We begin. On the road at 5:50. Were shooting for 5 am but who were we kidding? The cooler needed to be packed, which always takes more time than you think, regardless of the fact that I had everything ready to go inside bags inside the fridge and freezers. I don’t know why. It just does. But probably most relational to our delayed departure time was the fact that I refused to get out of bed before 4:45.
I mean really.
This year, for what I believe is the first time, we began packing and preparing for the trip the weekend before. This was a revelation. While probably most of the sane world’s occupants have been doing this for most of their lives, it is not something I have ever subscribed to and simply had no idea. I never realized how calm things could be, on even the day before the trip, when you begin pulling things out and taking stock of — shoes, do they fit? — pancake mix, we’re out? — lantern, we don’t have @#$% mantles?! — days in advance.
Stress levels go down and time efficiency goes way, way up. The very odd and telling thing about this/me is: I don’t like it. As I sit here and write this, only an hour after leaving the house, everything feels wrong. Nothing is fresh in my mind, because I didn’t do it all in the past 16 hours. It goes without saying that my short term memory is abysmal, but to not be able to answer a single question lobbed to me from the back seat like, “did you bring my soccer ball,” is very disconcerting indeed.
Further, I have no apologies to make about my mental breakdown. No pep talk about “Let’s not hang on to grudges and have fun.”
I don’t like it. Not at all. What’s a trip without the screaming and chaos that goes before it? And what does that say about me?
There are also two back stories that need telling. First and most important, we are leaving exactly 36 hours after Morgan was in a terrifyingly serious car accident. She is amazingly well. Hardly sore. She has a bad bump on her head, some “memory disturbance,” and some cuts/scratches on her hand. The only thing she is really complaining about (besides her brother in the backseat)
…is her fingernail. “It hurts soooo baaaad.”
A fingernail? After rolling your car twice? We will take it.
We. Will. Take. It.
A second and less important, but potentially more devastating issue are my injuries as we leave on this trip. Injuries sustained at the hands of my rooster, El Senor. Well, literally the feet. He attacked me yesterday when I was replacing the giant waterer that I need to use when we are gone for any amount of time. It is no small feat of danger to waddle into his territory, awkwardly dragging a 5 gallon feeder while simultaneously holding a shield to protect yourself.
I made it in just fine, but on my way out, while he was throwing himself repeatedly against the shield, I took my eyes off him for just one second. When I looked back up, he had gotten around the side of the shield just as I was backing out the door. I didn’t want to deal with him chasing me to the house, so I was frantically trying to keep him inside the run. During the scuffle, I somehow ended up trapped in the area behind the fence door. After launching him into the air with a mighty kick (yessss!), I realized the door was stuck on a rock which was on the other side of the door. I simply could not shut the door without breaking it. So, he repeated flew at my bare legs and flipflop-shod feet while I tried to get the door shut.
After about four attacks, I was able to launch him into the air again long enough to bend down, stick my hand through the fence and move the rock that was keeping me from shutting the door. Meanwhile, he ended up on the other side of the door and started flying against the door instead of me, which allowed me to shut the door with him inside the run.
It was all very comical. Really, I tell you it was. I was even laughing. –In between bouts of bending over, all sweaty and dizzy, and saying out loud, “Muther F•cker that HURT! Oooooh mannnnn. That HURT!”[insert non-road warrior journal information. I should point out here that everyone mistakenly thinks that roosters attack with their beaks. They do not. They use the long bones that protrude from the back of their legs called spurs. The older the bird, the longer the spur. I’m not sure where El Senor got a wet stone to sharpen his, but they are also quite sharp. But let me tell you something: it isn’t the cut that hurts. It’s the impact of the hit. I had, quite literally, instant swelling and bruises at the areas of the punctures. It was these that hurt so bad. I would compare it to being hit with a hammer. No, I am not kidding. Now, back to the journal.]
I like to think I am tough, but man. I almost cried. *almost*
I iced the wounds and took some Advil. I did everything but CLEAN them. I was so busy running around doing chores before we left that I kept putting it off.
Well, to be honest, I did think the blood running down my leg looked super-cool and I did want everyone to see that first. Then I cleaned the punctures. But by then it was hours later. In fact, it wasn’t until about 11 pm while I was waiting for the chicken to finish “oven-frying” — a complete misnomer — that I cleaned the blood off, sat down, took some Advil, and iced my knee and my foot.
I do admit that, although the wounds continued to hurt like Hell, throb, and bother me to no end, there was a part of me that just could not accept that a stupid little rooster could bring me down. It was just too much to bear. Only now, as I write this a day later, with my foot the size of Michelle’s Shrek feet, am I taking it seriously and contemplating the ramifications of a full-blown infection.
Here is my normal, non-attacked foot for reference:
I keep telling myself it will be fine, but I’m not so sure.
It doesn’t help matters to have the anti-chicken-hater-of-all-time sitting next to me saying things like, “Chickens have salmonella you know. You probably have salmonella.”
Really, Dave? Really?
Another first this year is that we are traveling with the Kooistras, Dave’s sister. This will be a tricky line for me to walk since I’m a tell-all kind of person. Can I really tell all when it involves another family? We will see. We will see…