Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winter Travel Advisory

Well GM got the bailout money and as far as I know I am still employed. Now I'm on vacation. Somehow I ended up with a few leftover vacation days and so the Christmas break is a long one for me this year. The kids have a lot of time off from school too.

I decided that this might be a good opportunity for us to go somewhere. Since we have a little bit of money available and investing it no longer holds any appeal I am going with new approach which is to spend. I looked into cheap last minute flights to Florida, but that still seemed like a lot for a last-minute trip. Plus the weather still might not be so great there. So I decided to take the boys to the Kalahari Indoor water park in Ohio. Since Larry still has to work I invited my nephew Cale to come along. It is less than a 3 hour drive from here, so the only weather risk is a sudden blizzard but I think I can vary the travel times to get around that if I have to.

I was upstairs packing the boys bathing suits when my mother called.

"So I heard about this thing you are doing." Translation: I can't believe you are risking the lives of my precious grandchildren by driving somewhere in the winter.

I put some T-shirts into the suitcase. "Yes, the boys are really looking forward to it."

"Did you see the weather report? They are predicting 25 mile per hour winds."

"Well, it looks like most of the snow will be North of here, and I think we should be able to make it to Ohio." I said as I tucked in some extra socks.

"It could be dangerous. Are you PREPARED to do this?"

I folded Jeff's pajamas neatly so they would lay flat. "Yes! Timmy and I went to get the car washed this afternoon, and we bought gum and snacks for the drive."

Her voice started taking on a mild shriek tone. "A car wash isn't going to help you get there safely. Do you have EMERGENCY SUPPLIES?" I remembered that my mother always has a "winter emergency kit" in her trunk. It includes a coffee can and candle for melting snow to delay death by dehydration. She went on. "What if you get stuck? Do you have a small shovel in the car? And a bag of kitty litter for traction?"

I did buy a new ice-scraper at the car wash. I stretched that one. "Yes, I have some supplies for that."

"What about a blanket? And extra food?"

"Sure!" I figured I might have some beach towels with us, and those car snacks count as food.

She wasn't letting up. "How about flares? Do you have flares in your emergency kit in case you have to send out a signal?"

I was trying to think if we had anything that lights up, but then I realized what was happening here. "Mom, I am going to be on a major, highly traveled highway the entire trip. In the daytime. And I have a cell phone. And if the weather is just too bad we'll wait to leave. I don't think I'll be needing flares."

"Well, I just don't know about this. I hope you're ok."

I told her that we would call her once we arrived there safely, so she could suspend her worrying until we had to drive home on Tuesday. She reluctantly accepted this. I said goodbye and added a sweatshirt and zipped up the suitcase.

And now I'm really hoping that the weather doesn't get too bad. But once we get there is should be a lot of fun. I'll let you know how it goes.


Well, the weather was pretty crummy but we made it there and back without event. Larry put a large snow shovel and boots for everyone into the trunk, but we did not need them. When we stopped to pick up Cale Mark topped off the washer fluid in my car and Mary Beth gave me a bag of chocolates, which did come in handy.

The water park was awesome, we stayed indoors the entire time, and would only occasionally glimpse the snow outside through the windows from atop a giant waterslide. It was an African themed water paradise. Every once in a while I would notice that the piped-in music was a Christmas Carol, which seemed comically out of place, but I'm not complaining. The boys had a wonderful time and I was glad to get away from everything and take them there.


Aunt Kathy said...

Go Mindy! Dorothy's questions should have been "Have you a charger for your cell phone?" and "Have you extra cash to tip the tow-truck driver?" A little money will overcome all obstacles,
even snow storms!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Mindy- Please report to me too when you get home OK. Wind gusts are said to be 40 mph and my neighbor reports that the nicely plowed roads around here have snow drifts on them, and traffic is on one lane only everywhere. But tomorrow is supposed to be a good travel day and that is when you are coming back, I believe. Hope that the 4 of you have fun! Oh- and by the way- the emergency coffee can that people are supposed to include in their emergency supplies is supposedly an emergency toilet, now that there is bottled water and you don't need to melt snow in the coffee can. Maybe you should buy me one of those big tins of popcorn for Christmas...Aunt Chris

Anonymous said...

Guess who also got the phone call/s? Your enabler (me). The most desperate one was at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. Her description of the howling wind was rather amazing (so loud she barely knew it was the wind!). When I sleepily said, "what wind?" I started feeling sorry for dad until you guys get home, he's going to hear it. You are going to have a great time! Mary Beth