Another Excerpt From My New Book

Or, Are we There Yet, Papa Smurf

My husband’s idea of a vacation is two weeks of puttering around the house and watching what day-time television he can stand. My idea of a vacation, however, is to go somewhere, preferably to Michigan, with stops along the way in Kentucky and West Virginia to see relatives.

My father is from West Virginia, and he felt a need to go home at least twice a year. So, when I was a kid we’d all pile into the back of an old station wagon and head south from Michigan. I loved it, even though I was usually car sick from Detroit to Pittsburgh. Some of my fondest memories are of those trips.

I have always shared my father’s need to go home as often as possible, so one year I suggested we take a road trip.

“Are you nuts!? You want to drive twelve hundred miles with five little kids?”

“We can do it. It’ll be fun.”

“Fun? We can’t even drive to the store without World War Three breaking out.”

“We can drive at night, while they’re asleep.”

Since he didn’t have a quick response to that, I knew he was weakening. He did offer one or two other feeble arguments, which I countered easily. Financing the trip wouldn’t be a problem. I had six whole months to scrimp, and I was a master at getting pennies out of the grocery budget.

I started saving right away, shaving the budget closer than I shaved my legs. No more brand name cereal, and we’d eat hot dogs twice a week for dinner. The kids didn’t mind the dinner menu so much, but balked at the store brand oats.

When the balking got to be too much, I would dangle the vacation carrot and suddenly they loved Toasted O’s.

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