The first hurdle we had to overcome for the trip was what to do about Ruby. We've had her for one month, and while she and Fletcher have become pretty friendly, Pete is another story. He still hisses at her with little or no provocation (although sometimes, she really does ask for it), and I worried about leaving them together for three days with no human running interference. Then, I had an epiphany: take Pete to stay at my parents' house while we were all gone.
We packed our car with the four of us, Pete in a very large pet carrier (he's a very large pet - he weighs in at 25 lbs.), suitcases, coats, scarves, hats and gloves (because it was FREAKING cold), four laptops, two school backpacks, two pumpkin pies, a coffee cake, a tub of caramel popcorn, sugar cookies, and a ukulele. We drove to my parents' house, an hour to the north, and transferred all of it (minus the cat) to THEIR car, along with their suitcases, coats, two pecan pies and a cranberry salad. We left a bewildered Pete at their house and piled in their SUV. I drove, my dad road shotgun, my mom and the college boy sat in the middle seats and my daughter sat in the far back, with my husband wedged in beside her, where they intended to watch movies the entire trip. We were off.
I. The drive:
We took a windy, two-lane highway, as suggested by my dad, despite my warning that three of the people I brought with me get carsick.
My mother pointed out every single Casey's General Store (a convenience store chain, for those of you not in-the-know) we passed, saying she wished HER town had one, to which all of us responded with, "They're BUILDING one there!"
My kids fought over the bag full of candy that my mother brought for them TO SHARE, because you would THINK that when they are 14 and 18, they could manage that, but you'd be wrong.
My husband complained that I swerved all over the road (I didn't).
II. The Game
We made it to my brother's house in plenty of time to attend the last volleyball game of the season for the Mizzou Tigers. They were 33-0 going into this game (against University of Arkansas, incidentally). Considering it was the night before Thanksgiving, Hearnes Arena had a pretty big crowd. My volleyball playing daughter was in Heaven.
The volleyball team won the SEC title, the first Mizzou team to win it since joining the SEC. YOU HEARD IT RIGHT. THE GIRLS WERE FIRST. And since the football team blew it in their game against Auburn this past weekend, the girls remain the ONLY Mizzou team to win an SEC title. But I digress.
We had a rare sighting of The Antlers, an unsanctioned student group that formed in 1976. They usually reserve their antics for the basketball team, but having been ejected from Mizzou Arena two games in a row for what the University deemed inappropriate chants, the ones who were still in town had nowhere else to go. They were on good behavior.
Some of the things The Antlers yelled, each time as the other team was getting ready to serve:
"There's a bee!" (accompanied by screaming like girls and swatting the air)
"Probably Team Jacob."
"Snape killed Dumbledore."
"Still has a MySpace."
"Peeta doesn't love you."
"Hates Forest Gump."
"The bees are back!" (accompanied by more screaming like girls and swatting the air)
These comments, incidentally, are not what got them kicked out of the basketball games.
Truman the Tiger was in attendance, as was the Governor.
|This one is Truman.|
|This one is the Governor.|
The volleyball team beat Arkansas in three games, ending the season 34-0.
We had Shakespeare's Pizza after the game.
III. Thanksgiving Day
My brother might be considered a bit of a control freak. He would not be offended by that description.
He had a spread sheet that outlined what time each item for the dinner needed to be prepared. I kid you not. My sister-in-law is a wise woman and just lets him go for it.
Dinner was delicious. The only thing it lacked, in my opinion, was pickled beets. I like pickled beets.
IV. The Jam Session
My brother is the one who bought my daughter her ukulele. She has been teaching herself to play by watching YouTube videos, and she has gotten pretty good. Her playing tastes lean toward artists like Ingrid Michaelson and Bruno Mars. My brother plays the mandolin extremely well. He plays bluegrass. In other words, their musical tastes are pretty far apart. So they compromised. They played bluegrass. It went something like this:
We went home the next day via interstate; no windy roads, no complaining from the backseat that I was swerving (I WASN'T), didn't pass a single Casey's General Store, and nobody pooped their pants.
P.S. Pete had a relatively uneventful stay at my parents' house while we were gone (or so we hope, unless he watched pay-per-view in the absence of adult supervision), his reunion with his kitty siblings was anticlimactic, and Ruby made me promise I'd never leave her for that long ever again.
|My children not behaving while trying|
to get a picture with their cousin.
|My parents with their grandkids.|