Nonetheless, the opportunity to legitimately escape my family for 30 hours is worth the 14 hour drive. Me and one kid in the family suburban is a moment to be treasured. We have some serious quality time. But an even more rare treasure awaits.
As soon as I dump the kid – I mean drop her off at the pre-determined location where another responsible adult has graciously agreed to supervise my daughter and take her to the hospital in case of emergency (thanks Laurie) –I have exactly 14 hours remaining.
I have no plans. That would spoil everything. But just in case, I brought my bible, 2 history books, my writing notebook, a needlepoint stocking that I’ve been trying to get started for 3 years, and the kids assignment books so that I can check grades.
Instead, I simply wander into the local Rite-Aid to splurge on a pink writing tablet, a diet dr. pepper and some Swedish fish – but only after I meander down every isle making sure that I haven’t left any critical item untouched. Then I get into the car and start driving to what looks like a major road, hoping to find a reasonably decent hotel that doesn’t cost a fortune.
I pass a Target. Even though I’ve already been to Target twice this week getting the kids ready for their trips, I wonder if the Targets in Kentucky are different than mine in Alabama.
Two hours later, I’ve searched every isle and come to the conclusion that they are all pretty much the same. But they did have that ornament box I needed to finish taking down the Christmas tree. So I bought it. January 11 seems like a good time to take down the tree.
Next stop. Food. I love eating alone in a restaurant. I choose one I’ve never heard of before. Life’s an adventure.
As I glance at the menu, the server tells me the specials. I casually say, “I’m really trying to eat healthy tonight.” I order unsweet tea and then unfold the three part menu. Fried green tomatoes with Japanese bread crumbs. Half-pound sirloin steak burger with bleu cheese and bacon, baby back ribs with skinny fries.
What was I thinking? I was ALONE. No husband. No kids. No rules. Not even a budget. There was nothing to stop me – except the little annoying voice that reasoned, “You can’t order THAT. What will the server think? You already ate...”
The other little voice interrupted, “Are you insane? You are never going to see this guy again. Order whatever you want. Just pay in cash and he can’t track you down.”
Realizing that I had just handed over my last cent to my daughter, I ordered the salad with dressing on the side. I hate that little voice.
After paying my bill, I exited the building and noticed a familiar, sweet, yeasty smell permeating the cold air. Looking to my left, I couldn’t help but notice a Krispy Kreme Donuts.
My thoughts raced as I tried to ignore the opinions of that annoying little voice, “I think I’ll pick up a dozen chocolate-glazed for breakfast. And this time, I won’t talk to anyone.”