So, first of all, let me say that we had a wonderful time visiting my brother and his fiancée and their dog/cats in North Carolina. They were wonderful hosts, and I think we all enjoyed ourselves quite a bit. And let me also say that our accommodations were fantastic and I have no complaints. At all. They even let us steal their toothpaste.
But, I think from this point forward when we travel we are going to send a rider agreement ahead of us, like rock stars do when they feel they must have six tuna salad sandwiches and eight bottles of evian waiting for them backstage next to their herbal teas and cocaine or else they just simply will not perform. I’m not asking for cocaine and Tuna. I’m just saying that you get there and everything you need to do what you do is there, and you don’t have to remember it all yourself.
2006 Snee Family Rider:
1 Crib with sheets and one small lightweight blanket
4 Pillows on bed, two on each side
1 stick Dove deodorant (AKA Ronnie James Deo) because I will forget mine
2 clean bath towels
1 Jumbo pack #3 size Huggies
1 Package unscented wipes
1 Can Isomil formula + 4 bottles
1 6-pack Budweiser
1 Bottle Shiraz
1 Pack Camel Lights
1 Package Men’s Briefs (exotic prints preferred) <– A. suggests I add this
1 Jug windshield wiper fluid (because we will run dry)
If dinner is involved there should be one vegetarian option at each restaurant or vegetarian option served at dinner
If television remote has more than 6 buttons, please provide instructions
Like old times
We had beer and wine on Saturday night and I had more than has passed my lips since I found out I was pregnant, which felt good and bad. They’re planning a wedding and A. and I spent a lot of time bossing them around about it, but also retelling and reliving the story of our own wedding, which A. loves to tell and I love to hear. (I will tell you about it later, but the gist is that it was outdoors and it stormed like crazy and people got wet, but it ended up being perfect in every way) He gets so excited and I think his telling of it is just so sweet. Oh, and I smoked cigarettes on my brother’s back deck and realized it might be time to go to bed when I started in on my rambling breastfeeding horror stories. Some things are better discussed among moms, and I was the only one present—and now I’m thinking maybe my little brother did not want to hear about my formerly cracked and bleeding nipples.
But I didn’t feel like a mom for a couple of hours, with Birdy tuckered out and sleeping great upstairs, the four of us talking and smoking and drinking. It was nice. And then it was even nicer to remember I had a Birdy upstairs.
No Normal Rubber Ducky
We gave Birdy a bath and she pooped in the sink, which somehow went undiscovered for about 10 minutes post-bath, until C. said “Is there a slug in this sink?” and we realized it was more like a turd. The mystery remains unsolved, though, as the turd was clinging vertically to the side of the sink, not in the bottom of the sink where a baby might have shat it. But it was definitely a turd and Birdy was the only one who had stuck her bare ass in the sink that night, so it must have been her.
It’s not meat, it’s just chicken
My brother has somehow forgotten that for the past 19 years I have been a strict non-meat eater, telling me that he is SURE I’ve eaten chicken fajitas in his presence. And then telling me that he’s SURE I eat fish. Which is completely untrue. If I WAS going to eat meat, which I am not, a slimy dead salty thing that swims through the goo of other slimy dead salty things (and stinks) would be my last choice. 19 years. You sure you didn’t order a chicken fajita once? Yup, pretty sure.
Just Say No to Bugs
Birdy got her first bug bite while we were in Charlotte, right on her big poofy cheek, and it bruised! It happened on the patio of a restaurant in the so so cute neighborhood that B and C live in, and she just screeched for a minute and there was a welt, kind of, and a little pinprick of blood, but no further complaining, and then later this creepy little bruise appeared, like a little fingerprint right there on her face. According to our pediatrician this is not normal but also not something to worry about. Worrying directions aside, one never wants to hear one’s pediatrician say “necrosis.” Ever.
Three Stars, Five Stars: Reviews From the Road
Of course, on the drive out we stopped at Cracker Barrel, and of course I ordered as much starch as I could for under $10, and of course I left a little sad because of all of the old women eating alone. Every time I go to the CB I see too many old women eating alone, which is even sadder when they are eating alone and they see Birdy and give you the saddest little old lady smile. I want to stand up in the middle of the CB and say “All you women eating alone because your husbands have probably died from eating this brand of home cookin’, All you women buttering your biscuits and staring out the window at the parking lot, eat TOGETHER! You’re all doing the same thing, so why spread out all over the restaurant?! Eat corn muffins and then find an appliqué sweatshirt out front for half price TOGETHER!” But I didn’t, and they didn’t, and they ate quietly, and I ate while holding Birdy, which is not unlike trying to eat a macaroni and cheese with a monkey crawling all over you.
Oh, and thank you so much to the guy who left the Cracker Barrel outside of Knoxville just as we were being seated, the guy with the “Redneck University” tee shirt. You didn’t know it, but you allowed me to make the joke about how you graduated with honors from Redneck University, and that joke grew into other comments about what collegiate activities might go down there at good ole RU. It was an easy laugh, with mileage, and I thank you.
We also stopped at McDonalds near the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. We usually don’t stop at McD’s, but we were in a pressure situation and I knew they would have a changing table in the restroom. It was the nicest McDonalds, EVER. Chandeliers. High ceilings. Nice employees. Clean self-serve beverage area. Big bathrooms. And (this is the best part) a player piano in the corner that played The Eagles AND Toto while we were there. (But there were still tampon wrappers all over the restroom floor, so you knew it was still McDonald’s). I wanted to stay there for a long time.
In fact, I wanted to move to Asheville. And before that I wanted to move to Charlotte, because when we left the city we spent an hour driving in the opposite direction of our home, adding two hours to a trip that, all said and done, totaled 10 ½ hours. We tried to “cut over” to the right highway, which I will be no good at explaining so that you can visualize, but it was as if the highway was bending itself around and around and the numbers and directions on the signs kept changing and we could never, ever get out. At a certain point, you don’t care about your house or your dogs or your job or your friends, you just want to watch an episode of six feet under in your pajamas and not be in the car. And if it means moving out of state, so what.