it's september. thanks for the kick in the shorts to update my blog, troi! things have been hectic, with being recruited to babysit twins (they are good babies, by the way) and making sure the kids are adjusting nicely to the neighborhood and their new school. i'm such a mama now. i attended the "Curriculum Night" at the kids' school last night. first of all, i was the only observed 'brown person' in my daughter's class, and surrounded by mothers who obviously have full-time careers. i could not help but feel out-of-place. but that feeling is short-lived. i embrace who i am, where i come from, and the choices i've made and will teach my children to do the same. after the meeting, these words popped into my head and i quickly scribbled it into my notebook in the dark: "embrace your individuality. rise above the ordinary."
that was for my daughter and son who probably share similar sentiments.
::notes on the (semi) cross-country trip::
the drive here was long (2 days!) and has cured me (and the kids and my mom + dad) from taking another cross-country trip like that for a looooong time. However, I must give my undying gratitude to the creators of the portable dvd system and spongebob squarepants, for without which driving for 2 days with my 1-1/2 year old would have been a nightmare. i am also plugging my awesome little subcompact, the Honda Fit, which carried me, my three children, my mom + dad, a quarter-full 10 gallon tank of fish, and a trunkful + rooftop (see above) of cargo, 1500 miles from Las Vegas to St. Louis. What an amazing car. (My only gripe is the lack of cruise control -- imagine the foot cramps I had. Otherwise, Honda rocks.)
we were all very sad to leave family (again), new-found friends, cheap airfares to hawaii, and being 'relatively' close to the pacific ocean. we never really got to personally say "goodbye" to everyone too. our sincere apologies if we didn't see you before we left. we were trying to beat the july 4th rush and hubby insisted we leave vegas by july 1.
we drove along the familiar and famous Route 66, through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma; but for some reason, it seemed as if driving through NM took FOREVER. As if there was no end to this state. I was so damn tired, we stopped at a creepy dark rest stop some 20 miles from the elusive Tecumcari, NM. I say "elusive" because the signs we passed seemed to keep saying we were almost there, but we never reached it. Finally, after making everyone sweat in the car and unable to get any rest, at 9:00pm, my mom suggested we should stay at a motel. We drove several miles more and never reached Tecumcari.
Of course, last minute reservations at any available rest stop along this route was nil, with "No vacancy" signs in almost all the decent motels. We ended up in a motel across the freeway from all the others, called Sand and Sea...Sea and Surf...Surf and Sand...whatever, motel. It was manned by an Indian woman (and I mean, one from South India, Indian) and she charged us $100+ for one night. The lady told us the room was in the far left corner of the complex. As we drove towards the rooms, we noticed a set of run down buildings with tarp and building material in front of it and thought, "Holy sh*t, it better not be one of those." We were fortunate that it wasn't; however, three words best describe the room we were given: Stinky Roach Motel. The key the lady gave us did not initially open the door. I had to run back to the main office and was given an alternate key. This was not looking good.
My dad and I grabbed some food from McDonalds -- which is a story in itself for another day -- and headed back to the SRM. We ate quickly on one of the small tables provided in the room. Noha was eating his chicken nuggets when he looked at the wall and asked, "Mom, what is that crawling up the wall?" Needless to say, my mom took her shoe and smeared it in disgust. Yes, how appetizing -- smeared dead cockroach in plain view of dinner.
Now I know it was a nasty motel when my mother woke me up at 5:00 a.m. (my alarm was set to ring at 5:30) and she had been sitting upright all night in a chair, refusing to lie down in the beds because of the smell. She said it was as if they never washed the linens. Ewww. I didn't care. I had a full 15 hour drive ahead of me -- I just wanted to sleep. As long as I did not contract lice and other yuck like that, it was fine. I was going to take a bath, but the bathroom was skanky too. So, I just washed my face and brushed my teeth, and off we left SRM (in a hurry).
We apparently reached Tecumcari, NM shortly after the sun rose. Here's the sunrise. We stopped at a gas station in Tecumcari to get some hot chocolate, which gave little comfort from the night before.
Driving through Texas was relatively quick. Oklahoma was beautiful and green. When we crossed the Oklahoma border into Missouri at about 4:00 p.m., I joyfully called my husband and announced we were in Missouri. He was happy, but said we had about 5 more hours of driving to go. I couldn't believe it. My dad insisted we find another place to stay for the night and rest. I adamantly told him throughout the next couple of hours, "Hell no, we are going to sleep at home tonight!" I drove like a crazy woman weaving in and out of traffic on the 44 going east and we managed to reach our house at 10:00 p.m.
Two days of driving. Not doing that again for a looong time.
More on life here in MO later.