Greetings from the intrepid travelers!  Every few months, we pack up the mini-van and head up to Rhode Island to visit Dave’s family for a few days.  And after hosting Thanksgiving in our home for the last several years, it was our turn to make the road trip this year.  The drive, which can take anywhere from 5 hours to… uh…forever, is always a crap shoot.  I would stand on my head to guarantee a smooth go of it.  In fact, yesterday at 5:30 in the morning, as Noah and Dave bickered prior to loading into the van, I actually stood on my head in our family room and refused to leave until everyone got happy.  I can stand on my head for a long time.

Such silliness was not as ill advised as you might think.  A successful road trip is predicated on two chance factors:  the brothers’ temperament and traffic in Connecticut.  If one is good, the other follows suit, and vice versa.  I know what you’re thinking.  Surely a bad mood can’t possibly increase the traffic.  I am here to tell you that it can.  Imagine the following scenario which has taken place in our mini-van in this exact manner more often than you’d think:

The scene:  Dave is cruise controlling along at about 72 mph on the Merritt Parkway.  I am fast asleep navigating in the passenger seat.  Noah is listening to his iPod; Chase is zoning, both are in the bucket seats behind us.  Surf board, snow board, ice skates, suitcases, computer, dog crate, DVD, chum bucket and dog are crammed into the remaining space.  Claustrophobics would not do well on our van trips.  To amuse himself, Chase begins to play a little puppet game using his bare hands.  He also provides his own soundtrack.

Chase:  Rrrrrrrr. (pigeon noise)  Mrrrrrrrrp.  Cheeeeeeepy.

Noah:  CHASE!! I can HEAR you through my iPod.  Cut. It. Out.

Me: (To Noah) HE is not bothering YOU.  HE is playing.  Leave him alone.

Chase: (realizing he has successfully vexed his brother, increases the decibel level by about 75 percent)  RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR! (flock of pigeons noise) MRRRRRRRRRRP. CHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEPY.

Noah:  MOM!!!!!

Me:  (realizing that Chase has now taken advantage of my siding with him) CHASE, cut out the noises.

Chase:  Can I at least still do hand movements?

Me:  Sure.

Hand movement.  Hand movement.  Hand movement.

Noah:  Those hand movements drive me crazy!  STOP!!

Chase:  (huge smile and more hand movements)  What?

Me:  THAT’S IT!!  Chase NO hand puppets for trying to bother Noah.  Noah, NO iPod for being completely intolerant of Chase.

Noah:  What????  Are you kidding!  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Chase:  Sob.  This always happens to me.  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

At this point traffic comes to a complete standstill. 

Thankfully, we dodged this deja vu moment on the way up.  Everyone was in a decent mood and we zoomed through 5 states in record time. I think it had something to do with my headstand.   On Sunday, before we leave, I think I will try bending over backwards and see how we do.

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