All Good Things Must Come to an End – The Final Chapter – She Says

I was going to title this blog; The Wheels on the Bus Go CRASH!  But more on that alternate title and the reason for it later.  First, I must clear up a few things:

1)      My husband grossly exaggerates.  First of all, no one MADE him carry all that crap (although I did affectionately nickname him “Pack-mule”).  He insisted.  INSISTED!  You know why he insisted?

  1. He ate up the looks and murmurs of sympathy he received from fellow travelers and the bitter condemnation and hate looks I received for the fact that he was loaded down.
  2. I wish I had taken a picture, because he carefully arranged the chairs to artfully highlight his bicep and pectoral muscles.  At one point, I swear I saw him make his pecs dance. 
  3. He was suffering severe withdrawal from the gym (not an affliction I suffer from btw), so he was using this hauling of chairs as his weight workout for the day. 
  4. Finally, he didn’t carry the snorkeling equipment, the beach bag or the towel bag.  He lies (yes, Mr. Future Man of God and the Cloth, is a L-I-A-R!).  He carried the 3 chairs and the umbrella.  He brags about how much he dead lifts, so save your pity people!

But I’m not bitter or anything….

It took my hubby so long to write Day 5, I don’t know if I even remember what happened between dinner that night and what I affectionately term “the incident” on the way home. 

I know that by Day 5, we are all terribly sunburned, exhausted and almost ready for home.  All except Ethan, who has declared he “hates home”.  We get up slowly that morning and take a short drive to the Gulfarium at Fort Walton Beach.  It’s a mini-seaworld with dolphin and sea lion shows.  They have a petting tank, sharks, and other marine life.  It was all shaded, and sat right on the ocean, so we had a cool breeze and with the exception of Ethan’s temper tantrum over leaving the petting tank, a good time was had by all.  Afterwards, we decided to spend one last afternoon on the beach, but 2 out of our 4 kids declined, so just 4 of us (one being Ethan) headed down to the beach.

The algae in the water were pretty bad.  It’s not good to come out of the water looking like someone hocked loogies all over you.  Little pieces of green slime stuck to your body, and quite frankly lurking in places it shouldn’t be lurking.  At one point, a water beetle found its way down my swimsuit top and actually bit my boob, if there is anything more obtrusive I can’t think of it!  And it’s when I went to dig out the beetle that I noticed all the algae gathered in the bodice of my top.  I don’t know what people were thinking, or if anyone was paying me any attention at all, but at some point I felt like people must be wondering exactly how I was hauling around that much algae under my boobs. 

So after a few hours, we headed back to the RV, bidding the beach a fond farewell.  We get back to the RV, and my husband decided to go for a run.  We’ve already covered how much HE exaggerates, but I don’t.  Not at all.  So when I tell you this next part, it’s with complete frankness and sincerity.  You know that scene from Flashdance where she is sitting in the chair and dumps the bucket of water on herself?  Okay, well I watched my husband get ready for his “run”, and that’s the movie scene that immediately came to mind as I watched him pour the suntan oil over his glistening torso.  I imagine the RV blinds throughout the park slit open to watch this spectacle of manliness prepare his mind and body for this invigorating beach side run.  He was gone forever, while we all sat in the RV…starving.  I imagine that he probably had to do the entire run in slow motion for maximum effect, dumping water over his head, so it would run in sexy rivulets down his sculpted chest.  And then there was the allure of reflective surfaces…  Meanwhile, I am back at the RV beginning to understand why some species eat their young.

Finally, he gets back, but the wait is just beginning, because now he has to get ready.  Describing this act of self-love would take way too long, literally a whole other blog, so I’ll spare you all the details.  His brother-in-law can certainly attest to the hair preparation, in case you need witnesses and don’t just take my word for it. 

I will admit that I am a little miffed at him right now, so that might be tainting my memory of the events in question…slightly. 

So, by the time we head out to dinner, I am seriously contemplating gnawing my own arm off.  There is horrible traffic everywhere, and we quickly determine that our initial destination would probably have too long a wait, so we turn around and try several other places.  Naturally, we can’t catch a break on parking.  Finally, at 8:30 or a little after, we pull into the parking lot of the Melting Pot.  I sincerely apologize to the patrons around us trying to have a nice “adult” evening out.  I did my best to control the unruly crowd, but I was tired and hungry, so I wasn’t at the top of my game.  The best moment of the evening came when Ethan declared LOUDLY, “I am touching mommies boobies!”  Alrighty then.  Check please.  $200 later and a belly full of cheese and chocolate, I am praying for death or home, whichever comes first.       

We get up early the next morning, load the RV, and head out for home with a brief detour in Mobile, Alabama where we tour the battleship and submarine.  I was really glad we stopped, it was an amazing tour, and Ethan and the girls loved it.  He did get tired, but we all did.  The bowels of the ship were not air-conditioned, and we had to climb up and down narrow ladders, parts of it were extremely claustrophobic.  It was a humbling experience. 

So, now time for the long haul back.  We made it through Mississippi really quickly, but Louisiana took forever, and most of the drive was over bridges, so I was a nervous wreck by the time we entered Texas.  Plus, we were relying on my GPS to get us home, and the 3G network was down through most of LA, and parts of Texas.  Let me note, that I suggested we exit I-10 in Baton Rouge and head up towards Shreveport and then home via I-20, but my husband stated his preference to stay on I-10 all the way to Texas (a fact he denies later btw), and when I see that vein in his forehead start to pulse, I quickly and wisely acquiesce.  However, once you get to Beaumont, I-10 doesn’t take you all the way to I-45.  You have to take a series of 2 lane highways in the middle of Nowheresville.  So before we embark on the final leg of our journey, we need to stop for gas one last time. 

Its 10:30 at night, the kids are all asleep, we pull into the gas station.  All of a sudden, I hear the worst screeching, metal ripping, finger nails on a chalkboard sound, I’ve ever heard.  Hubby slams on the breaks and kids go flying everywhere, jolted awake by the noise and the sudden stop.  There is a moment of silence, and I don’t know what hubby was thinking, but I was waiting for the entire gas station to blow up.  Then, hubby asks “what was that?!”  What was that?  I am in the back of the RV, how the heck do I know what it was, you’re driving, you tell me!!!!!!  I was trying not to hyperventilate, yell or scare our already frightened children.  If any of you were in this situation, would you:

A:  Get out of car and find out what the heck happened before proceeding

B:  Have your wife get out of the car and give you an assessment of the situation before deciding it is okay to move forward or back up.

C:  Pretend the awful sound of ripping metal was a hallucination and proceed blindly forward.

I think any sane and rational person would choose between A & B, but to my shock and horror, hubby goes directly to C and does not pass go or collect his $200!  More ripping metal ensues, I am expecting the entire right side of the RV to fall off or for a fire to ignite and blow us all to kingdom come!  Hubby is muttering expletives, the kids are looking to me in wide-eyed horror, and I feel as if I might pass out.  Finally, we stop.  The entire side of the RV is shaking and shuddering as it groans to a halt.  I immediately fling the side door open and run around the side, pausing to note the onlookers laughing and pointing.  The paneling on the side of the RV got caught on those white metal poles that keep idiot drivers from hitting the pumps, and ripped completely off.  The brackets that held it on are dangling from the RV in a heap of twisted metal, and the luggage compartments are bent and twisted.  More muttering and cursing from the hubby, and mindless pacing, I think he thought that if he walked around the RV 3 times in reverse, the whole horrid event would never have happened.  He’s snapping the head off of anyone who so much as looks at him and then to make matters worse, the bathroom is closed, so now he doesn’t get to pee, and I haven’t even told him the twisty, dark, two-lane highway we get to take home through towns he’s never heard of and with a GPS that might or might not work.  Oh the joy. 

He gripped the steering wheel so tightly all the way home that I am surprised it didn’t snap off in his bare hands.  We arrive at the first highway, and he asks me how long we stay on this road, and I pause…afraid.  “Ummm, 28 miles.”  WHAT?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?    Oh boy.  For the sake of my younger readers, I need to edit through most of what happened next.  I will mention the epic battle of the RV and the Semi.  Hubby is having a conniption fit over this semi that is seemingly riding up his RV arse.  I quietly mention that maybe he should just let him pass, but noooooooooo, I am pretty sure a manly man contest has ensued, and it’s gladiator style, a fight to the death.  After 26 miles of complaining, bitching and moaning (from the hubby), as I gripped the arm rests so tightly that my fingers ached for days, the Semi makes his move.  He passes us (we are going about 75, although hubby pushed to 80 as he tried to pass), and has to quickly get over before slamming into the poor guy in the lane coming at us, and almost loses control of his truck.  It actually fishtails and kicks up dirt, dust and smoke.  The second time in less than a few hours that my whole life flashed before my eyes!  After another 18 miles or so, we finally enter I-45, and now it’s just a matter of staying awake for those last 100 miles. 

We make it home (alive).  I put little man to bed, and the 4 of us, emptied the RV.  You might be mentally counting the children, and realize that we are missing one.  Yeah, apparently Libby didn’t feel compelled to help the rest of us unload the RV at 3am in the morning, so she went to bed.  Thanks Libs.  Emily and Lindz were little superstars though and they helped us pile everything in the living room.  Finally, we get to bed. 

Early the next morning, we have to get up to take the RV back.  A trip we are both dreading, not sure how much this damage is going to cost us.  Hubby scrubs 10 years of living off the inside of that RV until it sparkled.  I think he thought that if the inside was spic and span, they might not notice that the side of the RV on the outside had been ripped off.  The first thing the lady at the RV place says is that their deductible is $1000.  I can’t even look at hubby at this point.  I am thinking of what 1000 dollars of silence, anger and condemnation looks like exactly and what form it should take. 

Hubby won the RV lottery.  Apparently they are a repair shop, so lucky for us; he can repair the damages for the small fee of $125.  Whew!  Dodged a bullet there, he did. 

Home sweet home.  We really had an amazing adventure, and we enjoyed verbally sparring through our blogs and chronicling our vacation for the rest of you.  I am so lucky to have such a wonderful husband and four incredible children.  I can’t wait until next year!  Except, we will be flying.  And renting a house.  I don’t know that we would ever go RV’ing again, but it was fun to try once.    

My next trip is Ireland with my mother, sister and oldest daughter for her sweet sixteen in March, the week of St. Paddy’s.  That should be good blogging 🙂

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