The MalleyCats

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(2012) In which we hit the road...

Our family is getting ready for a road trip to visit all our friends in Delaware for a Thanksgiving spectacular that will be one for the record books.  I don't know who actually keeps a Thanksgiving record book, but if there were one---this upcoming celebration would certainly qualify for the "epic" category.  I mean, how often do you have a Thanksgiving where your friends butcher their own turkey in their backyard for your consumption? My point exactly.

So in honor of our upcoming roadtrip, I thought I'd tell you the tale of the first roadtrip to Delaware we took this summer with all 5 kids in tow.  It started out great.  I packed activity bags for each child--complete with snacks, little toys, coloring supplies, and drinks.  Everyone was geared up for the 14 hour drive, and off we went.  The first several hours passed uneventfully until we crossed into Ohio, when things went horribly, horribly wrong.  From the back of the van I heard the unmistakable sounds of someone starting to wretch.  That someone was Eloise, and when I turned to look at her she had the expression of complete panic that says, "I cannot control what's about to come shooting out of my face"! Before I could do anything to help her, she began to barf.  Not just a little barf--but the kind of barf that comes in waves, and covers every surface within a 3 foot radius.  As quickly as I could I rolled down the window and threw the diet coke out of the giant cup I had in order to have an empty vessel in which to contain the puke.  I crawled over the seats to hand it to her and she managed to get the remaining vomit in the cup.  That's when Seth informed me that we were 6 miles away from the nearest exit.  Under normal circumstances 6 miles is no big deal, but when you have a sobbing child covered in their own sick holding a cup of partially digested McDonalds, while the other passengers in your car are inhaling the scent and sitting next to oozing puddles of it---6 miles might as well be on the moon for as far away as that seems.  I tried to calmly tell Eloise that we were almost there, and to just hold on....just hold on....when Oliver suddenly yelled out, "I'M POOOOOOPING!!!"   There's a point at which your brain stops processing news like this, because to do so means that the next logical step would be to throw yourself out of the moving vehicle.  So, my brain just kind of ignored that comment until we pulled into the rest stop parking lot and Seth and I just stared at each other for a moment before either of us could speak.  We were going to have to divide and conquer here, and Seth claimed he would throw up if he had to clean up the puke--and so the task fell to me, while he went off to deal with Oliver and his pooped-in-pants.  Armed with only wipes, a water bottle, and a nearby trash can, I began by the extracting the cup-o-puke.  Then I removed the vomit-covered child from the car, and peeled her out of her clothes.  Next I hosed her down with water and wipes and found new clothes in the suitcase.  Last, but not least, I began the cleaning of the car.  I did my very best to rid the car of all chunks and remnants and goo left in the wake of the puke tsunami, all while holding my breath as though diving under water.  I occasionally came up for air, and after some 30 minutes later we finally went into the rest area to use the bathroom, get some water and find some dramamine for our very motion-sick daughter.

Once inside the bathroom stall Eloise told me that she needed to poop--but couldn't.  You may remember my story about DisneyWorld and the severe constipation Eloise had that resulted in us giving her several doses of adult laxative in order to finally get that girl to poop.  It was a miserable couple of days with her, and I was not, I repeat NOT going to do that again on this trip. So I looked Eloise in the eyes and I said, "We are not leaving this bathroom stall until you poop."  I then played the role of poop-cheerleader-meets-drill-sargeant while Eloise grunted and pushed and wailed and screamed while trying to poop.  At one point I was pretty sure that someone was going to call Child Protective Services based on the horrible sounds coming out of our bathroom stall.  I implored her to just get that poop out, and it would all be over! This all lasted at least 20 or 30 minutes until finally she screamed in such a way that I knew the end was near.   As the world's largest man-sized poo-log finally plopped into the toilet, her face instantly turned from sheer terror to a beaming smile as she shouted "GOT IT!!!" 

Now that everyone and everything was clean, Eloise was properly drugged, and Oliver was under strict orders to not poop his pants, we all piled back in the car and set our sights on Delaware once more.  A few minutes into the drive I happened to look over at the dashboard which clearly read, "9 miles to empty".  Of all the things we had done at that rest stop, getting gas wasn't one of them.  Now the real trick was going to be finding another exit before running out of gas.  I remembered passing a sign that said, "Next Exit 33 Miles" at one point earlier in the trip...but I didn't remember how long ago that had been.  The next several minutes were spent in silence as we all just hoped and prayed we would find a gas station before running out.  When we finally saw the sign for an upcoming exit in 3 miles it was as if the heavens opened and angels sang the Halelujah chorus.

The rest of our trip passed uneventfully, and was actually fun enough that we are going to do it AGAIN! This time I will be armed with Dramamine, and a puke kit.   So Happy Thanksgiving everyone! May your travels be free of bodily fluids, and your hearts be full of gratitude!

Seth Malley