Road trip with an infant: achievement unlocked

As I write this, the baby is upstairs asleep, Stan is watching the Canada-England soccer match, and the rain is falling steadily as it has done all day. We are all various degrees of exhausted, but also pleased with our accomplishment: three days and two nights in a hotel, just a few hours away, with fair success and no disasters. We’re even unpacked.

This mini-roadtrip was the perfect practice for a longer trip we’ll be taking this summer (and one that’s probably going to be even longer sometime in the fall) — so special thanks to my cousins A and K for getting married. Anselm coped with the hotel / disturbed nap schedule / extended family hoopla / etc. a lot better than we had anticipated, which is encouraging.

Some things for me to remember for next time (because I need to write them down somewhere … and I can’t lose a blog post):

1. Hotel rooms are cold. Bring socks for the baby!

2. Our car gets about five, five-and-a-half hours’ of highway driving on a half tank of gas.

3. Sleeping: at home, Anselm sleeps on a mattress next to our bed. We didn’t bring it with us because the hotel would provide a crib & we figured on using that mattress. We did so; but it was small and hard, and next time it might be easier to just bring the crib mattress. Bringing Anselm’s sheet so that his bed smelled the same was probably helpful.

4. Next time, more snack food. Always more snack food.

5. I’m pretty sure it’s true what they say: Ohio drivers are just the worst.

6. The best time to leave looks like immediately after breakfast. Pack as much as possible the night before, get up, shower and eat, feed the baby, nurse the baby, and go. He should sleep for a good hour or two if you get on the road soon enough. Otherwise he’ll only fall asleep in the ten minutes before the next rest stop, leading to the eternal conundrum: wake the baby or pee one’s pants? Both terrible options.

7. Don’t forget to update the GPS. And be thankful for friendly park rangers.

8. You will feel bad because your baby cries in the night and hotel walls are thin. But then your bed will start shaking in sync with your next door neighbour’s… athletic… activities, and you will shrug and call it even. In hotel living, nobody wins.

TL;DR 2013/14

Oh, right, I haven’t posted in like a year and a half. Let’s catch up, shall we?

In 2013 and 2014, I retired a major debt, left my jobs, moved to small-town America, took up ukulele, dressed up as a Settlers of Catan wheat tile for Hallowe’en, drove to St. Louis for American Thanksgiving, drove back to Ontario for Christmas, started a master’s degree program, got pregnant, finished the semester, drove to Ohio for a family reunion, spent a month cat/house sitting in the fancy town up the road, made half a rag rug, painted three rooms, drove back to Ontario for a family visit, made curtains and generally nested, started the fall semester, figured I’d be pregnant forever, finally had the baby (41+6 weeks gestation), finished the semester, hosted family for Christmas for the first time, and read 354 books.

That about covers it.

Bye, Kids!

I’m off for a week, here:


For some of this:


With some of these:


I love girls’ camp.

Be good while I’m gone. There’s food in the fridge and grandma has an extra key. Oh, and try not to break anything. I’ll be back next Saturday.

Trip Notes (II)

(1) If you wait an extra five days to buy your plane tickets, they will suddenly be $600 more expensive. Don’t do this. So long, easy flight home! It was nice dreaming about you. I’ll be in the car.

(2) When dining at Mary’s Kountry Kitchen, be aware: “Petite Portions” are exactly that. Also, I think that people need to stop with the kutesy kountry spellings. Please.

(3) When it comes to homesickness, I think that it’s the little things that count most. Being in a different country? That’s fine. All of the locks on doors turning in the wrong direction? That’s a bit jarring.

(4) Things elderly American men want to know:

  • You’re from Canada?
  • What’s the price of gasoline up there?
  • How many litres are there in a gallon?
  • Do you import most of your oil?
  • How’s the governor general doing?
  • You sure have a pretty country up there.
  • Do you speak French?
  • I hope you appreciate your grandmother.

Trip Notes (I)

(1) Somewhere in Pennsylvania, I observed the first scarlet leaves of, um, summer.

(2) Went to the Barnes Foundation Museum on Sunday. Saw 181 Renoirs, almost 70 Cézannes, also numerous Matisse paintings, Soutine, Picasso, Rousseau, etc. Renoir I like very much. Matisse I do not like at all. Soutine I like. Rousseau I don’t think was particularly good at doing faces, but I think I liked his stuff overall. And thus concludes your armchair tour of Impressionism.

(3) Also saw my new favourite painting in the world ever, for which I cannot find a representation online. It’s called something like “Two Women on the Shore, Mediterranean,” and was painted in 1896 by French pointilist painter Henri-Edmund Cross. It’s gorgeous. And I didn’t even remember to take a picture of it . . .

(4) The sun makes me sad. I have gotten overheated two days in a row (not burned, just too hot for too long) and have been sadly crawling around the house feeling cold and sleepy.

(5) But on the plus side, there are lots and lots of books to read here!

(6) Lots!


On Wednesday night I handed in my last paper and had my last class until September.

Last night, I did the last of my work at my second summer job.

Free, free!

Well, free to work more hours at summer job number one, is really what it comes down to. But also free to stop reading boring essays about reader-response criticism from this book. And free to not write boring essays about reader-response criticism.

Theoretically, I’m free to post more here . . . but not this coming week! I am a-travelling down Statesward, for my grandmother’s 85th birthday shindig. Posting, I expect, will continue to be light.

In the mean time, I’ve started packing and must decide on what books to bring along. The trip begins with a twelve-hour drive and ends with another one, and so I’m picking great chunky books that are likely to last more than an hour or two apiece. So far, my picks are these:

Four Fires is a newish novel by Bryce Courtenay — one of my favourite novelists — and it’s huge! My copy comes in at 992 pages, which is only 16 pages less than the Tolkein. I can knock books this size down pretty quickly, but between the two of them I think I’ve got a lot of car time covered. As for the two Baldacci books, I haven’t read them and don’t really know what they’re about, but they were were given to me to read by my friend H, and so I’ll take them along as well.

And soon I will be gone! My TBR pile has been dwindling in an alarming fashion, but I am expecting nine or ten books to arrive in the mail soonish — and so hopefully I’ll have a nice pile to come back to.