With five in our family, and Jimmy, traveling by automobile is the ticket we purchase for our summertime getaways. And we will drive just about anywhere there's a road. Coach is the driver and I am the assigned navigator, which basically means "all other duties as assigned." These duties include but are not limited to:
- Finding the Suitcases
- Maps & Guidebooks from AAA
- Cooler cleaning and stocking
- DVD Player
- Arrangements for Dog Care
- Arrangements for Jimmy Care (just kidding, he does fine on his own)
- DVD/Audiobook/DJ Duties
- The Pee Cup (I'll get to that)
We make this trip in one drive. One glorious, loving, peaceful, family-filled 15 hour drive of bonding and sharing. It is truly memorable.
We play the license plate game, with our checklist of all 50 states. We've come close but never hit all of them. For some reason, we think Dakotans must love their states because we've yet to see either North nor South Dakota traversing the Eastern side of these United States. Or maybe they are smart and stay away. We've seen Alaska and Hawaii which has raised some questions from the boys. "No, there's no bridge to Hawaii."
Last year, on our drive home from Florida, we were making good time as we crossed into South Carolina. Fifteen hours in the car with five people could be multiple pit stops. However, Coach tries to only stop when the car needs gas or Mom really has to use the bathroom. The boys? Well, they are subjected to the "pee cup." Last year I chose my father in law's very old, very faded Notre Dame travel mug as the pee cup. Probably an affront to the Fighting Irish but it was perfect, had a lid, was too old and beaten up to be used as a coffee cup anymore and won the title "Pee Cup."
Middle son was disgusted by the concept of the pee cup but Coach wasn't going to stop just yet. So, I pulled out the cup, handed it to him and said, "It's a moving Rest Stop. Pee." At first he thought I was kidding but quickly realized I wasn't.
"I can't do that," he exclaimed, "How am I supposed to pee in a moving car?"
"Pretend it's a new circus act."
He peed directly in the cup, giggling with glee the whole time. He brothers grinning from ear to ear with pride over this huge accomplishment.
"Now hand it to me VERY carefully and I'll put the lid on," I said nervously.
And he handed it off smoothly.
But, in my overconfidence as the mother of three boys and the best prepared navigator ever, I bumped my arm just a tad and the contents of the Fighting Irish mug dispersed.......directly into Coach's lap.
"What the $@%*@(%#!!!!!" he shouted, as the car swerved.
Laughter erupted in the car. "Mom spilled the pee cup on Dad! Mom spilled the pee cup on Dad!" Hoots and howls. Howls and hoots. This was better than the time youngest son pooped in the bathtub with his brothers in it with him.
"Oh my gosh, oh my gosh!" I said, most sincerely, "I am so sorry! I don't know how that happened."
"Enough!" Coach exclaimed and the car fell silent.
Completely silent. Utterly silent. More silent than any library or church I've ever been in. For 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour. All I could hear in my head was the narrator from Spongebob Squarepants - 3 hours later...
...we approached the state line. "North Carolina Welcomes You," it read. I looked warily at my dear husband, soaked in urine, and gave a tiny smile.
"Well, I think I'm going stop for some gas here," he said, "and get out of these clothes."
"That sounds like a good idea.....Um, do you want me to pull out some fresh clothes while your getting the gas?"
"That would be nice. Thank you. And can you get rid of the disgusting mug?"
"Of course, your dad is gonna be upset that I used his alma mater as a urinal, but do you think you could run in and buy another cheap cup....you know, just in case?"
"Certainly. I'd be happy to. It's worked out so well."
Mom smiles lovingly at Dad. Dad gets out of the car to get the gas and I turn to the three boys and say, "This is fun, isn't it?"