Very late on Sunday night, and just 2 1/2 weeks before the monkeys are to start school, Texas Guy asked me if I still wanted to go to California this summer.

A million things ran through my head.

I had a number of things on my To-Do list that I was trying to get done.

The girls would be starting school very soon.

So the preparing and packing for a big trip with 2 children and a baby was quite an undertaking.

Texas Guy didn’t understand all the planning and preparing.  He said you just throw your stuff in the truck and go.

It’s not that easy!  But, when he has an opportunity to take a break from work, we had better take advantage of it.  So, I started scrambling:  figuring out when we will leave, when we need to be home by, how long the 20+ hour drive will actually take, how to visit with everyone we want to see and deciding where we want to go and what we want to do while we’re there.

But that’s just the trip itself.

There’s also housework to take care of before we leave so we don’t return to a mess, laundry to do, bags to pack – including clothes, food and snacks, and activities for the children.

I’m still not done … because I need to arrange to have someone take care of Texas Guy’s dog.

Then we throw our stuff in the truck and go!

We planned to leave Thursday evening.

By Wednesday night I was rather pleased with all I had gotten done.

All the planning was done, the arrangements made, and laundry finished.  Thursday was the day to pack and go.  Easy.  I was right on schedule!

Then I woke up Thursday morning with a familiar pain.  That got worse.  Another kidney stone.

Fortunately the pain wasn’t as bad as some of them have been.  And it didn’t last as long as it could have.  And it didn’t require a trip to the hospital.

Once it was over I was so exhausted.

I fell asleep for about an hour, then dragged myself up and around to try to get us back on track.  The girls were a huge help.  And fortunately for me, Texas Guy was running late also.  So I was done by the time we got home that night.

But, I was exhausted.  And I was sore.  So I wasn’t much help with the drive.

I thought that driving over 20 hours, starting in the evening after a long day, with a 6 month old baby was a terrible idea.

But, it went really really well.  Texas Guy did most of the driving.  The baby did great, thanks mostly to her older sisters who kept her happy.  And the girls were fantastic – but long road trips are old hat to them and they are amazing and fun on these long trips.

Long road trips are old hat for me, too.  Though I’ve always been the only adult, and therefore the only driver.

But, it’s so nice to have another adult and another driver.

And while driving that first stretch late at night, I learned something new.

There I was, a passenger.

It’s late at night and pitch black outside.

I’m not a fan of just sitting around doing nothing.  So, my mind immediately starts to think of things I could be doing to make good use of my time while I wasn’t driving but too sore to sleep.

That’s when I thought, I could use the little mirror on the back of the visor and Texas Guy’s flashlight and pluck my eyebrows.

Fortunately, I didn’t have access to my tweezers.

This gave me time to think my idea through.

And I realized that one could use a visor mirror and a flashlight in the pitch black of the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere to pluck their eyebrows  …  and easily end up with a tragic eyebrow incident.

I decided to just look at the stars and try to learn how to relax.

Driving West – Continued →