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Typical Morning-Of. There’s Some Kind of Law.


We are running away for Father’s Day weekend, and the morning-of is panning out like all mornings-of do: when it’s time to leave town, count on all things going awry.  It’s how it goes.  There’s some kind of law.

My wheels started vibrating when I traveled more than 60 mph, and let’s face it: I spend a lot of time driving slightly more than 60 mph.  My husband taught me well, and a vibrating-grinding sound does not mean A+ on the wheel alignment or tire balance or some such thing.

Also there’s something happening with the brakes.  Also there’s probably some oil that needs changed and some coolant that could use a refill.

So I took the car in this morning (I’ll spare you the dialogue where the guy asks me a million questions about the history of the car, to all of which I answer, “I don’t know.  I really just don’t know.”).

My mom came to scoop up me and the boys from the body shop.  Didn’t we plan that so well?  And then her battery died in the parking lot.  Good thing we’re in the Pep Boys parking lot, and you know, not at JoAnn Fabrics or something.

So both of our cars were suddenly incapacitated for a number of hours, and we spent the morning stranded in the McDonald’s Playland.  Deeply wanting to be on a vacation instead.

Anyway, that’s how it happened.  And as I write, we actually still haven’t left town.  I remain hopeful.

All of this reminds me of a previous blog post about a similar ‘morning-of.’  In fact, I wrote this two years ago this weekend.  🙂

It’s been a long time since we’ve had a morning like this one. A morning that leads me to call others for emotional support, to call my husband in a rage, to call my mom to ask for sympathy. It’s been a while. But today?

Oh, sweet watermelons, today.

Let me say this: on occasion, I get to cash in on some perks with Robb’s travel schedule. Sometimes, when the stars align and everything is right with the world, I get to go too. This week is one of those blessings, and I didn’t need much convincing to pack my suitcase and my bag of books. Say no more: I’m in.

Today was departure day, and I had nothing to do this morning except to pack myself for my getaway and the boys for their vacation at Grandma & Poppa Camp. Snip-Snap, Lickety Split, right? I mean, really.


Enter two boys.

They began with a breakfast picnic in front of the Disney Channel, while I brought suitcases up from the basement. That childcare plan lasted until WWF began on the living room floor.

Okay, boys. New plan. Let’s get you dressed, and then outside with you. Moments later, in their t-shirts and cut-off shorts, I tossed them out the door, confident in their outdoor options. I headed up the stairs to count and pack their pairs of socks and underwear…until I heard giggling and unwelcome sounds. The punchline: One had turned on the hose; the other had opened the screen door in the kitchen. And both of them were wet, and my kitchen had been watered.

So, great. New clothes all around. But not before the cherubs got towels of their own to handle this clean up.

Next plan: Playroom. I sent them to the basement, where they could play and play in the indestructible place that both God and their daddy gave to them. But when the crashes got too loud for me to ignore, I called them upstairs. (Confession. I didn’t investigate too closely. I still don’t know what happened. I couldn’t bring myself to look. A woman knows her limits.)

Let’s try TV again. Here you go, boys: A visit with Chicken Little.

Four minutes after I left the scene, just long enough to choose pajamas appropriate for cool nights or warm ones, I heard from the living room: “Hip-hip, Hooray! Hip-hip, Hooray!” I peeked over the landing to find them each poised on the windowsill, jumping onto the couch. Turns out, there’s a cheer for that maneuver.

Nope. Not gonna work for me. Outside again, gentlemen. (My patience was waning.) We had a discussion about the hose and the kitchen door, and I naively sent them out with my highest of hopes. How bad can it be? What can go wrong?


After they immersed Buzz Lightyear and Woody in the kiddy pool from their previous adventure, Tyler climbed over the deck railing and down into the garden, while Tucker practiced his high wire routine on the railing of the deck.

I nearly lost my mind. I called Robb in a rage, describing in a fury the scene from Lord of the Flies. I called my mom, asking for sympathy. I *nearly* called the pediatrician to ask if I could just book an appointment, since the pending visit was only a matter of time.

Did I mention I had suitcases to pack? More than one?

I brought them inside, discussed the perils of their choices and the greater dangers of pushing me further toward my ragged edge, and I broke out the puzzles and PlayDoh. Bring on the mess. I’ll be upstairs.

Sure enough: they brought on the mess. (PlayDoh crumbs are my favorite, only second to mixed, jumbled puzzle pieces.)

Robb came home for our ‘early’ departure, only to find that the house was trashed, nobody was packed, and his travel companion was more than slightly frayed. The wise, wise man sent me upstairs, inviting me to lock the door, turn up the radio, and check off those items on my packing lists. Meanwhile, he and the boys set about the PlayDoh-Puzzle-Piece-Playroom Debacle.

(Could I just say, right here and right now, that I really don’t know of any parents of three- and four-year-old boys who entertain the blissful idea of homeschooling? I don’t know of ANY. I’m just sayin’. When does preschool start up again? Can we sign up for a summer option?)

Finally, we dropped them off at my parents’ house – complete with their packed suitcases, swimtrunks, movies, and sleeping bags. (Thank you, Mom and Dad.)

And now, hours later, in my jammies in our hotel room, I can smile about the atrocity of it all.

 But only because I get a reprieve from that scene for a few more days.

And this brings me to today.  Stranded and wishing to get away from more than just chaos.

What’s a girl have to do to get a vacation around here?  One might ask herself if it’s truly worth it.  And when she puts the children in bed tonight and pours herself a glass of wine, she’ll say, yes.  Yes, it was worth it.

Tricia Lott Williford

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