Ah, summertime. Clichéd images of kids running through the sprinkles, chasing down the ice cream truck, and barbeques in the early evenings; this is the life. Summertime in Arizona, however, is equivalent to being a piece of pottery and living in a kiln. After so many days of fire-breathing-dragon’s -breath weather, my family is ready for a change.
July is generally the month of the year my family decides to gather in the van and take a road trip—anywhere cooler! But, as many parents can attest, even the best laid vacation plans can take an unexpected twist.
Several years ago, my husband and I, our four kids and our two small dogs ventured 12 hours by car to Monterey, California. The excursion itself was pleasant; we visited family, went to the beach, all the typical tourist adventures. The ride home, on the other hand, had a surprise in store. Our Shih Tzu dog, Brutus, who was not feeling well in the first place, died in the car somewhere in central California. Not only did we have to calm the crying children for the remainder of the car ride, but we had to transport Brutus’s body all the way home!
One year, while traveling once again by van, we were stopped on a California freeway—for five hours! The freeway was completely closed and traffic was so backed up to exit off the freeway that we were literally at a standstill! Daniel, my youngest son, then about four, informed me that he needed to use the restroom, and there was certainly no way to get to one. Finally, I had to escort Daniel across the frozen line of cars to the shoulder of the freeway so he could relieve himself, much to the amusement of my other kids in the car! That’s when the dam broke—literally—and men from all the surrounding cars decided to follow Daniel’s lead! I think if we had had an ark, we would have made it home faster.
Last summer, our travels took us to my niece’s wedding. We all piled into the trusty van, with the addition of my oldest son’s girlfriend, Brooke. We purposely booked a two-bedroom suite so that the girls could stay in one room and the boys in the other. Once we arrived, however, our suite turned sour when we saw our accommodations. There was only one bed in the main room, which meant the boys would be sleeping on the floor. The room the girls were in had a pull-out couch, which took up the entire room. All three girls managed to sleep on a full mattress for our entire trip, while their luggage stayed in the main room, because they could not fit their suitcases and the pull-out couch in the same room! Lastly, all seven of us shared a bathroom the size of a confessional—a sardine can is roomier than our bathroom was.
For all the misadventures my family has experienced in its quest for the perfect break, it has made these vacations all the more memorable. The recollections of time spent with my children, good and bad, made them all worthwhile. Now, back to the kiln…