It is that time of year. The time of year when we climb into our minivan singing “Deep in the Heart of Texas” and drive like mad dogs through Louisiana, hoping against all hope that we can gather enough momentum to combat the evil that lurks there under all that soupy marshland.
I told Todd in 1994 that I would never drive through Louisiana again. Ever. I said that I would ONLY fly over it and that I would spit toward the ground each time I did. What stupidity. Spitting toward the ground only hits the plane carpet or, if you are lucky, your own feet. I would be that lucky.
We had four kids.
I retracted my “I will never again” statement. And I am typing these words from a hotel in Baton Rouge. Louisiana. And I drove here. Voluntarily. And I did not spit a single time.
It was a long day, which began with a whopping 3.5 hours of sleep. I slept from 12:30ish until 4 a.m. That’s dumb. Really dumb. But with prayer and the most diligent efforts of my life, I didn’t have any sleeping or safety issues. Twelve long hours later, we pulled up to a very comfy hotel with lots of room to frolic and be inappropriately wild. Full kitchen (not that I need it. I don’t use the one I have in my actual house…), pull out couch in the living room, and a bedroom with two plush queen beds. The bathroom is also swanky-doodle. There were issues, however. Most of them relate to SnuggleMonkey. She gets the Bull in a China Shop Award for the day.
It was all going pretty well until we stopped at the Dufuniak Springs exit get gas. We were still in FL at this point. It takes a good 6 months to get out of FL. After that, you actually feel like you are going somewhere. I pulled into the Raceway to get gas. If you are ever in Dufuniak Springs and are faced with the choice of BP or Raceway, just swallow that Gulf Oil Spill thing and go to BP. Trust me. In addition to all of the other unsavory things associated with this gas station, on this day, SnuggleMonkey fell out of the van and did a face plant on the concrete. Yikes. I’ve heard that sound before. You never get used to it either. Human head on concrete is just icky. She got over it before the drug lords walked out of the store to check on us. And off we went. Besides hours of kids bop, High School Musical 3, and some loud, uncalled-for noises from the back of the van, the rest of the trip was relatively uneventful. It felt like we stopped 13 times while still in FL. But we made up for it by driving a solid 5 hours through AL, MS, and LA.
And then we arrived and checked into our temporary little Utopia. The plan was to eat Subway by the pool and let the kids burn off the last of their fumes and hit the sack early. It was going perfectly until the bathroom requests began pouring in. First it was the girls needing to go. Then Mama’s Boy. When Mama’s Boy needed to go, I stood up to take him and about the time I did that, SnuggleMonkey stepped off the stair and into a part of the pool where she can’t swim. I could see the panic on her face in slow motion. I dropped the towels in my hands, ran across the pool deck in 4 strides and leaped into the water, wearing a white t-shirt, black capris, and my keens. I am not the right person to go swimming in a white t-shirt. Few people are, truly. But definitely not me. That was awkward. Let’s just say I plan to hit the sit ups harder this week…
Poor girl. She was screaming when I scooped her into my arms, but she wasn’t coughing up water. She had been holding her breath. I held her in the water, trying to comfort her and tell her she handled it well. AG had jumped in with me, but I was faster. He was right by my side, talking to his sister, making sure it was all okay.
We were impressive.
No, we weren’t.
While I was in the water, I was very aware that my leg was sort of adding to this whole conversation. I hit something when I went in. I don’t know if it was the side of the pool or one of the stairs. Whatever it was, I hit it hard. When SnuggleClumsy finally calmed down, I took a look at the complaining limb. I had a nasty goose egg and a bloody abrasion.
It was at this moment that I had my AHA moment. I am in Louisiana. Of COURSE it would happen around a peaceful pool with Subway on the table. Think you can catch me unawares, do you? Think I’m not onto your slimy aggressions? Well, I am. You won’t water log us today.
We slopped back to the hotel room, with my squeaking shoes, and we talked the whole way up the stairs about what a person would or would not do to save another person. My kids asked me, “Would you jump in after us if you were wearing a fancy watch?”
I don’t own a fancy watch, but yeah. For sure. FOR SURE.
Would you jump in after us if you were wearing church clothes?
I would jump in after you if I were wearing a wedding dress, I said.
Would you, could you, with a fox?
Maybe, Baby, with a fox. In a tree, with a flea. You and me.
And because I know tomorrow’s 17 mile bridge will take me 16 hours to cross and I will have to merge 46 times in 2 hours, I am going to bed. Also because if I don’t, I will pass out.
I know this is not my best work. But it’s all I have today. Hope you are all blessed in other states of the union.