It’s been forever since I wrote a blog, as my tens of ardent fans have pointed out. It’s not been due to lack of material. So much has happened since last I traded words with Momof4istired, and eventually I will get around to posting about some of those things. It’s mainly been due to grad school – I feel bad for blogging when I have a ton of homework due by 2 am. Plus there’s the whole inertia thing – once I stopped, it became harder and harder to start again. I needed something momentous to shake me out of it – something huge and noteworthy. Life changing, really.
If you’re thinking this is where I announce the conception of a new child… you’d be wrong (that’s a whole ‘nother blog).
Nope, there’s only one thing that could shake me from my doldrums.
A road trip with my hillbilly in-laws.
Now you’re probably thinking, “wait, I thought the Furry Bard was banned from talking about his in-laws on the blog.” Well, I think that might have been more of a suggestion. You know, like the speed limit. None of us really follow the rule all the time, but it’s there to keep us from getting too crazy. I think it’s time to apply the same attitude towards the hillbillies. I mean, they’re a huge part of my life – how can I keep them off the blog altogether? Besides, my mother-in-law was reading some of my Facebook posts about the trip (#hillbillyvacation2014) and said, “This is hysterical. You really ought to write a book about this.” Later, she tried to retract her statement and claim she didn’t say the “about this” part, but once the green light flashes, you are free to go…
However, I will ease into it. No use stirring the hornet’s nest too much this early. Let’s just look at a few of the top moments of travelling with the hillbilly in-laws:
1. Leaving The Hillbilly Home: Original target departure time: 10:00 am. Actual departure time: 1:12 pm. Note: this is actually not too bad.
2. Upon leaving, Big Daddy (the father-in-law): “I think it would be nice to stop for gas and a meal in Monroe.” Monroe is 25 minutes away from the Hillbilly Home. Stoppage time: 45 minutes. This is gonna be a long trip.
3. Several versions of this exchange occurred between the father-in-law and mother-in-law (Mama):
“Big Daddy, are you awake?”
“I’m fine, Mama.”
“Big Daddy, your eyes are closed.”
“No, just resting them a bit – they’re not closed.”
“YOU’RE OFF THE ROAD AGAIN!!!”
“I’ll stop soon.”
“STOP NOW. ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD.”
“Now mama, stopping on the side of the road would be dangerous.”
“SO IS DRIVING WHILE YOU ARE ASLEEP! PLEASE STOP NOW!!!”
“Now mama, everything is gonna be ok. Just calm down.”
30 seconds pass…
“BIG DADDY, YOU ARE DRIVING ON THE RUMBLE STRIPS!!! STOP THE VAN!!!”
“I think we had better switch drivers”
4. We are supposed to meet my buddy Dave for dinner. I tell him we should arrive in Lexington in about an hour. Immediately upon hanging up the phone, the mother-in-law says, “I need a bathroom break and a snack.” I remind her we are eating dinner and that I just told my buddy we would be there in an hour. No matter. Everyone piles out of the car (except me, sitting and watching the clock). They take exactly 22 minutes in the gas station. We are almost half an hour late to meet my friend.
5. Big Daddy wants to sit down for a “good Mack-Donald’s breakfast” before we hit the road the next day. We have 7 hours of driving time ahead of us according to Google Maps. We get in the van at exactly 9:50 am (again, I am keeping track of these things). Mack-Donald’s breakfast takes us to 11:05 am.
Then my father-in-law wants to visit a local church, “just to drive around and take some pictures.” He drives through the church lot at 2 mph, waiting for someone to notice us. Finally someone comes out and spots him. He jumps out and the guy says he’ll give him a tour. Not to be outdone, Mama says, “well I can’t let him get a tour – people will wonder why I didn’t get the tour.” Note that she visited the same church with us a decade ago. Anyway, after about 20 minutes, they come out to the van and say, “he’s gonna give us a tour of the baptist college five minutes down the road!” Or fifteen minutes down the road, but who’s counting time (besides me)? After the college tour, we finally hit the road. It’s 12:15, and we are not a single mile closer to our destination that happens to be seven hours away.
Later in the day, I point out that we left my buddy’s house at 9:50 when determining how long we have been traveling. Big Daddy corrects me. “Well, you can’t count breakfast and the church and college tour.” Umm… yes, you can. And I do count it when determining our actual travel time for the day (see below).
6. When Mama took the wheel, the van got a workout. 65 mph… 80 mph… 65 mph… all in the course of 60 seconds. It was like she was giving it interval training. Luckily, she was driving on the actual road, unlike Big Daddy, and her hands never left 10 and 2. But at one point, in the mountains and with trucks surrounding us, she looked at her hubby and said, “Buckle up, Big Daddy!” in a very stern voice. I made sure I was buckled too. Gulp.
7. My mother-in-law kept a close eye on my Facebook updates during the trip. She doesn’t like it when I quote what she actually says instead of what she wishes she said. But for the most part, we got along fabulously (so long as the sis-in-law didn’t try to get her mad at me). At one point, she started reading my posts for the day. First a chuckle, and then “Ooh, you dirty devil!” Then the comment about writing a book I mentioned earlier. Then she got to the posts on her driving. “YOU IDIOT JERK!!!” She later tried to claim she didn’t say JERK. She did. Believe me. She often let’s things slip out of her mouth without thinking and then tries to claim she didn’t. I won’t tell you what most of them are. But this is definitely one of them.
8. The hillbilly in-laws popped in a tape with a hillbilly comedian/singer. We asked them to move all the sound to the front of the van, but we could still hear it. The comedian started singing about how his wife won’t listen to him, so he talks to his cow. The in-laws are laughing uproariously. You know the type of laughter – where you start laughing, and then look at the other person and repeat what was just said and laugh some more. The wifie and I start dying laughing at them. They think it’s because we see the humor in a man talking to his cow. A good time is had by all.
9. At around 12:15 am, we pull into the driveway for our cabin. That’s right, it took us 14 hours and 25 minutes to get there. More than double the time called for. We had 2 Walmart breaks, 8 bathroom breaks, 2 emergency “Big Daddy is sleeping again” breaks, one church and college break, and three meal breaks. Well, only two meal breaks and no church and college breaks if you don’t count anything Big Daddy says shouldn’t count.
And that, my friends, doesn’t even include the actual time in GA/AL or the journey home!
Be prepared for Mama to tell you this is a fabrication of her “dirty devil, idiot jerk” son-in-law. Just nod your head and flash her a knowing smile. You know the truth… you know what it’s like to go on a true hillbilly vacation.