TL Boehm - Writer

Written in my heart

The Road Worrier

Random Travel and vacation vignettes. My tribute to "Griswalds" everywhere. Picture is Boehms at Lake MI - Muskegon - summer 2007


The Road Worrier

A high desert sunrise beckons with melon fingers against muted blue through my sand streaked window panes as I sit bleary eyed attempting to coax my tired dendrites to excrete a coherent thought. Vacation memories becoming faint doppler signatures of activity on my horizon

I perch in my chair in my neon What Happens Up North Stays Up North Tee (much more socially acceptable I suppose than the Kwitcherbitchin one I first admired) and vanity sized jean shorts purchase exclusively for that thing we post Hippie children call The Road Trip (the tag says 14. The butt says "bask in the glory". The brain says "dream on oh size 16 bacon loving mama") finally presented with both time and inspiration I commence to journalize our long planned vacation to end all vacations.

By what run in the cosmic hose of reality did my ever loving head of household surmise we should leave our fair burg immediately after working our respective 40 hour weeks so that we could promptly return to Green Chile Mecca just in time to send the small and irritating spawn to that thing Albuquerque Public Schools calls "Jump Start Day."Ah yes, that thinly disguised tribal rite of passage from elementary school godlike status to ground dwelling, bottom feeder sixth grade hell. Of course the school staff welcomes droves of fresh lemming meat, anesthetizing them with happy faces and plenty of time to scurry the halls devoid of upper classmen in an effort to find their next class, and their locker, and their best buddies they haven't seen all summer,only to gather cloistered in classrooms still smelling of fresh paint and pine-sol, sniggering at the reality facing the tiny hopefuls on the first real day. That mire of middle school monstrosity, the lunch line queuing ad nauseum, teachers shedding the cosmetic congeniality in favor of Rubrics and notes to parents, and salivating seventh graders poised to trash can the unsuspecting.

So we fret and foam all week as we attempt to put everything in order knowing secretly only God was ever capable of making something out of nothing and finally Friday dawns and I find myself in hyper drive attempting to prepare not one but two years worth of financial data for my boss. My heart buzzing in my chest as I consider what will inevitably occur while I am basking on some beach with Sven and a bottle of precious massage oil. My mantra I'm leaving at four thirty dashed in the face of reality as the husband stands amidst piles of clothing and other items necessary for departure, rubbing his grizzled beard and clocking our ETD at somewhere between never and the RAPTURE.

After two and a half hours of contemplation, loading, unloading and reloading we pull out of our drive, silently rolling over our neighbors daily droppings of apples fallen prematurely from their tree haven (every year the husband curses those apple trees, remembering the fractured windshield in The Burro, that old beige propane fueled four wheel drive denizen of the freeway long since traded for something newer and wimpier¦) and it happens, I'm hungry. In unison from all three testosterone producing bipeds knowing that Sonic is only one streetlight away, and we can drive thru, right? Until the inevitable thought of something super-sized and grease laden pops up like plastic balls on a preschool bubble mower, and there we are sitting in the summer sunset slurping caffeinated beverages and chomping thousands of cholesterol laden items. It's well after 8:00 by the time we wave goodbye to Albuquerque, losing our favorite radio station as I 40 snakes through the canyon past the cement plant, the turn off to the ski basin, and that goofy spiked metal yucca object d'art. There are three of us drivers, right? Heaven is but a mere 24 hours in the Explorer away.

Lulled by visions of lakeshores and green trees I start to doze around Moriarty only to be greeted with "so are you copiloting?" That's Head of Household speak for I'm old and tired and it's you, the teen or pullover time.So we trade off control of the Other Woman (The hubby's truck.) at a rest stop and let loose the learners' permit carrying soon to be sixteen year old. Funny thing about the thought of mortality, it awakens every fiber of your body. I sat for the next three hours, butt and jaws clenched, digging my nails into the dashboard as my gentle child morphed into a lead footed, truck passing, freak. Was he not aware that I could easily have reached out a pale paw and patted every trucker ever so gently on the forehead every single time he passed one? Who in their right mind determined teens needed ten hours of night driving to acquire that treasure called a provisional license? And why are we assisting said child in this madness while the husband snores and drools in the back seat, rocked to sleep by the steady clicking of the spawnlet's quest for DS supremacy and the evolvation of multiple Pokemon.

I don't really remember our motorized waltz across Texas, only a brief noxious scent as we blew through Amarillo, stopping only for fuel and to pee. I took my turn at the wheel in Oklahoma on the Turnpikes no less, deftly maneuvering the Other woman between the concrete posts to pay 7 freakin' fifty for the privilege of driving on concrete bristling with orange barrels instead of tar. I have a faint memory of flying past the arch in St Louis and I believe we stopped somewhere closer to Springfield Illinois to wolf a boiled egg, string cheese and these smoked elements of torment called Turkey legs whilst perched on the tailgate at Exxon. We breezed through Chicago well after rush hour and pulled into the great state of Michigan somewhere around 9:30 - excellent time considering the jump from Mountain time to Eastern Time past Indiana. We pulled into Dave's parents pristine drive close to Midnight - soft beds and refrigerated air embraced us. We had arrived.  (2007)

Revenge of the Turkey Legs

So here I sit after my gourmet feast of two blueberry pop tarts, a quarter of a bag of salsa habanero Doritos and a boiled egg, looking at our vacation pictures. Imagine – we got ‘em in the PC the SAME MONTH THEY WERE TAKEN. And I’m shaking my chins at the copious mounds of flesh digitally created and burned into my fragile psyche. Good Lord I’m fat.

We woke up Sunday to a beautiful Michigan summer morning and promptly attended my husband’s boyhood church. I had forgotten what a Lutheran Worship service was. After two or three songs (one performed by a brother and sister age 10-12 giggle giggle) a few announcements, some responsive reading, (I’m a sinner. I’m sorry. I deserve the third level of hell. But God loves me. So I’m forgiven. That’s the dumbed down Martin Luther for you) an epistle and the Gospel (so we take a chapter from the old testament and one from the new and we read it out loud. You’re supposed to pay attention.) we settle in for the sermon…(bear in mind we are now Charismatic/Pentacostal types with Baptist overtones church ain’t church unless there are three closings to pastor’s message and you’re in the building for at least an hour and a half.) and just as we got into it, taking notes – it was done. I looked around and saw one person actually sleeping. COME ON! Its eleven on a Sunday and the corpulent chica in turquoise capris and kitten heels can’t pay attention for FIFTEEN MINUTES? No wonder there’s a shortage of Lutheran pastors. Who wants to pour a life out only to be met with snores…sigh. Not passing judgement on denominations today – just making an observation about people’s lack of attention when they would tell you it’s a matter of life and death. (your faith that is)

After service we went to this little restaurant called Bob Evans (think Cracker Barrel without the large shopping area up front) not bad but that’s when the turkey legs from hell kicked in. It started subltly enough. A little gurgle. A discomfort. By the end of the day however – I was (please turn from the page if you are squeamish) shooting liquid out of both lower orifices. Even Imodium couldn’t dam the tide emanating from my colon.  Most uncool – one bathroom, five people – and gastric emissions loud enough to be heard outside. Sigh. I have no pride. The final insult came Monday while sitting on the throne of power – something came up…(turn away again) and I was immediately faced with a dilemma….do I puke in my hand while shooting stuff out of my ‘other side’ or puke in the toilet and attempt to stem the tide so I don’t crap the floor. Yeah. The floor was spared but Tam ended up taking a shower after horking in her hair. If I never see another smoked turkey leg. My only source of comfort was my son’s lesser nauseous moment while the rest of us sucked down this amazing creation called a ‘pronto pup’ – a corn dog dropped in boiling oil till it floats, coated with catsup/mustard or plain – on a stick….Oh my mouth is…um…never mind. Suffice it to say Tam of the iron gut recovered quickly.

Peace. The spawnlet is stirring. Speaking of puke, the small child called me from school using his best piteous voice to tell me at 2:20 he had a migraine. To which I responded ever so lovingly in my concerned mommy voice. “Tough it out. You’re Dad will be there in an hour. Put your glasses on and drink some water.” Yeah. So on the way in to the store (because my HOH has simply forgotten how to shop for groceries) spawnlet turns a greenish gray and urps on the floor. Sigh. I brought him home, stuffed him in the shower, then in bed. I’m afraid to feed him. Perhaps I can scrounge up something I won’t mind seeing in about twenty minutes….yeah. So how was your day.  (2007)