Is it still Monday? Did Monday ever really end? I can't tell. Andy was out of town last night, and I think my sleep qualified as a series of naps. When Gareth was born my mother-in-law told me that they used to torture prisoners of war by waking them up repeatedly through the night, just after they'd fallen asleep.
Anyway, I think it's supposed to be Tuesday. In the dark of early morning, I turned on the Weather Channel and discovered that it's supposed to rain today. Well, after the freezing rain. But rain, at the end of January. Strange. We're supposed to go snowshoeing this weekend with our Little Flowers/Blue Knights group, but it doesn't look like the "Rain/Snow/Wind" coming on the heels of this Freezing Rain Advisory will put down enough snow for it. Last year there wasn't enough snow either. The 10 day forecasts are starting to inch closer toward the time when we will leave for our long trip to Tennessee. A few thoughts have begun to plague me. What if we get a snowstorm like the one we did last Valentine's Day when we're gone? We won't be able to pull the van back into the driveway when we get home. We won't be able to get into the garage to get the snowblower out. What if...
The kids want to know what if the sap starts running; will we be able to make maple syrup before we leave for Tennessee? Judging from the temperatures predicted in the next week or so... I'm not sure. But we just received a postcard in the mail notifying us that one of the local saphouses will be hosting pancake breakfasts again, starting this weekend. Last year our syrup didn't turn out too well because we didn't boil it long enough. And the smoke from the outdoor fire made it taste... smoky. If we do have the chance to make some this year, we'll be able to boil it on the woodstove. That may prove stickier, but at least we'll be able to keep an eye on it more.
The trip has snuck up on us, and I really have to get going on the planning. We're going to be gone for a little over three weeks (but, beware any Internet strangers who want to come take our Legos! Andy will be popping back in for some work responsibilities mid-trip. I guess when he does that he can dig a path to the snowblower.) Taking this many kids on a trip this long is... well, daunting to say the least. (Some would say insane, but I prefer to be optimistic.) We made this trip two years ago when the twins were about the same age as Chipmunk. Up till then, we had taken them out to places other than the doctor's office maybe... say... three times. (No, really, I'm serious. After they were born I thought I would probably be stuck in the house forever.) We went to visit my mom and dad first, a drive of 16-18 hours, which we accomplished in two days. The trip down was okay. The trip back, from Andy's mom and dad's, was more like 20 hours (or more), and by the end of it we had a couple of sick kids on our hands. Mostly what I remember about the return trip was being unable to find a hotel on the other side of Cleveland, and finally finding one with a huge jacuzzi tub out in the middle of the room. Since various kids were sick and there was no pool, we let the kids play in the huge jacuzzi tub... and ended up with water all over the carpet.
I'm hoping to avoid that hotel this time.
So, things I need to do this week?
- Make a "trip planner" -- "trip planner" being my fancy name for a place to write enormous lists of stuff to bring and do before we go.
- Order "surprises" to keep the kids busy on the way there and back. (We put all the "surprises" in a bag and let the kids choose one per day in the car. Usually they are things like coloring or sticker books, novels, travel craft kits or games, etc. One time I bought the kids Silly Putty. Not such a good thing, really.)
- Decide on seeds to buy. Order seeds by next week.
- Start making "travel school" plans. We can't afford to take three weeks off, so we'll be bringing books with us.
- Have a trailer hitch installed on the van so we can get one of those luggage carriers that attaches to the back.
- Find one of those luggage carriers that attaches to the back of the van.
We're not actually leaving until the end of February, but things like trips planned well in advance have a way of sneaking up on me. If I write this stuff down now... there may be slight chance that I will avoid paying rush delivery charges for surprises which I will undoubtedly have to order online (being out here in the bookdocks and all).