Friday, July 11, 2008

Back in the Can

Howdy Everyone! We are back in the can - currently along the Texas Gulf Coast. We are cozy - just the seven of us plus the two dogs. We really agonized over whether or not to bring Ranger. We usually bring Schnitzel, the old wiener dog. I wasn't too thrilled about bringing a puppy with an excitable bladder. But it turns out that Ranger is the better traveller of the two. Schnitzel is a good girl but she is a vicious barker when other dogs come anywhere near her - and in this RV park there are a zillion dogs. The camp rules say that no aggressive dogs will be tolerated. But Schnitzel isn't so much aggressive as she is cranky. Ranger, on the other hand, rarely barks. He is amazingly calm for a puppy and the biggest problem he has on a leash is that he just lays there at the end of it, waiting to have his tummy rubbed. He slept on his pillow in the van and never got up during the entire trip down here. God help him, though, if he accidentally spread out too much and touched Schnitzel. It reminds me of my childhood vacations when I would fall asleep in the car, let my unconscious body relax some, and accidentally cross the imaginary line that separated my half of the seat from my sister's. My sister never napped in the car. She just watched the line. Creepy.

Speaking of my sister, yesterday morning Jeff took her and a friend and a ton of luggage to the airport at 5:00 am. They were off to Alaska! Today they are doing a little sightseeing in Seattle and tomorrow they board their cruise ship. I feel badly for whoever sat next to her on the plane. Hopefully he or she didn't cross the line. We have already heard once from my sister's house sitter (yes, Hannah, feed the fish even though she forget to tell you to) and our house sitter. When I grow up I want to be a house sitter. Truly, aren't there people who totally do that for a living? Travel around sitting in people's homes while they're on vacation? Not too shabby.

Well, being back in the can is making me miss our gigantic California trek. People constantly ask me if it was stressful and maybe the pain of it is fading, as it does for childbirth, but when I remember it (all the way back to April) I have nothing but sweet memories. I truly think it will go down in history as the best vacation ever. And the odds of us ever doing a trek like that again are slim - it was obviously quite expensive. When we started loading up the trailer for this little weekend getaway the kids were like, "Oh! Here is my toy horse! Here are my shoes! Here is all of my underwear!" Yes, folks, we hadn't quite unpacked completely. I never quite complete is part of my personality. A therapist would tie it into a general fear of success at know...ANYTHING. So our Disney schedule is sitting here on the table, our Yosemite map is on the counter, pine cones, rocks, and other sundry items are tucked away here and there in drawers and cubbies...

What I loved about that trip, in addition to my having way fewer chores and responsibilities, was exactly what most people think would have driven me nuts (myself included). I liked the closeness. I know, that is weird, right? Especially for me! But it was truly an intimate and close time. I was so aware, the entire trip, that it was not going to ever happen again. Ellie would never be 15 again, Joel would never be 13 again, etc etc you know what I mean? We are on the threshold of our little family taking on a new form as I face the fact that in 3 years Ellie will not be with us so here we were, all together in this little camper with really nothing to do but drive, hike, and be together without the distraction of video games, phones, friends, chores....At night when we fell asleep it reminded me of when we first moved back to the farm, before we added on to the house. It was very small and we just had the 3 kids, plus Jeff's dad. At night Jeff and I would be in bed with Jules cuddled between us and Ellie and Joel literally just a few feet away - and I remember when we were in the process of adding on I worried that we would be too spread out. And sometimes, it does indeed feel as if they are so far away from me - literally and (as far as the teens are concerned) sometimes figuratively. Anyway, so in our little can we are like like Laura Ingalls' family - Ma and Pa and all the kids sleeping in basically one room. The only thing missing is my dad! He usually travels with us to the coast but he is having fun entertaining a dear friend this week.

Once again, we are the largest family in the smallest trailer. The rig next to us is really huge. They have one very tiny and very quiet child. He just stares at my kids. I think they are scaring him. In addition to their very small child, they have a ridiculously small dog. He would fit in your hand. Schnitzel looked at me like, "What the heck is THAT?" At first she left it alone because she thought maybe it was a hairy guinea pig and she is used to bunking with the boys' piggies. But then it made a pathetic little bark and she looked at it like, "Oh for crying out loud," and fussed at him something awful. So now both the little itty bitty kid and the little itty bitty dog are afraid of us. That's fine. When staying in close quarters, like RV parks, with a bunch of strangers, it is important to establish a pecking order. Camille and Jasper were up before 7:00 establishing their dominance by being the first ones up and screaming. Very slowly, other kids began screaming all over the park. It was like being the first monkeys up in a rain forest - they had to get all the other monkeys moving and grooving, and they did. OK - so Ellie just said, "What if there is somebody sitting in their gigantic RV reading your blog while their little kid and their little dog are sitting outside staring at the scary family next door and slowly realizing you're talking about them?"

I will post some beach pics tonight or tomorrow! Jeff just plugged in some White Stripes to get everyone moving - gotta get lunch packed up and hit the surf. Oh, and if you missed travelling to California with us - go back to earlier posts in the blog. It is all there!
Sardine Mama


  1. Glad to hear you are back in the can and going to the coast.....I miss that. just wanted to let you know that I am still missing portions of heads in the can, I didn't have time to let you know the other day.

  2. ok, so it's not as if I wasn't told to feed the fish, I wasn't told that the fish EXISTED!

    I let the dogs out, watered the plants, fed the birds, sit down to read my book and eat my banana nut muffin that I brought, I look over and bam! there's this little black fish in a tiny bowl just swim swim swimming as if he belongs there or something! It was a little creepy to be honest. I started having all of these philosophical questions: Where did it come from? Who put it there? has somebody been in the house? ack!

    I went over to inspect the situation but the fact that the fish and the food were sitting there wasn't obvious enough for me and I called Ellie to confirm that the fish was not a secret spy who was there to watch me. Ya know, I'm starting to think you're in on the plan, I bet the fish is a little nanny cam and Janet's been watching my every move.

    ok, so this is a really long comment.

    Can Ellie check her email while you're traveling? I sent her something about a concert (I bought tickets for Sarah, Allen, Alex and I but then Sarah found out she can't go so I have two extra tickets) anyway, the Concert is in Austin so it might not even be possible for her to go (I hate to ask you to part with her for a whole evening, you only have three years left!) but maybe I'll call and explain if she can't check her email.

    much love! Happy Travels!