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A Middle of the Night Road Trip Dilemma

moonI had looked forward to that moment for the past few weeks. It would bring back memories of my time back at the United State Postal Service as a data entry worker who worked through the middle of the night all while listening to books on tape. I had found a perfect book for the trip — a book by Lee Child featuring one of my favorite characters, Jack Reacher. It would happen in the middle of the night, the weather would be good, and the wife and kids would be asleep. That drive from Florida to Indiana in the middle of the night was supposed to be set up perfectly for some long needed relaxing me time.

It was supposed to begin and end that way with everything in the middle filled with quiet and the voice of Dick Hill as he read me the words of Jack Reacher. It didn’t work out that way, however. Instead, somewhere around 1:00 a.m. my wife requested to take over the driving and asked me to take a nap.  An hour later I was awoken in the passenger seat by my wife who was shaking me and shouting for me to “watch out.” What was I supposed to be watching out for in the confines of our car? Projectile vomit.

Here’s a road trip dilemma. What do you do if the following situation occurs to you. It’s 2:00 a.m. and you are somewhere between Florida and Indiana on some freeway with only spurts of civilization visible every 5 minutes or so of driving when suddenly the 7-year-old in the back seat begins vomiting with force and conviction? Do you:

A)           Pull the car over to the side of the road, unload the two kids and only your most prized possessions, and walk to the next town and wait on the front door of the closest car dealership so you can buy a new car and finish the trip to Indiana; or,

B)            Drive the car to the next rest stop or gas station and hope there are enough paper towels available and courage in your system to clean the car and the 7-year-old, and then suffer through the gut wrenching puke smell for the next 7 hours as you complete the middle of the night road trip; or,

C)            Drive the car to the nearest hotel, purchase a room at full price, drop the puke covered car seat in the dumpster, wash the 7-year-old off in the tub, convince the kids the hookers in the hallways and the rooms next door are just having a party, leave 20 minutes later, and hope that the air fresheners purchased at the gas station will be strong enough to keep you from puking in the car as you finish your drive home?

Those were the options we were left with as Addie vomited in the back seat. We really wanted to take option A. The smell in that car was horrendous and I really, really struggle with vomit. I can’t overstate how much I struggle with the smell of vomit and the thought of touching it. Getting a new car that wouldn’t be tainted by vomit was the ideal solution to our problem, but we still haven’t guessed the number right on that Powerball lottery yet so option A was off the table. Option B wasn’t even an option. I didn’t have the courage to wipe the puke off that kid and my nose couldn’t have handled the drive.

That left us with option C and that’s exactly what we did. We stopped at a local hotel and explained to the hotel guy at the front desk what had happened and he charged us full price to use one of the room’s bathrooms to clean off Addie. There really were hookers roaming the halls of the hotel and there were a few in the rooms next to us doing what hookers do. It was a really classy joint and I’m sure the national brand would have been super proud of this local franchise. The car seat was a complete loss. No matter how much wiping and cleaning I did, I couldn’t get the vomit out of all the cracks and creases. We purchased a new car seat and a few air fresheners and headed home.

When we travel now we keep two bowls in the car conveniently placed between Addie and Vivi’s two seats. Both kids can grab a bowl and puke at the same time if they need to. I’m sure when it happens again the bowls will be an afterthought to the puking kids, but for now it provides us some peace of mind. That’s peace of mind our permanently scarred souls desperately need whenever we take a trip in a car for longer than a 2 hour drive.

Photo Credit: Flickr

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