Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Scribbles and Scrambles - Paradise from the Backseat - Part 1

I love the word hurtle. So of course I use it often. My favorite use is in reference to cars, as in hurtling down the highway in tiny tin boxes.

This story is not for the weak of stomach. It involves hurtling and highways and children.

Frugality is a vice of mine. When given a choice between spending a bit more for comfort and gritting my teeth and saving a buck – I usually grit and save.

And here’s where these two passions, love of hurtling and saving money, merge.

We traveled to Florida five years ago with friends. We shared a condo, and got a great deal on airfare but decided each family should get their own vehicle because my family had booked a little day trip.

At the auto rental counter, I pushed for the cozy coupe at the better price. I’m short and therefore decided I could sit in the back with the two girls. Our son, who was a college freshman, could have the front seat.

My husband lifted an eyebrow – he’s ridden in the car with the family and apparently has a better memory than I do. It may be that whole childbirth/childrearing hormone. You know -- the one that actually makes females drool over cute baby clothes at Target while still recovering from seventy-two hours of hard labor and months of sleepless nights in the midst of potty-training the last baby.

I returned the eyebrow lift. Mine said. “Of course I’ve thought that through.”

He grinned. I believe it spoke, “This is going to be rich.”

The twenty minute trip from the airport was fine. The girls stared out their own windows and rode quietly. Aside from the hump upon which I sat, I was pleased with my bargain.

We enjoyed the first three days at the condo. Of course, that’s probably because we were on the beach and had nowhere we needed to go.

The hotel reservation for the quick side trip to Orlando beckoned though, and we left for our little adventure. Forty miles separated the two locations – a breeze.

Interestingly, the scenery began to wear on the children just minutes into the trip. Apparently endless miles of concrete, the blur of passing cars and an whizzing palm trees grew old.

Then traffic slowed and eventually to stop and go. Ten minutes later we’d gone maybe half a mile. Calculate that – it’s not pretty.

A girl on each side. A bored girl on each side. Did I mention my girls like to compete for my attention, and that they are very affectionate? And that my children, all three of them think I’m hysterically funny when I get frustrated?

Come back tomorrow for the rest of the tale – if you dare….