Yee-ha, I'm home. Screw the FS. I'm never leaving home again. I hate suitcases. And traveling. And cars. And staying with relatives and staying in different hotels each night. And you know three kids don't really fit in regular hotel rooms, so one kid always got the sleeping bag on the floor. And repacking the wet swimsuits and ...
Ok, maybe I'm being overly dramatic. But maybe not.
This was the road trip to Missouri, "The show me (the exit) state".
Day 1: Drove 11 hours. Spent the night in Richmond, Indiana. Noticed billboards such as: "Jesus says Read your Bible!" and "Repent lest ye go to Hell!" Also saw many Tea Party billboards. Just saying.
Day 2: Drove 6 hours to St. Louis, Missouri. Hot. So hot. The sun scorching there. Maybe need to do more repenting? Hotel night with all 6 siblings and the in-laws. Big dinner for the 50th. Very nice. Lots of nieces and nephews.
Day 3: Drove 3 hours to Jefferson City stopping at family farms along the way to visit and reminisce. Spent the day at an uncle's house and lake for a reunion with hundreds (?) of my husband's cousins and aunts and uncles. Lots of eating, fishing, trying to figure out who people were. Spent the night at another aunt's house. (Former 1st grade teacher - loves kids - awesome!!)
Day 4: Drove 2 hours to Lake of the Ozarks house. Four siblings and hubby's parents rented a 5 bedroom house for three nights. It was very nice, plenty big and had mint green carpet throughout. But no chocolate chips. The house is high on a hill/cliff, with a million stairs to the water. Not great for my father-in-law who gets a knee replacement soon. :-( Also, only a dock to jump off into 20 foot deep water, so not great for the really little kids. :-(
Day 5: Rain. Went in Bridal Cave. Later my vegetarian husband caught a big catfish. Mother-in-law attempted to cut off its head in front of all the grand kids. Turns out the knives were very dull or she's not working out enough or the bones of catfish are very strong. She turns over the live catfish to her son-in-law as multiple grand children start to cry. Catfish for dinner on the grill. Kids all ate other food.
Day 7: Trip to the beach. I was disappointed to see that a dammed river has really unattractive beaches. As we were playing in the water, throwing around tennis balls, my very athletic nephew threw a ball to my husband who caught the ball. In the process, the ball hit his outstretched hand, knocking the wedding ring off his ring finger and into the muddy, mucky, silty water. Everyone froze. We all looked. The visibility was zero. We were all feeling around in the water, which was chest deep. My hubby felt terrible. He went to a dive shop and called a diver who came and searched with a metal detector for an hour, until his tank of air ran out. No luck. So a platinum ring that's been on his finger for 11 years is still there. Sadness.
Day 8: Clean the house, drive 4 hours to St. Louis to go up the arch. Do the arch. Cool. Nice. Back in the car kids. Drive to Terre Haute, IN. Can't remember how many hours... 5? Hotel with a pool.
Day 9: Back in the car. Drive 12 hours. Home at 11pm. Child torture complete.
Total mileage 2, 370. No dvd player. Audiobooks only.
Reflections from the trip:
-Fifty years is a long time to be married. Ways to get to 50: Be willing to compromise and say, "Yes, dear." and "I'm sorry."
-I never need to go to Lake of the Ozarks ever again.
-Vacationing with many family members is difficult. Different schedules, expectations, etc.
-With all the uncertainty that this FS thing is bringing to us and all the stress it adds to our lives, that symbol of our marriage flying off and landing in murky waters made us realize that we need to make sure to nurture this marriage and each other first. If it isn't worth doing together, it isn't worth doing.
-I should say the word "dang" way more than I do.
-My 8 yr old son now owns an actual civil war mini cannonball from his great grandfather's field in Missouri. So no more joking about my collections.
-I really do like home. Does that mean I fail the FS litmus test? And is Missouri a foreign post? Because I could really argue on that one...