Diary of a SAHD: Power of the Cone

Editors note: This is the fifth and final installment of a multi-part series on our summer road trip to NJ. They are not in sequential order.  Some of this will be akin to eye wateringly boring home movies.  Anyway, you’ve been warned.

As I said in an earlier post, we were riding free all the way back to Knoxville, Tennessee.  Usually on a trip that long you’re gonna run into some type of traffic jam from an accident, toll booth pile ups, normally on I95 in Maryland, or a bunch of jerk-weed 18 wheelers running in the passing lane, something.

The consternation usually starts around the toll booths.  There are no toll roads from Virginia into Knoxville.  So once we navigate through the myriad of tolls in Jersey and through to Maryland it’s clear sailing. And on this particular trip we shot through toll booth alley with ease. So much so it worried us a little.

I mean, we would have to pay for that somewhere right?  No way we scoot through there unscathed without hitting a major road block somewhere, a stop dead and get out of your car to stretch your legs in the middle of a six lane highway, type jam.

So now we are worried and paranoid.  Every time the jack-leg in front of us, no matter who it was, hits the breaks I think, oh crap here it comes.  We’ll be sitting here till doomsday.  Whenever we saw the opposite lanes of traffic look suspiciously empty I thought, bet some chooch flipped his BMW and is blocking all lanes, probably going to stop dead any minute now.

Folks it’s a long 13 hour trip.  The mind does what it does.  Especially mine.

After about 7 hours down the highway, my mind was finally right, we are coming to a dead stop. Relief and anger.  I can stop being paranoid.  By the way, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean a 5 hour traffic jam isn’t about to happen.

Anyway, we are only stopped dead for about 10 minutes.  Then we start the 2 mph creep.  That lasts for about 2 miles. The tail gunner (Grammy), thinks she sees a merger ahead that might be causing the problem. She was right, sort of.

There was a merge going on but that was not causing the problem.  This was:

Yeah - it's a cone and it's all alone.

Yeah – it’s a cone and it’s all alone.

A single solitary cone was sitting about 1 foot inside the white line on the side of the road.  It was not blocking traffic, it was not causing anyone to go around it, it was just sitting there, doing what cones do.  Which is to say, nothing.

Although, it was doing something, it was causing a lot of mouth-breathers to slow to a stop and stare at it.  A phenomenon that will go unanswered till that great and terrible day.

It was also causing us to lose valuable time in the rush to get home.

A cone without it’s flagman, a traffic gnome without it’s fairy godmother, a ship without it’s captain, … dare I go on.

It reminded me of a scene from the movie Patton, where Patton’s armored column gets stuck on a bridge in Italy because a local can’t get his mules to move off the road.  In the meantime two German fighter planes are strafing the armored column and men are dying.  Patton rushes to the front of the column where the mules are, almost has an aneurysm when he finds out what’s going on, draws his pearl handled pistols and blows the brains out of the two mules. Problem solved.

I mean we weren’t being shot at by Germans or anything, but we were making good time and all of a sudden we weren’t.  And if it’s one thing dudes hate, it’s not making good time when driving a long way.  I’m not sure you can quantify the pressure of getting home even ten minutes faster than you thought.  Somehow it makes the whole 15 hour trip seem not as bad.

Don’t even try to do the math, you might tear the space time continuum.

All I’m saying is, good thing for the cone my pearl handled pistols were packed in my golf bag.




Diary of a SAHD: Wrestle-mania 1 – Night of the Alligator

The undercard - before the main event.

Frank’s testing the playing surface before the main event. 

Editors note: This is the first installment of a multi-part series on our summer road trip to NJ.  They are not in sequential order.  Some of this will be akin to eye wateringly boring home movies.  Yeah, I just made a new adverb.  Anyway, you’ve been warned.

Wrestle-mania 1 – Night of the Alligator

The bottom line to the whole trip to Jersey is this – we live a bajillion miles away.  The drive could only be made better if the Starship Frankerprise (our mini-van) could achieve light-speed.

Because of that it’s always a crap shoot as to wether or not we’ll make the 13 hour trip in a day or have to stay over for the night.  No big deal really.  Unless of course you’re toting a 16 month old on her first Frankerprise voyage longer that 20 minutes.  Since this was the case, we ended stopping oh so close to our target destination.  Around Bel Air Maryland my little bundle of joy, aka Anne Marie, hit the wall.  And we’re stopping.

The issue of course being noise.  I don’t know about you but I hate to be the people in the hotel keeping everyone else awake because we can’t get our kid to stop crying.  Ironically the best advice I ever received from a friend regarding parenting in general is “Sometimes you have to let them cry.”  Becky was on the money with that.  So when we put AM to bed and she starts to cry we may let her go for 10 minutes or so to see if she’ll settle down by herself.  She does too.

It really is the greatest advice ever…unless you’re staying in a hotel for the night.  Can’t really let her cry very much at the old Hampton Inn or Marriott.  For whatever reason I’m afraid they’ll revoke our rewards points or something.

So not letting her cry means holding her, engaging her etc…

This particular night, again a measly 2 hours from destination, we had adjoining suites at the Hampton Inn near Bel Air MD.  Grammy and AM in one.  Me, Mrs’ Frank’s Place, and Frank in the other.  Frank wanted to sleep with Mommy so I got a queen bed all to myself.  Yes small slices of heaven really do exist on earth.  They just are not as eternal as the real thing.

It’s 2am do you know where your 16 month old daughter is?  I know where mine is, she’s in the next room screaming her head off in her pack-n-play.  Mrs. Frank’s Place tried her magic act for a while, and then it was my turn.  Mrs. Frank’s Place also decided to stay in the 2nd queen bed in Grammy’s room and Frank was sawing some serious lumber in the bed next to mine.  So it was me and Anne Marie.  Turns out she was not looking to be entertained and she wasn’t sleepy anymore. Anne Marie, well she wanted to explore.  I tried to keep her on my bed.  She dug that for a while, laying quietly for about 10 minutes, then it was go time.

She started crawling as fast as I don’t know what all over that bed.  She’d shoot like lightning right to the edge of every side or corner of the bed and then stop, look back to see if I was there, then try to go over the side.  It truly was like wrestling a pint sized alligator.  All the while with this big grin on her face, as if she knew she could out last me and I would eventually fall asleep before her.  If I was ten years older that might be the case, but I still have some pep in my step.

I built up all the pillows into the great wall around the bed.  Pillow side note: had we covered in pre-marital counseling how many pillows come with marriage, I may have bowed out.  The couch has five, the bed has like three for decoration and then there are our actual pillows.  Hell even the chairs have at least one each.  Anyway on this night they served a purpose.  Like the turnbuckles on the ring for a pro-wresting match at the Garden in NY, the pillows kept AM in play for a while. That is until she figured out how to get over them.  Yeah, why are we getting occupational therapy again?

Draggin onto to 4am we were still wrestling, she’s trying to get off the bed thinking it was all a big game, and I’m dashing around the bed thinking maybe the Keebler Elves would take her if I ask nicely and promise not to steal their pot of gold.  The pot of gold may be a Leprechaun thing, but at four o’clock in the am, I’m not quibbling over details.  So save your angry little e-mails leprechauns and get back in the tree and make some cookies.  Or do the elves make the cookies?

Nice match kid.  Now hit the showers.

Nice match kid. Now hit the showers.

No matter.  Right around 4:30 she started to crack.  She yawned a big yawn, and closed her eyes for an extended blink.  Time for the big gun.  I fire up 8oz of liquid sleep also know as warm milk, get a little sway going as she’s drinking and hum the tunes from all the branches of the military. Used to do that all the time when she was in the NICU.  The low vibration of my humming was therapeutic for her back then, so the nurses and docs said.  Now it’s just putting her to sleep.  She was off to Neverland around 4:50am.  Woke up the next day fresh as a daisy, with a big smile as if nothing ever happened.  Didn’t quite work that way for me.

It was a battle for the ages, that I can tell you.


Frank, well that little so and so never blinked an eyelid the entire night even though he was maybe 10 feet from the action.

Kid always was a great sleeper.

I guess we’re paying for that now.