Well, this is not where we intended to be at all.
We were supposed to wake up in a creaky bed in a tiny condo overlooking Lake Chautauqua. We were supposed to have coffee on the minuscule porch with the spiders and then, after breakfast, take a walk down South Terrace, showing off the Wee Boatswain and reminiscing about our wedding day seven years ago. We’d wander over to the Hall of Philosophy, observing the Footbridge Rule* at least twice, and we’d stand on the steps, looking down at the lake, and say that this was all worthwhile.
Instead, we’re at my parents’ house. In Cleveland.
To be fair, they treat us very well. They breakfast us and take Cap’n Pea to their favorite mechanic who hopes to have us on the road by 1:30. The grandparents entertain G and snuggle WB. They give us lunch. The day drags on. We play in the hammock and chase stray cats. I show G how to suck nectar out of the myrtle that covers the backyard. We watch squirrels tussle. Still no call about the car.
From Chautauqua, it’s supposedly a 4-hour drive, but we have no idea how far it is from Cleveland. Now, we’re all sitting around with laptops in our laps, so I say, I’ll just Google it. Instead, like an Amish household, both grandparents and the Cap’n get out atlases. Atlases. (Now, I love atlases as much as the next girl. I really do. Maps are fun, but really? For calculating mileage?) So they all scoot their fingers around the Pennsylvania map like little inchworms and declare that it will likely be an 8-hour drive from Cleveland. We say that if we have the car by 3, we can still make it.
3PM comes and goes. At 4:00, the mechanic calls. They replaced two tires, fixed the alignment, and changed the oil. We’re good to go. But go where? After much arguing, we agree to skip the wedding and go to Chautauqua, where we’ll spend the weekend (and as it’s our anniversary weekend, we’re not too sad about it).
Pack the car, kiss the grandparents, perform the ritualistic honking-of-the-horn as we pull out, and head north. Not even on the freeway yet, G starts asking for the DVD player. Incessantly. I shush her while calling a bridesmaid to tell her we’re not coming. She passes the phone to the bride. G gets more insistent and alternates that with mooing loudly at her brother, who cries. The bride flips out, saying we simply must come and that it’s a 5-hour trip door-to-door. The Cap’n demands that I repeat everything she says. The backseat gets louder. I hang up with the bride, we pull into a gas station for more arguing. G has lots of opinions. We finally agree to go to the wedding, so we pull out of the gas station and head south, through rush hour traffic.
The rest of the drive is uneventful. We stop for dinner at a Cracker Barrel–which I swore I’d never do, so the Cap’n takes photographic evidence–then we’re back on a road. WB sleeps peacefully. G is pacified with a movie, but requires us to stop for a bathroom break against my will 20 minutes (!) from our destination (grr). I thought of wrestling her into a Pull-Up from the front seat, but the Cap’n declared that crazy talk.
We got to the hotel; I checked in as the Cap’n drove around the parking lot to keep the children sleeping. Then I drove around the parking lot, stopping occasionally to let him unload armfuls of luggage, while he carried things upstairs and set up the crib. We threw the children into bed–G was so exhausted, she actually fell asleep–and settled in with some Manhattans we’d brought from home.
*The Footbridge Rule: If you see a footbridge, you are morally compelled to a) cross it and b) kiss in the middle of it. If you’re alone, you can skip step b).