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Road trips with our family are always an adventure. Most of the time, they also are a special form of torture for my husband as well. Why? For some reason he feels that we should get to where we need to go quickly and without incident.  To me, this is a way for my husband to inflict pain on himself.  The key to happiness is to expect that nothing is going to go as planned.

Here is a little snapshot from yesterday to illustrate my point.

This weekend’s trip original itinerary:

3:00 Leave for my parents

4:30 Stop by parents and hang out for an hour

5:30 on the road again

7:00 Dinner at our friends house

How it actually went down…

3:15 The Girl and I arrive home from birthday party.  When I get home my husband surprises me by telling me that his parents are going to get us a new dryer as a present!  We have to have it picked out that night. So we get online and research dryers.

4:30 Leave the house with kids and dog in tow.

4:40 Kids calling to us to turn on the movies.  I notice that we never put them up and ask my husband if he remembered to grab them.  He says that he thought they were already in the car.  We turn around to go home since we forgot the car DVD players.  I notice some eye-rolling, but The Husband agrees that we need to go back.

4:50 Leave house for the second time.

5:15 Hit traffic and stay in traffic most of the way.   The DVD players refuse to accept the disc when mounted on the headrest.  I make multiple attempts to get the movie to play.  15 minutes later Ben 10 is playing and the car becomes quiet.   Thankfully, The Boy falls asleep because my cell phone was about to die and I had to turn off the DVD player.  The Girl and I draw pictures.

6:45 The Boy wakes up from his nap and starts crying that he needs to go to the bathroom now (just as we pass the turn off to the rest area)!

6:47 Find the first exit and stop at the first fast food restaurant to take him to the bathroom.  Upon getting in the car, notice that his seat was wet.  The husband very irritated.  We decide to change him at my parents.

6:51 The Husband takes a wrong turn and drive around for 5 minutes trying to get back to the freeway.  Self infliction of pain is beginning.

7:00 Arrive at my parents house.  Change The Boy into clean clothes and remove the pad from his car seat.  My parents let us borrow a towel and we hang out for 1/2 hour.

7:30 Leave my parents house

7:35 Stop at 7 eleven to grab a snack to tide us over to dinner at our friends.  Text friends to go ahead and eat.

7:40 The Husband notices the gas light is on so we stop for gas.

7:45 Finally made it to the freeway.  Luckily there is less traffic.

9:45 Arrive at our friends’ house and notice the dog puke and decide that cleaning it up can wait until the morning.

So as you can see… we did not follow the times on our  itinerary at all.

So if you are planning to go on a road trip… Let me share the lessons that we learned.

1. Go to the bathroom before leaving even if you are running late.  Really, this is a tip that is a given.

2. Asking a 5-year-old “Can you hold it?” is meaningless.   Even when they say “yes,” that does not always mean they can.   Pack an extra towel.

3. Plan on forgetting something and turning around…I say that is something you put on your itinerary.

4. Always prepare for a late arrival… just tell your friends, “We plan on getting there for dinner, but plan on eating without us and we will just eat whatever you have for leftovers.”

5.  Plan for everything to go wrong… You will make wrong turns, make unscheduled bathroom stops, and DVD players will spontaneously shut off causing kids to scream and make you want to throw the players out the windows.   If you plan for these things then agitation becomes a feeling of resigned acceptance.   I recommend making it a game… Make a bingo board of all the things that can happen and then see who wins as you mark off the events as they occur.  Winner gets to choose a random exit to make a pit stop at.

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