyone to see.

It’s just awkward, I mean, where do you look if you’ve got a deer at the tea party?

Flight of fancy gone, I kept my chuckle to myself. Uno and Dos moved on to a deep theological discussion about whether turtles go to heaven and if they do, what about the toaster?

Yep, it was that random.

The road clicked by, the conversation switched topics many times, so I began writing the true gems down and tweeting them to my indulgent followers.

Uno told Dos she’d kissed a boy. Knocked him down to the ground, sat on his stomach and just kissed the heck out of him. (She was almost 2-years-old at the time. She’s always known what she wanted.)

“Ew,” said Dos. She was not liking that visual. “I kissed a boy, too, but I didn’t want to.”

“Who did you kiss?” asked Lizard.

“Nolan! Nolan and Owen kept kissing me and Marley,” Dos admitted. “I think they loved me or something but I tried to run away but them just kept kissing me.”

Oh, it’s so hard to be wanted!

“Dos, if someone kisses you and you don’t want it, you tell them NO! and walk away,” Lizard said. “And if they don’t stop, you punch them right in the face!”

Such aggressive words from my mild-mannered husband!

All during this time I had my phone in my hand, trying to type all the funny stuff in 140 characters or less (granted, I thought it was funny. Maybe my followers didn’t.)

“What are you doing?” Uno demanded. “Are you tweeting that?!” I nodded yes.

“Quick, Dos, don’t say anything else! That’s embarrassing! She’ll just tweet it!”

Oh, she knows me well.

Of course, she’ll pay me back someday when she can tweet and put status updates herself… but by then I’m sure facebook and Twitter will be long gone, dinosaurs gone the way of MySpace and the Tandy Computer.

In the meantime, I will exercise my right to Tweet. So there.

Where are your favorite places to road trip? Do you have any road trip survival tips?

Why I’m 1,063 in Dog Years


I have been awake for three hours.

Thanks to something magical and incomprehensible, like a wormhole through time and space or even the mystery of a lava lamp or what makes a Jack in the Box taco so compelling, I’m pretty sure I’ve aged approximately 63.429 years in that three hours.

Let me illuminate.

Last night we drove back from The Big City and our conference but decided to cut the journey short by an hour by spending the night with my parents.  We needed to collect the last of our belongings, mainly clothing and the dogs, and drive them up to our mountaintop dwelling place.

This morning we overslept, which started everything off on the wrong foot.

To clarify the facts, we have two toy poodles and a Great Dane.  Also numbered in our party are three children in car seats and two full-grown adults carrying a little extra fluff I like to call “the lard baby.”

We were driving the full-sized, 4×4, four-door pick up truck named Bruce.

(Bruce and Stella (the Suburban I usually drive) are not married, although they’re both good-looking, husky beings.  They have a genuine fondness and understanding for one another, both being Chevrolet’s, but we’ve discouraged the hookup until Uno is at least 15 years old.  We just don’t need little Chevy’s running around here.)

(Wait, it doesn’t work that way?  Really?!  I thought there was a natural order to reproduction!)

In theory our road trip and vehicle selection was going to work out because the dogs could hang out in the bed of the truck for the hour-long journey north.  But in reality it was tricky because when we left for The Big City from the mountain town we loaded the back of the truck with scrap metal to sell but when we got down to The Big City we discovered we had the wrong composition of scrap for the dealer we were visiting.

Then we ran out of time to visit other scrap metal dealers and thus traveled back to the mountains with a pickup bed full of scrap metal and a cab full of grown ups and car seats.

Ultimate situation this morning: running late, full truck bed, three kids locked up in their seats and a Great Dane freaking out and trying to jump into the kid’s laps, which didn’t work out so well.

Did I mention Penny the Poodle is in heat?

Yep.  I put a diaper on her.

So, we finally got everyone loaded.  The girls got the luggage packed underneath their legs and we positioned the Great Dane between us on the bench seat.  I had a poodle on my lap and the diaper-wearing poodle sat on top of the Great Dane.

She likes it there, promise.  I tell you about her activity there in a minute.

All of this was “golden” for the first 15 minutes of our trip.  By that time we had gotten into town and the Great Dane, who doesn’t get out much, realized there were people on the sidewalks she’d never seen before.

The only logical option for the Great Dane was to get all excited, slobber, and lunge at the side window.

Poodles went flying.

People on the sidewalk jumped back and visibly gulped.  They might have cussed but I’m not that adept at reading lips.

The diaper stayed on.

The stop light turned green.

We drove on.

To add to the drama – because there wasn’t enough already – the lid of the milk bottle flew off and milk went everywhere.

Yummy.

Now, if you think the kids were quiet in the back seat, let me assure you, they were not.  In fact, Tres was adding her opinion to the proceedings by screeching, “Mwahh!  Ahh!  Aahh!  Tchee!”

Dos was injured by a misplaced toenail during the mad Great Dane leap to the back seat.  So she kept trying to get the Dane’s attention, “Samba!  Samba!  You hurt me!  You need to say sorry!”

Uno was more concerned with the aesthetics of the operation.  Dogs tend to pant when they’re stressed out and, of course, Penny the Diapered Poodle had that not-so-fresh scent.

It was, admittedly, quite smelly.

Uno says, “Ug!  It smells so bad in here!  I wanna cut my nose off because of the stink!”

So, safely away from the sidewalked area of the journey, Lizard let the windows down.

Tres, offended by the wind blowing through her tufts of hair, began screaming in protest.

It begs the question: of all the five senses, which is most important?  Is there a hierarchy?

Sight? Hearing? Taste? Touch? Scent?

Really, if there were a World’s Strongest Senses competition and all the senses got to put forth their hot-pant-wearing representatives, which would win?

For us, today, the sense of hearing bested the sense of smell.

We rolled the window up and the baby stopped screaming.

At this point we’d gone about 25-minutes into our 45-minute journey and I tried to shoot myself but the gun was covered in milk and wouldn’t fire.

The dogs settled down, the kids stopped screaming, and the road stretched before us with promise.

So, excitement aside, the diapered poodle settled onto the top of the Great Dane to begin her dental hygeine work.

Lizard says this is a normal display of canine submission but I’ve never seen it before this pair.  The poodle places her entire head inside the lips of the Great Dane and licks her teeth.  It’s really intimate and really gross and they do it several times a day.

I wish I could paint a better word picture for you of the sight of the large jowl draped across the poodle’s head so only the poodle’s brow line and top knot are visible.

Maybe you need to see it to understand but please, believe me, it’s disturbing.

We drove on.

The girls began to serenade us with remarkable, off-tuned, one-note skill.  Their monotones did not conform to the traditionally recognized Western scale.

I began to sweat while the poodle on my lap continued to pant heavily.

Dos stopped singing to chant, “No problem, no problem, no problem, no problem, no problem, no problem, no problem….”

Au contraire, mon frere, Houston, we have a problem!

We finally made it back to our mouse hole and I thought, with a sigh of relief, that we were in the clear!

Except, in setting up the monstrous dog crate we’ve discovered an entire wall of our new home has rot.

Ants.  Carpenter Ants.  Millions of ants.  A pile of dead ants at least two inches high while more ants coming seething from the wall to hit the ant spray and fall to the pile again.

A living science experiment, right here in our home!

We are such a good home school family.

Thanks for sticking with me for this long post of our morning’s activities.  If it made you laugh, please rate it and share it with your friends, family, or strangers on the street.  No promises my Dane won’t find the stranger on the street and bark at them, though.

Stumble It!

Mean Guy


There’s a decent chance the power will go out midway through posting this because I’m in the middle of the definition of a “severe thunderstorm.”  I’ve discovered it’s a bad idea to try to do laundry during a sever thunderstorm equipped with power outages when you have a front-loading washing machine.

Because I’m scared of what will happen in the next few minutes I’m going to take the easy route and leave you with a blast from the past – 2009 to be exact.  The saga of our road trip…

Today we drove to an adventure one hour away with friends and Dos took a nap on the way up but Uno refused. After a full afternoon and fun activities, Lizard and I realized that the trip home was a necessary time for Uno to nap.

Dos, for her part, had an allergic reaction to the soap at Bath & Body Works and so we gave her a dose of Benadryl. Previously Benadryl knocked Dos out – but today it had the opposite effect. She was wired!

So… On the way home we told both of the girls that they needed to take a nap while we drove. They were quite resistant to this idea, but Uno was the more vocal of the two about her disinterest in our napping plan.

Finally Lizard put his foot down.

“Do not talk anymore!” he said in his firm, “don’t mess around anymore” voice.

Uno began to wail. “But I have words inside of me and they want to come out!” she protested.

“They are inside of me saying, ‘Please, let me come out!’” she continued with her voice pitched almost to the hieght that only a dog could hear. “And I promised them that they could come out… But you say, ‘No!’”

Lizard and I were both cracking up in the front seats, trying to hide our laughter from Uno since she was howling and moaning as we drove along Route 66.

Uno couldn’t help giving one last opinion:

“You mean guy!” she moaned a long “oh” moan. “You mean guy!”

But then it got better. Because Dos, the Dizzy Devil, began to chime in.

“Mean guy! Mean guy! Mean guy!” she chanted in her little 2-year-old voice. Then without pause, “Santa Clause is coming to town,” she warbled.

That sent us over the edge and I began to write down the conversation so that I could share it with you without messing it up.

Things calmed down a bit and we thought that the fun was over. But then Dos piped up again.

“Uno… Mean guy!” she said.

“I am not a guy,” Uno corrected Dos with passion. “I am a girl!”

Then Uno stopped to consider. “I am a lady!” she amended.

They were both asleep in about three more minutes, but we gigged about the exchange the entire drive home. Hope you enjoyed it, too!

Chicken Chipotle


Last weekend we traveled five and half hours with Stella the Suburban.

As we arrived to our big-city destination, Lizard saw a Chipotle.

Chipotle is a strange favorite of his.  When we travel with the soccer team I can bet anytime one sees a Chipotle the chanting and begging will begin for “Coach” to take them to Chipotle.

Most of the time he capitulates, which makes me want to run for the hills (or the nearest Taco Bell, to be more specific).

I’ll just put it out there – I hate Chipotle.
Burritos should not have black beans.  Or rice.  Or be large enough to make you look like there is a wildebeest in your stomach after you’ve finished eating.

Taco Bell, while admittedly not exactly Mexican food, nor exactly using real beef (rather a beef product), is akin to ambrosia.

Taco Bell allows you to eat in the wee hours of the night if needed.  Taco Bell has creamy beans.

I’ve also recently discovered the Fresco Bean Burrito, which is in the running for the number one discovery that makes my life complete.

If there’s a need for a black bean on a burrito with rice I haven’t ever seen compelling evidence for it – nope, Taco Bell is the way I roll.

So, there we were at a stop light at the end of our road trip and Lizard was salivating over Chipotle.

I rolled the window down and took a fresh breath of non-roadtrip funked air and said, “Ah!  That smells good!”

“You’re smelling Chipotle!” my husband said quickly.

“I’m definitely not smelling Chipotle,” I responded.  Nothing good comes from the rice burrito place.

Lizard gestured to the Jiffy Lube on the opposite corner from Chipotle and said, “Well, you certainly aren’t smelling Jiffy Lube!”

The tickled my funny bone and I started giggling about the scent of oil changes.

Uno picked up on the giggles and chirped from the back seat:

“That smells like chicken boobs?”

Instead of simply correcting her misunderstanding of what we had been saying that made me laugh harder and gasped, “No, you’re talking about breasts…”

Lizard and I were overcome with hilarity, which had probably a lot to do with the length of our road trip and the knowledge it would soon be complete.

Uno was still perplexed in the backseat, staring out the window.

She thought for a long minute and said:

“This… This is not how I dreamed it would be.”

The end.

Don’t forget to rate this post.  The ratings go into a blender-type mechanism at WordPress and the favorites magically reappear on the side bar so newbies know where to start reading.  (In fact, if you have previous favorites, go back and rate those… we’re all about helping other people around here!)

Road Trip Tips


At this very moment we are on the road! Using the iPad I’m going to take a few moments to record five simple tips for road trips:

Tip #1: Avert your eyes when visiting gas stations. I made the mistake of examining my surroundings too closely once in Sapulpa, OK. As I walked in the convenience store door what should I see but a heavily overweight man wearing a sleeveless white t-shirt that covered very little of his girth. The temperature was below freezing and he was coatless, but as I took a closer look I realized he had a built-in defense against the cold.

He was covered in more body hair than I’ve ever seen on a real person. It was literally a pelt of body hair. That sight rivaled our previous winner of strange gas station sightings (also in Oklahoma… coincidence?  I think not…) of seeing a woman sitting with an elk in her lap in the back of a Lexus sedan.

Tip #2: The security of seat restraints is less secure than we believe. Though we have the girls buckled in their car seats according to law, they are both able to strip down to their underwear while buckled. This has become the ritualistic road trip activity.

With this in mind, it’s not wise to look too closely at passing cars just in case you might see a Moon over the Hiney of some other acrobatic kiddo. Also, be aware that the call of the wild can hit anyone, so keep your own clothes on if the wild calls to you. They arrest adults for indecent exposure. Usually they just laugh at kids.

Tip #3: The hop-hop-shimmy is the best defense against blood clots. Modern medical research tells us that long journeys without movement can cause blood to clot in our bodies, which can lead to, well, death.

No one wants to have “died of a blood clot in the big toe” written on their tombstone. I have discovered a fabulous way to divert this disaster.

It’s call the hop-hop-shimmy and it’s just what it says. Hop with gusto three times then shake your backside as hard as you can in a solid shimmy. If you don’t feel your backside jiggle hard you’re not doing it with enough gusto. Trust me, it’s refreshing and it makes your brain shake if done correctly. Blood clots, be gone!

Tip #4: Ode to the DVD player. Let not those naysayers tell you that video watching is bad for the mental development! Without said DVD player, our children would be a howling mass of chaos asking “are we there yet?” 9 million times instead of the trifling 50,000 times. Without the DVD player one is not able to hear quotes come from the mouths of babes like “Sting like a cadillac, sting like a beamer!” or, “My finger has a heartbeat.” Nothing makes thy heart happier than knowing Hollywood is influencing defenseless preschoolers.

Tip #5: Do not fear the delirium. Lizard says my road trip delirium sets in at mile 42, sadly I think he’s really just noticing my natural personality at that point. However, I admit that after the sixth hour things get a little coo-coo in our car.

This last trip I found myself attempting ninja moves by maneuvering from the front passenger seat to rear passenger seat to change dirty diapers on my lap, hand out sippy cups and fast food, change toy batteries, etc.

At the sixth hour I slunk down into the floorboard of the passenger side and began to moan. I may have bleated: “Please, tell me when it will all end!” at which point Lizard may have yelled, “You can’t handle the truth!” Or maybe not. All to say, delirium is part of what makes a road trip fun, dontcha know?

And that, my friend, covers my top 5 travel tips. If I think of more I’ll share, but for the time being I’ll simply say:

Happy Trails to you!

Westward Ho


So, rumor has it that this funky little device named the iPad 2 was released today.

That news meant a lot to Lizard, because as you know, technology to him is as enticing as a piece of chewing gum is to a certain 5-year-old who I will call Uno.

However, we did not go stand in line at the Apple store today to make a purchase. Nor did we join a call-a-thon to raise money to support Japan in the midst of the worst day ever, a tsunami and earthquake right on top of each other (though that could happen in the future).

No, instead of joining in with the concerns of the rest of the world, we had much more fun.

We prepared for a 17-hour road trip with three children under the age of 6. Who says that spring break can’t be a fun-filled family adventure?! The only thing I can think of that would make this more fun is a pop-up trailer that makes us go 55 mph and lengthens our trip to 24 hours.

(We did consider taking a train this time but it was going to be 64 hours if we went the cheap route and sounded just plain painful. Our great American tour will have to be when we’re out of diapers and capable of reading independently. Amen.)

Today started early when Dos woke up and hustled into the bedroom to put her face about 1.3 millimeters from my face and whisper loudly, “I need to go potty!”

“Then go,” I answered, wondering why she needed permission and about to wet myself from the surprise of being woken up by a close talker.

“OK!!!” she whispered in the loudest whisper known to man (or woman, as the case may be).

She left the room and headed for the bathroom that is literally on the other side of her bedroom wall but across the house from our bedroom.

Then she slammed the hall door and woke up Uno and Tres. Many cries. Much complaining.

Good morning, world. Glad to see you before the sun’s awake today!

The hours since then have been filled with many things, but after a start like that the only thing that will top it today is when I walked into their bedroom and found Dos dangling upside down by one angle from the top bunk while Uno gripped just one skinny ankle with her even skinnier arms.

This confirmed my suspicion that they’ve been sneaking into the movie collection and watching Mission Impossible at night while Lizard and I are passed out from chasing them around all day.

The did not have the finesse of Tom Cruise. Just keeping’ it real.

We finally made it out the door after several more near misses with bodily injury due to lack of parental supervision as the parental units were frantically trying to count how many pairs of underwear are needed for a week and clothing changes for two different temperate zones.

As for Tres, well, I made a critical error in giving her an Oreo cookie while we were packing the Suburban, which resulted in a clothing change and spray down in the kitchen sink with the dish sprayer. We did not use Dawn soap.

Only three hours later than expected, we pointed the Suburban, which really needs a nickname since it’s become another family member, onto the western road and we’re headed toward tsumani-warned California.

Not the we’re going to California. We’re just headed west.

And that’s all I have to say about that. Ya’ll pray for us, ya hear?!

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