Like Watermelon


11:20 pm EST, Sault Ste Marie, Michigan

Day One of our Big 2012 Summer Vacation, not to be confused with day one of our 2012 little summer vacation which was supposed to be a low-key long weekend in Colorado with friends and wound up - I remind you, darkly - shattering every childhood fantasy I ever had about the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island:

(but enough about the stupid Grand Hotel and their horrible service and outlandish pricing structure that one only expects... IN HELL - except to say you should never ever go there because every other accomodation on Mackinac Island is better including a cardboard box behind a fudge shoppe)

heavens I just had to fan myself.

So 11:20 etc and

Steve, Edward and Patrick are sleeping (some more protected than others: that would be Yehyo Bankie, Boo Bankie, Purr, Tiger, The Car Bankie That Patrick Made Me and his feet covering Edward front to flank - golly he's cute isn't he?)




Oh there she is. There might be times when Caroline goes to bed at a reasonable hour but... I don't know how to finish that sentence. I just handed her Patrick's Kindle as a bribe to leave me in peace since: a) he's sleeping and won't know; and b) there is only room for one insomniac night owl in this motel room and she happens to be trying to write a blog post a day for the next two weeks. 

Actually - or Ackshuhwee as Edward says every other second; he's inherited his brother's fondness for adverbs and correcting people - for the first time that I can remember, ever, Caroline did fall asleep before seven a few nights ago. On the couch no less.


Needless to say it turned out she was as sick as a hedgehog, sickest I've ever seen her, only fever I can remember her having ever, at one point she said, "My head is hot and cold at the same time. I must have a flu." A flu. 


I thought oh poor butterbean and tucked her into my bed (from which she woke up at three in the morning and gently poked me in the eye before saying "I have to throw up. Should I do it right here or the bathroom?') and then I thought oh good grief we're driving to Vermont in three days and if Caroline (CAROLINE) is this sick it must be the plague and we're all dooooomed.

A day later she was fine (she's still awake by the by) but Edward has lost his voice. Seriously, he can only speak in a whisper which brings me to:

Edward was enraged about something during our long (eleven hours with stops) drive but he is unable to shriek about it so he just squeaked softly from his car seat and punched his fists in the air. We all sat there in silence for a few moments while Edward raged quietly on.

Patrick from the backseat said, "OK. I'm just going to say what we're all thinking: this is a very refreshing change."

Apart from a marginally sick (but refreshingly mute) Edward, the drive was fine and uneventful. I finally convinced Steve to listen to an audiobook with me (after very careful consideration I picked the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik that someone recommended here ages ago - I was skeptical about dragons-meets-Napoleonic Wars [see how silly that looks?] but we are enjoying it tremendously) and we spent several good hours listening to my Creative Zen with earphones and a splitter. Every ten minutes or so we'd have to pause our book and settle some backseat dispute but for the most part it was pleasant.

I always consider the first day of a road trip something of a wash since you have to drive a pretty long way to get something different. North Central Wisconsin and Western Whatever Michigan, for example, look enough like our part of Minnesota

(exhibit A)


that only the most ardent of agricultural enthusiasts could maintain their ardor throughout the 6,8, 10 hour drive. It's pretty. It's rural. I'm sure it's a great place to live and grow corn and soybeans, much like our own little wedge of the breadbasket, but you don't really feel an urge to get out and explore.

Patrick did want to stop one place but...

we were driving along in Wisconsin and I heard Patrick say something from his seat in the way back. I stopped our book and asked, "What?"

He said, "I said that I bet that I'd like something there. We should stop."

And I said, "What?"

He said, indignantly, "That billboard. It says it's an adult superstore. For adults. We should stop."

I looked up quickly and saw the sign advertising something called Private Pleasures that did, indeed, proclaim itself to be an adult superstore.

"Yeah, We're not doing that."

"Why not?" Patrick was clearly on the verge of a Rosa Parks moment. "Why is it super and a store but just for adults?"

"Wine and beer," I said promptly and even as I said it I realized with absolute certainty that some day Patrick is going to look back on that moment and think his mom was reeeeeaaaallly naive. I'm ok with that.

Tomorrow we're doing a chunk of the TransCanada Highway (what was the name of that dairy you recommended two years ago for lunch? Made their own ice cream and blue cheese dressing to die for? Somewhere between Sault Ste Marie and Sudbury or maybe Sudbury and Ottawa?) and every time I think about it I laugh because I orginally called it the TransCanadian Highway but some nice commenter pointed out my error; the highway crosses Canada you see, not an exceptionally wide Canadian.   

And Caroline is finally asleep.