When the kids go on trips with Tony, it's either an idyllic field trip into a world filled with motorized vehicles and cheeseburgers or a steep descent into a comedy of errors resulting in the use of a t-shirt for a diaper and marshmallows for lunch. There is no middle ground.
A few weeks ago, Tony and Jamie had the first kind of trip. Tony decided on a Saturday evening to go check out a boat the very next day in some faraway Canadian town (note the utter lack of advanced planning, just like every trip he’s taken to look at a fucking boat). I went to bed at mom o'clock (after a cup of tea and falling asleep on the couch while reading) but was awakened near midnight to sign a hastily-written affidavit to the effect that I didn't mind if my husband took our child across the border. When I finally rolled out of bed the next morning at the late hour of 7:30 am, Tony and Jamie were long gone, probably on their second ferry ride of the day (they would do four total). By all accounts, it was a perfect trip. They ate ferry food and saw float planes land on the water and didn't buy a boat (I'm always a bit relieved when that is the outcome).
It wasn’t a trip I’d ever take with a four-year-old, or any of the kids, really. The day was long, there was lots of time spent in the truck – basically, my idea of a terrible time right there. But Tony loves that sort of journey. He eats it up. Sports radio and looking at boats – that’s like heaven to him, and he’s stoked to share it with the boys.
Yesterday, Tony and Charles started out on a trip that, so far, is the second kind of adventure with dad. Before 12 hours had passed, they had missed a flight, stayed up way later than any seven-year-old should, and slept in their rental car in an in identified California city.
My husband and my seven-year-old slept in a car.
I just... Wow. Life is different on trips with Tony. With me, there are snacks in any bag I happen to have (and I have them all: purse, diaper bag, hiking backpack), plenty of water, changes of clothes, extra diapers, the gps coordinates to all suitable rest stops, children's museums, and restaurants, and kids’ music preloaded in the cd player. With Tony, it’s fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, don’t-bother-packing-underwear-but-be-sure-we-have-the-life-vests madness.
I suppose this will be an experience Charles will never forget. The stuff of family legends. The stuff that keeps my blood pressure nice and high.
I haven’t heard from them in a few hours. Things can’t have gotten much worse, right? Right??