And We Begin in Ohio

2009 June 4

Day 1: From Goshen, IN to Girad, OH

309 miles (price of gas: $2.75 (IN), $2.55 (OH)).

We weren’t really stressed about leaving right at 3 p.m., but that was the agreed upon time that I suggested to Lori that I’d like to leave. I also added that I would pack the car and help the boys get packed and make the sandwiches for dinner and other planning stuff.

I got a call on my trip to Ace Hardware for a fuse. It was Lori.

“Now no one is going to panic, but my last child canceled and I’ll be home at 1:20 instead of 2:20,” she said.

“Oh,” I said.

“Now, there’s no rush or anything and no one is going to panic…it’ll be okay.”

I got defensive.

“You know that I was planning on you being home at a certain time and that not all of the stuff that I have on my list is done just yet,” I said.

“No one is panicking and we’ll just leave whenever we need to leave,” she replied.

And I think I repeated my last sentence and then in an irritated tone let her know that I had stuff to do.

Pause.

“Okay, bye,” she said.

I had this whole conversation while paying for the fuse by debit card and I always told myself that I wasn’t going to be one of those people who have to be talking on the phone when really you should be saying “Hello” to the clerk and being human with the person in front of you. Instead, I finished the conversation, wanting to apologize to the Ace Hardware clerk, but he was gone helping someone else.

Oh, and I had the 8-year-old with me too.

“Come on, Colin,” I said as I grabbed his hand.

“Was that Mom?”

“Yes Colin, that was your Mother. She just informed me that she was coming home an hour earlier than she had promised,” I said.

“So she’s coming home earlier?” he asked, obviously missing the sarcasm in my last statement.

“Yes, she’ll be home in an hour and twenty minutes and we’ve got a lot of stuff to do,” I said.

“Like what?” he asked.

“Let’s eat first, then we’ll take it from there,” I said and we got in the car and drove home.

We did get something to eat and the boys did their chores and I got my list done and we even made the boys practice their piano lessons and we still were able to leave around 3 p.m. (That’s even with a visit from her folks).

Leaving is not a pretty event in our house and there is some incredible stress storm that brews the night before any trip we take that requires any type of packing. It seems calm the morning before, but you can feel a tension squall in the back of your head (much like the sinus headaches some people when a storm front comes rolling in). By the evening before, we are chanting some mantra about how peaceful the morning will be and serenity will save us. Then the morning comes and one thing gets said or implied and there are clenched jaws, slammed doors, children cautioned and some tense rhetoric exchanged. It really is all over the relative feature of time and sometimes we’re better and sometimes we’re just at a point where there’s no talking in the car until we break for some coffee or someone says “Sorry.”

We know it’s a silly thing and I wonder sometimes if it’s our way of acting out in reaction toward our own parents. Lori’s parents used to be 15 minutes early to which ever time that they would travel with us; my mom is time-impaired and even after having to lie to my own mother that the movie really did start in 30 minutes, we still happened to walk in during opening previews (that, after a few walks out to the car and a “oh, I forgot something”). At our wedding photos, with family, Lori’s relatives were 15 minutes early; we were waiting for the Judson clan to walk in 10 minutes late.

We think we’ve mellowed each other out in regards to time, Lori and me. We usually can agree on times and not get wigged out when the other might not be right on time. And though we both agree that eating dinner at 4:30 p.m. is really the best time to eat, we sometimes get concerned that our older son, Evan, isn’t mellowing as much as we are. He sometimes gets visibly upset with a friend says that he’ll be there at 2 p.m.; he gets a little wigged out when it’s 2:05 and we have to remind him (in an apologizing tone) that not everyone lives by the clock like we do, that it’s not a right or wrong issue–being on time–it’s just how things are.

I think I was the one who was really concerned about being on the road at 3:16 p.m. but Lori was the one with the mantra: “It’s fine, we’re not in any big rush to get to Ohio.” And so, we made a stop for gas and then headed to I-80 via CR 17 (with its annoying road construction by Six Span bridge).

Besides Colin’s ulcer sore in his mouth that kept him from eating his sandwich for dinner (the sore that apparently was not affected by the handful of gummy bears stuffed into his mouth 40 minutes earlier), we found our way to Girard, Ohio fairly easily (thanks to Google Maps). It was a Travelodge off Priceline.com (two stars) and we usually get good rooms for a good price. I wasn’t aiming high in my bid, and Lori admits that she’s been spoiled the last few times we’ve stayed in hotels. Kevin, the General Manager, did switch our rooms from a single King bed to two Queen beds and we slept as well as one can sleep in a hotel/motel room: periods of waking up and falling asleep and not ever getting used to the bedding situation. Lori got to hear a younger couple getting quite intimate with one another…as much as that intimacy can happen with walls such as those in Girard, Ohio. I think several people were quite happy for the couple and I apparently, slept through the show.

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