This post is much overdue, but I want to share a little about my experience in Chicago at the end of January. There is so much to tell that I’m going to spread it over the next couple of posts so it is a little less overwhelming.
My parents, Crickette (sister), Ethan (brother) and Jordan (P’s girlfriend) all drove to Waukegan Wednesday/Thursday. The plan was for them to check-in to the hotel around 3 Thursday afternoon and my father would pick me up from the O’Hare airport Thursday night. Mom and dad thought it would be perfectly fine to drive the Infiniti on the trip. Yes – a four door sedan with seating for only 5 people. Why my parents thought seating for 5 people would be adequate when they have a family of 7 to shuffle around for the weekend remains a mystery to us all. Unfortunately, they were running a little behind schedule and the entire family picked me up from the airport Thursday evening. Imagine my surprise when I reached the car and realized we all had to cram in for the 45 minute drive to Waukegan. Ethan literally laid across Jordan, Crickette and my lap in the back seat. We put covers over his body and had to keep telling him to keep his head down. The only positive to be said about taking the Infiniti would be that it provided GPS navigation – which you can imagine would come in very handy for Southern suburbanites trying to maneuver their way through a foreign metropolis.
Mom, in all her wisdom (being serious here), prerecorded the address to O’Hare airport and the hotel in Waukegan so we could easily get to and from the airport and hotel. So as we exited the airport parking lot, mom selected our next destination and the GPS lady plotted our course and began giving dad directions.
We had been driving for about 5-10 minutes when the GPS started indicating that we needed to make a U-turn. The GPS screen showed that we needed to turn around and go the direction we came from. Immediately we all accused Dad of missing his exit (he would NOT get off his blackberry and kept texting/calling people so we just assumed he wasn’t paying attention.) Dad made the requested U-turn and headed back the way we came. Strangely enough, the GPS indicated we need to make another U-turn and head back north. At this point the car was total chaos. Dad insisted he hadn’t missed a turn, mom insisted he get off his blackberry and I kept hearing the strangest thudding noise coming from the passenger side of the car. My heart immediately sank and I thought, “Lord please – please do not let us have a flat tire. We are not exactly city equipped for this type of breakdown right now.” I asked if anyone else heard the noise and no one other than Crickette did (which isn’t surprising considering how loud everyone was!) As the car came to a halt at a stop light, I opened my car door to see that my mother had closed her coat in the door and her flap was banging against the car door. REALLY!?!?! It wasn’t bad enough that we were crammed in the car driving around Chicago like the Beverly Hillbilly’s in a slightly nicer car – but mom had her coat flapping in the wind for all to see. Thankfully in the midst of our stress and hysteria we found this comical - not embarrassing.
As Dad continued to follow the GPS instructions, we were forced to do another U-turn and head back south. I honestly thought I was going to watch my father’s head burst right off his neck when it dawned on me. “Where is the GPS taking us?” “What?” mom replied. “Where is the GPS set to take us? What address did you select?” I could see the look of sheer mortification come across my mother’s face as she realized she had set the GPS to take us to the airport – not the hotel. The stupid thing had been looping us around the airport for nearly 15 minutes! My dad did *not* try to hide his satisfaction in being proven right. Amazing, we can finally go to the hotel – I thought.
Oh – and don’t let me forget to tell you about the best part (insert sarcasm)! As I mentioned, Ethan was sprawled across our laps, face down, in the backseat. What I did not mention is that he entertained himself by farting the entire ride. Oh yeah, that little six-year-old thought it was hysterical to let one lose on us. Thankfully his bottom was pointed directly at Crickette, not me – but it was still pretty bad. Every time he would laugh at himself, he would let another one go. We were too busy laughing/choking to scold him and this pretty much continued until we reached the hotel.
The thing is, this is kind of how it always is with my family. Always chaotic but always entertaining. Thankfully we have just learned to laugh our way through it and enjoy ourselves even when were packed into a tiny car filled with little boy farts and the GPS lady screaming at us to “TURN AROUND!” There really never is a dull moment when you’re with the Gulledge’s.