Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Exciting Conclusion

Our trip to Florida was quickly coming to an end when a cold front moved in that brought overcast skies, rain, and three bored children.

And here is where it is very good to hail from the Beverly Neighborhood of Chicago.

Why? Because you simply pick up the phone and call whichever pal is also vacationing in Florida. Because Beverly people are EVERYWHERE.

I used to get freaked out when Joe and I would travel to random and obscure places only to bump into Beverly folks. Joe once shared the story of how his uncle was hiking up Pikes Peak when he suddenly heard:

HEY LARRY!  Dat you? It's me...PATRICK. You know...from the NEIGHBORHOOD! 

It's kinda like being in Goodfellas.

As luck would have it, Miniature Friend and her family were staying in nearby St. Augustine. We agreed to meet up and check out the local Alligator Farm:

Hey, kids! Look here for a picture!  LOOK HERE!  All together!! oh forget it
You know Danny's having fun when he actually smiles for a pic.
Joey and his future prom date (fingers crossed)

I did not like the feeling of only a layer of glass keeping us safe from this man-eater.  I took this pic and  RAN. LIKE. HELL.
I hope you can tell why Miniature Friend is named that.  You can pretty much fit her in your purse.

What do people from the southside of Chicago do best?  They stand around "and bullsh*t" (talk).  FOR HOURS.  Case in point. 
After leaving the Alligator Farm, we headed to a local fish restaurant on the beach and immediately directed the kids to play near the pier so we could...well.... bullshit.  Seriously.  It's an art form around here.  Beers are encouraged.

I'm not quite sure WHO took this picture as I am actually in it.  It may be the only proof that I even exist.

Sadly, our vacation was over and we packed up the minivan the next morning.  That was when things really got interesting.

Our ride home would result in one of the most scarcest of marital admissions known to man:

You were right. 

It came as a result of Joe suggesting we book our hotel in advance for the midway point of our driveI brushed him off: 

We'll just stop when we're tired and stay wherever. 

How was I supposed to know that the perfect storm of the NCAA tournament, a huge cattle show, an international chess tournament, a Harley Davidson convention, and Spring Break would prohibit us from getting a single room anywhere along I-75?

We had to drive straight through. 

At about 4 o'clock in the morning, I noticed my husband was fading.  I valiantly offered to drive, having not taken the steering wheel once during the entire trip.  We switched positions and Joe was snoring away within seconds.  I zapped on the old Cruise Control (it totally helps you save on gas), and I relished my selfless contribution to our family's safety and well-being.

I was practically Joan of Arc.

Until all the warning lights started going on 20 minutes later. 

I nudged Joe in a panic.

"Oh, Marianne..." he mumbled, barely opening one eye, "those are the dashboard lights for the CRUISE CONTROL."

I looked again.

"But why are they orange?"

Joe leaned over to take a better look and immediately started yelling:


Were you guys aware of this whole "coolant" thing?  Apparently minivans, when forced to go straight through the mountains of Tennessee only to continue on for 12 more hours at 80 mph, have a tendency to overheat.


Joe got the car cooled down after saying the F-word about 762 times.  We managed to buy coolant at the next exit and Joe also re-took the wheel.  Although he denies it, I know he believes I broke the car.  You 20 minutes.  Upon our 7 am return to Beverly, we forked over $500 for a new radiator and went to bed.  We then ate Macaroni and Cheese for a week because who knew this vacation was going to cost us another $500?   

I tell myself it is all okay.  Because this kind of material simply does not come cheap.  


  1. Ouch! At least you saved the hotel money you would have spent AND got a blog post out of it. I also seem to mostly manage to get out of driving when Andy's around, until I get pukey. He's picky like that.

    1. I'm with Andy. And I forgot about saving hotel $! So we're not as behind as I thought!

  2. Love how you recount your trip. We rented a car for under $500 when we left Florida and went to Huntsville, Alabama because I was afraid of just such an event. Avis could cover the cost and we could escape you tourists.

    Maybe minature friend took the picture so we couldn't see the differences in your heights.

    Send Danny to us any time you want anyone to smile. You get a vacation right in your Beverly neighborhood and he gets to play with the alligators here in Florida. My husband says one was in our backyard once and Danny can be a lookout for them. Actually I have only seen a stupid turtle trying to get his way through a chain linked fence; hubby took a pitch folk and put the turtle in the pasture next door for the cows.

    Reporting here from Plant City, Florida until next time . . .

    1. Why am I starting to think you live in Wild Kingdom??? Don't tempt me. I may Fed Ex Danny there next week!

  3. The things you go through just to provide us with good stories...that right there is just further proof of your selflessness! Glad you returned safely between the whole car thing and alligator attack risks!

  4. So the cap was $500 right?

    MAM (see FB for my trip)

    1. I do not know why anyone would travel with you E-V-E-R. Lunatic (funny lunatic, but lunatic nontheless).

  5. That happened on a trip with my parents. Not long after my mom took the wheel, the van began to break down. Transmission out the middle of Nowhere, Arizona. And, my dad totally acted like my mom had somehow broken the transmission herself.

    (That alligator just got added to my list of things I am irrationally afraid of.)

    1. The wife always take the fall! So unfair. And irrational fear doesn't even begin to describe my new phobia! The thing looked wicked mean!

  6. That was sick! (that's urban slang for fantastic. I'm getting in some practice before Spawn becomes a teen)What a wonderful and hilarious ending to your Florida trip. And I love the photos. Thanks for making me laugh through the pain of this blasted toothache. :)

    1. More urban slang, please! So sorry the tooth is still causing trouble - I'd get out some dental floss and yank it right out if I could.

      Don't worry. There'd be plenty of whisky first. This is me we're talking about.

  7. Way to break the whole car in just 20 minutes, Marianne. Priceless!