Marriage & Travels & Travails

August 4, 2010

in Guest Hosts, I Learn the Lessons So You Don't Have To, Taking the Scenic Route

The Empress is one of my favorite Mama bloggers, who rules her land with a fair and even hand.  She can be found over at Good Day, Regular People writing about everything from her son’s secret candy stash to her secret identity as Celine Dion.  You can’t help but relate – although, sadly (?), I find myself more often relating to her son, Baby E, who guests blogs every Monday!  

(Yes, I do still have a secret candy stash.  No, it is not under my pillow.  Anymore…)

So, without further ado, I present her highness, The Empress!

Marriage and Travels and Travails

Traveling with your spouse.
Upon hearing those words, who doesn’t find themselves either shuddering with unpleasant memories, or laughing out loud at the stories you can tell.
There can be little more that is as stressful a situation. Aside from bringing home your first baby, being on the road with your spouse can make you question, “for better or worse,” because “for worse” is all the scenery you get for a while.
I remember being so very shocked at the personality change that would overtake my husband once he got behind the wheel of a car, destination in mind, a precisely creased folded map in his lap (should’ve been my clue as to his personality….ummm…”type”) and the next 3 states ahead of him to cross, timeline in hand.
You see, I saw this travel time on the road as an opportunity for bonding, for speaking, for sharing our deepest thoughts, for discovering who we were, and laying out our hopes for the future. I was ready for  a solid day of travel in a car with my best friend, chatting all the way.
My spouse, you see, saw it this way. A personal challenge to cross 2 state lines before nightfall. He was armed and dangerous.
And, herein begins the 1930’s classic TNT movie of the babbling, blubbering crushed wife, and the Dagwood Bumstead “awwww, Blondie…” husband. Oh,yes, it went down just like that.  Three hours into the trip, I could hold my full bladder full no longer, he, on the other hand, needed to clock 20 more minutes on this leg of the trip, or he wouldn’t stay on schedule. Yes, on schedule.  My bladder emptying needed to be on schedule. Do you feel my incredulousness at the thought of being told I had to “hold it.”  Now I knew how our children felt.  No, I could not “hold it.” I had to go, and I had to go now.  The fun just continued from there.
I was allowed to relieve myself at the filthiest gas station ever seen by human eyes. You could hear my screams 6 states away. He pulled over, and kept the car running the whole time. Now, for a woman, you know what is next in importance as bladder emptying, right? You’re right,  low blood sugar. With the painful reminder of a full bladder now alleviated, I was able to feel my hunger. Just like a baby, after a fresh diaper change, I needed to eat. I needed to eat when? You guessed it. Now. Guess what wasn’t penciled in to occur just yet? Exactly. A food stop.
“We can’t eat until we’ve been driving 6 hours. Have a snack.”  A snack? I needed to eat a full, warm protein.  We drove under these 24 hr fasting detox conditions for about an hour, when soon things began to swim before my eyes. My palms were getting sweaty, and my vision dotty. “Please, ” I weakly asked, “please, can we stop? I’ll eat fast. Anywhere. Please.”  I must’ve looked the part, because I remember his eyes widening as he looked over to me and quickly pulled over. I was allowed 20 minutes, but was told no further bathroom breaks in order to make up the time.
We did arrive in Indiana, although 1 hour and 45 minutes later than he had clocked the trip out to be. I now see how he saw this as a project to be delivered on time, and I saw it as having a captive audience to listen to all my awesome insightful thoughts.
We did survive the first road trip together, and we laugh about it now.  And that is what being married can mean, in so many other situations, too. It’s seeing the different expectations, and acknowledging them, and realizing,
“yeah, that was pretty bad, but I’m still here.”


Pamela August 9, 2010 at 2:34 am

That was hilarious! I can't beleive how um, strict he is with the traveling time! Me & my hubby are the complete opposite – but when 2 Libras travel together we also end up with bursting bladders since neither one of us can make up our minds when & where to stop!

Molly @ Postcards from a Peaceful Divorce August 6, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Well, congratulations! You made it through with both your relationship and your sense of humor intact.

Traveling with my husband used to be quite stressful. Now that we have broken up, we actually do day trips with the kids and manage not to push each other's buttons too much.

Now my challenge is traveling alone with my two kids and this is my secret. I call her Zen Mom. Check her out.

Only You August 5, 2010 at 7:34 pm

Hilarious! You are so talented as a humor writer, Alexandra. This is especially funny as I type this on the eve of our biggest road trip yet (2.5 days crossing a minimum of 7 states). Funny thing, though, is that I am closer to your husband and my husband is closer to you. I like to be ON SCHEDULE and he keeps needing to eat and pee. ha ha! Nice post – I love how it all goes back to differences making us stronger as couples.

sheila August 5, 2010 at 2:11 pm

It's like we're married to the same man. Our "Leave it to Beaver" road trip was insane and SO the opposite of my plans, lol. Great post!

Melissa (Confessions of a Dr. Mom) August 5, 2010 at 7:24 am

Great story. I love the Bumstead and Blondie comparison…I could totally picture it that way. Fantastically written :)

The Blue Zoo August 5, 2010 at 6:56 am

Oh man! My husband is always concerned about making up time whenever I make him stop. And I always tease him "So, honey, you wanna talk about our hopes and dreams?" You should the look of fear on his face! lol

Jessica Anne August 5, 2010 at 4:23 am

LOL! Oh the schedule. My dad had that. Car trip horrors. My husband drives hard, but he'll stop anywhere for a potty break. Not necessarily a good thing. Once he pulled off in a bad area in L.A. and instead of going further into it, pulled out our portable potty chair and had our 4 year old go on a sidewalk next to some random building. He believes in you gotta go, you gotta go now, no matter what.

Sherri August 5, 2010 at 3:06 am

Ugh, the schedule! We don't do many road trips, but when we do I can't regulate the bladder stops….and I agree with Bethany, sometimes you go and have to go again! Where does it go??

Tracie August 5, 2010 at 2:06 am

When we travel I'm the one who never wants to stop. I purposefully dehydrate myself so I don't have to use the restroom. Stupid but true.

Joy August 5, 2010 at 1:11 am

If my husband was reading this I think there would be some finger pointing. I am guilty of being the one when we travel to have lists and schedules…until we had kids. Then it all went out the window.

SuziCate August 5, 2010 at 1:10 am

This is so funny. And then he traveled with kids and found out you are quite the easy one…now he's 2 hours and 45 minutes behind what he clocked the trip to be!

Stacia August 4, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Dirty gas station bathrooms are the worst. My husband always tells me the men's rooms are even worse and there's no way he will take a kid in there. Yeah, I think he just doesn't want to change the diaper of a cranky kid who's been trapped in a car too long. =>

Sandra August 4, 2010 at 8:36 pm

You're so funny, yet so pathetic all at once! I'm still shaking from laughter. I know it's not supposed to be funny, but come on, did he not at least provide diapers…beef jerky?

Dana @ Bungalow'56 August 4, 2010 at 7:54 pm

After reading the first few lines describing your husband, I had to shake my head and re-read who it was written by, as I swear you were writing about my hubs. They must have some identical genetic traveling gene. The closest larger city is five hours away. The Agronomist can make it with one coffee stop. I don't think a pee break even crosses his mind. He likes to listen to talk radio, which of course does not facilitate deep meaningful conversations. I decided once I was going to teach him a lesson and not talk for the whole trip. I think I lasted two hours. He didn't even noticed and made a remark about what a nice trip it was.
Love him to bits though,

Katie Gates August 4, 2010 at 7:45 pm

Hello Empress Alexandra, I arrived here via your blog, which I landed on via Deckside Thoughts… I was married for more than seven years a long time ago, and I used to love road trips with my then-husband. We'd both ride in peaceful silence, taking in the surroundings or just entertaining our private thoughts. I enjoyed the combination of physical closeness and quiet. So, I guess compatible road-tripping does not guarantee a marriage!

Jana @ An Attitude Adjustment August 4, 2010 at 7:20 pm

I think that going on vacation (though I haven't done many road trips beyond 3 hours) is a true test of whether you can survive in a marriage or not. Do long plane trips count? My husband and I went on a trip after only a month of dating. We got along really well. I thought it meant he was a keeper! The jury's still out on that one, though…. Okay, kidding.

Adelle August 4, 2010 at 5:17 pm

I'm wiping tears from my eyes. I have SO been there! My Dad was like this – we have a family (horror) story of him behaving exactly like this on what was SUPPOSED to be a family vacation to Europe. Amsterdam to Bern in 7.2 hours is what it turned out to be – with starving teenagers and a wife about to pass out from low blood sugar.

Fabulous read – and I love this blog. Thanks for sending me over, Empress!

luckydame August 4, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Fantastic post!

I'm super lucky that my husband and I are on the same wavelength when it comes to road trips. We are both hard-chargers….don't stop! Only stop for necessary, and quick, bathroom breaks and 'food' (I use that term loosely). I've learned to have a Super Bladder and my husband lets me know that he is very appreciative of that. hahaha

My Momma Drama August 4, 2010 at 3:53 pm

I think I'm more the "planner" than my hubby. He likes to get all riled up – and the kids jumping off the inside of the car – before we embark on road trips. I always get worked up (because I get stuck doing everything but driving) and he knows it irritates the holy crap out of me when everyone's running around like a wild banshee and he's picking on me non-stop….

sometimes it ends in tears… my tears… can we trade hubby's?? just for road trips…

Bethany @ Organic Enchilada August 4, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Road trips are my favorite with my husband. We're usually just happy if we can keep from threatening the kids' lives. :)

And have you ever noticed how when you empty your bulging bladder, you have to go really bad again about fifteen minutes later? I think it's because the bladder can't hold 3 liters worth of Dr. Pepper, so it has to rid itself of batch one, and then is ready to let in all the rest that has been patiently waiting it's turn.

Country-Fried Mama August 4, 2010 at 3:10 pm

My husband and I were always on the same page about road trips: fun opportunity to listen to good music, talk, laugh.

Then we had kids. Now it's all potty breaks.

Tiffany August 4, 2010 at 2:53 pm

sadly, i am your husband.

Bossy Betty August 4, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Hilarious! Love you, Empress!

The Empress August 4, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Thanks, Meg, for the fun opportunity to post here. There have been some great stories!!

Gigi August 4, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Wow…he's definitely a planner, huh? Gives me a window into what I must be like to live with.

That need for structure, though, must be a great influence on the kids, giving them a good foundation for routine and respect.

Glad you can laugh at it now…

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog August 4, 2010 at 11:59 am

:) Glad you guys can laugh at yourselves now! My husband and I travel great together. It's when the kids come along that we have problems…

Brian Miller August 4, 2010 at 11:14 am

lol. i can relate a bit to your husband…and perhaps i need to soften a bit…smiles. i blame it on a sister with a bladder teh size of a pea and the desire to see every bathroom between my parents house and the beach…it was so traumatic i cant stop…

Maureen August 4, 2010 at 10:44 am

OMG this post is hillarious hahahaha.
I can relate to holding it in ouchy!
My road trips with the hubs thankfully has been pretty good so far although it drives me crazy how he hates asking for directions – uhm wait I think all men does, right? LOL!

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