45 minutes four times daily. That is three hours a day. Over four days, that is twelve hours. Add in an extra hour for the one time I took the wrong road and got stuck in horrendous rush hour stop and go. Add in an hour and a half for the time I had to drive to and from the auto repair shop after destroying a tire on the car. Now we are up to fourteen hours. Over four days, 96 hours, let’s subtract eight per day for sleep (ha ha ha ha ha). This leaves 64 waking hours over these four days. Fourteen is almost 22% of that time spent driving to and from my daughter’s camp and dealing with the auto repair. Round it out to say that I have spent a quarter of my time in four days driving.
I know that many parents do so much more driving than this, but I have worked to eliminate as much driving as possible from my day. This is partly an environmental choice, and in Boston, it is also a mental health choice. On the other hand, my daughter is so excited to take care of animals during the day that it makes it worth it in the short term. I could not do this on a regular basis, though.
The aftermath of a hard drive from Philly to Boston.
It was, indeed, the best of times and the worst of times. Well, that tends to the hyperbolic, but the car ride to Philly was pretty smooth. No difficult traffic, no major complaints from the children, and no bad weather. The kids sat, as they usually do, next to each other and played amicably all the way except when my son was napping in the afternoon.
The way back, perhaps not the worst drive ever, was fairly nerve wracking. Bad traffic, poor communication while navigating around it, sick and grumpy children, sleep deprived parents, and the threat of rain made for a ride almost the same length of time but far more frazzling. We ended up separating the car seats, and while my wife and daughter napped for the last few hours, my son made a persistent and irritating sound. This on top of being away from home for several days was not unexpected but fully unhelpful to the well being of us all.
With four tickets to purchase and the craziness of airports along with travel to and from them, we have settled on driving as a cost effective and not terribly different in door-to-door travel time way to make this regular journey. I still prefer the train, but it is expensive and slower than the rest of the options.
On Tuesday night, I took the car seats and just about everything else out of my wife’s car to get it ready for a detailing and eventual trade in. My daughter knows we are getting a new car, but I wonder how the kids will react to such a new, big thing in their life?
Years ago, my girlfriend at the time gave me a book about how water treatment in Philadelphia helped eradicate disease. In this book, there was a description of the plague ships that would sit in harbor while passengers either died or survived in cramped quarters for great lengths of time. Philadelphia had no way to deal with the diseases coming in, and they devastated the population. As horrific as these plague ships were, quarentine was one of the only ways they could combat the spread of disease.
In four days, my family traveled about 16 hours on the road, and for much of that at least one member was fairly ill. On the trip to Philly my daughter sat in the back with a cloth napkin to wipe her nose as we just couldn’t keep up with the pace she was going through tissues. For all that she was suffering, she did very well and mostly listened to her music on headphones for the very extended trip. She did not even harp on the car being broken as she has in the past after one of these events (see earlier post about missing radiator cap).
She improved over the weekend to be mostly well by today’s return trip. However, both my wife and son came down with the cold, and both registered fevers. Both also got some naps in while my daughter listened to her music, and I wrestled with a wind-buffeted car.
Given our experience over winter break when we brought a lingering and intense respiratory illness with us across the country, I feel that soon people will be locking their doors to keep us out.
Today was slated to be the drive between Boston and Philly. Having met only minimal resistance on the Tapanzee and no traffic to speak of before that, we though things looked up. The NJ Turnpike was stop and go. We finally got off to explore a different route. Stopping for a snack, I saw steam/smoke coming from the hood. Upon opening it, I found no radiator cap and lots of fluid vaporizing in a hot engine. The idea of being stranded in NJ, amidst horrible traffic and with an ill daughter and cranky son was disheartening. Amazingly, the building where we stopped turned out to be an auto parts store, and they even had the right radiator cap. With new fluid in, the cap on, and many thanks to the really nice guy at the store who helped us, we navigated a route that avoided most of the traffic and got to Philly just in time.
What could have been a truly horrendous trip turned out to be merely arduous with a few touches of absurd and even enjoyable thrown in. Our lunchtime picnic was very nice.
Today, one of my full days with the kids, was packed. I dropped my daughter off at preschool, did some work there attaching some blinds to a shelving unit, took my car to get some overdue emissions stickers updated, stopped by a bakery that I used to go to weekly when I worked at another school, rushed back to school to get my daughter, took a walk with the kids to the library and the local pasta store, made dinner, made bread, did laundry, handled the dinner/bath/bed routine solo, and more. Amidst all that, though, there were a few moments of calm. While the garage was working on my car, I took my son on a walk around a large lake/reservoir. There has been a significant amount of nature restoration on the lands surrounding the the water, and one side of the park, especially, is fairly shielded from traffic noise. He had his morning nap surrounded by cattails, lapping water, birds singing, and fresh air. In the afternoon upon our return from picking up my daughter, I took my son up for his afternoon nap and lay down on the couch. The sun was streaming in the windows, warming me and brightening the room. I awoke quite a while later. I feel like I accomplished enormous amounts today, but those breaks were vital to creating balance and not arriving at 9:00 feeling completely worn out.
Filed under Chores, Nature
My daughter was exposed to Cars characters and especially Mader. When she moved to pull-ups for nighttime sleeping, the more eco-friendly brand just couldn’t keep up with her output, so we got big brand ones. The options are pepto pink with princesses or Cars characters. This was a no-brainer, and she loves her Mader pull-ups.
While doing the whole drying off and getting pajamas on routine after bath tonight, my daughter asked me what my car was named. I told her I didn’t know. “What is my car’s name?” I asked.
“Strollier,” was her sincere reply. “And his middle name is Jack-jumped-over-the-candle-stick.”
My car is now Strollier Jack-jumped-over-the-candle-stick.