Beware Readers: I am determined to finish the saga of our cross country move today so I may be more long-winded than usual. :)
Short recap: Driving through El Paso with the 3 kids, the dog and the cat I decided I couldn't handle the stench of the former and didn't relish the thought of another night stretched out in the front seat of my mini van trying to get a few good hours of sleep. So we pulled into a cheap hotel for much needed showers and mattresses.
As this was our 3rd day of literally living in the van, it now resembled a college dorm room. Snacks, blankets, wrappers, books and CDs were strewn everywhere. The dog was buried underneath a mountain of bedding, the cat had taken up residence in the middle of the dozen plants I insisted on cramming into the van, and napkins and papers had been blown around the van in the whirlwind caused by driving with the windows open due to the lack of A/C. After shuffling the kids into the hotel room (as well as stealthily smuggling in the dog and cat), I set about unloading half the car. I carried all the plants in so they could get watered. I brought in clean clothes so we could peel off the ones that were now growing on our skin. And I brought in our box of snacks so I could dish out a dinner buffet at 10pm that consisted of Goldfish crackers, Fiber One granola bars and Pringles--all washed down with tap water.
After the boys showered, I stuck Sassy in the tub only to realize that I didn't have any hair conditioner. Her hair is to the middle of her back--it NEEDS conditioner. But what are you going to do? She had to go without which meant her hair was not tangle free when we started out the next morning. After a good night's rest and de-funkifying, we set off--Texas or Bust!
We made a lunch stop at a Dairy Queen that had a playplace and I let the kids out to burn a little energy. Driving along the highway at 80+ miles an hour (relax, Mom, the speed limit was 80), the wind whipped through the car and caught up Sassy's hair in a tornado. I had Howdy take a few pics and we all thought it was pretty funny. (Yeah, until it took me half an hour to comb all the tangles out AFTER doing a deep condition on it.)
The scenery in west Texas is pretty boring--fields as far as the eye can see. And considering it's all flat, you can see pretty far. I started to feel like I was back at home when I saw oil drills randomly dotting the landscape. It was a bit surreal driving through Texas and realizing that I was actually moving back. It seemed like another visit to see family. It could've been just another road trip with the kids except for the fact that every inch of the van was loaded down with all our stuff.
We pulled into my brother-in-law's house in Mesquite at 9:30pm. I unloaded the bare necessities and the kids let loose with all their pent up energy as they saw their cousins. I felt a sort of greeting from Washington when I had to step over a huge slug that was making its way across the sidewalk leading up to the door.
It was a long, exhausting trip but I did learn some interesting things along the way. For instance, I learned that sod is actually grown on a farm.
I learned there is a city in CA called Los Banos which, for those of you who aren't up on your high school Spanish, means "The Bathrooms". Would you really want to tell people that you live in the bathroom? Who chooses to live there?
I learned that the fine for littering in CA is $1000 while in NM it's only $300. I find this ironic since the strip of highway I drove in CA is the dirtiest I've ever seen. If they actually enforced that law, they might bring in enough revenue to hire someone to pick up all the trash
I learned there are some very interesting street names such as Smokey Bear Road, Sore Finger Road, Stink Creek Road and Noodle Dome Road. (What exactly is a Noodle Dome?)
I learned that Stanton, TX is home to 3000 friendly people and a few old soreheads. At least, according to their welcome billboard. I wonder if those soreheads know they are the soreheads or does everyone just assume it's someone else?
I also learned that a change of state does not mean a change of life, only a change of venue. I was a disaster magnet in WA, I'm a disaster magnet in TX. My knack for attracting crises will follow me wherever I go and all I can do is laugh it off.
As far as my kids go, I hope they learned that there is always something new to see. I hope they learned that when bad things happen, you mourn and then you keep moving forward. I hope they learned that in a time of crisis, you just have to go with the flow. Panicking or crying doesn't change anything. I hope they learned that being stuck in a van for 4 days with your siblings is actually kind of fun. And I'm pretty sure they learned that if they don't want to hear mommy sing at the top of her lungs and most likely off-key, they should never put "Goodbye Earl" by the Dixie Chicks in the CD player.
So here we are, residents of Texas. We are adjusting (some of us quicker than others) and looking forward to the day that we move into our own house instead of relying on the goodwill of family members. It's a whole different world down here and I will be blogging my observations as the days go by. Trust me, you don't want to miss it!