Holidays are fun.

Holidays are fun.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Chronicles of Skippy: The final chapter

Good morning!

I've learned two things in the last few days:

1)  You never, ever stop being a parent and

2)  Your children really do inherit a lot more from you than you might even think.

Skippy got to Seattle last Thursday after several days on the road.  He'd visited his last friend, he'd toured his last book store/record store/unusual fast food place/donut shop.  (He really liked Voodoo Donuts in Portland OR)  He was headed for home and he had a deadline:  Minneapolis by 7 Pm Saturday or his cousin, Annalee, was going to punch him.

I should back up.  See, Annalee got married this past June, you may have read my blogs about the hilarity we experienced on the wedding trip.  But Skippy, through of series of events I have yet to decipher, did not get to the wedding.  So, when Annalee her sister Dana planned a surprise B-day party for Hubby's sis Joanie, Annalee made it very clear that Skippy was to get his fanny to the party, or she would punch him.

Now you're caught up.

Skippy's plan was to drive, sleeping briefly in rest stops.  We weren't too concerned, he'd done long driving trips before, so the 24 hours between him and the birthday party wasn't all that long.

He started the trek early-ish Friday morning with plenty of time to make it with stops along the way.  He had his car loaded and Susan, his faithful GPS companion.


Montana...Skippy gets there October 5
About 3 AM Saturday morning, he sent me a text.  "It's Toasty"  he said, and included a picture of the the local weather forecast in Montana.  18 degrees F.  Quite the change from Arizona's 108 degrees F a few days earlier, but that's how things are in a country as geographically huge as the US.  I sent him a motherly text  (I'm fairly good at those now) and, as unlikely as it seems for me, I went back to sleep.
Arizona...Skippy got there
September 25.
I should catch you up on that.  Since my car accident in July I haven't been sleeping well.  I can't fall asleep much before midnight, I always wake up in the middle, and I can't get back asleep.  By 5 I'm up for the day.  This non-sleep habit has actually worked out well while Skippy's been on the road, since he and I have conversed by text quite a bit in the wee hours of the day.

So falling sound asleep after a 3 am text was not normal for me.  I woke at 7:30 thinking all sorts of good things, like how I might have turned a corner with my injuries, or how spending a couple hours with Dee, catching up on what's happening at Gold's gym  (and I've been cleared to do a few things there, so I'm getting back to the gym soon!  Watch out!) might have eased the load of the mental black hole I've been carrying around.  Anyway, I was refreshed, awake, and in a good mood.

That did not last long.  A text from Hubby, who was in La Crosse to get his mother to take her to Joanie's b-day party in the Twin Cities  (are you following this travelogue?) changed everything.

"Call me when you get this.  Everyone is FINE."

Well we all know that just isn't true.  When you get a phone call that starts out with "everyone is fine,"  your first response is always  "WHAT HAPPENED?"

Oh, see, Hubby and Peaches went to the B-day party.  I was a last minute scratch since I just can't travel that far right now.  Between the blinding headaches, the achy leg, and the sore neck, sitting up in the car for more than a couple hours sounded like far too much torture.  So I'm in Milwaukee, Hubby and Peaches are headed to Minneapolis, and Skippy...

Well, it's like this:  Skippy was driving down a mountain in Montana, going well under the speed limit since it was snowing. A truck in front of him was going far more slowly, so he moved into the other lane on the interstate.  In doing so, his vehicle hit a patch of ice, spun, clipped the truck  (seriously, there are two vehicles on the road, it's 5 AM...3 AM local time...and he manages to make contact?  Yes, he is his mother's child.)  spun again, and wound up on the side of the road.

He very suddenly had a new respect for my accident in July.  He also recalled an accident I had when he was in kindergarten...and yes, check the back blogs, it's there.  He wasn't hurt...until he got out of the car and fell on another patch of ice and bruised his leg.  His car, however, was another story.

Skippy's a smart kid.  instead of calling the parent he figured would probably be awake, he called the parent he knew wouldn't freak out.  Which is why, by the time I called Hubby at 7 AM, Skippy was already ensconced in a hotel in Livingston, Montana.    He was able to drive the 8 miles from the accident site, but it was clear from pictures that the Oldsmobile wasn't going much further, certainly NOT to Minneapolis.

Annalee was gearing up for a punch.

Hubby and I worked out a plan where Skippy would get on a Greyhound bus and get from Livingston to Minneapolis, sans vehicle.  Hubby would contact a body shop in Livingston  (there is one...but only one, we're told) and figure out what to do with the car.

Skippy didn't like the idea of leaving the car, and most of his possessions.  That car has been home to him for almost seventeen days.  I tried to assure him that bus travel is great...but having logged more bus time than everyone else in my house combined, I have to admit, it's not as romantic as one might think.  Still, it was cheaper than a plane and faster than Amtrak.  Thus, by 4 pm Montana time, Skippy had repacked only the most important items and got on a bus.

20 hours is a very long time to be doing anything, but riding on a bus with no headphones for the iPod, and very little juice left in the phone, and no way to charge it since his charger was attached to the car, that seems like an eternity.   I hope Skippy took notes, because a trip like that can start a literary career.  (I should know...) 

His texts along the way were great.  He had five transfers through the night, but his first one was probably the worst since a young gent approached him and asked him to "hold something of value" for him. 

Skippy's text to me:  Everything's great except this drug dealer won't leave me alone.

Oh yeah, bus travel...it's romance and adventure.

Skippy and the rest of us made it through the night.  Joanie's party went off just fine, I'm told.  Annalee was ready to punch Skippy at the bus stop at 11 AM Sunday morning.  I was surviving on gallons of coffee, prayer, and a lot of pacing.  (Hey, I got my steps in!)

He arrived, on time, in Minneapolis, to much rejoicing and yes, Annalee did give him a punch.  But the family spent some quality time at Mall of America  (I still haven't been there...) They made there way home at a fairly relaxed pace...while I was sitting at home, waiting and waiting and waiting!  Sure, I was happy he was okay, and yes I was glad they were having a good time.  But moms, you'll all understand this:  I needed to hug my boy!

Finally, by 9 PM Sunday, a mere 38 hours after I got the first text, Skippy was home!    He was a little funky...bus travel is too full of romance and adventure to include showers...but he was home.

He shared with us the high points of the trip, and the low points.  I'm sure as the days go on, he'll share more stories from the road.  He unpacked his bags, all the vital items he couldn't leave in Montana.  He brought his lap top, the coffee mugs he'd purchased along the way, all his new shirts...

and a box of VooDoo donuts. 

"I actually have another box, but I couldn't fit it with my stuff, so it's still in my car."

Other things he left with the car:  The accident report sheet he's supposed to fill out for the state patrol...oh, and all his dirty laundry.

I pity the guy that has to open that car up once we decide what we're going to do with it. I can't imagine that a box of donuts, 14 days of dirty laundry, and a crate of semi non perishable foods are going to smell BETTER after sitting in a closed car.

Still...it's so great to have him home.  This experience has taught me one thing:  I'm not ready for my kids to leave the nest just yet.

Of course, check in with me in a week...the euphoria will probably be gone once I start tripping over Skippys' shoes in the living room again.



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