Friday, February 8, 2013

LAB +WAGS and I Said I'd Never Drive a Minivan

I realized I never blogged about the end of our time in Alabama, particularly the big reason for our January visit.  One of my very dear, lifelong friends got married!

She was a radiant bride.
So many of my childhood memories include these girls...Swapping second grade gossip perched atop the monkey bars.  Earning Girl Scout badges and rivaling each other in cookie sales.  Criss-crossing the half mile between our houses on pink and purple bikes.  Rocking out to Amy Grant and Ace of Base, and eventually, to the Spice Girls and TLC.  Bobbing around in the lake on life preserver 'diapers.'  Sleeping three to a bed every weekend and bickering over who had to take the middle spot.
Together, we went from girls to women.
And now she's married off!  Love you lots, LAB!
Stole this one from Facebook!
After all the excitement of the wedding, it was time to pack up {monstrous task after 3 weeks, 3 children, multiple parties, etc., etc.} and hit the road in OUR NEW MINIVAN!  I said I'd never drive a minivan, but we know how motherhood shakes up all those I'll never's, so we are now the proud owners of a Toyota Sienna.  We hadn't expected to buy a car in Alabama, but the circumstances were right, and we did.  I am loving every minute of it.  Power sliding doors rock my world!  And the back-up camera makes me a 200% better parallel parker, as well as being a major stress-reducer at preschool drop-off.  Plus, Baby Girl's rear-facing seat now fits behind the driver's seat, which makes the load 'em up portions of my day so much simpler.  It's just awesome.  Living in the city, you get used to making small spaces work, but having room to stretch out sure does feel luxurious.

It's a 14 hour drive between Home and home...or home and Home...whichever way that should go.  The Mister had joined me for the wedding weekend, and we were up for the adventure!  Left Alabama at 4, with the kiddos in their pajamas, pulled over for a quick supper at Sonic a few hours later, and drove on 'til just before midnight, when we found a Hampton Inn to make our home for the night.  We strung up a sheet in the corner, hid Baby Girl behind it in her mini crib, and let the boys each sleep with one of us.  Worked great!

The next morning, we were in no hurry to get back on the road, because it was Inauguration Day and we knew we would encounter difficulties if we got to DC too early.  Our apartment is just a block off the inaugural parade route, so we are in the 'Secret Service Red Zone,' meaning the Metro doesn't run to the stops near us, there are no cars at all allowed on the streets around us, our parking garage is barricaded for about 72 hours.  You get the idea.  We are pretty much locked down for Inauguration weekend.  So we hung around the hotel for a couple hours, gauging our travel time to put us in DC a few hours after the end of the parade.  And then we moseyed along, enjoying the pretty Virginia views and stopping for a long play break at a Chick-Fil-A.

The children did great.  Really, really great.  They watched the scenery and asked questions, looked at books and slept, played with toys.  It was ideal.  It wasn't until about hour 12 of car time that we turned on the DVD player, because the boys were starting to get a little restless.  About the time that we could see the Washington Monument, Little Guy was beginning to whine about his car seat buckles, Buddy Boy was squirming, and Baby Girl was whimpering.  But we were almost home!

Yes, almost home IF all access to downtown hadn't still been cut off.  We found ourselves skirting the edge of the city, trying quite unsuccessfully to head toward the center.  Finally, we got in from the north and began to head toward home.  Slowly.  At every crosswalk, men in tuxedos and women in ball gowns {some of them with tennis shoes!  the horror!} streamed past.  We hadn't considered the Inaugural Ball.  Although the parade was over, the ball was just beginning.

I turned on my super-enthusiastic voice and kept the boys' head swiveling between the sights of the tanks and bulldozers barricading the streets {that we wanted to take}, stretch limousines lining block after block, black SUV's with flashing blue lights speeding past with the somebodies inside them.  But an hour and a half in, a couple hours past their bedtime and with only a few blocks' progress, that grew old and they grew panicky.  A mile and a half from home, in the freezing cold, we decided that the best course of action was for the Mister to bail with the children.  Little Guy on his shoulders, Baby Girl strapped to his chest, and Buddy Boy in a stroller, the Mister set out for home, and left me with just the car to attend to.

I spent another hour and a half sitting through six or eight cycles of every traffic light, trying to find a way home or at least a place to safely abandon the car and all our luggage for the night.  There was no hope of either.  Finally, I turned around and went way, way north to then go way, way east, to then go way, way south and wind my way home through what had once been the parade route.

It took three and a half hours, but I finally pulled up to the parking garage of our building.  And found a very large concrete barrier still sittin' pretty in front of it!  Agh!  Never again will I drive on Inauguration Day.  Never.

We're a one-car family, so we bid a fond, CarMax farewell to our little Jeep, which served us so well.  My parents gave me that car my senior year of high school.  I doubt they ever thought it would hold three baby seats by the time I was done with it.
Little Guy still asks me most days, 'Do you miss our Jeep?" I do.  I really do, but life is a-changin' for the good.

1 comment:

Wanting What I Have said...

That's so awesome!!!! I've avoided the mini so far...and I cringed we when went from an old land cruiser to a suburban, but goodness, space is luxurious!!! I love my big ol' mom car. :) so happy yours is serving you so well. That's wonderful!!!