I knew this day would come…

As I write this blog post, I am dunking my Oreos in a tall glass of petit sirah (thank you Nora). Experts are indeed correct to say that chocolate and wine pair nicely. This odd combo is my recovery meal after spending 3 ½ hours driving home from Brooklyn (62 miles). I can now say I know what it is like to drive 10 miles an hour, for an hour. This is courtesy of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Don’t let the name Expressway fool you as it did me. This road is the opposite of expressway. If you know what the term is for opposite of expressway, please email me. I really want to know. I couldn’t find one on-line. I digress here but it fascinates me that people live in that area of the world and drive that road with any frequency without losing their minds. I never want to have that experience again ever in this life or the next.

This hellish trip would have been bad enough had I been alone but my unfortunate 3 year old was captive in his car seat behind me. He was a champ on this trip. For the first hour and ½ he didn’t really say much. But then, out came the words all parents of a newly toilet trained toddler fear to hear…

“I have to poop.”

Wow. What the hell do I do now? 1 ½ hours into our trip, we were still just crossing over into glorious downtown Queens. And it was dusk so I knew soon it would be dark and I would be even more screwed. All sorts of solutions started racing through my head, none of which need to be repeated here.

Had we been on the Taconic or Merrit or basically any other road than where we were, this would not have been so stressful. Pooping in the woods I can handle. I even had the wipes ready to go. I could easily fend off any deer or woodchuck that came our way. But the BQE??? First, there was zero room to even pull over on the side and if we did, where did I expect my son to squat? There wasn’t a bush or patch of grass for miles. It was just a sea of asphalt and concrete partitions. At one point I envisioned stopping right where I was (we were only going 7 miles an hour for goodness sake) among honking horns and middle fingers. There were exits here and there but the streets nearby looked even less inviting.

After the third time he asked to go to the bathroom, I knew we had to exit. So we did with faith that we would survive to tell the story. After a short drive, an oasis emerged. It was called the Queens Center Mall. I had never been so excited to see the words “JC Penney”.  Oh and there was Macys, and Sears! We were saved.

I thank the woman in the parking garage who directed me to the mall entrance. She must have though I was nuts. It was 50 feet from where I stood but in my frazzled state, I couldn’t find it. As we entered the mall, my son said “This is fun!” I had to laugh. And I had to see this experience for what it was – an opportunity for me to go with the flow. I could stew about the fact that this night was not going as I thought it would or I could see it through the eyes of a three year old…as an adventure! So we took care of business, ate a cheeseburger and got back in the car to continue to crawl on another improperly named road, the Long Island Expressway.

At this point, I was tired and cranky and my short lived notion of Adventure in Queens had vanished. Somewhere I had taken a wrong turn and was cruising into the parking lot of LaGuardia Airport. I am usually very good with directions, and what I can’t figure out, GPS is ready to assist. Ours recently died and on this night I was winging it. I think it was right about the time I was passing the Delta terminal that I was ready to cry when I saw in Neon flashing lights (it was pitch black by this point) the Jackson Hole Diner. What would the Jackson Hole Diner be doing at LGA? Yet again I was reminded by the Universe to laugh and go with the flow.

At 9:15pm we pulled into our driveway, weary, tired, cranky (oh yeah, that was me, little man fell asleep at 8:45).  A ½ bottle of wine and a sleeve of Oreos later, I feel better. I also feel like I survived a rite of passage, one that I hope everyone within the sound of these keystrokes never has to experience. But something tells me that wont be the case. Some words of advice – toddler porta-potty.

6 Responses to I knew this day would come…
  1. Heather Pemberton
    September 13, 2010 | 5:11 pm

    Great post! Been there, never had to do that, so glad!

    • staceylu
      September 14, 2010 | 9:04 am

      thanks Heather. it was one for the story books…

  2. Susi
    September 14, 2010 | 5:36 am

    I guess the bright side is, you made it home safely, your son had an adventure, and you ended up with a great story to tell…I give you credit for driving to Brooklyn at all. Thanks for the laugh!

    • staceylu
      September 14, 2010 | 9:05 am

      you are so right Susi! thank God for our safe trip home

  3. Deb
    September 30, 2010 | 7:23 pm

    Oh,the joys of motherhood! I have been there and I am now the proud owner of a toddler porta pot. I don’t travel without it, it has saved me MANY times!

    • staceylu
      October 5, 2010 | 8:36 am

      thanks Deb! live and learn on my part!!

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