Family vacation–an exercise in character building

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We were supposed to leave yesterday. Finally, about an hour ago, we squeezed ourselves into the car. All five of us. We’re going to travel 5100 miles.

Together.

In a car.

5100 miles.

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Now, mind you, we all have special needs. Two have autism, one has Alzheimer’s, one has ADD (my husband) and one is riddled with a genetic propensity toward anxiety. (I come from a long line of nervous people.)

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My husband has ADD. I don’t know if you’ve ever ridden in a car driven by someone with ADD.Straight lines are an abstraction. I don’t know how we don’t get pulled over for suspicion of intoxication. Why on earth would God pair a woman with anxiety issues with an ADD man? The only explanation I can think of is that He thinks it’s funny. Especially when my spouse hits those rumble strips on the side of the road when I’m in deep thought/sleep.

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Or when I look up from reading and we’re 2.5 inches from the back of a semi trailer.

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Not to mention the stuff he listens to on the radio.

Oh, Dear Heavenly Father, deliver me.

If it’s not the comedy station singing songs about racoons praising God in church, it’s barber shop quartets. I mean, I don’t mind for ten minutes or so. I love all types of music. But after eight hours I’m ready to strap myself to the top of the car. It’d be much more tolerable, I assure you.

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Mothers take vacations to rest from getting ready for vacations. I’ve done more laundry in the last week than I did all year. And I’m one of those people that has to clean the house before a trip. I mean, what if I die and don’t come back? I can’t leave this earth with people thinking I’m a slob.

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And then there are the dogs and cats. Who will take care of them? Even as I type this I have a knot in my stomach and a lump in my throat thinking about how much I’m going to miss them and how much they will miss me. I’m worried about the kittens going feral and the dogs’ hearts being broken. Two weeks is a long time to be away from one another!

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I did, of course, provide for someone to come in and interact with them each day, and to care for the house. My house won’t sit empty (so if you’re planning on robbing me, don’t try it. My dogs will eat you and my house sitters are armed and dangerous). But will those people cuddle the fur kids enough? I wish I had the money for a nanny cam! That way I could see them every day and make sure they aren’t being neglected. Unfortunately my house sitters don’t know how to use skype.

They’re low-tech folks with good aim.

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I did lose it once this morning when people were arguing over which flavor of Pop Tart to put in the trunk and which to put in the backseat. (Don’t worry, the gun was locked up at the time.) And I may have raised my voice a little when people ignored me about helping with chores. (Clean the house, people! Clean the house!)

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Now we’re finally on the road and I’m posting from inside the car. A first for me. I love my phone’s hotspot capabilities! (The bill, not so much.)

I need your help. I’ll be in the car with these characters for at least six to eight days. I need to know: how do you survive family vacations?

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2 replies
  1. Mary Havey
    Mary Havey says:

    Karla, I live across the street from your folks in Wichita and I love your book about the preacher’s wife. I’ve bought 4 books, I think, and have given them to two of my pastors as well as a friend. The 4th one is ready to be taken to a youngish female pastor friend in Ohio, in September. I’ve laughed myself silly over that book yet, as I’ve told my pastor friends, there’s lots here that will preach. … Your Mom told me about your web site & about your postings about your vacation. I’m just now beginning to get caught up on them, and reminded myself why I like your writing just by reading this first day’s blog. And the first day’s anticipation of back to school was priceless, too. You are one of God’s chosen few, I believe, to be challenged by so many things and always come up smiling. Bless you. … If you ever get back to Wichita, I want to meet you. Your folks will let you know how to find me.

    Reply
    • Karla Akins
      Karla Akins says:

      Mary! What a lovely comment you have left me here. I will treasure it in my heart. People like you make being a writer a joy. Makes me want to sit right down and pen another contemporary humorous novel just for you!

      Thanks so very much for your support. If and when I get back to Wichita, I will definitely look you up!

      Thanks again SO VERY MUCH!

      Reply

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