The “Joy” Of Packing

The “Joy” Of Packing

by Gina Valley

Today we’ve had the “joy” of packing for a trip out of town for the weekend.

You know the kind of “joy” I’m talking about.

The kind where one teen wants to argue about everything.  Everything.   Including why his clothes have to be in a suitcase (because it’s hard to check a pile).

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 Packing Travel Road Trip Shoes Joy The “Joy” Of PackingThe kind where the dress shirt that you went to 7 different stores to locate, because your little son is next to impossible to fit, has disappeared from the hanger it was de-wrinkling on (why, yes, it was found shoved in a bag with stuff to return to a different store).

The kind where your husband picks up size 6 wide instead of the size 5 ½ narrow shoes you reserved for your daughter with the teensy, narrow feet (yes, he did mention he thought he could adjust them with some duct tape)(did you feel my eyes rolling?).

The kind where you are considering poking yourself in the eye, so you can swirl around your brain so you won’t remember any of the “joy.”

There’s been tears.

There’s been tantrums.

There’s been yelling.

And, my family hasn’t behaved very well either.

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 Packing Travel Road Trip Shoes Joy The “Joy” Of PackingI don’t know why it always surprises me that I have so much trouble getting my pack out the door.  We travel frequently.  I don’t know why, instead  of developing into a finely oiled machine, all of our practice seems to have made us worse and worse at getting out the door.

We have checklists.  We have procedures.  We plan ahead.  Yet, we never have a smooth departure.

This week for Throwback Day I think it’s appropriate that we re-visit my What They Don’t Sell At The Flying J post.  It’s full of giggles about another anything-but-smooth departure our family made.

You can read my What They Don’t Sell At The Flying J post below in its entirety.  Or, for you hardcore readers, you can click on one of these supercool links to be magically transported to my What They Don’t Sell At The Flying J  post in its original spot on the blog.

Totally your choice.  Either way, won’t cost you any extra frequent flier miles.   You bring some chocolate (I need chocolate at this point.  It could save a life).  I’ll bring the giggles. I’ll meet you over there.

What They Don’t Sell At The Flying J

Yesterday I decided it would be a great idea to herd my pack into our van and drive 3 hours to visit my great, great uncle and aunt.  It seemed like such a simple thing to what I now realize was my clouded mind.  About half way there we stopped at a Flying J Truck stop.  Or, as my kids call it “the big bathrooms with the candy store.”

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 Packing Travel Road Trip Shoes Joy The “Joy” Of PackingI’m sure you’ve seen one  – giant mega-gas stations on steroids glowing along lonely stretches of highway in the middle of nowhere.  Part fast food place, part mini-mall, and part bath house.

The Flying J is a strange little microcosm of our great, big world.  One can browse rows of magazines and leather-wear on the way to pick up a pizza while listening to an announcement that “Shower 5 is now ready.  Please proceed to the shower.”

Over the years and through many family road trips I had formed the opinion that the trusty Flying J truly sells a bit of everything.  I found out yesterday, not so.

So, what does the Flying J NOT sell.  Well, at this particular location, about 10 miles south of the middle of nowhere, it does not sell foot apparel of any kind. No shoes. No sandals. No crocs. No boots. No flip flops.  Not even a single pair of slippers or shower shoes. No foot adornment of any kind.

Perhaps you wonder why this fact is significant.

Is it because I’m attempting to placate what many of you know is my pretty serious shoe addiction?  No.

Could it have been an attempt on my part to re-stock my gift closet with more biker related items before the holidays?  No.

Was I simply curious about the average truck driver’s shodding of choice?  No.

So, why was I standing there asking Bertha May, the manager, about possible footwear purchasing opportunities in the sprawling complex yesterday?

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 Packing Travel Road Trip Shoes Joy The “Joy” Of PackingWell, it seems that Son#4 was working very hard to follow the rules, and as so often happens, that completely backfired and came back to bite us on the rear.

He announced, about an hour and a half into our little jaunt toward redneck land, that he had his brand new shoes securely on his feet when he got into the van to leave, and during the visual shoe check by the shoe officer of the day (Son#1 had that honor yesterday).

But, Son#4 had forgotten his pillow and had dashed back into our house to get it. He made a point of telling me, “like you always tell me to, mom, I took them off before I went in” (we leave our shoes outside to limit the dirt we accumulate in our house. It’s still gets filthy. I hate to imagine how dirty it would be if we left them on. We might not be able to find the furniture!).

In his haste to return to our van Son#4 forgot his shoes.  That’s right – ran right past them and out to our van without noticing his lack of shoes.  Apparently, no one else noticed either (I was still in the house turning off the 43 different lights that were left on, so I feel I’m off the hook for not noticing his stocking feet).

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 Packing Travel Road Trip Shoes Joy The “Joy” Of PackingNaturally, like any good mother, upon hearing his announcement I fired up my smart phone to track the closest shoe retailer (yes, there’s an app for that).

There wasn’t a Target for hundreds of miles.   There wasn’t even a WalMart on the radar, and they’re everywhere!  I’d been thrilled to spot this Flying J nearby.  Yet, here I was at the only possible retailer for at least 100 miles in any direction, and they had no shoes.  What to do?

No problem.  Great, great uncle and aunt are 91 and 90.  They can’t see that well.  Although they would be horrified to know my kid had traveled with no shoes, they didn’t necessarily have to find out.  It occurred to me, that through creative shoe shuffling and staggered entrances, we might be able to get the entire pack into their house without the shoe deficiency ever being detected.


So, as we pulled up to their sprawling home Son#4 jumped out of our van looking a bit like a clown wearing Son#2’s shoes (the largest shoes in our family), and Son#2 had on Son#1’s.  After they had greeted great, great uncle, they went into the house to greet great, great aunt, leaving, as is our custom, their shoes on the porch.  In the meantime all three of their sisters emerged from the van and distracted great, great uncle while I ran Son#1’s shoes back out to him.

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 Packing Travel Road Trip Shoes Joy The “Joy” Of PackingThe house was packed with family, but we managed to get everyone in without anyone noticing our deficit of shoes.  Each time we needed to go outside we simply repeated the shoe shuffle until everyone had taken part. It worked fine.  No one had to know.  We were off the hook.

Before we knew it, the day had passed, and it was time to go home.

As we began the shoe shuffle to head back out to the van I marveled at our successful shoe issues cover up.  It was fun.   It was successful.  It was over.

Naturally, it was the offending kid himself who sold us out.

As Son#4 was heading out the door to the van, great, great aunt said, “I hope the drive home isn’t too bad.”

Son#4 answered immediately, “Well, it’ll be a lot shorter because we won’t have to stop to try to buy me shoes to wear!”

Too bad great, great aunt’s hearing is perfect!

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Do you and your crew have smooth departures?  Or, do you hit bumpy skies while you’re still in your living room?  Have you ever forgotten to bring something vital for a trip?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Top 10 Reasons You Can’t Go To Work The Day After New Year’s

Top 10 Reasons You Can’t Go To Work The Day After New Year’s

by Gina Valley

There is nothing less revelry-like than trying to get to work after revelry-ing in the New Year. You’ve had relatives, cookies, and hyper kids to deal with.  You’ve had no sleep, a big plate of rumaki, and some iffy imbibing decisions.

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 New Years Resolutions Work Excuses Call In SickWhat you need today is to sleep without ceasing.  But, your boss expects you to show up ready to accomplish great things.

What if you don’t feel inspired?  What if you don’t feel recharged?  What if you don’t feel your legs?

What do you say when you call in to explain, knowing your boss is ready to come back with, “You haven’t been to work since last year!”?

Don’t worry.  I’ve got your back.  I’m a giver like that.

Top 10 Reasons You Can’t Go To Work The Day After New Year’s:

#10  I was helping put the final touches on the floats for the Rose Parade, and I’m glued to a giant, purple flower-covered octopus.

#9  I ate too many Christmas cookies and I can’t squeeze my arse out of my front door.

#8  The battery in my clock is dead, so I’m still waiting for New Year’s Eve to end.

#7  I’m still making my list of New Year’s resolutions and the first one is to finish my list of New Year’s resolutions.

#6  The hideous Christmas sweater my Aunt Sheila knitted for me got tangled in the branches when I dragged our Christmas tree to the curb, and no one can find any scissors to cut me out.

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 New Years Resolutions Work Excuses Call In Sick#5  My dog ate my homework (that always applies, right?).

#4  We were acting out A Christmas Story and my tongue is frozen to a pole in the school yard.

#3  My cousin Bernie put all my underwear in the freezer, and I’m waiting for them to thaw out.

#2  The ladder fell over while I was taking down our Christmas lights, and I’m hanging from the rain gutter.

#1  I started my New Year’s exercise program yesterday and I can’t lift my arms, bend my legs, or turn my head today.

I can get you a note, if you need one.

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Were you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, bounding out the door this morning?  Or, were you leaning more toward red-eyed and tail-dragging, crawling out the door?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

Hello, Officer

Hello, Officer

by Gina Valley

I heard the COPS theme song blasting in my head so loud that my head was involuntarily bouncing along.

Bad boys, bad boys

Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do

When they come for you

I blame Gabriel Iglesias.

He’s hysterical, but that was totally his fault.  I know I was only thinking about it because of his Road Trip story, and his playing the COPS theme in it.  If he’d been sitting next to me, he would have been laughing.

But, he wasn’t there.

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 Speeding Ticket CHP California Highway Patrol Gabriel Iglesias

It was just me.

And, my soundly-sleeping-not-going-to-even-believe-this-happened-until-I-show-them-the-ticket-and-maybe-not-even-then pack and The Professor.

And, what appears to be Arnold Schwarzen-cop. This guy was big.  Gym big.  Gym giant.  And, he did not look happy.  I wasn’t sure, but I thought he might be unhappy because there was a tiny chance that I was accidentally traveling just a tad over the speed limit.  And, by tad, I mean, I have no idea how much over the speed limit I was going.

But, it wasn’t my fault.

I blame the state of California.  The speed limit along the 5 north changes constantly.  I’d seen everything from 45 MPH to 70 MPH.  I knew he was going to ask me what the speed limit was for that stretch of highway, and I honestly had no idea.  I just knew that I was not pulling a trailer, so I was supposed to know what the top sign said.  Which I kind of didn’t.

I blame Bon Jovi.  It’s My Life was playing.  How do you not accidentally speed when that’s blasting on the radio?  It would be un-patriotic not to.  I was just trying to be a good citizen.

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 Speeding Ticket CHP California Highway Patrol Gabriel IglesiasI blame the cows.  They were all lined up along the fence by the highway, and it looked like they were heckling the cars as we all drove by.  It was hysterical.  I swear they were calling out to the cars and laughing.  I was transfixed. How could I possibly be expected to keep an eye on the speedometer with that type of clearly deliberately distracting behavior going on?

I blame the speedometer.  When I noticed that officer Schwartze-cop had taken a notice of me, I did what any generally law-abiding citizen would do.  I assumed I was doing something wrong, and checked the speedometer to see exactly how wrong I was.  Well, our speedometer has something of a defect, so I was unable to determine exactly how fast I was going.

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 Speeding Ticket CHP California Highway Patrol Gabriel IglesiasI had no idea how fast I was going, and I knew he was going to ask me if I knew.  Should I have told him that I didn’t know because my speedometer is only labeled up to 99MPH and the pointy thing was way past that?   Maybe I should have kept that to myself.

I was a bit nervous, because I wasn’t sure how it was going to go with this officer.  I just knew that I had to get the COPS theme song out of my head or I was going to bust out laughing when he got to my window, and I would end up standing on the side of the road trying to walk a straight line while my whole pack and The Professor sleep through the entire thing.

He was very polite and professional and merciful.

I received a ticket for a much lessor offense than it could have been.

And, I got through the whole thing without blurting out “Come with me if you want to live.”

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Have you messed up anything recently?  Do you find yourself in hot water when you get distracted?  Shoot me a comment. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

I want to make it clear that I have nothing but respect for peace officers and the important work they do.  I could never do it, and I am thankful that they do.

I have deliberately not mentioned any identifying information about this officer to protect his privacy.  And, also because I have several friends who are California Highway Patrol Officers and when they figure out whom this officer is, they will be taking him out for drinks to celebrate for a year, and I will never hear the end of it.

Laugh Log – Snow Edition

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 Laugh Log Snow Vacation Snowball Funnies

Laugh Log – Snow Edition

We are traveling to the snow today.  I’m sure after a day stuck in our van we will be more than ready for a snow ball fight.

I wish we could take you all with us, but our van is pretty full.  So, I figure the next best thing is to send you out some snow funnies.  I hope they give you lots of giggles.

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 Laugh Log Snow Vacation Snowball Funnies

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 Laugh Log Snow Vacation Snowball Funnies

 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 Laugh Log Snow Vacation Snowball Funnies

 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 Laugh Log Snow Vacation Snowball Funnies

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 Laugh Log Snow Vacation Snowball Funnies

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 Laugh Log Snow Vacation Snowball Funnies

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 Laugh Log Snow Vacation Snowball Funnies

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 Laugh Log Snow Vacation Snowball Funnies

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 Laugh Log Snow Vacation Snowball Funnies

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 Laugh Log Snow Vacation Snowball Funnies

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 Laugh Log Snow Vacation Snowball Funnies

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 Laugh Log Snow Vacation Snowball Funnies

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

What is your favorite thing about the snow?  What’s your least favorite thing?  Does it snow where you live?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing all about it.

These People Are NOT My Parents – Throwback

These People Are NOT My Parents – Throwback

As we enter into the holiday season it means many different things to many different people.  But, the one universal experience seems to be that we all hang out with family.  Far and wide.  Long lost or nearby.  Old or young.  Big or small.  Families gather together to celebrate.

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 Parents Change PeopleEach in their own unique ways.  Each with their own unique traditions.  Each asking themselves the same ageless question:

Who are these people?

The people I take my kids to visit are not the same people who raised me.  They may look the same, with just a touch more gray.  They may have the same names.  They may even claim to be the same people.  But, these are not the same people I was raised by.

For Throwback Day this week I think it’s timely to revisit a post I did addressing this very question, aptly titled Who ARE These People?:

I try to take my kids the 1400-ish miles to visit my parents a couple times a year.

But I can’t.

We can go to their house.  We can visit the people who live there and look just like my parents.  But they are not my parents.

I don’t know who these people are, but they are not my parents.

My mom never baked a “Cake of the Day,” or, right before bedtime, or anytime for that matter, never encouraged us to “Have another big piece of cake or two to finish it up” because there’ll be a new cake baked in the morning.  Today’s Cake of The Day was chocolate, by the way….

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 Parents Change People…. My parents never loaded us into the car for a trip, be it to Grandma’s house, Disneyland, or the mall, after 5:00AM.  Usually, 4:00AM was the goal.  We were told we “have to get an early start” so often that I thought it was a federal law.  These people scoffed at the idea of waking my kids before 8:00AM to start packing up our van for our trip.  “Let them sleep,” they said.  “They’re young.  They need to sleep.”  What?

My parents would never hire someone to bring in a crane to remove a couple of the 150 foot tall pine trees in the forest in their “backyard” to make a better sledding run.  I believe we were told to “steer around” any obstacles in our path while sledding.  Steer around?  How do you steer around?  Does that mean bounce off? ‘Cause that’s what we did!….

Read the rest of my tale of puzzling parental metamorphosis by clicking on over to Who ARE These People?  There are lots of laughs waiting for you.  I’ll meet you over there.

As always the extra click to get there counts as cardio!

Laugh Out Loud!

-gina

Do you know any people who changed when they became grandparents?   What do you suppose it is about grandchildren that causes that to happen?  Shoot me a comment.  I’m looking forward to hearing what you think.