Road Trippin’ it for the Holidays

Since Husband’s parents live about three and a half hours south of us, driving is obviously our mode of transportation of choice. I mean, I can’t really think of any other options we’d have in the first place, so our preferences are pretty moot. We just drive there.

And every time we’ve driven there, aside from some mega boredom around hour two, when we feel as though we should be there already and are beginning to really disagree about the music (he wants Metallica, I want Fitz & the Tantrums), it’s a pretty good time. For starters, the speed limit is 80, which is really rad. 80 mph gets you places, let me tell you. 90 gets you even more places, even more faster I’m just saying.

But this year, we have a cat, and although we have found catsitters in the past, holidays leave us kind of scratching our heads. Does a person actually want to come to our cold condo on a major national holiday to scoop her poop? I mean, probably not, so why even bother. I offered up the idea to kennel her, but that seemed too traumatizing, so Husband determined the only thing we could do was put her in the car with us and drive down those three and a half hours, just us, our baby, and a litter box, to a house with three fully-grown adult Golden Retrievers, who, incidentally, hate cats.

He's just my most favorite Klingon dog ever, even though he has the worst breath in the universe.

He’s just my most favorite Klingon dog ever, even though he has the worst breath in the universe.

I feel like there’s some major fallacy in our plan, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

I’m also all sorts of curious how our cat is going to feel about driving somewhere so far away (she was fine on the car ride from the clinic to our home, but then again, maybe she was just happy to be adopted). Husband says he’s absolutely fine with her having free reign and not keeping her in the kennel, which … heh. Yeah we’ll see. And will she notify us when she has to use the litter box? Or is she just going to surprise us because she can? And how enjoyable will the car ride be after she’s done so and our car smells like poop?

And here’s the real low point, people — this is simply a trial run FOR WHEN WE DRIVE TO OREGON FOR CHRISTMAS. Yes, Oregon, as in two states and fourteen hours away. I felt quite strongly that we should kennel her at that point (I’m not heartless, but I mean … come on), but Husband put his foot down and said, “You just want to be with your cat at Christmas.” If that’s not heartwarming, then I honestly do not know what is. And when he says stuff like that, I’m a puddle, and he can do whatever he wants. So, yeah, that’s apparently going to happen. In less than a month, we’re going to put our cat back in the car and drive fourteen hours to my parent’s house, and I’m pretty positive at some point she’s going to need to potty, and GOD HELP ME. Literally none of this seems like a good idea.

I imagine this is the look she's going to have on her face the entire time.

I imagine this is the look she’s going to have on her face the entire time.

Also, as a completely unrelated aside, I believe I’ve suffered insomnia about five separate times since the inception of this blog, six if you count the past two weeks (and you should), and that seems like probably a medical issue. Because sometimes I sleep and it’s awesome, but sometimes I don’t sleep at all, and it’s the worst. Maybe we should get that checked out.

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Why Winter is the Worst

Everyone says winter is awesome for several reasons, but I’m here to prove those reasons are actually ways that we’re all kidding ourselves. And that winter sucks.

1. Sweaters

Photo courtesy of wheretoget.it

Photo courtesy of wheretoget.it

Sure, they’re cute, but so are spring and summer blouses and tunics. Also, sweaters are made out of wool, and wool is inherently scratchy, and winter is dry, and when you have a scratchy fabric on dry, itchy skin, it’s the worst.

2. Holiday Parties

Image courtesy of stacey-yecats on polyvore.com

Image courtesy of stacey-yecats on polyvore.com

It’s a party in the wintertime, which we all know is the best time to load up on high-calorie foods and hunker down in large, oversized things, and avoid other people till the sun comes out. And then you’re supposed to wear tight fitting dresses and heels and traipse around eating crudites and listening to holiday music. The worst. I can eat and listen to music at home, kthxbai

3. Snuggling

Photo courtesy of things-we-heart.blogspot.com

Photo courtesy of things-we-heart.blogspot.com

Guys get hot and sweaty because they tend to be part polar bear. Your feet are freezing ice cold, theirs are not, the last thing they want is for you to be touching them with your icy extremities. No matter what, everyone in the snugglefest is unhappy and it doesn’t last long. So then you stay freezing ice cold and FAIL.

4. Winter skin products

Image courtesy of thebodyshop-usa.com

Image courtesy of thebodyshop-usa.com

There are actually entire products dedicated completely to wintertime because it’s so lame. And then they smell like cranberry or vanilla sugar cookies and for a minute you think, “Wow I’m sooooo glad it’s wintertime because everything smells THE BEST.” But then you remember you have to slather on the products like crazy all season long or else your eczema will flare up and you’ll look like a leper. Cranberry scents be damned — you know the only other time you have peely skin besides winter? Sunburns. Sunburns are the worst. Winter is the worst.

5. Holiday card photos

Photo courtesy of pinterest.com

Photo courtesy of pinterest.com

Sure, they sound really quaint because you’re bundled up in sweaters and scarves and boots and you look super adorable until you realize it hasn’t snowed yet and it’s just freezing butt cold and ALL THE TREES ARE DEAD. So you get a family photo surrounded by death.

The worst.

Take a Hike

There’s really nothing like a straight uphill hike on a dusty, austere terrain, devoid of living plants that reminds you how out of shape you may be.

Yep. Utah is this lush.

Yep. Utah is this lush.

For our anniversary, Husband decided it would be fun to take time off work and spend the day together and go on a hike. The upside of doing something like taking a hike at the hottest point of the day, in long pants, without sunscreen, is that you can easily eat frozen yogurt and pizza and candy thereafter without feeling particularly bad because you’ve just burned so many calories.

Domino's wasn't kidding - when they said they used to suck and are better now, they meant it.

Domino’s wasn’t kidding – when they said they used to suck and are better now, they meant it.

But back to the hike.

We decided to try something new – we’d originally planned on a hike we’d done previously that was in a beautiful locale, covered with trees and had spots to rock climb, but I’d heard a lot of students throwing around the words “hike the Y,” and I thought, “Hey we should do that.”

Things that are wrong with the above assessment: Just because all the students are doing it doesn’t mean I should too. College students are full of energy and stamina and are capable of singlehandedly eating pizzas with little to no consequences the following morning, like upset stomach, diarrhea, or extreme weight gain. (I’m not saying that’s what happened when we ate our pizza, btw. We’re smart and old and we saved most of it for a later day.)

I hadn’t realized hiking the Y was more like a rite of passage than an actually enjoyable experience, and it is, as it turns out, straight up. Just straight up. On a dusty, lame trail, without any foliage at which to stare upon. When we finally arrived at our destination (a large, concrete Y plastered on the side of a mountain), we took a couple pictures and then headed back down because … there wasn’t a whole lot else to do.

Yep. This is it.

Yep. This is it.

Back down sucked almost more than up because we are old and have crappy knees. *cue Baz Luhrman graduation speech/song now*

Also, something newlyweds should consider: You hit a point in your marriage when taking time off work to celebrate your anniversary includes a trip to the DMV to remove a lien off your recently paid off car and a stop in a mothball-scented stamp shop because Husband collects stamps. Also a visit to Petsmart to buy nail clippers for your cat, who has taken it upon herself to make teeny tiny scratch marks on your rather expensive leather recliner.

Personally, I think she should be able to scratch whatever she wants. She's so damn cute.

Personally, I think she should be able to scratch whatever she wants. She’s so damn cute.

Yep, the night of our anniversary, in between rounds of “Black Ops II,” we trimmed our cat’s nails. It was a wild night, kids.

The Excursion of 2012

– OR – “How Donner Pass Ruined Our Lives”

-OR – “How We Almost Became Cannibals”

This is how I feel about Donner Pass:

Upset Mary

The only reason I might look even a little happy is because I was clearly having a great hair day. But the overarching theme of this blog post is anger and frustration.

Because Donner Pass is a beast. A BEAST. I’m thinking of other words right now, but my mom reads this blog, and I don’t want her to be aware that I know those words. We decided, after the trip to San Francisco was over, that we probably should have flown and not bothered with a car, but most trips are made cheaper by driving, and we thought this would be the same. A word to the unwise: San Francisco is not made cheaper by driving. But we didn’t know that, and so we forged on ahead.

We’d been forewarned about Donner Pass, so we armed ourselves with chains and felt that was going to be good enough. We had water, we had food, and we had enough coats to not die of hypothermia in the event we got stranded on the side of the road, but we also had an intense hope that would not occur. And, while it was just raining and looking a lot like this,

Wet Donner Pass

men in large yellow outfits forced us off the road and told us to put on our chains — there was bad weather up ahead.

I hate these men. I hate them all.

I hate these men. I hate them all.

Well. This was clearly untrue. The roads weren’t bad, the chains weren’t necessary (ignore the above picture, which clearly shows bad roads and a necessity for chains), and they were bullying perfectly nice people into getting out of their cars and chain up. But we acquiesced, and when we parked the car, Husband turned to me and said, “Okay go ahead!” Because Husband travels in athletic shorts, even in the dead of winter, and heaven forbid he have to step outside in the frigid frigidity. I was in a jacket and a scarf. I clearly was the appropriate person to put chains on our Versa.

Low point number one, folks, would be Husband forcing me to put chains on our car instead of manning up. I still love him, most of the time.

As it turns out, our chains were for 14″ tires, which would have been really perfect if we were driving a car that had 14″ tires, but alas, the sporty exterior of my car meant 17″ tires. Because … sporty. So there we were, on the side of the road, in a patch of snow, surrounded by people whose chains did fit their car tires, Husband in his shorts and I in my jacket, wondering what in the hell we were going to do.

But then — luck! The men in yellow outfits disappeared, cars started zipping by, and we thought to ourselves, “If they can all drive without chains, well, then so can we!” This proved to be only partially true because we hit a point when a man in a kiosk stopped us, asking if our small, hatchback car was all-wheel drive, and Husband turned to me and then turned back to him and said yes. Fact: our car is not, nor will it ever be, all-wheel drive. It is not equipped with snow tires; we didn’t have chains that fit. But we were on a mission to get ourselves into the city of San Francisco because our hotel reservation, made through Hotwire, was non-refundable, and I was not paying for a hotel room I wasn’t going to spend a night in. 

Things started out fine, but then they turned less fine.

Donner Pass

At this point, I decided closing my eyes (I was the passenger, lest you’re worried about our well-being what with me driving with my eyes closed) was my best course of action. I did not need to see things get worse.

And, in fact, they did get worse. So bad that when I woke up, Husband was trailing behind a snow plow, his knuckles white, leaning over the steering wheel with a look of utter dismay on his face.

Snow Plows in Donner Pass

Don’t tell my mother this part of the story. It will make her worry.

We did get out. We survived Donner Pass without spending several months there, without eating each others’ flesh, without requiring search party after search party to come look for us. But we almost didn’t. And it required lies and deceit and 5 mph travel. It probably could have been worse.

Probably.

It Started with Procrastination

I once swore I would never, under any circumstances, write an entire blog post with my thumbs on my iPhone. Yet here we are, under the covers, so the bright screen doesn’t wake Husband. Which is super considerate of me, given the fact that I’m awake because he elbowed me in the face. He elbowed me good. I still love him.

In mid November, we decided to spend Christmas in another place. Originally we thought cruise ship in the Atlantic Ocean (well, on it. We didn’t want a Christmas Titanic experience on our hands), but as it turns out, airfare a month in advance across the country is heinously expensive. So we settled on driving to California. To the Frisco. I’ll never do that again, I promise – I hadn’t even heard the term till yesterday. Although relatively late in the year, I still had ample time to plan out his trip.

But then I didn’t. And I found myself somewhat frenetic yesterday afternoon, scheduling out seven days in California and southern Utah so we wouldn’t arrive, unsure what to do in a city with hundreds of places to go, see, and do. It was fun, let me tell you.

I initially thought to say things started with a phone call, but I suppose the procrastination of the phone call attributed to my blogging with my thumbs at 3:49 am. Awhile back a friend mentioned something about hotel parking, so I thought, yesterday, at the height of my anxiety, to call the hotel and find out how much we were talking.

$52 a day, people. $52. Dollars. A day. Lest you think we have several other options that might be substantially cheaper, we do not, unless you consider parking at the airport, about 30-45 minutes away and then losing easy access to our vehicle an option. And that’s great if you do. I don’t.

That gave me a heart attack. I’d always considered myself something of a city girl, but obviously I know nothing of cities because he most I’d ever heard of paying for parking was about $20 a day for the very elite. So.

I somehow managed to fall asleep, however, and was doing great till the elbowing, and then I found myself very much awake, unable to fall back asleep, and, for reasons inexplicable to me, singing 80s tunes in my head. Lots of Phil Collins going on right now.

So to recap: procrastination, phone call, heart attack, sleep, elbowing, Phil, thumb blogging.

Gonna be a long drive today, people. Long drive.

Here’s How It’s Going to Go Down

You’re going to merely surprise your parents for Thanksgiving and, since you brought the car this time, bring back all the things. These things will, naturally, include your Christmas decorations, housed in a very old cardboard box that’s supposed to look like wood grain. Newsflash: it’s not kidding anyone. Also the lid is dipping in the middle because chances are that box is older than you. This box will singlehandedly set you into a holiday tizzy because 1. you love the holidays and 2. you have a penchant for getting tizzy. Just kind of all the time.

So you’ll come home. You’ll take all the things out of the box and you’ll set them up in a pile in your living room to look upon adoringly till Husband boxes them back up, citing that they’re “in the way” (of what? WHAT ARE THEY IN THE WAY OF, HMMM?), but don’t worry — you’ll get to put them all out this weekend when you get your tree. Christmas tree. I could pee my pants right now just thinking about it.

But when Husband isn’t home, you’ll start doing a little decorating. Just here and there.

You’ll go to Hobby Lobby and you’ll buy even more things because there is no such thing as too many Christmas decorations.

*squeeeeeeeeeee*

You’ll put up your Christmas wreath on your front door.

You’ll remember you have another wreath and stick it on your storage closet door (it’s never looked so festive!)

I’m fairly certain I heard Christmas music coming from the door when I put this wreath up.

You’ll take out all the snowflake lights and string them around your pseudo-fence.

You’ll understand why your father hates putting up Christmas lights.

You’ll re-string them about four times because the cord isn’t quite long enough.

Then you’ll discover they’re the type of lights that — when you remove one bulb — all go dark. So you hang them, ghetto style, with the lights trailing from the fence to the outlet.

Keeping it classy, folks.

You’ll keep the blinds open as long as you possibly can to stare at them, till Husband announces he needs them closed so he can walk around in his underwear.

Then you’ll be kind of sad.

I’m an impatient kid. I have been my entire life. The space of time between tonight (Wednesday) and Friday morning seems like an eternity away. I might die between now and then. I might have one of my legs amputeed. The sky’s the limit, people. Alas, I don’t think I am actually capable of tying a Christmas tree to the roof of my car and transporting it to our living room without someone’s eye (mine) getting poked out, and also Husband would want basically nothing less than for me to tie a Christmas tree to the roof of my car. Which begs the question how we’re getting one home because I sure as heck am not going to walk with a 4 foot tree a mile or two just to save the finish on an entry-level Nissan.

That’s not true. I would absolutely do that.