Stuck In the Car All Day

Stuck In the Car All Day

by Gina Valley

I’m hanging out with the fun folks over at Voiceboks today, laughing about what transpires when we’re stuck in the car all day with our family on a road trip. I hope you’ll click on over and join me there.

Here’s snippet of the giggles you’ll find there:

Great Things About Being Stuck In The Car All Day

School starts soon in our neck of the woods. I thought it’d be fun to squeeze in a quick, end of summer road trip to see the actual woods before school slips fully into gear. So, we, my pack and I, will be spending a couple days in the car.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Stuck In the Car All Day Road TripSome people complain about being stuck in the car all day. In fact, many of the people in our car complain about being stuck in the car all day. And, I’m not just talking about the kids.

But, I consider myself to be a positive person most of the time, or at least when I’ve had enough sleep, or have mysteriously lost a pound, despite eating more chocolate the night before than I’m willing to admit to. And, positive person that I am, I can see many great things about being stuck in the car all day.

First of all, there’s no need to nag children to do their chores. They have no chores. They’re stuck in the car. It’s wonderful to have a break from that source of stress. Now granted, there are still a few things that need to be done, even when we’re in transit all day. But, the closest thing we have to doing dishes and vacuuming is throwing out Happy Meal bags, and brushing crumbs off of the seat and out the door.

Plus, when you’re in the car all day you get to play everyone’s favorite travel game Guess Which Side The Next Nose-Picker Will Drive By On. This simple game is great fun for all ages, from toddler to grandparent, and everyone in between. It does require some concentration, as nosepickers tend to race by at top speed (Why are nose pickers always in such a hurry? Is there some sort of Nose Pickers Anonymous meeting they’re all late for? I hope they don’t greet each other with a handshake).

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Stuck In the Car All Day Road TripWhen you spend all day in the car, no matter where you go, eventually you’ll see some cows. I think the highway department sticks a herd out next to the highway every hundred miles or so to help keep things interesting. But, the great thing about cows is, if you do it just right, when you moo at them, they’ll moo back at you.

I learned that as a kid. We took lots of road trips. My dad would moo at the cows every time we saw some. Every time he did it, the cows would moo back at him, and my mom would say, “Stop that, Gino! You don’t even know what you’re saying to them.” From the way he’d smile, I think maybe he did know.

Spending the day stuck in the car is also a great way to ensure your children will behave well…a few years down the road. At some point during any all-day driving experience, every child falls asleep. If you make a point to snap tons of great Look How Funny You Looked Sleeping Sitting Up pictures, you’ll find them to be very useful for blackmailing your children when they become teenagers…

Click on over to Voiceboks to see all of my Great Things About Being Stuck In the Car All Day post.

And, remember, as always, the extra click to counts as cardio.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

What “games” does your family play while stuck in the car? Do you have a favorite road trip memory? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to say.

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission.

Where The Heck’s Miss Manners?…Gina’s Favorites

Where The Heck’s Miss Manners?…Gina’s Favorites

by Gina Valley

I’m traveling with my family this week, so, to keep you in giggles, I’ve qued up some of my favorite past posts.
Laugh along with this Gina’s Favorites Throwback post.

Where The Heck Is Miss Manners?

I don’t like to offend people.  Most of the time.

I try to do the right thing.  Almost always.

But, sometimes it’s hard to know what to do.  Some situations present themselves at a time or place where Googling “What the heck should I do now?” isn’t a viable option.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Where The Heck Is Miss Manners?...Gina's Favorites Travel Etiquette Where is Miss Manners when I need her?

I’ve got some questions.  I need some answers.

What is the etiquette when the woman 2 rows in front of me at my nephew’s basketball game announces loudly, “But, I shaved my armpits”?  Did someone ask her?  Should I offer congratulations? Am I supposed to issue a fur status report about myself in response?

What is proper toilet paper etiquette when I’m traveling? What am I supposed to do when the tube is empty at my mom’s house?  I have come to realize it’s my sworn duty as a mom to change empty toilet paper tubes, but she’s a mom, too.  Which of us should change it?  It’s her house, but it was used up by my kids. Should I change the roll, or switch into kid mode and pretend I didn’t notice it was empty?  Is there some middle ground, like setting a new roll on top of the empty roll?  I don’t want to step on her toes.

What am I supposed to do according to public bathroom etiquette when a woman comes out of the stall in the bathroom at the filling station, bypasses the sink, grabs a paper towel, and heads out the door?

Do I start singing Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness in an effort to jolt her out of her filthy reality and back to the sink and soap?  When I see her preparing a chili dog for herself in the station’s minimart is it wrong to grab my children and run out screaming?  Is it acceptable to spray her with Purell?

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Where The Heck Is Miss Manners?...Gina's Favorites Travel Etiquette And, when I get outside and back to our van and the woman at the gasoline pump in front of ours is smoking an extra-long menthol while she fills up her Rambler, am I required by etiquette to run over her to ensure her genes will be out of the gene pool?  Or, is it ok if we just get out of the blast zone as quickly as we can?

What does etiquette require I do when my youngest nephew says, “This sandwich is the best one I ever had, Auntie G! It’s even better than the ones my mummy makes!”?   Am I allowed to call and gloat, I mean share the cuteness, with my sister?  Or, should I just post it on Facebook for the whole world to see?

What am I supposed to do when I’m going through the line at the Big Red Store with my 2 year old and he takes a good long look at the extremely large cashier, and says, “Whoo, that’s a big one!”?   Am I supposed to dig my own hole to crawl into to die from embarrassment in, or will that be dug for me?  Should I bolt out of the store? Or should I stay and tell everyone that’s he’s a neighbor’s kid?

If you see Miss Manners, get her cell number so I can text her.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

What questionable etiquette situations have you been in?  What did you do?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it!

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission

Secret Life Of Road Signs…Gina’s Favorites

Secret Life Of Road Signs…Gina’s Favorites

by Gina Valley

I’m traveling with my family this week, so, to keep you in giggles, I’ve loaded up some of my favorite past posts. 
Laugh along with this Gina’s Favorites Throwback post.

The Secret Life Of Road Signs

Ahh, the holidays!  The season of road trips is upon us.  Perhaps you’re planning a peaceful, family driving adventure over your kids’ school break, too. Here’s a little secret – Road signs are NOT there to help or inform you.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley The Secret Life Of Road Signs…Gina’s FavoritesRoad signs are the highway department’s little joke.

It’s a laugh on you.

Fortunately, because of my significant series of sojourns, I have decoded the true meaning of some vital signs, and I’m going to give you the inside scoop. I’m a giver like that.

That large, low, peeling billboard advertising Frank-n-Nittie’s Truck Stop & Taxidermy isn’t there to help you find something to eat and something to gross out your kids.  It’s conveniently placed there so your friendly state trooper has a hiding place to aid in nailing you for speeding.

That sign that says “Rest stop 1 mile.  Next rest stop 55 miles” is not there so you can conveniently off-load and stretch your legs before what will be a long interval until your next opportunity.  On the contrary, it’s there to get your hopes up, your family awake, and the shoe hunt started.

After you wake your sleepers and convince them they have to go, whether they had to go or not, after the shoes are on, the seats are in a fully upright position with their tray tables folded away, and the DVD is paused, you will find the exit is blocked by bright orange cones and another sign ‘cause they are “working to improve for your convenience.” Excellent!

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley The Secret Life Of Road Signs…Gina’s FavoritesAt this point everyone in your car, and heaven help you if you’re part of a caravan, will suddenly have urgent off-loading needs, and you’ll have to stop at Frank-n-Nittie’s Truck Stop & Taxidermy to use their facilities. Of course, their facilities are only open to paying customers, which is why, for the rest of your trip, Reggie The Rigid Squirrel will be wedged in next to your seat.  Make sure you get a receipt.  They will ask at the border.

That merging traffic sign, you know the one, is a sneaky bugger.  It looks like two arrows are performing some sort of act that’s illegal in 23 states.  It’s supposed to provide you with advanced warning that a lane is going to join the road and then merge into your lane.  In theory this would give you time to plan ahead to ensure a smooth, stress-free merge experience with the other vehicles.

But, what it really means is there’ll be no vehicle as far as the eye can see in either direction until you get to the merging point. At that very instant a 45 foot long motorhome will suddenly materialize and try to occupy the very piece of asphalt your vehicle is currently occupying, a Porsche Cabriolet will suddenly appear doing close to Mach 1 to pass you, and a tractor trailer will suddenly be coming head-on toward you as he attempts to pass the Prius in his lane.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley The Secret Life Of Road Signs…Gina’s FavoritesOn a positive note, you won’t need coffee to stay awake after that.  You might need an off-loading facility, though.  Hopefully, you’re near Frank-n-Nittie’s.

Lastly for today is that “Slow traffic keep right” sign, which means it’s time to choose between being sandwiched by angry, tailgating big rigs in the right lane or to have your rear run over by the Millennium Falcon as it cruises by ready to make the jump to light speed in the left lane.  Potato. Potahto.  It’s really your call.

Be sure to commit these to memory.  They will be on the test, or at least on the road.

Happy Trails!

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

What was your last road trip? Do you travel around the holidays? I’m looking forward to hearing all about it! Be sure to shoot me a comment!

Photos courtesy of Stock.xchng – Used with permission

Top 5 Things You DON’T Want To Hear On A Road Trip

Top 5 Things You DON’T Want To Hear On A Road Trip

by Gina Valley

Road trips always sound like such a simple thing.

I don’t know why.  They’re not.  They absolutely are not.

I’m always concerned about what we have forgotten to bring with us or to do before we left.  I know there’re many things on that list, but I cling to the hope that none are “turn back” worthy.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Top 5 Things You Don't Want To Hear On A Road Trip

We’ve been road tripping it this week.  Nothing quite like quality time in the van with my pack.

My children provide a running commentary as we travel down the road, on everything from how many nose pickers have driven by to which great-aunt has the bushiest mustache to reports on who is sneaking snacks from the lunch I packed.  I enjoy both the giggle-worthy and the cringe-inducing comments.

But, there are some things I don’t want to hear. Here’s my Top 5, all of which I’ve heard while travelling. A couple of them, I’ve heard many times.

Top 5 Things You DON’T Want To Hear On A Road Trip

#5.  “Did you know your credit card will fit down the window slot?”  – I do now. I also know that insurance doesn’t cover the cost of having the door panel removed to retrieve said credit card. And, it’s hard to convince the mechanic to remove the door panel to retrieve the credit card, when you can’t pay him to remove it until he removes it to retrieve the aforementioned credit card.

#4.  “Look how far my shoe bounced!” – This is heard immediately after I have hollered toward the back of the van, “Who just opened the window?”  My first thought was “Wow! I’m so glad you remembered to bring shoes for this trip!” But, my joy was short-lived, as I saw the sneaker bouncing in my rearview mirror.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Top 5 Things You Don't Want To Hear On A Road Trip

#3.  “Do you think they sell inhalers at the hotel?  This is really code for “I forgot to bring the inhaler I have to keep with me at all times, and I lost the one you keep as an emergency back-up for me in your purse, but forgot to tell you.” No, they don’t sell them.  But, our pharmacy will messenger one to our hotel for a tiny convenience fee equal to about 10 times the cost of the inhaler.

#2.  I saw your phone on top of the car before we left.  This phrase is never uttered while in sight of the departure point. In fact, it’s usually not uttered until we have crossed several county lines, and need to retrieve some vital information stored in the phone, such as the name and address of the hotel we’re heading to.

#1.  “I don’t need to go to the bathroom anymore.” – This phrase rings out after many repetitions of “I have to go to the bathroom. I have to go to the bathroom! I can’t wait!” are uttered while our vehicle is stuck in traffic, and no facilities are in sight. It’s also the reason we have a no-beverages-for-12-hours-prior-to-departure rule.

Not my first time at this rodeo.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

What phrases strike terror into your heart when you hear them while traveling? Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Top 10 Awesome Things About Being Trapped In The Car All Day…Gina’s Favorites

Top 10 Awesome Things About Being Trapped In The Car All Day…Gina’s Favorites

by Gina Valley

I’m traveling with my children this week, so I figured my Top 10 Awesome Things About Being Trapped In The Car All Day post would put you right there with us.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Top 10 Awesome Things About Being Trapped In the Car All Day...Gina's Favorites

Laugh along with this Gina’s Favorites post.

Top 10 Awesome Things About Being Trapped In The Car All Day

This week we’ve had the joy of experiencing lots of family bonding time in a cozy environment.  And, by “the joy of experiencing lots of family bonding time in a cozy environment” I mean that we’ve been trapped in our van all day together for 2 days.

It’s been wonderful.  By “wonderful” I mean that no one has killed anyone or thrown up.

It’s hard to say what is the best part of this together time, but here’s my Top 10 as of today.

Top 10 Awesome Things About Being Trapped In the Car All Day

#10.   Playing Guess Which Side The Next Nose-Picker Will Speed By On. Why are nose pickers always in such a hurry? Is there some sort of Nose Pickers Anonymous meeting they’re all late for? I hope they don’t greet each other with a handshake!

#9.  Cows!  You get to see lots and lots of cows! Bonus – you get to smell them, too!

#8.  Snapping tons of great Look How Funny You Looked Sleeping Sitting Up pictures.  Very useful for blackmailing teens at a later date!

#7.  Listening to 3 of your children play Name That Mountain! (“Is that Mt Hood?”  “I don’t know.”  “Shut up. I’m trying to sleep.”  “I think that’s Mt. Hood.”  “Is that Mt. Hood?”  “Shut. Up. I’m trying to sleep!”  “No, dummy, Mt. Hood is in Oregon.”  “We are in Oregon, dummy!”  “SHUT UP!” Sigh.)

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Top 10 Awesome Things About Being Trapped In the Car All Day...Gina's Favorites#6.  Playing Clean Bathroom Russian Roulette.

#5.  Pulling up to Fast Food Row, asking what everyone wants to eat, and hearing one kid holler “Spaghetti!”

#4.  Trying to eat a salad without a fork (Why do they always forget to give us a fork?  Why do I always forget to check before we drive away?).

#3.  Doing isometrics while you drive (or is that just me?).

#2.  Fielding a team for the How Long Can You Hold It? marathon.

#1.  Having your kids bond over a game of I’m Not Touching You! or Where Did That Go When I Dropped It?

I might have a whole different list after the drive home!

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

What fun do you always find on a road trip?  What do you always make a point to bring?  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it!  Please, shoot me a comment with all the details.

Does My Tongue Look Big To You?…Gina’s Favorites

Does My Tongue Look Big To You?…Gina’s Favorites

Since our family is in its frantic last minute preparation stage for our upcoming road trip, I figured my Does My Tongue Look Big To You? post would be a great way to share some related giggles this week for Throwback Day.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Does My Tongue Look Big To You?...Gina's Favorites Travel

Laugh along as we travel with this Gina’s Favorites post.

Does My Tongue Look Big To You?

We’re visiting my parents this week.  Somehow we were able to get packed and out the door in a record short preparation time.

The road, however, was not short at all.

But, we did have some giggles and other noteworthy occurrences along the way.

We were almost all of the way out of our driveway before someone asked to stop for food.  It’s important to note that we completed a full, hot breakfast 15 minutes before the ignition was turned.

What is it about climbing into a vehicle that instantly creates an intense desire to eat?  Sometimes we feel the need to stop for burgers on the way to pick up pizza for dinner.  It must be caused by some chemical the upholstery gives off.

Everyone had shoes with them when we did stop for food, nearly a half hour into our journey. I never did check to see if everyone’s shoes fit and belonged to them.  I figured, why tempt fate? Worse comes to worse we could always dig out the snow boots we’d shoved under the backseat of our van.  That’d be stylish with our SoCal shorts.

It’s always nice when you find “the worst bathroom I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” as Son#2 put it, during the first half of the first day of a road trip.  All of the males in our party seemed to be suffering from PTDBSD, Post-Traumatic Disgusting Bathroom Stress Disorder, as they exited the mini mart that was home to the noxious space.  None of them wanted anything to eat at the next two food stops.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Does My Tongue Look Big To You?...Gina's Favorites Travel

Son#4 said, “There was a really big guy in there who must have had a bad burrito.”

Son#1 pointed out, “That was the work of more than just an ordinary burrito.”

Ironically, the ladies facilities were quite pristine.

Blasting and dancing in the van to “Call Me Maybe,” was found to be a great source of amusement to half of our party, and a great source of irritation to the other half.

Naturally, the amused half’s amusement was heightened by the irritated half’s irritation.  And, the irritated half’s irritation was heightened by the amused half’s amusement.

I’m not saying which half I was in, but there is a slight chance that I played the song 3 times.  Maybe 4.

We had an impromptu course in donut etiquette after Son#2 hollered, “Mom, tell her to stop biting donuts and putting them back in the box!” This was, I believe, the first time I had ever heard this complaint.  That’s quite impressive because we are very thorough with our complaining.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Does My Tongue Look Big To You?...Gina's Favorites Travel

I asked Daughter#3 why she was biting donuts and putting them back in the box (I had to swallow the thrill I was feeling because someone was putting something away without being told to do so, even if it did have a bite missing.  Small victories are still victories.).  Daughter#3 answered, “They taste bad.  What else was I supposed to do with them?”

I kept thinking, “People without children miss out on so much.”

My internet hotspot kept shutting down during the second day of the drive.  Each time it was flashing a message that I had to give my approval to access data because I had roamed outside of the United States.

I was in Oregon at the time.

Might be time for my internet provider to buy a map.  I think there’s an app for that.

At one of our fast food breakfast stops, Son#1 held up his breakfast sandwich and announced, “This does not look like the picture.”  Honestly, it didn’t really look like food.

I determined around 11:00PM the first night of the drive that Pink Floyd is under-appreciated by today’s kids.  Or, at least by my kids.  Come on – “… another brick in the wall…”  How do they not like that?

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Does My Tongue Look Big To You?...Gina's Favorites TravelWe bought Hostess CupCakes after hearing about the Hostess Company’s possible bankruptcy. We’ll celebrate anything.

After the CupCakes were inhaled by our entire traveling party, Son#1 said, “They make my mouth itch.”

I admitted, “I think they’re making my tongue swell up.”

Son#1 said, “Yeah, but, they’re so good, I’ll still eat them.”

Yes, it’s important never to let a little adverse allergic reaction keep you from eating CupCakes.

We’re committed.  Or, should be committed.  One of those.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Are you traveling this week?  What fun stuff has come up on your road trips?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Where The Heck Is Miss Manners?…Gina’s Favorites

I’m traveling with my family this week, so to keep you in giggles I’ve loaded up some of my favorite travel posts.  Laugh along with this Gina’s Favorites throwback.

Where The Heck Is Miss Manners?…Gina’s Favorites

by Gina Valley

I don’t like to offend people.  Most of the time.

I try to do the right thing.  Almost always.

But, sometimes it’s hard to know what to do.  Some situations present themselves at a time or place where Googling “What the heck should I do now?” isn’t a viable option.

Where is Miss Manners when I need her?

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Where The Heck Is Miss Manners?...Gina's Favorites Road Trip Etiquette I’ve got some questions.  I need some answers.

What is the etiquette when the woman 2 rows in front of me at my nephew’s basketball game announces loudly, “But, I shaved my armpits”?  Did someone ask her?  Should I offer congratulations? Am I supposed to issue a fur status report about myself in response?

What is proper toilet paper etiquette when I’m traveling? What am I supposed to do when the tube is empty at my mom’s house?  I have come to realize it’s my sworn duty as a mom to change it, but she’s a mom, too.  Which of us should change it?  It’s her house, but it was used up by my kids.   Should I change the roll, or switch into kid mode and pretend I didn’t notice it was empty?  Is there some middle ground, like setting a new roll on top of the empty roll?  I don’t want to step on her toes.

What am I supposed to do according to public bathroom etiquette when a woman comes out of the stall in the bathroom at the filling station, bypasses the sink, grabs a paper towel, and heads out the door?

Do I start singing Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness in an effort to jolt her out of her filthy reality and back to the sink and soap?  When I see her preparing a chili dog for herself in the station’s minimart is it wrong to grab my children and run out screaming?  Is it wrong to spray her with Purell?

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Where The Heck Is Miss Manners?...Gina's Favorites Road Trip Etiquette

And, when I get outside and back to our van and the woman at the gasoline pump in front of ours is smoking an extra-long menthol while she fills up her Rambler, am I required by etiquette to run over her to ensure her genes will be out of the gene pool?  Or, is it ok if we just get out of the blast zone as quickly as we can?

What does etiquette require I do when my youngest nephew says, “This sandwich is the best one I ever had, Auntie G! It’s even better than the ones my mummy makes!”?   Am I allowed to call and gloat, I mean share the cuteness, with my sister?  Or, should I just post it on Facebook for the whole world to see?

What am I supposed to do when I’m going through the line at the Big Red Store with my 2 year old and he takes a good long look at the extremely large cashier, and says, “Whoo, that’s a big one!”?   Am I supposed to dig my own hole to crawl into to die from embarrassment in, or will that be dug for me?  Should I blot out of the store? Or should I stay and tell everyone that’s he’s a neighbor’s kid?

If you see Miss Manners, get her cell number so I can text her.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

What questionable etiquette situations have you been in?  What did you do?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it!

The Secret Life Of Road Signs…Gina’s Favorites

I’m traveling with my family this week, so to keep you in giggles I’ve loaded up one of my favorite travel posts.  Laugh along with this Gina’s Favorites throwback.

The Secret Life Of Road Signs…Gina’s Favorites

by Gina Valley

Ahh, summer!  The season of road trips is upon us.  Perhaps you’re planning a peaceful, family driving adventure soon.  Here’s a little secret – Road signs are NOT there to help or inform you.  Road signs are the road department’s little joke.  It’s a laugh on you.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley The Secret Life Of Road Signs...Gina's Favorites Road Trip TravelFortunately, because of my significant series of sojourns I have decoded the true meaning of some vital signs for you.

That large, low, peeling billboard advertising Frank-n-Nittie’s Truck Stop & Taxidermy isn’t there to help you find something to eat and something to gross out your kids.  It’s conveniently placed there so your friendly state trooper has a hiding place to aid in nailing you for speeding.

That sign that says “Rest stop 1 mile.  Next rest stop 55 miles” is not there so you can conveniently off-load and stretch your legs before what will be a long interval until your next opportunity.  On the contrary, it’s there to get your hopes up, your family awake, and the shoe hunt started.  After you wake your sleepers and convince them they have to go, whether they had to go or not, after the shoes are on, the seats are in a fully upright position with their tray tables folded away, and the DVD is paused, you will find the exit is blocked by bright orange cones and another sign ‘cause they are “working to improve for your convenience.” Excellent!

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley The Secret Life Of Road Signs...Gina's Favorites Road Trip TravelAt this point everyone in your car, and heaven help you if you’re part of a caravan, will suddenly have urgent off-loading needs, and you’ll have to stop at Frank-n-Nittie’s Truck Stop & Taxidermy to use their facilities. Of course, their facilities are only open to paying customers, which is why for the rest of your trip Reggie The Rigid Squirrel will be wedged in next to your seat.  Make sure you get a receipt.  They will ask at the border.

That merging traffic sign, you know the one, is a sneaky bugger.  It looks like two arrows are performing some sort of act that’s illegal in 23 states.  It’s supposed to provide you with advanced warning that a lane is going to join the road and then merge into your lane.  In theory this would give you time to plan ahead to ensure a smooth, stress-free merge experience with the other vehicles.

But, what it really means is there’ll be no vehicle as far as the eye can see in either direction until you get to the merging point.   At that very instant a 45 foot long motorhome will suddenly materialize and try to occupy the very piece of asphalt your vehicle is currently occupying, a Porsche Cabriolet will suddenly appear doing close to Mach 1 to pass you, and a tractor trailer will suddenly be coming head-on toward you as he attempts to pass the Prius in his lane of on-coming traffic.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley The Secret Life Of Road Signs...Gina's Favorites Road Trip Travel

On a positive note, you won’t need coffee to stay awake after that.  You might need an off-loading facility, though.  Hopefully, you’re near Frank-n-Nittie’s.

Lastly for today is that “Slow traffic keep right” sign, which means it’s time to choose between being sandwiched by angry, tailgating big rigs in the right lane or to have your rear run over by the Millennium Falcon as it cruises by ready to make the jump to light speed in the left lane.  Potato. Potahto.  It’s really your call.

Be sure to commit these to memory.  They will be on the test, or at least on the road.  I’ll be decoding additional vital road signs soon.

Happy Trails!

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

What was your last road trip? Do you travel around the holidays.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it! Be sure to shoot me a comment!

Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos?…Gina’s Favorites

Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos?…Gina’s Favorites

by Gina Valley

As I’m desperately trying to get my family to get ready to leave for a visit to my parents’ home, I figured that my Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos? post would be perfect for Throwback Day this week.
You can read my Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos? post below in its entirety, or, for you hardcore readers, you can click on one of these magic links to read my Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos? post in its original location. 
Either way, I’ll meet you at my Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos? post. You bring the salad (I’ve gained 4 pounds this week!).  I’ll bring the laughs. And, as always, the extra click to get there counts as cardio.

Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos?

by Gina Valley

There are a lot of different answers I expect to hear when I ask one of my children “What do you still need to do to be ready for our trip?

Just pack and shower and find the bag of hamster food.”  Isn’t that all you needed to do in the first place?

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Totally Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos?...Gina’s Favorites Pets Packing Road TripDo I have to bring underwear and socks?”  No, but you’ll have to ride in a trash bag, strapped to the roof of the plane.

I don’t see why I have to go.  I’m missing the party of the year.”  That’s another reason you have to come with us.

I can’t find any of my left shoes.”  How are your hopping skills?

What trip?”  The one we have been discussing in secret family meetings for the last 3 months, so we could keep it from you, just to mess you up.

These are but a few of the multitude of variations I’ve heard.  In fact, I think the only answer I have never heard to the question “What do you still need to do to be ready for our trip?” is “Nothing.  I’m all ready to go.”  I haven’t even heard that when we are on the plane at 25000 feet halfway to our destination.  We usually get home from a trip before we’re all ready to go.

But, of all the answers my pack has given me, I realized there was one other answer none of them had ever given me before.  Until last night:

I said to Son#1, my eldest, most organized, best shot at being ready-to-go offspring, “What do you still need to do to be ready for our trip?”

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Totally Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos?...Gina’s Favorites Pets Packing Road TripAnd, he said, “Find my pet snake.”

Find my pet snake?

I opened my eyes wider than I thought was possible.  “Find her?  When did you lose her?” I asked in what was not a completely calm voice.

“Four days ago. She was there when I went to bed, but she was gone when I woke up,” Son#1 answered way too calmly.  “I kind of forgot to lock her tank.  But, just that one time.  I always lock it.”

Son#1 had been asking for a pet snake for…I don’t know exactly how long… I think since he learned how to talk.

He is, in general, very responsible and careful with pets.  His dog, Trixie passed away recently, and he gently cared for her through the end.  He has a pet catfish that he got several years ago when it was 1 ½ inches long.  It’s now nearly 2 ½ feet long, and eats fish that are 5 or 6 inches long for lunch. When I was a kid I couldn’t keep a fish alive long enough to get it home from the store.

So, he’s good with pets.  Usually.  Excluding this “left the tank unlocked just this one time” thing.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Totally Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos?...Gina’s Favorites Pets Packing Road Trip“Four days ago?” I asked, remembering all of the guests and pop-in holiday visitors we’d hosted over the past 4 days.  I thought about what would have happened if the snake had shown up in the bathroom while my mother-in-law was in there…processing.  It wouldn’t have been pretty.  She’s from the Old Country.  She’d have made us Snake Stew without batting an eye.

“When,” I asked, “were you planning to tell me this?”

After I found her,” Son#1 answered. “That’s why I cleaned out my whole room yesterday.”

Great.  Another myth shattered.  First, I find out this Santa thing is a farce.  Now the Tale of the Cleans His Room For No Reason Kid is debunked. What’s next? Is someone gonna tell me that chocolate doesn’t burn calories?  Oh the humanity!

I stood there wondering where the snake was, and blaming my sister.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Totally Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos?...Gina’s Favorites Pets Packing Road TripThis reptile was just the latest in a string of critters she’s added to our family.  I remember the ducklings she’d delivered one Easter, and the water turtle that showed up for a birthday. Of course, there was the time 2 baby hamsters traveled the skies in Son#2’s back pack on his return flight from visiting with her.  I can hardly believe the TSA x-ray guy didn’t even say anything about them.  She’d sent the snake home with Son#1 after our last visit.

How was I supposed to explain to our house sitter, who had already expressed less than great joy at the prospect of living in the same house as the snake for a week, that she might want to double check under the covers before climbing into the guest room bed each night?  I shuddered at the thought that I should have been doing that the last 3 nights and didn’t know it.

Clearly, I’d need to mention a bonus first, then tell our house sitter about the free-range reptile.  Hopefully, she’d still be willing to take the job.  Otherwise, I hated to think what the odds were of coming up with a good house sitter at the last minute the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Parenting Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Parenting Gina Valley Totally Does Amazon Ship Water Buffalos?...Gina’s Favorites Pets Packing Road TripBut, there was no time to panic.

So, I decided to handle this like the mature adult I am.

I’ll get out our Maglite and start searching the house.

And, I’m shipping a pregnant water buffalo to my sister.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Had any pet trouble?  How did you handle it?  How do you feel about snakes?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Don’t Leave Home Without These!!!

Don’t Leave Home Without These!!!

by Gina Valley

Clothes, medicine, shoes, beach chairs – yeah, that’s the easy stuff.

We get most of that when we’re packing for a trip, although we do tend to forget at least one obvious item, like a wallet, the carsick pills, or a cell phone charger.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Don’t Leave Home Without These Packing Family Vacation

When I was a kid, my dad always forgot his sunglasses. We’d get out on the road in the pre-dawn dark, and as the sun rose hours later, my dad would realize he had nothing to shield his eyes. As we kids got older, we developed the habit of harassing my dad about this while we were still in the driveway.

“Have you got your sun glasses, Dad? Are you sure? We don’t want you to have to pick up another turquoise encrusted pair at the border.”

Funny thing was, we’d think he was getting mad when we teased him about forgetting his sunglasses, but almost every time he’d hop out of the car and dash back into the house, because he had again forgotten them. Par for the course, I guess.

Years of family travel have taught me that the most vital things to bring on a family trip aren’t usually on any packing list. I won’t take a trip without this stuff. You might want to add it to your list.

Chocolate covered almonds – this is not junk food.  These are child life preservation pills. Me popping a handful of these babies into my mouth has undoubtedly saved the lives of many of my family members after a long day of traveling together. Plus, since the almonds have protein, I can legitimately tell my kids they can’t have any because I need to save them for my dinner. Don’t worry. They’ll find some Skittles down the seat to get their sugar high.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Don’t Leave Home Without These Packing Family VacationSingles – during college and pre-married life these green backs were sometimes used to bribe a particularly tasty performer to move a little closer. Now, as a parent, I use them to bribe particularly dramatic performers into closing their show early.

When you have the cash to flash to back up the “If you will stop tooting while we’re in this store, I will give you a dollar,” or the “If the 2 of you can go 5 minutes without arguing, I’ll give you each a dollar,” it is a much more effective proposition. Just make sure your kids don’t go shoving the bucks down their shirts or pants. People will talk in these tourist traps, and you don’t want to be the next urban legend they come up with. “Hey, Vern? Remember that family of strippers back in the summer of ’13?”

A sleeping mask (or a baseball cap) – to pull over your eyes so you can pretend you’re asleep and don’t know your child when she slaps you on the arm while you are sunbathing by the hotel pool, and wants to know “How come that lady’s hoohahs stick up like that?” Granted, everyone else at the pool was also checking out Ms. SuperTan’s gravity defying, she-balloons as she floats around in the pool, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good time to talk about it.

Binoculars – useful for scanning the pool from a distance (preferably your hotel room) when your 2 ½ year old says that he pooped in his pants, and you realize that he’s standing there pants-less, and his filled and decorated drawers are floating free-range somewhere in the pool.  Discretion being the better part of valor, and all.

Humor Funny Humorous Family Life Love Laugh Laughter Parenting Mom Moms Dad Dads Child Kid Kids Children Son Sons Daughter Daughters Brother Brothers Sister Sisters Grandparent Grandma Grandpa Grandparents Grandfather Grandmother Gina Valley Don’t Leave Home Without These Packing Family VacationBig, hard pieces of bubble gum – be sure to bring these to pop into children’s mouths when it’s absolutely vital that they stop talking.

These are helpful at border crossings when the nice man asks if you have any fruit, and your child remembers the Costco bag of apples you bought an hour earlier, or that you mentioned 600 miles back that you forgot to bring Fluffy’s rabies certificate.

They’re also helpful when you notice your 3 year old has noticed the nice man in the next campsite over is wearing a lovely dress and has long red finger nails, but said 3 year old has failed to notice that travel trailers are not soundproof.

Happy Trails!

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Are you traveling this summer?  What is that one item you always have to have when you travel?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.