5 Things I Learned While Driving 15 Hours With My Family

ski holiday

The school break ski holiday is a time-honoured tradition in Canada. This “vacation” involves filling the car with pretty much everything from the attic AND a cooler full of homemade spaghetti sauce AND your biggest pasta pot, then stuffing family members in around the boot bags (trying not to impale anyone on the ski poles) and driving for many, many, many hours.  I have learned a lot about myself during these extended road trips:

  1. For every coffee I consume, I must pee twice

This is non-negotiable. Arguments like “we just stopped 20 minutes ago” or “no one else needs to go” mean nothing to my tiny bladder.

  1. Those signs along the highway that point to exits and show icons of coffee mugs and gas pumps and knife/fork/spoon combinations do not mean what you think they mean

If you are expecting some sort of immediate gratification, forget it. Sure… if you take that exit you may someday see a gas station or a restaurant or maybe even a Tim Horton’s, but will it be today? That is a question only the sky Gods can answer.

  1. NO ONE wants to eat my “healthy” snacks

Yes, I took the time to pack clementines and apples and fibre-rich granola bars. I filled individual baggies with almonds and cranberry raisons. And I managed to squeeze an entire case of bottled water into an already over-stuffed station wagon. But none of these items can compete with the allure of pre-packaged baked goods from a gas station or yet another Tim Horton’s breakfast sandwich.

  1. My husband has an 8 second time delay

I have not been blessed with a great sense of direction so hubby navigates while I drive. This would work great except for the fact that there is an 8 second time delay between my questions and his responses (I know because I have counted it off in my head).

“Do I take this exit?” 1…2…3… exit approaching quickly… 4…5… panic setting in… 6…7… I start to swerve off because the ramp is about to pass by…8. “NO!” hubby replies decisively, but it is too late. I am taking my carload of captives on a 15-minute mini holiday to nowhere while he threatens to cancel my next pee-stop in order to make up for the time I have “lost”.

  1. Adele is a goddess

As time passes, the mood in the car becomes increasingly tense. Hubby keeps turning the heat down and our youngest won’t stop whistling. There are heated debates about things like BBQ versus ketchup chips, milk chocolate versus dark chocolate, and which reality TV show mom is the most bat-shit crazy (fyi… It’s either Kris Kardashian or the one from 18 Kids and Counting who has that Charles Manson smile).   Anyway…

In the midst of it all, the iphone music library (which is set to shuffle) will randomly grab an Adele song and we will simultaneously break into an almost-in-tune rendition of Rolling in the Deep, or Set Fire to the Rain, or When We Were Young… and for 3.5-4.5 minutes we are as one.

Everyone should take an extended car trip with family at least once every few years, just because IT FEELS SO GOOD WHEN YOU STOP. Few things in life rival the sense of joy that washes over me when I finally sit on the sofa in whatever accommodations we have set up… and I pour that first glass of wine … and I know that I am 7 whole days away from getting back in the car.  (Note:  Always keep a corkscrew in your purse)

Author: kim scaravelli

Kim lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, with her long-suffering husband, an assortment of off-spring, a charming cat named Winnie, and a less charming (but oddly loveable) schnauzer named Buster.

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