Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Memorial Day

Instead of cooking out or spending time with friends to mark the holiday, the Chockleys ended up at a long, strange street party with a bunch of strangers. It was a wild day.

The kids spent the weekend in Nashville with their grandparents. On Monday we met the Chockleys halfway between here and there, at Exit 101 along I-40. We visited for a few minutes, got some candy and drinks, then transferred the kids and their suitcases from Bwana's Prius to Dad's and headed home. Somewhere around 4:00, at about mile marker 38, we ran into this: http://www.wmctv.com/Global/story.asp?S=12571693

And then we didn't move again until almost 8:00.

Seriously, we sat on I-40 for almost four hours. To say we were completely unprepared for this type of event would be a gross understatement. Under normal circumstances, I would have my big "Mom purse" with tons of gum, pens, crayons, paper, toys, wet wipes, etc, packed just in case my kids ever find themselves bored with nothing to do. Only I didn't bring my purse, because it wasn't in its usual place by the door yesterday and I didn't think it was worth running back upstairs to collect it. We were only going to be gone for a couple of hours, right? Plus I wasn't driving, which was our next problem. I don't care about keeping my car clean the way Chip does. My back seat is filled with books and toys that the kids have abandoned back there. It has tissues and wet wipes and bug spray and other things designed for Mom emergencies. But sadly, we were in Chip's clean, spartan automobile, with nothing to entertain us except for watching the gas tank monitor to see how much longer we could use the air conditioning and still have enough gas to get home.

Over time, the kids took off their seat belts. Then we all moved to different places in the car, squirming and climbing and burrowing. Eventually, we and everyone else turned our cars off and moved out onto the road. The minivan behind us was stocked with a four-year-old girl for Chloe to play with, Highlights magazines to read, and some napkins that I could wipe Chloe after she squatted by the side of the highway. (We were so jealous of Chip and Connor! I have to admit- I held it.). Chloe had a stuffed animal and a doll chair that Mimi had purchased in a yard sale, while her new friend had a stuffed Mario doll belonging to her brother. Chloe plopped that chair down in the middle of I-40, and she and the other little girl played. Connor sat and played his DSi, with another kid watching over his shoulder. A few people had dogs with them, so Chloe wandered the road making new canine friends the way she manages to do wherever we are.

I had my phone, so I was able to call Mom and text Cullen to see if they could give me any info on what was happening or when we might move. Unfortunately, I couldn't get any internet signal out there in Fayette County, so I couldn't look up the information for myself. We heard bits and pieces from our new friends along the road, and it wasn't pretty. We were all so thankful that we missed it. If we had gone through there just 10-15 minutes earlier, we might have been in one of the wrecks. It might have been one of my babies in the helicopter we saw land ahead of us, or in the ambulances racing up the shoulder past our block party. So while we had a long, boring day, it could have been much more exciting- and subsequently much worse.

The kids were actually angels through all of this, and held up pretty well. Things didn't go in the crapper until we were moving, on our way home again, and Connor got a bloody nose. Since Chip doesn't even have a spare Kleenex in his car, Connor was forced to use a sock to staunch the flow. This was one more injustice than he could bear on this day, and he finally broke down and cried. "I want to go home! I want a TISSUE!!!" He managed to make it, though, and although dinner was more than two hours later than normal, and a half hour past bedtime at that, he and Chloe still managed to make the most of their day and stay sweet and positive despite the less than ideal conditions.

Awesome, eh? How was your holiday?

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