It had been a very long 44 days, nerves, excitement and anxiety flooded our car as I packed in the boys so we could make the three hour and 45 minute trip to Dayton, OH to visit Eric during his training. In just a few weeks we will actually pack up everything we own in Michigan and move to Colorado (where we're stationed). But even though we could make it three more weeks, Eric and I decided that a mini family vacation in Ohio was exactly what we needed.
Before I could get to his somewhat glorified vacation held up in a VOQ (Visiting Officer Quarters) on an Air Force Base, I had to get through the drive down there. Normally the trip to Dayton wouldn't be bad, but it turned out to be torturous. Yeah, I think torturous is the right word... the boys slept for the first 48 minutes of our trip. After that, things kind of went down hill: Thornado choked on a cheese puff and puked all over himself. It wasn't actually that much vomit, but it was enough to annoy him and stink up the car. He kept saying, "I puke, I puke" over and over until I finally decided that I couldn't ignore it any longer. I pulled off the expressway in the middle of nowhere and just pulled to the edge of the exit ramp. Just as I opened my door, I looked up and noticed the "No Parking" sign. I parked anyway. I hoped that the police would have mercy on me since we were at an exit that had absolutely nothing at it. No one even noticed we were there.
Almost an hour and 13 repeats of Yankee Doodle later, Hank-o-Saurus announced that he had to pee. Damn. Really? Now?! We've been working SO hard on potty training that I couldn't just say, "pee in your Pull-Up" and when I asked him if he could hold it he said, "no". So, I had to pull over, right where we were, on a six lane expressway. I got Hanky out of the car and had him drop his drawers right there on the side of the road. He was really proud that he got to pee on an expressway and watch "zooming fast cars" as he relieved himself. Just as I got Henrik buckled in, Theo announced that he too had to pee. Hand to forehead. OK, we're stopped so we might as well change him too, right? He was right, he too peed out of the side of the van and was extremely proud of himself.
Getting Theo in the car after that was a nightmare. He kicked and screamed, wiggled and twisted his way out of the straps several times. I finally tricked him into the seat with a granola bar and quickly locked him in. I gave the boys a snack and hoped that we could make another two hours fly by.
There was no relief. They screamed, fought over toys and demanded that we listen to songs on opposite ends of the alphabet so scrolling through my play list was nearly impossible. When we were getting close to our exit, I told them in a pretty strict and stern voice that they needed to be quiet because I wanted to make sure I could find Daddy and the Air Force Base. Instead of being quiet, they yelled, "Daddy?! Where are you?"They started out yelling in a fun and happy tone, but as we got to the construction signs and the traffic jam, the yells got louder, angrier and longer.
I quickly discovered that I-75 is pretty much a wreck. They had changed exits on me and destroyed bridges. Henrik kept asking why everything was a disaster and he couldn't believe that his beloved construction vehicles would make the road so messy! I miss our exit because the GPS and I couldn't decode the Detour signs. I finally decided to just get off the expressway, once I did that we were detoured an additional 30 minutes when we though we only had 15 miles to go. There were tears and screams, I was starting to fume as I struggled to find the entrance to the base. Apparently, this base is spilt into two and likes to just take over roads and put up blockades everywhere. There's nothing more frustrating than going through a military base with armed officers as they check IDs as we entered and exited the base twice trying to find our correct turn.
When we were finally on base, I drove to the address Eric gave me. It wasn't a hotel, it was a Colonel's house. I called Eric, I yelled at him in disbelief that he couldn't figure out where he was. He didn't know the name of the road his annexed hotel was on and he told me he was in his rental car at the main building of the hotel but couldn't give me any information on it. (Turns out, the base doesn't label every road at every corner). I finally found him, I followed him to our building and as soon as I opened the doors the cries and screams turned into joy and happiness.
It was rough getting there, but as soon as I saw the looks on these boys faces, I knew that it was worth it. (I am however dreading the 21 hour drive to Colorado in three weeks).