Before I start our story, we need to address the traffic on the way to Florida by me telling you this: don’t drive to Florida.
Seriously. If you are even thinking about it, stop.
Because this is what awaits you:
Lots and lots of that.
To be clear, I live in the Chicago area and experience traffic on the regular. It’s part of our culture; in fact, when referring to how far away something is, we commonly refer to how long IN TRAFFIC it will take.
Oh Skokie? Yeah, it’s about a 45 minute drive but with traffic? An hour.
I am no newbie as it pertains to vehicular congestion on roadways, but the traffic we experienced on the way to Florida was beyond my expectations.
In the worst possible way.
I mean, I get it.
After this year of killer flu’s, toxic news, and weather of epic proportions, people want to get THE HELL out of the northern regions of the United States.
But seriously, it’s like they were giving away something in the south.
OH, MY GOD. WERE THEY GIVING AWAY SOMETHING IN THE SOUTH?
I was already on edge because of how our spring break started.
Let me back up.
This was on day one:
A hacking cough that started the night before we were to leave (a day early because 8 inches of snow that we had to bypass).
I need to tell you that the last time we traveled out of the state in January, I felt like I might be coming down with a cold but I powered through because we were heading to a dear framily member’s funeral.
After having to turn around the next day and head home because I took an ugly turn, it was discovered that I had Type A Influenza.
So when I hear a cough the night before we head anywhere from our four walls, I am now paranoid.
The morning we were to leave, I took Ellie to sick call at the pediatrician to find our fate. Turns out she had a little upper respiratory thing going on and that we were all clear to go to Florida!
But as I was sitting in the pediatrician’s office waiting for Ella’s strep test results, my phone rang. Normally I wouldn’t answer it and send it to voicemail but it had a local number and just wanted to be safe.
It was the kennel calling.
We’ve been lucky enough to have never kenneled our Buddy in his almost two years of life.
Last spring break, my mom and dad were able to watch him in their home; this past summer while in Utah, our framily member Jake was able to stay in our home and watch him.
Long story, but my parents couldn’t watch him in their home because of health issues with their sweet doggie Dolly and Jake was going to be watching another dog at another home.
The kennel it was.
Let me tell you, the entire month of March I was having major anxiety about it.
After researching his kennel with more fervor and intensity than I did the girls’ preschool, I found a place that got great reviews.
The week before, we made the mistake of going to the kennel for a visit. When I saw the cold hard floors and narrow runs he would be in, I may have had to excuse myself.
People do this all the damn time, I reasoned! Pull yourself together Kari! I need to be calm for him or he will sense my impending doom.
It was decided that Mike would have to do the drop off because I would be a mess.
It was while I was having a minor panic attack at the pediatrician about our possible canceled spring break that my phone rang.
Umm yes, we have Buddy here but he won’t let anyone touch him. His fur is up and he is showing his teeth.
Buddy isn’t a mean dog; he goes to the dog park once a week and is very social with dogs AND people; we have lots of people come into our home on the regular.
BUT he is with us when those things occur.
And he might have a touch of his mommy’s anxiety. Which is why he and I get along so well.
So Mike headed back to the kennel to save our little Buddy and I scrambled to find an alternative.
Thank you, Jesus, for family and framily (friends who are family). Between my mom and dad, my dear friends Rebecca and Dawn, we had three shifts per day that could come to the house to let Buddy out, feed and water him, and play.
My dad played music on his phone for him while snuggling and reading the newspaper online; Rebecca made sure he had on music throughout the house so he wouldn’t feel lonely; Dawn fed him by hand because he had a little doggie depression going on and wasn’t eating at first. These people saved my little Buddy and my soul and for that, I am eternally grateful.
We finally got on the road and were an hour into the trip when Ella’s cough got so bad that we questioned if we were doing the right thing.
The doctor said it was fine to go but didn’t give us any medicine or suggestions for some.
Mike knew of a Walgreen’s that was just up the road as it used to be in his territory for work.
There’s a Walgreen’s just up at the next exit! We will get some cough medicine for her so she can rest!
We pulled off at the next exit when Mike started laughing. Maniacal laughing.
It was at this point that I seriously wanted to go home.
WHAT THE ACTUAL FUDGY BAR UNIVERSE??
But when things get kind of ugly, Mike and I like to play a game called “it could be shittier“.
-Buddy is in his home
-Ella doesn’t have strep or the flu
-We have GPS and can find another drug store. HOW DID OUR PARENTS DO THIS??
-It was sunny
-We were going to Florida. So shut the hell up.
We made it to Huntsville Alabama at 11 that night and woke up early the next day to get on the road to Florida.
We were excited! We only had to wear a sweatshirt instead of winter coats we were wearing at home! Things are looking up!
We got up extra early and stopped to get food on the road because DESTIN IN SIX HOURS!
To traffic again. And lots of it.
We realized at this point that this wasn’t normal traffic but rather the North invading the South.
We stopped at a McDonald’s along the highway that was also a gas station because the first McDonald’s we tried, you couldn’t even get into the parking lot because North invading South.
While Mike ran in to get our food and pump some gas, the girls and I started hearing this funny noise from outside of the car.