Where to do I start? I’m so far behind that these fine folks have already written about our trip to Karen’s place in PA for a mom/parent-blog get-together (which also included these folks as well). Go to their sites; all have great posts about the visit.
We had planned to leave our house between 8am and 8:30am, figuring that should give us enough time to drive up to the outer ‘burbs of Pittsburgh by noon. After a lot of panic and whining and carrying-on, we left at 9:30am, but still had to fill up the truck and score me something remotely resembling coffee because I was up later than expected making my Almost-Famous apple pies to bring. It seems now that I’m paying at least 50% more for a 3lb bag of apples, I’m also paying that much more for apples of 50% less quality than before. I did not come across even 1 apple that didn’t have a bruise the size of my thumb! And since those big bruises trip-up the peeler on my apple peeler-corer-slicer, I had to manually peel 6 lbs of apples (yes, I used all six pounds since I had to cut out so many bad bruises). Thankfully I could still core and slice them quickly.
So anyways we stop at the gas station, fill up, I cry about my missing sunglasses, and stomp inside to get some coffee. As we’re getting on the highway, I call Karen and apologize for holding the soda and juiceboxes hostage since it didn’t look like we’d be there until around 1:30pm.
After about an hour and a half, we stop at a McDonald’s off of the highway in West Virginia. Yes, I know. Between the two of us we have three degrees, including in the soft sciences. But we figured how bad can a West Virginian McDonald’s be when it’s (1) a McDonald’s, and (2) located only a few miles away from Virginia state lines? Man were we WRONG! It was pretty bad! Besides being an old building, it was one of the smallest restaurants I’ve ever been at. Then there were some stereo-typical West Virginians patronizing the joint. Justin was pretty certain the dirty guy in line by him was going commando and only had possession of the four teeth Justin could see while the guy smiled and leered at the girl behind the counter, whom he apparently knew. While I was in the bathroom changing Cooper, not one, but TWO women (at separate times) used the stall next to me and did.not.wash.their.hands afterwards. Ew. I know there was water and soap and paper towels (the dang dispenser had dust on the lever!) and the dryer worked. So we’re just talking about two disgusting women, one of which may have been an employee, but she appeared to be off the clock (especially since she walked out of the building afterwards).
And the stall I was in? Yikes!!! As is the case in many bathrooms, the changing table was installed in the handicap stall. This stall might’ve been six inches wider than the standard stall next to it, which made it a whopping about 3 feet wide and 4 feet deep. So not a lot of room to maneuver a wiggly 1 year old who panics anytime you lay him on those flimsy plastic tables. Oh, and did I mention HOW said flimsy plastic table was installed? I was installed on the wall behind the toilet and folded out towards me so that Cooper’s head was towards that back wall and his feet in front of me. Anything that fell off, including the baby, would fall directly into the toilet. And it was installed too high, such that when unfolded, the surface was just below my sternum instead of closer to my waist, and when unfolded I had less than 12 inches of space between the end of the changing table and the door to the stall to try to manage a panicking, thrashing Cooper. So I sang “I’m a Little Teapot” as I struggled to change a (thankfully) pee diaper on my 23-lb octopus-boy a few inches below my face with no elbow room. It was a great learning experience.
At least I can say I washed my hands afterwards, even with Cooper in my arms!
The rest of the drive was fairly uneventful, until we got outside Breezewood, PA, where they were resurfacing the road. By the time we finally got through all that and got to Karen’s, it was about 2pm. I was really excited to meet everyone in person, and they were all so nice and pleasant and funny and just.like.their.blogs! Who knew?
Karen and Sam, thanks so much again for your hospitality. We had a great time and Gavin loved playing with Micah and popping bubbles with Luke. To everyone else there, I’m sorry we got there so late and we didn’t get to spend as much time getting to know you in real life. Hopefully we’ll have another chance to get together. But just think, at least you missed Cooper showing Justin and Sam how he likes to eat the coffee table.
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