When I was young, it sure seemed like vacations were easy. I just hopped in the car and in a few hours, we were there.
They're not easy when you're on the parenting end.
To be gone a week takes planning and timing. Never mind all of the things you have to do at home and work to get ready for a trip ... the actual trip can be pretty rough.
Going to Colorado was a virtual breeze last week.
Coming home Sunday was a nightmare.
This side of Raton, N.M., is a stretch of highway from there to Clayton I like to call hell. It was there five years ago I hit a deer at 2 a.m. on the way to Colorado.
This year at the same place, we got caught in a severe rain storm with 70 mph winds. The tarp over the bed of my truck was nearly blown off forcing me out in the elements (when I finally found a safe place to pull over). In all, I had to stop in the rain three times to secure the thing and I got as wet as a human can get. Not good when you have six hours left and finding dry clothes would take an hour to get to then repack.
Anyhow, we got to Amarillo at 8 p.m. and were heading to eat when I had a blowout on the trailer I was pulling. It was then I discovered my lug wrench was too large for the trailer tire.
My wife made a phone call to a friend and an hour later, we were at restaurant.
Between Memphis and Childress, I thought I saw a UFO. It was a glowing stationary light above the horizon to the south and it was off in the distance. Turns out, it was either a star or planet (I'm going to research to be sure) because it rose slowly finally started looking at what you'd expect a star or planet to look like. Very bright however, which I think is strange.
All-in-all, the trip was great. It's so fun getting that special family time with no distractions. I firmly believe little boys need rugged outdoor fun and my two sure got it.
I damaged my arm on the first day we were there when I was helping Jackson, my 6-year-old, fish. I lost my footing on a dam and when I caught myself, I guess I did something to a nerve. Feels like I hit my funny bone all of the time as my hand is numb and tingly and my fingers and thumb don't work right.
i also punctured a hole in my left heal. I stepped off a ladder onto a steel object and it went right through the skin. Good thing my own personal Florence Nightingale was on the scene. My wife would have made a good doctor or nurse. She is not afraid to administer pain (no offense to any real nurses or docs out there).
One of the neatest things about the trip was the fact I got to bond with my niece Samantha, 1. By the end of the week she was letting me lover on her pretty good and she was giggling the whole time. Like I told my wife, I can always get the cuties ... sometimes it just takes a little time.
In big towns and small, we live pretty busy lives in the U.S. When you take away work, computers and cell phones and have the opportunity to totally focus on your family and yourself, it helps put everything into perspective. That's a great thing.
Copyright 2009 by Christopher Blackburn