Off Like a Herd of Turtles

It was our decision to move 1000 miles away from “home” 10 years ago. If we knew then what we knew now, would we have still moved this far?? Probably not. But that’s neither here nor there, well yeah actually it is; but I digress.

Pretty much without fail every time we take a trip it’s back home. See this is where both our families still live. My parents, his parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and first cousins once, twice, and thrice removed. You get the gist, right?

My kiddos see their grandparents in person maybe 2 times a year. Do I have major mom guilt about this? You betcha. So whenever feasible we all pile into our Toyota Highlander and head out, usually by 5 am at the latest. By “all” I mean, me, the hubs, both our growing sons and our 2 large dogs. The last thing we always say before leaving our property is, “And We’re off like a herd of turtles!” We’ve learned it’s a TON easier and less expensive than trying to book flights, arrange a dog sitter (more on this later), rent a car, pack all our stuff, and still be at the mercy of the airlines.

When you have a child who is very rigid in their thinking, and plans don’t go as expected, or flights are delayed or canceled, they can become a ticking time bomb. Things need to go mostly as planned and expected otherwise we may just be the next airplane video to go viral. Can you say meltdown?

Now, folks who subscribe to the school of hard knocks, don’t believe science is real and are otherwise uneducated on the subject will easily say, “Just let him deal with it” or “He needs to learn to cope”, and so on (insert eye roll here).

My response to this, Karen, is that you will have a whole different tune when your “girls trip” in-flight pre-party is interrupted by my tween sons screaming. Sigh. Yep. We have taken flights, but it is always a risk.

Ok, where was I?? Oh yeah, I was saying, car ride, Highlander,5am.. So we all load in the car, all our clothes are vacuum sealed in Space Bags and stored in the roof cargo box.

All electronics are charged the night before, cords are accessible, snacks are packed, water bottles filled, and a picnic lunch is prepared with salads and sandwich fixings we don’t want to spoil in our fridge. I cannot forget the medications and vitamins we have to coordinate for all 6 of us! Inevitably, it always happens that one of my son’s meds needs refilling when we are away. What a debacle that is, especially for the controlled one.

Back to the dogs. We have two rescues. One is a super-friendly lick monster and the other has major anxiety. She is scared of her own shadow. The rescue team suggested that maybe she was abused. She is on doggy Prozac. When it’s just us, she is great! She is very loved in my home and has a great life. (I should do a separate blog on them later). Anyway, due to her severe anxiety, it is very very hard to secure a dog a sitter. Kennels won’t take her because she’ll have to be dragged in there, and would not play with the other dogs. Not to mention she never easily takes her meds. Usually, we have to open her mouth and shove the meds down her throat. Sometimes she’ll spit it out and we have to go back in with all the nasty mouth goobers of a partially consumed medication. We eventually get there, but it’s not a ton of fun for anyone who doesn’t love this girl to pieces. She never bites though, and sitters have been successful but those lifesavers are few far and between. We have used the pill pockets with some success, but mostly she is on to us and eats around them and spits out the important part. My other dog is very successful with the Greeny Pill Pockets! We stick his vitamin into the pocket, toss it high into the air, and down the hatch it goes. To each their own.

Pitt Stop

So yeah, we bring them along. They do pretty well, we just fold down the second-row seat, buckle them up and they let us know when they need a break. Today we were alerted by what smelt like an anal gland release. This smells like fish oil for those of you who have never had the pleasure. It’s NASTY!

So we stop for gas a few times, grab some coffee, and use the facilities (well the hubs and I do at least), and let the dogs do their business. My kids hold it most of the 15-hour ride if not all of it! Honestly, this is not super surprising, my autistic son refuses to use the bathroom at school, or most anywhere else. This makes for short day trips or the need to abruptly leave a gathering etc. We are hoping to have an OT work with him on this.

Along the way we find that not all of our stops have a 5-star bathroom rating; and I’m a terrible squatter, so when the bodily function doesn’t require a sit, I have the absolute best gadget in my bag of tricks! For those of you without the dangly appendage, this has been a lifesaver. It’s a pee funnel that allows you to stand and pee! You can even buy disposable ones. I got mine on Amazon. Just look up “women urination funnel”. Game changer. 🙌

Almost hourly our youngest asks, “How much longer” or “What’s our eta”? We arrive relatively unscathed, maybe a little tired, and a lottle in need of some personal space, but we arrive on time as expected because we always take the same way, the same way.

Is that fish I smell?

Made It!

🐢🐢 A brief mention about turtles. Whenever I’m driving if we see a turtle about to risk it’s life crossing the road, I HAVE TO STOP to help it cross. It’s a thing. I’ve witnessed too many squashed turtles. Poor things.🐢🐢

Safe Travels!

– McMomma

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