After a lovely day relaxing and having fun at Val's house, we faced down the last leg of our trip out to Indianapolis with mixed feelings. I was dying to see my family and wanted to get on the road, but we both fully expected the girls to launch a full-scale bloody coup when they realized we were about to spend another long day in the car. I was a bit surprised that they only offered mild irritable complaining as we strapped them into their seats after breakfast and hit the Interstate Highway System once more. Maggie contented herself for the first hour or so with her favorite vehicular torture method: Are we there yet? Where are we going? Are we going to Gram's house? Are we going home? How far is home? Are we closer to home or closer to Nana's house? Are we to Nana and Papa's house yet? Are we in America? Where is Oklahoma? Are we going to Grandma the Great's house? Are we there yet? Are we going to work? Where is Sandy and Everett's house? Do they live with Noah? Is it near Noah's house? When will we get to America? Do they have a dog? Are we there yet?
The screaming didn't start until West Virginia.
Unbeknownst to most people, I bet, is that when one drives straight west out of Pittsburgh, one runs into West Virginia - that little sticky uppy part that contains Wheeling. I've now been to WV twice and still haven't spent more than a maximum total of about two hours there. It's a quick peek at Appalachia and then - zoom! drive away fast! And yet, although Wheeling leaves a little something to be desired, it is very beautiful there out in the forested hills around it.
Somewhere in that handful of West Virginia miles, the whole catastrophic plan for the day dawned crystal clear on Maggie and she started screaming. We tried to say comforting things. Then we tried to reason with her. Then we tried bribes. Then we tried angry threats of pulling over to the side of the road for a time out. She opted for the time out. She ASKED for the time out. SHE GAVE HERSELF A TIME OUT. Mike screeched to a halt on the side of the road, yanked her from her car seat, and plopped her down in the grass on the road side. Then he stood there facing away from her as though admiring the forest as Kate and I listened to Curious George in the car and stared glassy-eyed out the windows at the traffic speeding by. After they got back in the car, we crossed into Ohio and everything was just fine after that.
Ohio is a good name for it because it sounds like a lament, like a sigh. OH-hio! Ohio, ohio, o-HI-o! Why oh why oh why oh? Why could we just not leave Ohio? Ohio lasts forever. Forevah and evah as Maggie says in her unfortunate Boston accent. We didn't even get to change highways; it's I-70 the whole way across. Truck stops and cornfields and flat straightaways. There's not much to tell you about the hours of our lives that we left behind in Ohio, except for this little gem:
We stopped in some town whose name I can't remember to eat lunch at Arby's (which we don't have in New England so we were really excited to go there even though the food is never as good as you remember it). We had a fairly uneventful lunch wherein the girls learned that they love curly fries. Just before we left, I took Maggie into the ladies' room and Mike took Kate to see if the men's had a changing table (nope, the jerks). I hoisted Mags up onto the toilet seat and somehow, neither of us really understands the mechanics of how this happened, she peed all over my foot. My foot! I was wearing a pair of Rockport sandals which means that most of my foot was bare and the part that wasn't bare was rather expensive. You want to know what else? THREE AMISH WOMEN were waiting outside the stall to use the bathroom while I stood there in a puddle of pee holding my crying three-year-old over the toilet and trying not to let loose the torrent of four letter words slamming against the inside of my skull. As they stood there, strangely silent and expressionless like statues, I cleaned us both up, changed Maggie's pants, rinsed off our shoes, and left them with a warning about the puddle next to the toilet. I changed Kate's diaper in the front seat of the car, put my shoes in a plastic bag in the trunk, and went back inside to apologize to the lady behind the counter and let her know about the state of their bathroom.
And that wasn't the last time I'd have pee on my shoes on this trip either, but we'll save that story for later.
We coasted into Indianapolis just before dinner under a dark grey Midwestern thunderstorm less than an hour, I think, after my parents and grandmother arrived at my Aunt Sandy and Uncle Everett's house. All the trials of the road were forgotten as everyone joyously greeted one another, carried in stuff from the car, settled into rooms, brought out gifts, and sat down to dinner. It's easy to forget the hard road you've travelled when you're happy to be where you are.
Day Four: Indianapolis
Summertime, and the livin' is easy!
We encouraged the girls to do gladiator-style battles with pool noodles.
Whatever, they liked it.
Sandy & Ev's special boy, Jammydoodles. The girls loved him! Who doesn't?
They played with this little bowl of rocks constantly. Sandy and Everett say they're getting the girls rocks for Christmas. I bet if they do, the girls won't play with any of their other gifts because they'll be too excited about the rocks. Kate kept putting them up to her lips, thinking twice about it, looking around to see if anyone was watching her, and then putting the rocks down without actually eating them. Aw, she's growing up!
The Coolest Park #2
Running off all that energy saved up from the day before!
Mags and Maya, who's walking whom?
When we said, "Where's Papa?" Kate pointed to Papa. When we said, "Where's Nana?" Kate pointed to Papa. My mom didn't care for this game too much.
She was having fun... really!
Curly Sue - it was really hot and humid!