04 December 2012

Daddy School: Drive Like A Daddy

My dogs actually taught me about this one.

Before we even had children, we adopted two Cocker Spaniel puppies. At the time, we had a Subaru Forester with one of those protective doggy seat cover/hammock type thing. It was advertised as protecting your seats and your dogs at the same time. Yeah right. Dang dogs ate through the "chew-proof" fabric within a week.

Anyway, one evening, we were coming back from the dog park and had both pups in the back seat. They were fine until we were a few blocks from home. Suddenly, we began hearing whimpering and whining coming from the back seat. I didn't think too much of it because we were almost home. No big deal. Yeah right!

A few minutes later, the smell began hitting us. Oh, it was awful. As was the fact that both pups were frantically jumping and running around the back seat. I pulled over as quickly as I could, but it was way too late. Oh, yes, it was entirely too late.

When we got parked, we were horrified. The seat cover was dislodged from their crazed activity. What we saw made me cry. Two dogs and the entire back seat of my car were covered in vile, runny, extraordinarily malodorous puppy poop. They had ground it into the seats, the seat belts, the worthless freaking seat cover and each other.

Being the wonderfully loving husband I am, I agreed to drive the car (with my head as far out the window as I could get it) the rest of the way home, while my wife took both dogs the remaining block to the house on their leashes. Daddies (even if they're only doggy Daddies at the time) are always required to take the short straw. That's just the law.

Now of course, due to my epilepsy, my wife has to do all of the driving. But I'm steadily teaching her to drive like a Daddy.

You would think that her memory would be long enough to remember that incident from five years back just as clearly as my much more foggy brain. Nope. She forgot.

Recently, we were beginning a long road trip to attend my nephew's wedding. Now, we live in the Metroplex. If you're not from the greatest land on Earth and live in ignorance of the geography of this most beautiful land, then you know my home as the Dallas-Forth Worth area. It's a little area of about 160 some-odd cities and towns all spread together. It's populated by a couple million of the most aggressive, crazy and non-vigilant mix of Rednecks and transplanted freaking Yankees in the world. I mention that so you will understand that we have a rather high incidence of traffic accidents and their attendant traffic jams. So when my wife, who thinks like a woman (I can leave ten minutes before I have to be at a destination 30 miles away and I'll be there in plenty of time), left the house, she expected to have an easy trip.


Oops, sorry, Sweetheart.

So, there we were in the car. The kids were in the back seat comfortably playing and napping. I was heavily drugged to ensure a seizure-free drive (which meant I was peacefully snoring) and my poor wife was in the driver's seat with a white-knuckled grip on the wheel and eyes wide with shock as she began the horrifying experience of driving through the Metroplex, from one side to the other, for the first time in seven years. See, as the Daddy, I always drove. She always slept. Not anymore.

Three hours later, I began to wake up and looked over to see my beloved wife glued to the wheel with red face, frazzled hair, glassy eyes and smoking ears. The girl was in the back saying, "I have to go potty and I can't hold it!" The boy was back their crying. We were in heavy traffic and my wife was saying something to the effect of, "I said I'll pull off and find a rest from as soon as I can!"

Oh, my! It's my fault. I hadn't taught her enough about driving like a Daddy.

I told her to pull off at the next exit. She said no, she couldn't get off in this traffic. I said pull off at the next exit. Period.

It took me awhile to convince her, pretty much until the smell started coming forward. Then she agreed to pull off.

An hour later, after we had changed both kids clothes, bagged them up to burn at the first opportunity, cleaned the poop out of BOTH car seats, powdered both behinds and taken them both to the potty again - just to be sure - and eaten a snack (to let the car air out), we were back on the road. It was an awful way to learn a lesson.
  • Now, I am very proud to say, my wife is well on her way to driving like a Daddy. She is learning the ,most important lessons quickly. Things like:
  • Always asking about the need for potty breaks at every single exit you pass.
  • Always have snacks portioned out in easily opened packages within easy reach.
  • Always have plenty of fluids to drink - no sugar allowed.
  • Always have plenty of baby wipes, hand sanitizer, sturdy plastic bags, diapers, changes of clothes and tissues on hand.
  • If at all possible, drive in the right hand lane, in case you hear those horrible words - "I'm going to be sick!"
  • Always remember, there is a destination. The trip WILL end and you will be able to get out of the car and the kids will stop driving you insane - and hopefully be taken by grandparents happy so happy to see them that they won't notice you sneaking off to the nearest bedroom to cry into a pillow and close your eyes for a minute before you have to unload the car.
  • And most importantly, if you ever hear a child (or a pregnant spouse) say, "I have to go potty and I can't hold it!", you pull that car over immediately and make rapid arrangements to get that child in a safe position - namely, out of my car!
And that is driving like a Daddy.